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Numbers Rule by George Szpiro

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CHAPTER FOUR

THE CARDINAL

After Llull’s foray, no further progress was made in the theory of voting and elections for over a century. Then, in 1428, the German student Niko-laus Cusanus happened upon one of Llull’s documents in Paris. He found the text sufficiently interesting to make a transcript and take it home. But he did more than reproduce the text for his own use. A few years later he improved upon Llull’s method, thereby establishing himself as the second pioneer of the modern theory of elections.

The young man was born as Nikolaus Krebs in the German town of Kues in 1401, 102 years after Llull wrote De Arte Eleccionis. The original name in German means crab, which is why a crustacean is featured on the family’s coat of arms. Krebs was ...

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