Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interesting Experiment in Socialism and Individual Choice:

Some of the comments from yesterday’s Cuba posting sparked an idea, so I am just going to throw this out there. “Leftside” said that 95% of Cubans vote in elections and that they would overwhelmingly vote for Castro. This sparked an idea for a hypothetical experiment, but my hypothesis is that the statistic quoted yesterday about Cuba’s voting trends actually hurts the argument for socialism that the writer was putting forward. My hypothesis may seem counterintuitive at first, but it is sort-of my job to look at numbers and question them, so here goes.

In the situation in Cuba, there is basically a closed system, so for this experiment, assume a population of humans with no immigration or emigration in the group. The population only changes through birth and death, but for the purposes of the experiment, the population is fixed and does not change. Now, a small, powerful section of the group decides that it must establish a government to protect the population, so it forms a government. This government is a single-party government that takes control by force and any member of the population that disagrees with or voices opposition to the government is silenced (jailed – assume no one dies here). The remaining population is then encouraged to vote for whomever they want. The result, 95% of the population votes for the current government to show their support.

Now, does the result of this experiment truly show unity and support for the government?

Here is another one. You and nine other random people decide to go to lunch. Everyone must vote for one restaurant through a blind ballot method. What are the chances that nine or ten of the votes are for the exact same restaurant? Performed on a statistically valid number of groups, what are the chances then? The chances are pretty little that you would all choose the same restaurant, and if you did, many would likely choose different meals at that restaurant anyway.

This is a little oversimplified, but the point is that given free choice, people display individual tastes. When there is only one option, what do you think people will choose? In the US, there are basically only two political parties. Given this choice, logic would then dictate that approximately an equal number of each party would be elected. This is in fact observed. If there were four viable parties, the statistical curve would broaden again because of the spectrum of individual beliefs and values. Look at the diversity of religious values and practices in the US.

So, to say that 95% of people in Cuba vote and they vote with one voice, really means that they don’t have another choice. Human behavior should observe differences of opinion, and when those differences are not observed, a red flag should be raised in your mind because this is not natural. Your statistic actually proves that the Cuban people are not being given the opportunity to show their true, individual beliefs. This may sound reasonable to you though, since you believe that individuals should not have individual beliefs because they should be told what is best for them by their government and not question it.


Comments on "Interesting Experiment in Socialism and Individual Choice:"


Anonymous lurch956 said ... (6:16 AM) : 

If you live in a good place you usually don't get on a raft or overloaded fishing boat and brave about 90 miles of open water to leave. That pretty much says a lot.


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