The Fairness of Democracy
Date: 09/16/98 at 12:15:40 From: Ashley Lanell Newman Subject: Democracy. The mathematics of voting and apportionment Is democracy fair? I'm having trouble finding information on this topic for my Math Fair project. Could you please be of some help? Thanks.
Date: 09/16/98 at 14:56:19 From: Doctor Mitteldorf Subject: Re: Democracy. The mathematics of voting and apportionment Dear Ashley, You should look at the writings of Lani Guinier, who has done as much progressive thinking on this subject as anyone. Before you can begin to ask mathematical questions, you have to start with some values questions. Do you want to reflect the will of the majority on every issue? Are you concerned with keeping the minority engaged in the process? Are there ways in which it is unfair for the majority to treat the minority, even if they are "democratic"? One of Guinier's points is that no permanent minority will want to remain engaged in a democracy. It is essential that each person feel that, though he or she may be in the minority now and on this issue, there are other issues on which, at a later time, s/he will be part of the majority. Guinier has also thought of creative ways to amplify the voice of the minority without violating the principle of one person/ one vote. Why don't you come back to the Math Forum with some specifically mathematical questions after you've read and thought about the civics and sociological aspects of this question? - Doctor Mitteldorf, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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