Aug 29, 1994

Gordon Tullock and Peter Bernholz: Collective Preferences and Democracy

Gordon Tullock is an economist and professor emeritus of Law and Economics at George Mason University, and is best known for his work on public choice theory.

Peter Bernholz is an economist who teaches at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He studies competitive federalism, hyperinflation, and monetary policy rules embedded in the European Constitution.

In this video from 1994, Bernholz and Tullock speak at a conference about the mechanics of voting in democratic societies. Tullock goes over various systems of preference weighting and the median preference theorem and compares the American democratic system of voting to the old Roman tradition of inspecting the liver of an ox for political advice, insinuating that the outcomes of voting are at best random and at worst predeterminate based on people’s preferences.