[FoRK] participatory democracy

Malcolm Greenshields < greenshields at uleth.ca > on > Wed Jun 28 20:08:34 PDT 2006

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:

> Hi Stephen,
> On Jun 28, 2006, at 12:34 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> The big worries are always tyranny of the majority and mob rule.    
>> When everything is ruled by microvotes, there is actually less  
>> accountability because each individual can always say that it was  
>> decided by other people.
> Yeah, once you really get into this, you discover that our system (as  
> messed up as it is) is surprising robust.  While it has many  
> failures, most of them are "edge cases" where the electorate is  
> fairly evenly-divided.  Many systems that sound nice in theory  
> actually have (even more) perverse incentives in practice.
> If you're serious about this, Damien, I encourage you to hang out  
> with the election-methods crowd:
> http://lists.electorama.com/listinfo.cgi/election-methods-electorama.com
> http://condorcet.org/emr/intro.shtml
> They can do a much better job than I of explaining the pros and cons  
> of various approaches, which have been beaten to death many times in  
> the past.
> People there have contributed to several nice Wikipedia articles:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system
> Including my own humble contribution:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_majority_voting
> In case anyone cares, I've thought quite a bit about representative  
> democracy at the state level, and alternate ways to break the two- 
> party stronghold:
> The Governor and James Madison

> A Radical Middle Dialogue on Legislative Reform
> http://RadicalCentrism.org/reengineer_legislature.html
> Enjoy,
> -- Ernie P.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> -----------------
> Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <DrErnie at RadicalCentrism.org>
> The mission of www.RadicalCentrism.org is to help individuals,  
> communities, and systems become sustainably centered — happy, healthy  
> & holy — by being properly rooted in humility, justice & love. 
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I tend to think that guarantees of individual liberty are at least as 
important as, if not more important than registering the  voices of the  
greatest number. Given the ease of manipulating opinion into fears, 
hatreds, and loves of various kinds, whether it is for brand names or 
demonized humans, the benefit of something like the third house you 
suggest would depend  heavily on a quantum improvement in the quality of 
education/information acquired by the participants. The tyranny of the 
majority could otherwise very easily be felt by all sorts of 
inconvenient, eccentric, or unpopular citizens or groups.

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