Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Troikas 13: Paradox of the Second Best

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!

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