condorcet's paradox love

condorcet's paradox


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  • Suppose we hold an election with three candidates, X, Y, and Z. And suppose the voters fall into three groups:

    Group 1 prefers, in order, X, Y, Z

    Group 2 prefers, in order, Y, Z, X

    Group 3 prefers, in order, Z, X, Y

    Now, if Candidate X wins, his opponents can rightly object that a majority of voters would have preferred Candidate Z. And corresponding arguments can be made against the other candidates. So even though we've held a fair election, it's impossible to establish majority rule.

    The Marquis de Condorcet noted this oddity in the 1700s; it's sometimes known as Condorcet's paradox.

    --From Futility

    August 3, 2008