You may be interested in the “Calculus
of Consent”, a somewhat utopian model where votes are required to be
unanimous, and where payments are officially negotiated with those who view a
proposed law as operating against their self interest, and therefore they want
payment to offset their losses. The URL is:
A snippet from there is below, with my highlighting for this
Calculus of Consent
The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations
of Constitutional Democracy is a book written by economists James
M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock in 1962. It is considered to be one
of the classic works from the discipline of public
choice in economics
and political science. This work presents the basic
principles of public choice theory.
analytical approach of the authors is based on methodological
individualism - collective action is composed of individual actions
and on the rejection of any organic interpretation of the state .
A purely individualistic
conception of collectivity is maintained: the state is an artifact, created by men and thus subject to
change and perfection. Buchanan and Tullock maintain that only
constitutional changes, which can be shown to be in the interest of all
interested parties can be judged as "improvements" and therefore
consider conceptual unanimity as the only legitimate decision-making rule.
authors analyze the traditional political science approach to voting systems,
including majority voting as the standard as opposed to the unanimity
rule. They show that none of those systems are perfect, since there is always a
a simple majority-based
system imposes varying amounts of both external
costs and decision-making costs
system has little or no external costs, but considerable decision-making costs.
conclude that decisions with potentially high external costs should require
unanimity or at least supermajority systems.
many political scientists define the political
process as a system in which the policy
decisions are viewed as a private
interest vs. public interest struggle, Buchanan and Tullock
suggest that the public interest is simply the aggregation of private decision
show that in classical political science theory, the "public
interest" is always the correct choice with the same appeal to all voters,
which may or may not be opposed by "special interests". But that
theory ignores the fact that most choices appeal to many different "law
consumers" with varying strengths. An illustrative example is a choice
whether to increase funding for health care.
Some voters will strongly support or oppose it, but many may not care at all.
compare this to a market transaction, where the voters
strongly desiring better health care could purchase the acceptance of the
opposition and uninterested voters with concessions, resulting in an efficient
allocation of resources, increasing the happiness of all parties (Pareto
optimality). However the equivalent of this in the political realm is that
politicians buy the votes of other politicians (or groups of special interest)
by promising to vote for their issues. In the authors' opinion such log-rolling
is to be expected, but in the traditional political science theory, it is
anomalous. Thus their model explains certain things that the previous models of
politics could not.
the theoretical concepts of game theory and Pareto
optimality, Buchanan and Tullock show that symmetry in benefits sharing may
be at most a necessary, but never
a sufficient condition for the
attainment of a Pareto optimal position. The introduction of side payments it
the crucial element, which would lead to optimality. In a sense the
introduction of side payments creates marketable property rights of the
individual political vote (Chapter 12).
The idea of compensation for those
affected by a proposed law, requiring their vote or the law won’t be
enacted, appeals to me, though the practicality of requiring unanimity seems
utopian to me.
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
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