Voting Has Too High Of A Marginal Cost For My Taste

December 20th, 2007

As the presidential election process is beginning its change from ignorable insanity to mindblowing lunacy (I just saw an article where Mitt Romney condemned Time’s choice of Putin as their Person of the Year – never mind that the choice is based on who is the most newsworthy…Hitler was person of the year in ’38), I have sided with the economists and decided not to bother voting.

The viewpoint boils down to this: a single vote means very little in an election, the larger the vote the less it’s worth. And the effort most people must make to go out of their way to vote is disproportionate to the value of the vote itself. The only instance where a single vote may be worth casting is in local elections.

Call it disillusionment after being on the losing side of the last two presidential elections, but I agree. Appearantly economists feel ashamed when they vote! Of course if one gets a sense of purpose out of voting or politics is their subculture, then it’s worth the effort. But when someone like me sees little difference between politicians and parties – hell, even thinks the party system is a terrible way to run a democratic republic, there’s better things to do with one’s time. Like read Perez Hilton.

One last thing: if you do decide to vote, please research the candidates. It is very annoying when people vote for the one candidate that will, say, actually make them lose money or rights.

This post was inspired by the discussions on voting at the Freakonomics blog – which, along with the book of the same name, helped me get back into economics. Quick side story: I had one of the highest scores in economics in the years I participated in Academic Decathlon in high school (I was tricked into joining)…and yet I couldn’t be bothered to do the work to get a passing grade in any econ class, except for the college classes I took.



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