Paradox of the Second Best
Recall how the Stooges ranked power, fairness, and logic:
Moe: Fairness < Logic < Power
Larry: Power < Fairness < Logic
Curly: Logic < Power < Fairness
< < 2/3 majority each
Fairness > Power
This nonlinearity generates a chaotic dynamic. For instance:
One fine day Larry decided to wimp out, the better to get his two friends under control.
He went to Curly and said, “Look. I don’t want Moe’s first choice; he wants Power in power, and I don’t want that! Personally, I like Logic, but we can’t have everything! Now, you want Fairness on top; and I’m willing to go along with that. It’s my second-best choice, and your first; so let’s be allies.”
Curly agreed to this scheme; and Moe, to his infuriation, found himself shut out by their Sophisticated Voting!
Thus Larry, by accepting a mediocre outcome, avoided the worst outcome. That is, until Moe hit on this strategem; approaching Larry with uncharacteristic deference, Moe agreed to cast his vote in favor of Logic; Moe’s second-best choice, and Larry’s favorite.
Larry accepted, and, Curly, to his consternation, was on the outs this time! That is, until he approached Moe, with a Sophisticated Voting scam in mind. And so Moe and Curly combined against Larry, and put Power in power.
Then Larry approached Curly with a deal. Round and round it goes!