Math Applied To Exercise Power

Most people have bank accounts. Accounting is a mathematical process that is well understood and taught under strict standards. It involves adding and subtracting, and keeping a balance, among other details. But a bank account is an example of how math is sometimes used to control or exercise power. This use contrasts with math used to gain understanding (as in for example scientific theories), and math for its own sake (“pure math”). The money in your bank account is interpreted by society as a token of power. Say for example you are a painter and I employ you to paint my walls. If I weren’t willing to hand you that token, that $30/hr. or however much it is, you would not bother to paint my walls. You would use your precious time some other way. But because I am willing to hand you a token, you do something you would otherwise not want to do. Therefore, because I have money to spend, I have exercised power over you. I have ordered you to do something you do not want to do, and you have obeyed, as though I were king. And we only know how much money you have because of the math in your bank account. If the math were done wrong, say every deduction were doubled, then you would be cheated out of some of the power that you are rightfully entitled to. So, math, when it is used to figure power, can matter a lot. Voting is the same way. If you and I have the legal right to vote in an election, we deserve to have equal power to each other. If the math is set up in certain ways, the voting system violates our right to equality. This is what choose-one plurality voting does. I think that IRV does as well. Several systems (mathematical procedures, like accounting is a mathematical procedure), have been described that would arguably, at least in certain ways that are easy to test for, honor your right and mine to equality. So no, this is not the same as politicians treating people as robots or pawns or mathematical objects. It is the use of math like in your bank account, which can be right or wrong. And in the case of voting, the right or wrong is a matter of degree, not just X is absolutely right and Y is absolutely wrong. Different systems can be argued to have different advantages. But the current system is one of the worst and works very much against democratic republicanism and for the kleptocracy.

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