Document Type

Report

Publication Date

1977

Number

67

Abstract

The liberal paradox arose from the attempt to introduce individual human rights into the theory of social choice. Being one of the major social institutions of a liberal democracy, such rights clearly belong in any complete social choice theory. Thus Sen in his pathbreaking study argued that a person's right consisted in a pair of social states (x, y) such that if the person preferred x to y or y to x so did society. Sen's condition L (liberalism) then required that for each person in society there exist such a pair of social states. Two other conditions proposed by Sen were condition U (universal domain: every profile of individual preference orderings is possible) and condition P (Pareto principle: if everyone in society prefers x to y, so does society). A social choice function f chooses from a set of social opportunities S according to the rule