The fundamental problem of social choice is aggregating individual preferences into a collective preference function that…
The fundamental problem of social choice is aggregating individual preferences into a collective preference function that allows society to make a decision. We approached this question with both normative and positive theory and surprisingly found that they both point in the same direction. Normatively, Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem started with a reasonable set of requirements for the social choice process and showed that they were internally inconsistent. Positively, McKelvey’s Theorem showed that when the mechanics of social choice do not provide a decisive choice under majority rule, chaos ensues and democratic ideals are lost. Assume you are talking with a friend (also a political science major) who has not taken this class.
- Explain Arrow’s and McKelvey’s Theorems to your friend in terms that he or she can understand.
- Indicate how the two theorems are related
- Tell your friend why Professor Roberts can’t sleep at night when he thinks about the results of these theorems. That is, describe what is disturbing about the theorems.