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Any situation in which a voting procedure, choosing among multiple options, would choose A over B, B over C…, i over j, and j over A. The best‐known example is the cycle in simple majority rule, discovered by Condorcet in 1785, but any majority rule short of unanimity may generate a cycle. Even if A beats B only if at least all the voters except one prefer A to B, there may still be a cycle. When a cycle exists, the will of the people is undetermined. Whatever is chosen, a majority of the people would rather have had something else.

Subjects: Politics.

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