Utilitarianism vs. Majoritarianism

Advocates for voting reform seem to fall by and large into two camps, the Majoritarians and the Utilitarians. The difference is well illustrated by the example of “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

Let’s say the election for Governor of Virginia has three candidates, Raymond, Charles, and Sally. Say 49% of the voters would on a scale of 0 to 10 rate Sally a 10, Raymond a 9, and Sally zero. Say the remaining 51% of the voters rate Charles a 10, Raymond a 9, and Sally zero. Utilitarians would say that the best voting systems would be those that would elect Raymond in this scenario, because if you sum up the level of disappointment across all the voters, the Charles outcome is more disappointing overall. On the other hand, Majoratarians argue that majority should rule at all costs, which results in Charles being elected.

I did not come up with this example, but for now, I can’t remember who did.

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