On Tuesday, Nobel-wining economist Kenneth Arrow died at age 95. He is known for many economic discoveries, but geeks know him mostly for Arrow’s Theorem, an examination of different types of voting systems which showed that none is perfect. It’s the election equivalent of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem in math.
Just become none of them are perfect, however, doesn’t mean that some might be better – and we’ll be getting a look at this idea in Maine, where voters just approved the first system of ranked-choice voting for statewide offices. (There are still some legal questions about whether it will go into effect, however.)
I wrote about this issue back in November, discussing Arrow’s Theorem and the Maine initiative – you can peruse my prose poetry right here. (An incentive to click through: the column includes the phrase “fie on thee, Kenneth Arrow!”) The column was written before the November election, before we knew that Maine voters would pass it. Incidentally, I predicted they would reject the initiative, further evidence of my deep insight.