Edit- apparently this old ignoramus is wholly wrong about Eliot's Anglicanism. He was close to the great and good Bishop Bell not Cosmo Lang.
This is one of the best articles in the Guardian I've ever read.
Slowly, in between my domestic chores and dutiful visit to the gym, I've been looking up some of the poets mentioned by this marvelously erudite and engaged author.
This is one book I'll buy in Hardback.
Still, in all candor, the more I look things up the more I'm confirmed in my middle-aged certainty that modern poetry is an oxymoron.
The author says Eliot became a global presence quite quickly. Compared to Tagore- post Gitanjali- this is scarcely true. Nishiwaki was an eccentric egghead- an academics' academics. His volume of English verse (unlike Tagore's own Gitanjali) sank without trace. By contrast, Tagore influenced popular Japanese and Chinese poets and song writers- indeed, he still does. I recall reading a poem by Li Chin Fa in an anthology and asking my learned Chinese friend to transcribe the original for me. He shook his head sadly and said 'the original is Tagore. ' I was amazed. I thought of Tagore, much as I think of Eliot now, as a sexless bore who dabbled in Soteriology coz it was a shameful, but ancestral, vocation.
Both Eliot and Tagore were of Unitarian/Brahmo stock. (Emerson was a Unitarian. Recall his 'Brahma'? He'd been reading Raja Ramohan Roy- an Islamicized polyglot scholar and deeply boring Benthamite of the sententious, Amartya Sen sort) Indeed, it was an elder brother of Tagore, a Science guy who regrettably died early, who prevented a crazy (literally) American Unitarian (Charles Dall- look him up and laugh your head off) unifying those two virulently vacuous Victorian sects by, quite properly, expelling non-Brahmins from his Daddy's new Adi ('primeval', therefore pre-Casteist) Brahmo sect.
Eliot, by birth, a Boston Brahmin, soon turned Episcopalian and became the Chesterton of Cosmo Lang's wholly corrupt High Church.
Tagore, however, had moved in the opposite direction. He transcended that bogus 'Brahmin' label. Muslim Bangladesh reveres him. He has written the National Anthem of 2 nations- though Hindutva India hates his wholly secular 'Jana Gana Mana', preferring instead Bankim's 'Hail to the Mother'.
Tagore could become a global poet much more quickly than Eliot because his culture was already global- not the special pleading of diverse sects of precociously drivelling autochthones inhabiting the unlovely littoral of that most atrocious of Oceans- the ungovernable Atlantic.
By contrast to such uncouth, storm tossed, 'Jahilliyat', China and Japan and South East Asia had assimilated Sanskrit and Pali fifteen hundred years previously. Latin America, through 'Krausismo' (Krause actually knew Skt. and tried to teach Schopenhauer a little bit)- not to mention Jesuit scholarship- was already fertile soil.
Indeed, they had easy access to the Sufi-Bhakti synthesis through notions like 'saudosismo'- which is the Sufi 'sauda' or 'suvaida'- so there was nothing surprising about Tagore, himself the student of a Peruvian monk, being so well received on that continent.
The connection between Greece and India, of course, is 2500 years old. Anglo-American pedants say 'Dharma' is untranslatable. Ashoka translated it as Eusebia and Greek people living in India said 'fair dinkum, mate.' (What? Ancient Greeks had Australian accents and were sun-tanned and had washboard stomachs and lived in the vicinity of Earls Court as I still shudderingly recall)
In any case, for purely commercial or geographical reasons, Tagore was far closer, culturally, to China and Japan than Eliot. His family, like Titsingh, had grown rich in Calcutta and it is a fact that many cultivated Indians, like that Dutchman (who had a Bengali son) showed themselves prepared to ' willingly exchange their residence for Japan,' if not to 'sneer at all Indian greatness' (though that greatness departed even before Victoria became Empress) and like Titsingh (but not promiscuously or for sensual pleasure) espoused Japanese wives than whom, indeed, none better exemplify 'pativrata' Beauty, Grace and Fidelity.
Tagore and Aurobindo, briefly, were paired as the poet-prophets of Revolution in India. M.N Roy was the Comintern's man in China, tasked with fomenting an Agrarian Revolution. Young Sarojini Naidu, who sold better than her elders, Eliot & Pound, in England, gave Fenellossa's m/s to Pound to trans-create. Her brother 'Chatto' was a Comintern agent killed during one of Stalin's purge. All the people I mention had imbibed Tagore with their mother's milk.
By contrast, though Auden and Isherwood translated Hindu Scriptures at the behest of Hindu Swamis- Yeats started this horrible trend- they neither inspired nor were connected with any great Revolutionaries.
The Academy claimed Auden. Bengalis chant his verse, but they are all queuing for tenure in some particularly insalubrious 'Social Science'.
Eliot may have studied under Paul Elmer More- whose leonine, Landor like, heroic couplets translating Bhratrihari remain till today of the sort, Richard Rorty, in articulo mortis, found salvific to recall- but it is noteworthy that Crawford's vaunted scholar, whom he says engaged with 'Advanced Mathematics'- remained indifferent to 'Vakyapadiya'- in other words, this shmuck could have anticipated the 'linguistic turn', but didn't, preferring to stick with a but Bradleyian foreskin while throwing away his manhood.
Tagore, Thomas Mann says, came across as an old woman- unlike his muscular son. But filial piety constrained Tagore. He was the son of a self proclaimed 'Maharishi' and had to swan around in a Christ-like kaftan because his faux Pundit of a Pater Pantocrator had done so even into his own Forties.
In any case, he wasn't the Science guy in his family. Nevertheless, later, after meeting Einstein, he wrote a popular book for kids about Science. He wasn't a high I.Q guy but, with every decade, he got closer to the people- i.e. became less and less of a holier-than-thou Brahmin c-word.
Robert Graves, by contrast, was a genius. Crazy? No- just a case of genus irritabile vatum. I can't re-read Eliot without sneering a little. I know so much more than him. So do we all, thanks to Google Search. But Graves? Take his 'love without hope as when the young bird catcher'- okay, I get the 'Celtic' reference and thus could have secured a pass-mark in the Indian U.P.S.C Eng Lit paper- which would have translated into a safe job as a clerk, supposing a question had been posed on that topic, BUT Graves wrote so lucidly, so much for the common man, I'd have read his 'White Goddess' gratuitously. Even if I got my Govt. job and was kept busy collecting bribes, I'd always be haunted by the knowledge that the forest is a text in the only language of my salvation. English forests, Greek forests- such Holwege as arise in Hindustani Forests- but are birds which escape and fly, though 'tis but a SUV which drives by.
Eliot, as neutered by Pound, but natal to School Marmish/Social Workerish American Browningian Femininity- his Mum's 'Savanorola' could scarcely be more hilarious than his own sophomoric detournement on the 'smara- mara' syzygy- represents not Modernism but the Credentialized Academy's rodeo which features only its own gelding.
Tagore can't be taught. Bengali kids memorise him coz Mum croons his verses in the kitchen when Granny condemns her cooking.
In that vast, salt pillared, masturbatory desert of my adolescence- where, not Christ was betrayed but barely tempted- Eliot whispered to me. But whispered to me of a career as a Casteist, Credentialized, poseur or pundit.
Eliot indeed is that Buddha of the elite whose 'Fire sermon' distinguishes between Brahmins- who tend a sacred fire to glorify their own genealogy- and Sati, the Fisherman's son, who obviously is just an idiot and thus to be ostracized, unlike, Upali, the barber, who is properly obsequious and parrots what you say.
Eliot has 'taste'. I don't. I'm now a Curry & Chips Cockney. I relish conversations in pubs which turn on obscure gynaecological problems amongst the older of my neighbours. Me being very black and wearing glasses- it's like these Mothers of the Community are able to say what they can't in the G.P's surgery or the underfunded NHS Hospital.
Okay, I just heard myself there. T.S. Eliot is great coz he helped this 'bullshitting' immigrant to turn into a real Londoner over the course of 30 years.
I now love him unreservedly and will definitely buy the hardback edition of this book. As for understanding its contents- why not? That could happen. It's like David Cameron said to me- well, if it wasn't him it was some other French Cambodian lady boy such as abound in these parts- should of gone to Specsavers innit?
The theory of Prakaasha deals with how we can know what is in our consciousness as well what portion of that consciousness constitutes 'knowledge' falsifiable or otherwise. The related theory of Praamaanya inquires into the origin and apprehension of the truth of that knowledge. Svatah (lit 'from inside')-Praamaanya theorists agree that that truth of an item of knowledge has the same origin and is apprehended simultaneous with that knowledge- a strange doctrine, prima facie, since knowledge may be ab ovo speculative, oneiric, or, indeed, florid and figurative in a manner essentially fugitive from Truth, though some later event, experiment or external authority may reveal it to be purely alethic.
One workaround, that of the Prabhakara, is to make Truth a purely instrumental criteria. What works is 'true', what doesn't is 'error'. However, the desirable property of not relying on Memory but independently manifesting its object, or apprehending something not apprehended before, which is sought for Praamaanya, is lost thereby. Two methods- one Platonic, the other Occassionalist- exist to repair this lacuna and, as a practical matter, we are welcome to tune into the Sufi-Bhakti synthesis from any point on the spectrum thus defined.
Another approach, that of the Bhattas, is to consider 'jnaatataa' (knownness) as an imperceptible activity of an inferential type operating on something otherwise subliminal and not the subject of Praamaanyaa theory.However, this raises in acute form the question as to how such 'knownness' could be 'svatah'- i.e. arise at the same time and from the same cause as that which it qualifies? We may think we mistake a rope for a snake till the snake bites us. Apprehension and the truth of apprehension surely can't be simultaneous? Once way round this is to simply recast Knowledge claims as being of a Bayesian, Statistical nature. To do so, however, is to encourage us to consider ourselves citizens of a Multiverse. Suddenly, the Yoga-Vashista gains salience. We are the Bhikshu who dreamed he was a King who dreamed he was an Apsara who dreamed she was a doe in the forest who dreamed she bit off Walt Disney's head for killing Bambi's mum. All woke from their dream to find they were all each other. At this point, Yeats goes and sits at the feet of Mohini Chatterjee or some other such Chatter-box and starts translating the Gita. We can quit reading him and go order a round of Guinness with a Jameson chaser.
My own ancestral Vedantism, however, re-opens the question of how empirical truth can be 'svatograhya'- i.e. apprehended as such intrinsically and at the same time as cognized. The workaround here is facile. The subject is always false or sublatable in a long series asymptotically approaching her own 'true' self itself qualified as the 'sakshi' or unimpeachable witness.
Let us take an everyday example. I walk into the bar at the local Hilton and have a few pints. I see a young chap who went to Modern School on Barakhamba Road and go over to ask which year he matriculated. His initial hesitancy is removed when I explain that I'm an alumnus of St. Columba's and, in my day, our two schools enjoyed a friendly rivalry. On hearing my surname he becomes friendly and goes off to get me a drink leaving me with his lovely lady wife who, it turns out, is a fellow Tambram.
I am astonished when I hear that she too attended Modern School, though she quickly explains she met her older husband at Wharton.
I say to her 'Akka (elder sister) why you are telling me such a shameless lie? From his face, I could immediately tell your husband attended Modern School. It is a scientific fact that people who go to Modern have penis like physiognomy. Your face, on the other hand, is beautiful. Why you are punching and slapping me? OMG, how did nice lady like you learn such filthy type Tamil abuse words!'
Anyway, I went and hid behind her husband who was a U.P bhaiyya some twenty years younger than myself. He said 'Darling, please don't hit this fellow with your naked hand. Everyone knows St. Columba's boys have their arse where face should be. Chee, chee- kindly go and wash with dettol!'
Anyway, we have a couple of drinks while lady is in the powder room. I say 'Yaar, Shahrukh Khan is from St. Columba's. Shehkar Kapoor went to Modern.' 'How do you think Shah Rukh got his start?' he shoots back. 'After Kapoor Sahib was finished with him, Shah Rukh's features became almost human.'
Suddenly I realized that this brawny U.P bhaiyya, with the characteristic penis like face of a Modern School alumnus, was gazing upon my moon like visage in a lascivious and lustful fashion. Where was his wife when I needed her? Just I giggled nervously, paid for the drinks, and quietly slipped away.
Pop Quiz Q 1. The author gained two types of knowledge simultaneously- viz. that a person had a penis like face and that he must have attended Modern School, Barakhamba road. Is this a valid instance of 'svatograhya' empirical knowledge? a) Yes. Having penis like face is an intrinsic property of Modern School alumni. Apprehending a penis like face was the origin and also the truth maker for the knowledge that the dickhead in question was indeed from Modern School. b) No. His wife also attended Modern School. She did not have penis like face. Thus the truth-maker for 'x attended Modern School' can't be 'svatah-praamaanya', i.e. intrinsically provided and must therefore be, if at all, 'paratah-praamaanya'- i.e. arising from an external authority, experiment or event. c) The question is framed in an impredicative manner and is therefore undecidable. The truthmaker for 'x is a valid instance of 'svatograhya empirical knowledge' can not itself be empirical because svatograhya is intrinsically self-referential. Nor can it be otherwise for that begs the question. d) Of course it is completely valid! Abishek Bacchan went to Modern. Just look at that horrible thing growing out of his neck. Enough to scare anybody straight. Even Karan Johar.
This is a picture of Aamir Khan before he worked with Abhishek in Dhoom 3.
This is him now.
Case closed. Q.E.D
Shankaracharya of Dwarka has condemned the movie PK. Was it because Aamir spoke out openly (parrhesia) against fraud perpetrated in the name of Religion? Not at all. The Shanakaracharya, jailed during Quit India, has never condoned fraud of any type because it destroys the Nation.
Still, it may be that Aamir relied upon some paratah-praamaanya argument or authority inadmissible for a Vedantin.
Having watched the movie, I am the 'sakshi' - that too PK- possessing 'svatograhya' empirical knowledge that such is not the case.
Acharyajee possesses not just Praamaanya shakti- ratocinative power- but also intuition of underlying Prakaasha truth. Yet it is not decent to mention the fact that there are hordes of these Modern School alumni with huge penis like faces roaming around. Acharyajee shows great 'upaya kausalya'- tact in instruction- such that by condemning the effect he warns against the truly too-horrible-for-words cause- viz. deleterious consequences of spending any lengthy period of time in proximity to Abhishek's horribly throbbing phallus of a physiognomy.
Bacchan Sahib should have sent his son to Nainital. How much grief we would have all been spared, say what you like the boy can act, had he done so!
PK- Aamir Khan's Borgesian 'Justification'- differs from K-Pax in that the Alien offers no novel therapeutic or ontologically dysphoric eschatalogical escape from the quotidian necessity of , supposedly Liberal, Panopticon 'Positivist' Psychiatry.
On the contrary, the Alien- whose 'remote control' jewel, capable of returning him to his own planet. is immediately stolen and sold to a fake Swami- is so much the opposite of the suave Kevin Spacey character that everybody assumes he is a Drunkard ('Peekee' in Hindi means 'having drunk a lot').
The Alien's aleatory trajectory, however, as this is a Hindu film, follows a path determined by Lord Ganesa- the 'creator' as well as 'destroyer' of obstacles.
Thus, when the protagonist addresses all the myriad 'murthis' (representations) of the Hindu pantheon, the camera finally focuses on the Elephant headed God. Hindus immediately understand that the obstacle to the Alien finding his path home lies in his notion that he has a 'property' type right to the jewel which is his 'remote control' command module for his space-ship and ride home.
By contrast, the fraudulent Swami who bought that Jewel claims it to be a sliver of Shiva's broken 'damaru' for which a great Temple must be constructed.
Since, the Alien still thinks the jewel is his 'property', he faces a self-created obstacle to getting it back. This entails a wrong concept of God, or false dynamic of the Divine process. He thinks appeals to the Deity are being systematically intercepted by mischievous 'wrong number' respondents.
Clearly, this is similar to Umaswati's notion of 'Karmic obstructors' as arising out of Narratological karmic 'matching problems'.
Obviously, when I say 'Clearly'- I mean 'clearly yadi tu PK is blog parh rahe ho.'- if you are reading this drunk mate.
But why not be PK (drunk) when watching PK?
Sanjay Dutt- son of two great film star patriots of different Religions- in and out of jail because this son of a Hindu father and Muslim mother wanted to protect, in his own goofy style, people irrespective of Religion, irrespective of Geographical Origin, in Mumbai- is shown as helping get the Alien a 'voice' by taking him to a brothel & thus the Braj Bhasha of the savants turns into that Bhojpuri which renders even the tongue of emaciated sex slaves pure and worthy of adoption by the virtuous, but languageless, inhabitants of PK's planet.
Indeed, whereas Humans- that too from affluent-too-affluent America want to emigrate to K-Pax- in India, the reverse is the case; at the end of the film a troupe of Bhojpuri speaking Aliens have turned up- Subramaniyam Swamy beware!- on our shores.
This film is calculated to incense the loony-toons Hindutva fringe. It begins with a twist on their favorite theme- the so called 'Love Jihad'. I have previously explained that Hindu girls having sex with Muslims under the rubric of marriage is nothing but rape and a naked attack upon Islam. There is no bar in Hinduism for a girl to have sex with anyone she likes. Lord Rama tells Lady Sita that he hasn't killed a lot of people to reclaim her as his property. She is free to choose any mate she likes- even his brother Laxman or the new Rakshasa King whom he himself has enthroned.
Obviously, Lord Rama is behaving like a hurt child which is kinda cute and lets Lady Sita have the last word as is right and proper coz when all is said and done Men show little heroism in battle compared to a woman in child-birth. It is the latter's heroism upon which the axle of the World turns.
However, the poor Muslim victim of an amorous Hindu girl forcing herself upon him in marriage, becomes immediately guilty of un-Islamic behavior because Hindus, unlike Christians or Jews, can not be taken in marriage, absent conversion, by pious Muslim men.
The heroine of the film PK, at the start of the film, falls in love with a Pakistani Muslim. Her father is a devotee of a bogus Godman who predicts that the boy will jilt her. She immediately asks her beau to marry her the very next day. However, there is a mix up at the Registry Office. Another bride asks her to hold her kitten. A little boy gives her a letter breaking things off which was actually meant for the other bride whose groom got cold feet. The Pakistani boy shows up a few minutes later and reads the same letter and thinks it is from the Indian girl. Both return to their own countries heart-broken.
The next thing that happens is the girl, who is a TV reporter, is holding a cute puppy and doing a fluff piece on the problem of doggie depression. Apparently the cute little canine keeps trying to commit suicide (so, contra Nietzche, God isn't dead- there's just this mentally unbalanced doggie who keeps trying to top itself). The heroine loses her cool. She storms into the TV anchor's office. Instead of fluff pieces about canine schizophrenia, why not do an investigative piece on the God racket? But the Station Anchor had previously tried to take on the fraudulent Godman and got stabbed in his rear end by a Trishul. Bogus Swamis are off limits- one buttock with Trishul stab wounds is one buttock too many. The man has learnt his lesson.
The TV reporter is fascinated by the Alien PK. He turned to God simply so as to get home but soon discovered that the various Religions have totally different ways of approaching God. He is thrown out of the Church for breaking a coconut on the altar. The Muslims chase him away when he attempts to offer wine in the Mosque. The Hindu widow wears white, but so does the Christian bride who explains that black is what widows wear. But the burqa clad women PK next approaches to condole with are furious at the suggestion that their Lord and Master has shuffled off this mortal coil. PK is chased hither and tither by irate members of all the various denominations and sects.
Back in the Fifties and Sixties, Movies would feature a song sequence where the hero bitterly berates the unfeeling stone idol of the Lord. PK harks back to that tradition but only by way of ironic homage. After all, those movies (including the Telugu classic- Sankara Varnam from the late Seventies) were very much in the 'Hubb al Udhri' tradition where Death is what unseals the Lovers to each other. Instead, in PK, another theme from the early Sixties- the love triangle, where the hero gives up the girl and arranges her marriage to another- gains salience. In the climactic televised showdown between PK and the bogus Godman, the Alien gains victory by properly explaining how and why the heroine's marriage to the Pakistani boy-friend failed to come off. It was a case of what the Yoga-Vashishta calls 'Kakathaliya'- coincidence, as when a crow alights on a palm tree just at the moment the ripe palm fruit falls to the ground.
PK the alien has used 'Viveka'- metaphysical discrimination- to provide a natural cause for what appears a super-naturally preordained occurrence. This provides him the means to regain his Jewel 'remote control', yet since his primary purpose was to selflessly benefit the heroine, not to self-interestedly assert a property right, the father of the heroine, previously his bitter enemy, himself places it in his hands. PK gains the means of returning home- not, as in the Gita, so as to never return- but so as to bring back his own people to this 'karma bhoomi' which, for those who act selflessly, is also the highest bhoga-bhumi- there being no higher joy or pleasure than in serving others- i.e. truly serving the Lord.
Aamir Khan is a great patriot as well as an amazing actor/ producer. His TV series 'Satyameva Jayate', though investigating various heart-rending Social Evils, was a smash hit comparable to 'Kaun banega Krorepati?'- 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?'
Aamir, no doubt, is a pious Muslim, incarnating the hadith 'hubb al watan min al iman'- Patriotism is part of the Faith- but PK is a great film from the Hindu perspective.
I am reminded of, the great Nyaya scholar, Jayanta Bhatta's 'Agamadambara'- 'much ado about Religion' ably translated by the Hungarian Scholar Csaba Deszo. Like PK, Bhatta's play is motivated by a Rationalist Transcendentalism. Rational Inquiry, if carried forward fearlessly and without selfish motivation, can indeed so alter one's inner ethos that the highest Gnosis, of a Transcendental type, becomes discoverable. Yet Revealed Truth- according to the various Sects claiming to possess it- appears contradictory and divisive.
In Bhatta's play a brilliant young Mimamsaka 'snatak' (recent graduate) is determined to defend Vedic orthodoxy against all rivals. Yet, during the course of the play, he learns compassion- letting off the Jains- and gives the last word to a Saiddhantika Saivite who re-establishes the Indian consensus that all Religions are univocal in so far as they proclaim true worship as partaking of selfless service to all needy beings. Yes, debauched and fraudulent sectarians making absurd magical claims should be banished or brought under the purview of the Law. But that is a matter of common sense. What is unacceptable is that arrogant and self-serving, holier than thou, polemicists sow the seeds of discord and condemn innocent people on the basis of which sect they were born into.
Religion is not about restricting free choice. It isn't about creating 'karmic obstructers'. On the contrary, as Lord Ganesha's appearance in the film PK shows, it is about helping us see that it is our own egotism which gives power to our 'karmic obstructer'. Compassion, forgiveness and self-sacrifice allow us to triumph over obstacles and 'return home'. However, the true Vaishnav does not want to remain on planet Vaikuntha living in perpetual bliss. He demands that the Lord send him back and assign him the humblest, most onerous, least prestigious tasks in caring for those who so wretchedly suffer they can't even cry out for help or offer thanks for any assistance received.
Ban Doinger's books by the hundred. They are nothing but sensationalized sloppy scholarship. Try to ban PK- an excellent Hindi film which ordinary Hindus, even worthless shitheads like me, find uplifting and wholly in the tradition of 'Agamadambara'- and you raise up a tsunami against yourself.
In any case, the box office has spoken. PK is a smash.
Once again, Aamir, you have made your countrymen proud.
The Rawlsian social welfare function uses as its measure of social welfare the utility of the worst-off member of society. The following argument can be used to motivate the Rawlsian social welfare function. Imagine a group of individuals who have not yet entered the economy (they are ‘behind the veil of ignorance’) so do not yet know what position they will occupy. That is, they may become rich members of the economy or poor members. If asked what form of social welfare function they would wish the economy to have- an extremely risk-averse individual would propose the Rawlsian.
(From: Rawlsian social welfare function in A Dictionary of Economics)
Unfortunately there would be no way to work out, from information about their individual preferences- i.e. what they would do with their Liberty- what precisely the Rawlsian outcome would be. In other words, the Liberty Principle applies to nothing. No one's Liberty leads to any change in the imposed Rawlsian solution.
A stupid person gullible enough to be brain-washed by Rawls might briefly think otherwise but would soon get bored and try to bite her own head off.
Arrow (1963), introducing the possibility that individual preference orderings can impact Social orderings, proved that a Rawlsian Social Welfare Function couldn't use information about individual preferences while also satisfying some apparently reasonable or desirable properties and thus questioned the usefulness of 'ideal theories'- including Rawlsian Jutice-as-Fairness avant la lettre.
One workaround, that of D.G Saari, sees Arrow's approach as throwing away information otherwise available from the notion of global transitivity.
More speculatively, as the engaging John Lawrence writes- 'The fineness or coarseness of the grid on
which individuals specify their preference profiles determines the amount of
information conveyed. Since this grid is traditionally determined by the number
of alternatives, there is no such thing as an irrelevant alternative. The
problem of social choice, in general, can be viewed as the transmission of
information from multiple sources (the individuals) to one receiver (society).
Since there are finite information transmission constraints, there will be some
probability of error, P(e), regarding the placement or ranking of alternatives
both in individual and social profiles. As individual information is increased,
P(e) in the social profile can be made to approach zero as closely as desired.' (Lawrence is invoking Shannon's information theoretic notion of 'channel capacity'.)
'However, no one has considered
the individual preference orderings themselves to be probabilistic by virtue of
the fact that each individual is allowed to specify only a finite amount of
information upon which the SWF must then determine a social preference
ordering. The uncertainty with regard to the individual’s “true” preferences
(those that would be manifested if infinite information were available) leads
to possible errors in the social ordering. We show that the P(e) can be made
arbitrarily small by increasing the information flow from the individuals. The
fact that P(e) will always be non-zero with finite information constraints
coincides with Arrow’s  Impossibility Theorem. Although a SWF that
provides a social ordering that has even a single error, in the sense that the
ordering doesn’t meet Arrow’s conditions and axioms for one pair of
alternatives and one domain element (but provides correct solutions in every
other case), would traditionally be considered not to exist, we take the
approach of allowing errors in the SWF and then trying to minimize them.'
Saari's approach, as discussed here, soon comes a cropper. However, more generally, by thinking about the cost/benefit aspect of holding preferences or participating in their Aggregation, Ideal-type theory resurfaces as cheap and ambiguous (i.e. Knightian) enough to be an undominatable mixed strategy choice provided Global Transitivity is a Scientific Research Program.
Under these circumstances, the Rawlsian SWF doesn't cash out as some sort of more or less paternalistic compulsory insurance scheme. Instead it becomes information theoretic and organizational in Alan Kirman's sense and thus puts a beating heart back into Samuelson General Equilibrium.