社会选择与社会福利

剑桥—人类一直生活在群体中,他们的个体生活总是取决于群体选择。但群体选择的挑战也许令人畏缩,特别是考虑到群体成员之间利益与关注点的分歧。那么,集体决策应该如何进行?

希望掌握人们生活方方面面的独裁者会寻求忽略所有其他人的偏好。但如此水平的权力很难获得。更重要的是,任何类型的独裁都天生被视为恐怖的治理社会方式。

因此,出于伦理和实际理由,社会科学家长期以来一直在研究社会成员的关注点如何以某种方式反映于集体决策中,即使该社会非完全民主的社会。比如,在公元前四世纪,希腊的亚里士多德和印度的考底利耶(Kautilya)就分别在各自的经典著作《政治学》(Politics)和《经济学》(Economics)中探索了社会选择的各种可能性。(考底利耶著作的梵文标题为Arthashastra,直译过来就是“关于物质财富的学科”)。

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