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To the contrary, I think their work on social choice theory has proven to have a lot of bearing on the actual process.  The work they did showed, contrary to the dominant neoclassical political economy model, that in most cases it's just not mathematically possible for a polity of even the unrealistically free, knowledgeable actors of standard economics to arrive at a socially optimal consensus. In reality there are almost no win-win situations, unlike what we are led to believe through a "market framework" for thinking about society. Instead of mutually beneficial negotiations, people engage in contests over "who gets what" in which there are almost always going to be some losers, so the question is, "Who will society choose to lose?"  This explains why values become so important, because they determine with whom you group to join that fight.
by santiago on Tue Oct 5th, 2010 at 06:04:46 PM EST
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