Thursday, 2 August 2012

None of the above!

We all like to believe the notion of a democracy. We have the belief that we exist in one and that the best choice is made to satisfy the most people.

The reality is far from this supposed “truth”.

Arrow’s impossibility theorem, the General Possibility Theorem, or Arrow’s paradox (Arrow, 1951, 2nd ed., 1963) demonstrate how the existing system fails. When faced with the choice of multiple parties, we cannot decide adequately on the end that will maximize the utility for the most people.

The result is one where we fall into a two-party system in default of the difficulties of choice. In place of having to create parties of people there to act for the majority, parties form with minorities. In the extreme, those such as the Fascists and Communists have managed to wield control and led to conditions of excess prior to the 2nd World War.

What we have now is a system that leads to a choice of second bests. There is no clear preferred member who stands, nothing placed by a party that could be seen as a majority, but it is one which is easiest to promote given a limited set of choices.

Why has this occurred you may ask?

The answer is simple. We cannot choose “None of the above”.

To create a true democracy, we need to have the option to select no candidate. These are people selected not by the population, but the parties. Those possible candidates who are acceptable to a majority of the voting public but not to those in power are excluded in the current system and this remains the flaw.

Only when we can say “No” to the choice we have imposed upon us and we can make the parties select the people WE want to lead us will we have a true democratic government.


Arrow, K. J. (1951, 2nd ed., 1963). Social Choice and Individual Values.

1 comment:

Ryan G. said...