Does Your Vote Matter?

Aggregates of voters may swing an election by voting one way or the other or by not voting. But you, amigo, are not an aggregate of voters; you have only one vote. And how you cast that one vote will almost certainly fail to swing any large election. Why this simple reality flies over so many people’s heads is a bit of a mystery (various explanations may be offered), but if you don’t understand it, you really need to stop and think harder about the matter. By doing so, you will independently rediscover the following:

Higgs’s Law of How Much Your Own Vote Matters

A = the state of affairs that will prevail if you vote
B = the state of affairs that will prevail if you don’t vote
A = B

Of course, saying that “your own vote doesn’t matter” is not the same as saying that “voting doesn’t matter,” although the latter may also be true in a different sense (e.g., elections are only rituals, and the deeper system will persist regardless of electoral outcomes).

***

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Editor at Large of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.

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