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Social Choice and Beyond
Friday, January 20, 2006
Issues for a Social Choice Based Political-Economic System (2): Welfare
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: Miles Davis
Topic: Social Choice
Unlike socialism or communism which claim to right the wrongs of capitalism, unequal distribution of wealth being among them, a social choice based system or Preferensism would not necessarily be a panacea for the ills of society such as poverty, ecological destruction or unequal distribution of wealth. Basically, since it's an extension of democracy, it would reflect the wishes of the people. If the populace wanted to collectively help poor people or those who are disadvantaged, they could do so. If they didn't want to, they could vote their preferences to do that.

The same goes for the environment. If people wanted to protect the environment, they could vote to do that and vice versa. The only qualification would be that Preferensism is not necessarily a majoritarian system. In other words it caters to minorities. So a minority could vote to help poor or disadvantaged people, and some help would be provided. Also the amount of help would be a function of the aggregate of all citizens' preference lists. Therefore, it is likely that those who want to work an extra amount in return for generating funds to help the poor or funds to ameliorate the environment could do so. How many people list these concerns how high on their list of preferences would determine the funds that would be allocated to those areas.

So it wouldn't necessarily be an up or down vote: either to help poor people or not. Chances are that funds would be mostly allocated out of the paychecks of those who have those concerns as high priorities, but little or no funds would be allocated out of the paychecks of those who don't have those concerns as high priorities.

Therefore, liberals or those who favor government help for the poor and disadvantaged could have it their way and vote to help the poor and disadvantaged. Conservatives or those who are not in favor of government helping the poor and disadvantaged could vote not to help them. The social choice function or social decision function would seek to maximize the utility of the entire population. Not everyone, of course, would get their top preference, but the system would attempt to give everyone as high a preference as possible.

There would be a variation over the entire population in terms of how much each individual would pay depending on his or her preferences. So everyone would not be "taxed" the same but only according to their preferences.

"From each according to his preferences; to each according to her preferences" subject to the maximization of utility with each person being treated the same in the process characterizes Preferensism.

Posted by jclawrence at 4:37 PM PST
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2006 4:40 PM PST

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