[FoRK] occupy - deliberative democracy

Lucas Gonze lucas.gonze at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 11:14:17 PDT 2012

I could imagine implementing this at the level of community government.

A city might commit to using it for some particular policy question.

On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
> <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> wrote:
>> On Aug 10, 2012, at 12:08, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com> wrote:
> <snip>
>>> Randomly selected into a pool, then randomly selected into
>>> working-groups  AND sequestered, such bodies would be essentially
>>> incorruptible.
>> Exactly! Basically it uses statistical methods to scale up the random citizen bal-lot used in ancient Greece!
>> If we can make this work, it would revolutionize democracy as we know it.
> For it to acquire moral force, the powers that be would have to
> acknowledge the statistical validity of the technique. This is where
> delegable voting shines, in that it lazily quantifies actual voting
> power, rather than creating a statistical synopsis of it.
> Here's a great document on deliberative bodies - he gives them the
> name demarchy,
> http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/pubotbin/toccer-new?id=burisde.xml&data=/usr/ot/&tag=democracy
> "Democracy does not exist in practice. At best we have what the
> ancients would have called elective oligarchies with strong
> monarchical elements. Most contemporary discussions of democracy
> assume that the task of democratic theory is to provide either some
> justification for these regimes or some normative guidance for their
> improvement. It is assumed that the state is a necessity of social
> life. The question is whether it can be made more democratic. One of
> my aims is to disprove this assumption by showing how a polity might
> function without the centralization of government that constitutes the
> state."
> "The main practical problem about democracy is easily stated: in any
> full-blooded sense “government of the people, by the people, for the
> people” seems impossible in any but the narrowest range of
> circumstances. For government by the people to occur the people must
> make the decisions that constitute the content of government. But
> there is no way in which they can make these decisions, much less make
> them on a sound basis, when the decisions involve so many people in so
> many different ways as do the decisions involved in legislating and
> administering in a modern state. This is not a matter of technical
> difficulties of communication. Today we can organize and address
> assemblies hundreds of times as big as the Greeks could. It would be
> possible to provide everybody with the means of listening to debates
> on any topic and recording a vote on every issue without their leaving
> their armchairs. But people would be reduced to accepting or rejecting
> proposals. There is no way in which any significant proportion could
> participate in framing them. Aristotle and other ancient critics of
> democracy argued that it inevitably degenerated into rule by the
> orators and ultimately into tyranny. The bigger and more passive the
> audience the more that is likely to happen.|"
> "This brings me to the second and more outrageous element of my
> strategy. In order to have democracy we must abandon elections, and in
> most cases referendums, and revert to the ancient principle of
> choosing by lot those who are to hold various public offices.2
> Decision-making bodies should be statistically representative of those
> affected by their decisions. The illusory control exercised by voting
> for representatives has to be replaced by the chance of nominating and
> being selected as an active participant in the formulation of
> decisions. Elections, I shall argue, inherently breed oligarchies.
> Democracy is possible only if the decision-makers are a representative
> sample of the people concerned. I shall call a polity based on this
> principle a demarchy,3 using “democracy” to cover both electoral
> democracy and demarchy. How and under what conditions this procedure
> might work I shall discuss in detail later. For the moment I shall say
> just a little about the philosophical consequences of adopting it."
> "Demarchy, as I shall present it, is utopian, at least in the sense
> that no model for it exists, and it is not based on a projection of
> present trends or causes. It can be brought about, if at all, only by
> convincing enough people that it should be tried. Obviously the
> chances of doing that are small. So it is all the more important to
> emphasize that in other respects it is not utopian at all. In
> particular, I shall argue that it does not presuppose that people
> perform substantially better either morally or intellectually than
> they do at present. My hope is that it could create conditions that
> would lead to improvements in the level of moral and scientific
> self-awareness in the community through a self-reinforcing process,
> but there are good grounds for embracing it without putting any store
> by such hopes. It is offered primarily as a solution to present
> problems, a way of averting very great evils, starting with small
> practical steps"
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