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Numbers Rule by George Szpiro

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CHAPTER EIGHT

THE OXFORD DON

The theory of voting and elections was not in a satisfactory state at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Majority votes fail to take into account the electors’ preferences beyond their top choice, and when the lesser choices are taken into account, cycles appear. The Borda count could result in the election of a candidate whom nobody really wants, while a Condorcet winner, who would beat every competitor in two-by-two showdowns, is not always guaranteed to exist. The theory was in a quandary, but further advances had to wait until an unlikely chap appeared on the scene. He was born as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson but often liked to hide behind a pseudonym. By Latinizing, interchanging, and re-anglicizing his two ...

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