The incompatibility of individualism and ordinalism

Murray C Kemp, Yew Kwang Ng

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A formal proof is offered of the fact that Individualism and Ordinalism imply the controversial condition A3 used by Kemp and Ng (1976) to show the non-existence of an individualistic social welfare function based only on ordinal preferences but objected to by Samuelson (1977) as unreasonable. Mayston's argument against our definition of ordinality is refuted; his notion of 'true ordinality' involves elements of cardinality and/or goes against individualism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalMathematical Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1982


  • individualism
  • ordinalism
  • Social welfare function

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