Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Direct democracy: stop all elections!

The Problem:
The 99% do not feel represented by their political elite. The political system only represents big business or entrenched elites or wealthy white men

The 99% are right that parliaments are a very bad representation of society. They are elected by a small electoral majority cast by often just over half the eligible voters. But this electoral bias is negligible compared to the selection bias to get on an electoral list. Only a very specific phenotype will be considered in our current political system. 

While I love the general assemblies and decision making by concensus, Machiavelli tells me that we should test the system with a representative of Capitalism Magazine in the room before we can endorse it. (Grateful to AnonOps Comms for the drawing)

General assemblies seem to do a brilliant job at consensus building. But general assemblies are not representative and those who are trained orators unfortunately will wield a bigger influence than others. (As you can read in the text that accompanies the drawing on AnonOps Comms) That is not close enough to the radical form of direct participation we are aiming for.

The Solution:
We need to separate the consensus building function from the representative function of political representation (senate, congress, parliament). Let's discuss the consensus building function later and focus on the representative function in this blog. 

The best representation can be achieved by taking a representative sample. Statistics tells us exactly what the error margin is. So no more elections, just random sampling. Say we randomly select 400 people to vote in name of the American people, then we know that the error margin is about 5%. This means that if 220 out of 400 selected representatives vote in favor of a decision that we can be almost certain that the majority of the whole population is in favor. No electoral system can provide this level of certainty. And it is much cheaper too.

The Transition:
How do we get parliament to abolish itself? Yes, this will be a challenges. But considering what the occupy wall street has achieved, it is certainly possible. These could be the steps we take:
1. General Assemblies test random sampling voting to show that it can work. (Remember we are only talking about representation NOT about consensus building.)
2. Independent representatives in local and national parliaments are lobbied to vote in line with the majority of a randomly selected group.
3. Once it works, a major overhaul of the constitution can introduce voting by randomly selected groups.