Google alerts brought this to my attention. The same paper (with no author indicated) can be found at http://www.handmenotes.com. At first, I thought someone had written some kind of working paper on my work. But it looks like this is intended for use by students trying to cheat on a term paper assignment. I had no idea that enough professors were assigning my work as to justify circulating a paper like this. I’m deeply touched.
Nikita Malo proposes selecting the members of a constitutional assembly using sortition:
Why constitution, why sortition?
Constitution is central to political systems; it is mainly aimed to define power. Who make the new laws? What powers have citizens? How are chosen deputies? What are their obligations?
We do not know yet what the new constitution will be (even though it could be possible to define a new constitution first, and then to support and empower it), but what is crucial is that a constitution has not to be written by the politicians, or they will write their own rules, and so be able to take advantage of the situation. That is why sortition is supported in this article, as a way to avoid conflicts of interests. On that question, I recommend this video.
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
― Adam Smith (not Karl Marx as you might have thought!)
The Looking at Democracy contest has opened public voting until 16 May. I have three 3-minute video entries promoting sortition. Please vote for one.
Daniel McFadden of UC Berkley produced a paper in 2011 which is mostly about what he calls Economic Juries. This is just like the German CJs that we have heard about previously from Antoine Vergne which were tasked with deciding whether to go ahead with new public infrastructure projects. So it’s interesting to see economists picking up on this idea.
McFadden’s paper has the anodyne title The Human Side of Mechanism Design, and you can read the paper on my website www.conallboyle.com
I found it the paper his website, but academics could obtain it from Athens. McFadden is one of the better guys, an economist who understands a bit about real humans.
The main ‘mechanism’ he investigates is the use of a jury to decide issues of public spending. Apart from a passing reference to deciding if a new park should be established at Boulder, Colorado, no actual examples of Economic Juries are given. But the theoretical reasons for using an EJ, they methods that could be used to inform them and elicit their real opinions are explored — in other words can a jury work? can it decide correctly? can it evade the human failings of bias, framing, short-termism etc. etc.?
Warning! This paper is a bit wonkish (to use Krugman’s phrase).
So CJs (or EJs to use McFadden’s term): They would be an alternative to the democratic, elected representatives deciding. Would EJs work better? At what? Discovering the General Will perhaps???