Thursday, February 3, 2011

Power Player: Donald Saari

University of California Irvine mathematician Donald Saari is somewhat of a rockstar in the world of social choice theory, a field of mathematically rigorous political science concerned with the aggregation of individual preferences. The most common application of social choice theory is in the study of voting systems. I'm posting an utterly fascinating lecture by Donald Saari (a version of which I attended a few years back) that is a pretty accessible introduction to the field. Check it out here.

I'm on record as supporting the Borda Count, an alternative voting system that I believe is superior to our current plurality-rule regime. Although the Borda Count is not without flaws, it more accurately reflects the will of the voters. Lurking biases within the most critical mechanism of our democracy are too important for us to ignore.

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