This web site is primarily devoted to the esoteric field of social choice, a field not widely known outside academic circles. Social Choice can be said to be the formal study of the generalization of voting systems. The problem is how do you combine individual choices about a number of alternatives in such a way as to make a choice for society as a whole. The individual choices should be expressed in as general a way as possible, and the social choice, in general, could be a composite of different choices each applying to a specific constituency or it may apply to society as a whole. For this reason, Social Choice can also be applied to economic systems in that it could assign individualized outcomes in a self-regulating manner based only on individual inputs of work-consumption preferences. Therefore, it has implications for both political science and economics. One of the missions of this web site is to identify and analyze as many practical applications as possible including deciding the winner of an Olympic competition. We also intend to do further research and post it on this site. Also, we would like to popularize the field to the extent that this is indeed possible in today’s intellectual and cultural environment.
Social Choice, in one form or other, has been around for a long time. A major effort was made during the French Enlightenment in accordance with their principles of solving social problems using mathematics, but it goes back to Pliny the Younger in 105 AD according to a book by Iain McLean and Arnold B. Urken entitled “Classics of Social Choice.” A more complete background is found on this site in the “History” section.
A major development in the field was Kenneth Arrow’s work in the 1950s which culminated in his book, “Social Choice and Individual Values”. Arrow supposedly proved that, given a few rational and ethical assumptions, Social Choice is impossible. Of course, one must maintain that Arrow’s assumptions are universally acceptable. Not all people, including myself, accept Arrow’s work as Gospel. In fact much of the work contained on this web site purports to show that Arrow’s work is only valid within very limited confines, is indeed tautological, and that we need not be limited by what is a narrow definition of impossibility. See “Reasons why Arrow is wrong.” Obviously, some ways are better than others for deciding how votes are cast in order to elect the candidate who most represents the electorate, and some ways are better than others in deciding how scarce economic resources are allocated. Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem has produced pessimism and even defeatism among those who would like to extend democracy to a more ideal form and also to transform capitalism into a more humane and productive system.
Several years ago I did some research involving two different approaches to the problem in which I came up with a couple of different methods for finding a social choice. One way was based on correcting what I believe to be a fundamental error in Arrow’s work and the other way was based on changing what I believe to be a misguided acceptance of one of Arrow’s postulated criteria. In addition, I wrote a number of other papers critical of Arrow’s work. These papers are all available for downloading in the “Papers” section of this website. As a result I believe that social choice is indeed possible and that my work has not only proved this fact but has resulted in algorithms and techniques for finding social choices in specific situations.
I have coined the word “Preferensism” to denote a society based on the principles of social choice. Briefly, Preferensism can be described as "from each according to his preferences; to each according to her preferences." One of my goals is to further refine Preferensism and to go into different aspects of what a society based on the principles of social choice would be like. As long as social choice was assumed to be impossible, there was no need for anyone to consider what such a society would be like. Since I think the possibility of social choice is very real, it's time to flesh it out. It should be mentioned that such a society was not practical until the advent of high speed, powerful computers and the internet. Much computer power is necessary to amalgamate and integrate all the information that would be generated. A more complicated decision making process would replace binary decisions for the most part.
I don’t believe that Preferensism in itself is a panacea which, if adopted, would eliminate war, poverty, greed, man's inhumanity to man or any of the other vagaries, vices or frivolities of the human race. What I do believe is that human institutions can alleviate and ameliorate some of the depravities to which humans can descend in a totally unregulated, laissez faire, anything goes, law of the jungle, survival of the fittest environment. As such the gradual perfection of human institutions will lead, if not to Utopia, at least to an improving quality of life for most people and to a more felicitous state of world affairs.
In addition, there are sections for biographies of persons who have, directly or indirectly, contributed to this field, website and book reviews and another section on related subjects.
Since I want this web site to be interactive on the web, I’ve included a “links” section and a “Social Choice and Preferensism blog.” A second “blog.” has material on Social Choice and Preferensism, but is much more general containing a lot of material on my other interests as well. My goal is to link to web sites that are dealing with the same sorts of issues I deal with, whether or not these authors agree with me, and also have these sites link to mine. Similarly, the blogs will allow a more or less real time interaction with other people with similar interests. Also I can be contacted via email or snail mail.
I've also made several of my letters to world leaders available. Finally, my book, “East West Synthesis,” has a section on this web site and is available online in its entirety.
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