Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

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Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby de officiis » Fri May 15, 2015 7:52 pm

Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Eric Posner - 68 Vand. L. Rev. 441 (March 2015)

Conventional democratic institutions aggregate preferences poorly. The norm of one-person-one-vote with majority rule treats people fairly by giving everyone an equal chance to influence outcomes but fails to give proportional weight to people whose interests in a social outcome are stronger than those of other people. This problem leads to the familiar phenomenon of tyranny of the majority. Various institutions that have been tried or proposed over the years to correct this problem - including supermajority rule, weighted voting, cumulative voting, "mixed constitutions," executive discretion, and judicially protected rights - all badly misfire in various ways, for example, by creating gridlock or corruption. This Article proposes a new form of political decisionmaking based on the theory of quadratic voting. It explains how quadratic voting solves the preference-aggregation problem by giving proper weight to preferences of varying intensity, how it can be incorporated into political institutions, and why it should improve equity.


http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2343956

http://ericposner.com/voting-squared-quadratic-voting-in-democratic-politics/
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Re: Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby Myrtok » Sat May 16, 2015 5:11 am

Quadratic voting is a voting procedure where people are allowed to buy votes for or against a proposal (or candidate) by paying the square of the number of votes they cast (e.g., 3 votes cost $9). The votes are totaled up and the majority prevails. Quadratic voting enables people with strong interests in an outcome to exert influence in proportion to the strength of their interest, so a passionate numerical minority of voters may be able to outvote an indifferent majority.

They say they have a plan to keep the super-rich from just buying every election, but the 58 page pdf didn't have a Table of Contents, and I don't have time to read the whole thing to find that solution right now.

In fact, they go so far as to say that this vote-buying scheme will maximize social welfare! That sounds so counter-intuitive that I'm intrigued.
"If ye love...tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -Samuel Adams
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Re: Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby de officiis » Sat May 16, 2015 5:47 am

Myrtok wrote:They say they have a plan to keep the super-rich from just buying every election, but the 58 page pdf didn't have a Table of Contents, and I don't have time to read the whole thing to find that solution right now.

In fact, they go so far as to say that this vote-buying scheme will maximize social welfare! That sounds so counter-intuitive that I'm intrigued.


Here is what they said about the rich buying elections:

One possible concern is that rich people will buy votes to support monetary transfers from poor to rich. This will not happen, however. While the rich are willing to pay more to obtain nonfinancial goods than are the poor, they are not willing to pay more to obtain money. Consider a scheme that took a dollar from every individual in the bottom fifty percent of the income distribution and gave $ 50 to every individual in the top one percent. A member of the top one percent would not pay more than $ 49 to enact such a proposal, which would give them seven votes each. Such a proposal could be defeated by the bottom fifty percent, each buying half of a vote, which would only cost him or her a quarter each. Robbing the poor to pay the rich never prevails under QV.

QV blocks purely redistributive projects because it permits only efficient projects, and redistributive projects are not efficient because they do not generate wealth. Indeed, as we will see, QV permits redistributive projects only to the extent that people care about distribution. Because wealthier people do care about the poor 139 (although maybe not enough), under QV they will support some redistribution to the poor, just as they do under majority rule. By contrast, because the poor do not - in their own minds or anyone else's - benefit by giving their money to the rich, QV would not result in redistribution to the rich.
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Re: Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby TheWaffle » Sat May 16, 2015 6:11 am

This is too clever by half. The logic applies when considering financial transfers but utterly fails in practicality. You only need to buy one election in order to completely rewrite the voting procedures such that they disenfranchise poor voters. If the extremely wealthy can directly purchase additional votes, then they invest in one election by buying favorable offices and then putting into place extremely stringent voter ID and voter registration systems that make it more difficult for the poor to vote. With the power to similarly buy elected or appointed judges they can enforce that system, and welcome to the oligarchy.

Like most voting gimmicks it completely ignores the ability of the winner to exploit the system in order to rewrite the rules. Ranking your top two preferences for office, with instant run-off voting, is a superior system for reflecting the will of the population, but its primary benefit is that is completely undermines the two party duopoly, making it impossible to implement. They've exploited the system to rewrite the rules, but at least every citizen still has a vote, the quadratic system allows the wealthy to legally purchase elections, prioritizing their desires even more than our current campaign donation system.
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Re: Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby Whistling Wizard » Sat May 16, 2015 9:57 pm

I would be willing to support this. Its effectively the system we were using for doing Gold carry runs in World of Warcraft years ago.

The statement of 'welcome to the oligarchy' is misplaced, seeing as according to a study from Princeton the US already is one. :P

Similarly, if the various businesses were dumb enough to nakedly grab power in that fashion there would be riots in the streets.
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Re: Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Postby Myrtok » Tue May 19, 2015 5:29 am

The formula may prevent "profit" from direct transfer of wealth, but it doesn't do anything to stop "oligarchy." If I want that great big government contract worth billions of dollars, I can easily afford to buy tens of millions of dollars worth of votes for candidates who agree to make sure the project gets funded with tax money and that my company gets the contract. I can also easily invest in votes for politicians who will pass rules and regulations which don't necessarily cost anything in terms of tax money but do give my company big advantages in the private markets. Finally, while this system might make it easier for me to buy a politician legally, it does nothing to keep me from buying politicians the old fashioned way since they'll still need campaign funds and cushy jobs for their kids.
"If ye love...tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -Samuel Adams
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