Condorcet paradox

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The Devil’s Advocate

In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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The logical paradox when three scenarios are compared pairwise and it seems each is more preferable to the other. There is a school of thought that the Brexit referendum presented one such:

  • In or out: Of the choice between being in the European Union and being out of it, it was adjudged by a thin majority that being out was better.
  • Soft or hard: Of the choice of being out of the European Union, but with free access to the internal market (“soft” Brexit), or being out of the European Union with no access to the internal market (“hard” Brexit), it seems, logically, that unless you are a ravenously jingoistic little Englander, soft was better.
  • Soft or In: Of the choice between having access to the internal market, and a full say in the rules which govern it (by being a full member of the European Union) and having the access with no say in the rules that govern it (by being outside the European Union in a soft Brexit), being in was better.

See also