# On the number of orders for water

I was at New Capital last night with my family, and Zaneta was about to order some water. I’m okay with tea, because I just don’t like cold drinks with Chinese food. But if everyone was getting a water, I wouldn’t bother raising my opinion. Then I noticed: I could prevent just one number. I could prevent an order of 3 waters, because the plan that I had formed in my head ensured that an order of 3 would be unreasonable1.

What if decisions were made this way? Let’s say there is a governing council of some 79 men2. A resolution is introduced to the council, and groups of councilmen deliberate. Each man has his own special interests, and no one can come up with a compromise that suits them all. They amend the resolution multiple times and end up with 7 different revisions. Then, they take a vote. The way the vote works is, each revision is given a zero-based incremented index. In this case, they are zero, one, two, three, four, five, and six. Each councilman votes either yay or nay, and the number of votes in opposition is subtracted from the number of affirmative votes. Let’s say the difference is 39. The number is taken modulus 7, from seven revisions, and the remainder identifies the decision of the council, in this case: 4.

Some more interesting points: the councilmen do not vote on revisions, but simply on a number. For this to work, there must be collaboration. Votes will have to be public, but simultaneous, or the system will digress into madness. If there are deals and collusion between councilmen, they will inevitably be broken. From a single person’s standpoint, deceiving another party is the only way to advance one’s own interest. Essentially, the decsion may as well be chosen randomly3.

I can think of a simple analogy to this. Let’s say there are 5 friends sitting in a circle, playing a game. At the end of each round, the each person shows either the palm or the back of their hand. If there is a majority of palms, all who have the back of their hand facing up are disqualified. If there is a majority of backs, the opposite is true. If there is a tie, the game continues. Players can have secret deals with one another to target others. Of course, these must be eventually broken in order to win, leaving only sentiments of hate and betrayal. The game continues until there are 2 players left, the winners.

Does this not suck? This game and it’s implementation in government are stupid and idiotic ideas. But I feel that they accurately describe humanity’s inability to achieve a global perspective. Will we wait until there are only 2 players left?

1. If you don’t see what I mean: If there were already 3 being ordered, I would be added to make it 4. If there were any less than 3, I would not order one and the number would remain less than 3. ↩︎
2. 79 is a good number for it is prime. ↩︎
3. Although there is a prime number of councilmen, each resolution has an equal chance of being passed, because of negative votes and the tendency for the result to be close to neutral. There are no rules regarding collaboration. The councilmen could all agree, for example, to all vote positively. Or, they could agree to allow the choice to abstain from voting. ↩︎