Posted on March 7, 2014 by Yoram Gat
A useful proposal for reform must present a path for getting from the status quo to the desired, improved state and the credibility of the proposed path is an important determinant of the credibility of the proposal. Sortition advocates should consider what the most effective ways to promote sortitionist reform are.
To state the obvious: a reform agenda that is aimed at changing the power structure in society can expect to have allies and opponents, the former expecting to gain some power, the latter apprehensive of losing some. Democratic reform, by definition, aims at shifting some power from established elites into the hands of a disempowered majority. This makes established elites the natural opponents of democratic reform, and the general population its natural ally. In view of that, a proposed path for democratic reform which relies on cooperation by the elite is unrealistic. A credible path to democratic reform must rely on popular support and anticipate attempts by the elite to block or derail the reform.
Filed under: Participation, Sortition | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 1, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Keith Rossiter writes in the Plymouth Herald:
A COMMON cry from some Herald readers is that councillors are corrupt/incompetent/self-serving (delete as you wish), and above all that they should not be paid for their services.
Challenged to step up to the plate themselves, they may say – with some justification – that “it’s all a stitch-up”. You can only get elected with the help of a party machine, and parties only select their pals.
We got the idea of democracy from the Ancient Greeks, and perhaps it’s time to go back to Ancient Greece and borrow the other half of their brilliant concept.
The Athenians used a machine to pick people to hold public office or to do jury duty. The device, called a kleroterion, ensured randomness in allocating important civic positions in much the same way that a lottery ensures randomness in picking the winning ticket. (Of course, we’ve all met conspiracy theorists who claim that’s also a stitch-up.)
Filed under: Academia, Applications, Athens, Juries, Press, Sortition | Tagged: Deliberative poll, fishkin | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 27, 2014 by peterstone
The latest on sortition from Italy (this time in English)–
The proposal is rather complex, and perhaps worth discussing here.
Filed under: Academia, Participation, Proposals, Sortition | 9 Comments »
Posted on February 25, 2014 by conallboyle
A splendid piece with excellent contributions from Barbara and Peter. (I spoke to the producer and gave him a lot of pointers, but couldn’t do the interview because of a 3-week break in Tenerife)
I was delighted that most of the programme was devoted to lotteries for school and university places. The case for university entrance by lot was well made, as a difficult but inevitable method of choosing between generally well-qualified applicants.
However no mention was made of the highly successful Dutch medical school entry lottery which has stood up very well over the decades. Pity!
Lotteries for school places (seats in the US) produced a less satisfactory result. The obvious fairness of lottery and the unfairness of nearness-to-school were demonstrated.
But the result of using the lottery, especially in Brighton, is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ because the desired social mixing has not been achieved.
This is entirely predictable, because entry to the lottery is voluntary. Only the determined (middle-classes) go for it. If a representative outcome didn’t happen, at least all parents/children had a rough equality of chance.
Filed under: Applications, Distribution by lot, education, Press, schools | 9 Comments »
Posted on February 18, 2014 by keithsutherland
BBC Radio 4′s flagship Analysis programme next week is devoted to sortition and distributive lotteries:
Should we use chance to solve some of our most difficult political dilemmas? From US Green Cards to school place allocation, lotteries have been widely used as a means of fairly resolving apparently intractable problems. Jo Fidgen asks whether the time has come to consider whether more of society’s problems might be solved by the luck of the draw.
Producer: Leo Hornak. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03w02sl
The presenter interviewed Barbara Goodwin and Peter Stone and the producer consulted Conall Boyle and myself. Broadcasting on Monday 24th at 8.30 pm.
Filed under: Distribution by lot, education, Sortition | 6 Comments »
Posted on February 15, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Voice of the People describes itself so:
Voice Of the People (VOP) is a new non-partisan organization that seeks to re-anchor our democracy in its founding principles by giving ‘We the People’ a greater role in government. VOP furthers the use of innovative methods and technology to give the American people a more effective voice in the policymaking process.
Filed under: Academia, Elections, Participation, Proposals, Sortition | 15 Comments »
Posted on February 10, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Robert Dahl was a prominent political scientist and an early advocate of using sortition in government. He proposed advisory allotted bodies in his 1970 book After the Revolution and made a similar proposal (“mini-populi”) in his 1989 book Democracy and Its Critics.
Democracy and Its Critics presents, among other ideas, a careful and coherent critique of the power of “guardian” bodies like the supreme court. In general, Dahl was noted for being unusually clear in his argumentation in a field whose main occupation is a struggle to explain the advantages of a government system in terms of an ideology which is in plain conflict with it. As an illustration, here is a striking passage from Dahl’s A Preface to Democratic Theory (1956):
The absence of specific meaning for terms like “majority tyranny” and “faction” coupled with the central importance of these concepts in the Madisonian style of thinking hasled to a rather tortuous political theory that is explicable genetically rather than logically. Continue reading
Filed under: Academia, Books, History, Proposals, Sortition, Theory | Tagged: Madisonian Democracy, Robert Dahl | 7 Comments »