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Numbers Rule by George Szpiro

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE PESSIMISTS

We now leave the matter of apportionment for a while and return to the troublesome problem of electing a leader. Remember Condorcet and his paradox? And how Lewis Carroll wrestled with it? Well the problem did not go away. Nor did it mellow with age. If anything it became more vexing. Enter Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize winner of economics in 1972 and one of the most important economists of the twentieth century.

An outstanding graduate student at Columbia University in the late 1940s, Arrow was thinking about his doctoral thesis. It was an exciting time for budding economists, observing and shaping subjects in the making. Arrow was caught up in these “heady days of emerging game theory and mathematical programming,” ...

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