Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lottery Voting on CT

In a recent post on education, over at Crooked Timber, Harry writes about budget cuts by committee: "each member brought in his or her own list of exactly what to cut, then they traded till the cuts worked out. It struck me at the time that nobody could seriously believe that the upshot was going to be superior in any way to a budget that the Superintendent would have recommended, and that the discussion was simply a waste of time; none of the board members is a fool, and I imagine that none of them thought their list was much better than anyone else’s, and that most of their lists were probably better than any compromise that they would forge; wouldn’t it have been better to pick a list out of the hat than to engage in endless detailed discussion?"


  1. Lottery voting as over naked horse-trading, note, and in a context quite different from that of elections to select a government or indeed laws - after all, the point is that any one of the lists would be better than the results of the horse-trading, not that lottery voting somehow respects everyone's right to have a say in the rules they live under.

  2. The point is, as I've often said, that compromise over a single decision may ultimately please no one - so it may be better, and preferable from the point of view of each individual, to have an equal chance of getting their way to an equal share in a compromise outcome.

  3. I thought you were making a fairness claim, not a betterness claim. Oh well.