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Proportional Representation Not the Answer

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@Body:In reading Lani Guiniers argument for proportional representation [The Tech, Jan. 19], I was struck by how close she has come to the classic arguments of free market advocates. Realizing the tyranny of the majority, she proposes giving a certain number of votes to each person. These are then expended as they are used on a number of rival options. Thus, the majority loses its power as it uses up its votes, while the minority may concentrate and hoard its votes to win targeted issues of great importance.

In a market system, where people vote with their dollars, the wealthy are likewise forced to expend their money in order to purchase goods in the marketplace. As they do so, they are left with less money to compete with those who have hoarded it for certain important issues like attaining the basic goods required for life. Replace 10 votes with 10 dollars and the proportional voting system becomes almost a market voting system.

The only problem with Guiniers system is that the number of votes allocated remains fixed. While the minority gains some power, they will be doomed to only winning those fewest issues of greatest importance because the majority will always have more votes from the start. The market addresses this problem by granting more dollars to each person who produces better or cheaper products for the whole. Thus a very resourceful minority can build up votes in the marketplace by voting wisely in ways that produce more for the whole. Better still, the folks who didnt gain votes still win as there are better products for the whole to partake of.

Supporters of proportional representation should concur that the best vehicle for minority empowerment is in fact a free marketplace of both products and ideas. Resolute support of the Bill of Rights and limitation of government intrusiveness will go a lot farther towards that end than new voting schemes.

@LetSig:Vernon Imrich G