Saturday, October 6, 2012

CES Interviews Dr. Kenneth Arrow

Hey folks, I've got a treat for you. Nobel-prize winning economist Dr. Kenneth Arrow, after who Arrow's impossibility theorem is named (and on which much of my writing has been based) has been interviewed by the Center for Election Science.

You can read the transcript, or listen or download here:


  1. I emailed Arrow the following,

    Greetings, I'm a former professor of Economics who graduated from Michigan State in 2002 and have become an independent electoral reform advocate and supporter of the approach taken by FairVote for electoral reform in the USA. I listened to your interview by CES. Truly our current electoral system does support a 2-party system, but I would go a step further and argue that our near exclusive use of FPTP tends to support a single-party dominated system, wherein one has a permanent majority. This empirically-known tendency is the source of the great acrimony between the two major parties, despite how similar positions they hold on most issues.

    IMO, It is more important to end this tendency to tilt than it is to make our system multi-party, and such as it is, any alternative system that doesn't change how our system tends to have two-dominant parties is more fit for being adopted in our current 2-party dominated system... This is why I support the use of American forms of Proportional Representation in "more local" elections that otherwise tend to be chronically non-competitive and the use of instant-runoff-voting in "less local" elections, while for our presidency I think we could revamp the electoral college system to be the final stage of a 3-stage election. The first stage would be akin to the state primaries/caucuses but would use Proportional Representation to determine the 7 finalists in the 2nd stage. In the second stage, in the place of general elections, we'd use a block-voting, plurality-at-large rule that required everyone to vote for their 3 favorites among the 7 finalists. At the same time, three electors from each congressional district would be determined at the local level. The 1305 electors would then determine the next president within a week.

    Block-voting works similarly to FPTP, but since there's only 7 candidates then it'd be more akin to the use of FPTP with only 2 candidates on the ballot, which is not so bad...
    And it would keep the tendency for there to be two major parties in our country, which I reckon the leaders of the two major parties who have the power to make changes, would prefer...
    But it would make the 2nd stage of the election kinder and gentler and a chance to parade their best candidates before the USA without incurring so much damage. One could even add the rule that after the second stage, the three remaining finalists must pick their Vice President from among the six other finalists, possibly including each other. I think this would incentivize the two major parties to try to get two of their candidates who can work well together to go to the third stage where they'd declare each other their veep picks and then team-up against the other candidate.

    But I think we could trust the final selection of the president to an electoral college if the three finalists were all centrists, as would be the case with the above system.

    What do you think?

  2. it deserves to be mentioned that Favorite Betrayal holds for IRV for supporters of major parties that refuse to move closer to the center...

    And that's not the same as with FPTP where Favorite Betrayal holds for dissenters from major parties that refuse to move closer to the center!