Posted on October 30, 2014 by keithsutherland
The Soapbox feature on BBC2 Daily Politics was today (29/10/2014) handed to Dutch historian David Van Reybrouck.
Electing leaders via a lottery may be a crazy idea, but it is being carried out now in parts of Europe, says a Belgian author and academic. David Van Reybrouck said with trust in politicians at a record low, and party memberships and the number of voters falling, it could be an idea to renew interest in politics again. He said lotteries have been a longer-standing tool of democracy than elections, which he claims could be an “obstacle to democracy”, and only been around for 200 years.
Full version with Q&A starting at 01:16:45. Truncated YouTube version.
Filed under: Press, Sortition | 7 Comments »
Posted on October 24, 2014 by tbouricius
A section of Belgian author David Van Reybrouck’s sortition book, Against Elections has been translated into English and posted online:
Representative democracy is in crisis. Low voter turnout, abstention, falling party membership, and the phenomenal rise of populist parties – these are the symptoms of Democratic Fatigue Syndrome. Considering democratic innovation from classical Athens to present day, it becomes apparent that our democratic institutions haven’t been updated since the late 18th century. How to renew the centralised, hierarchical party system to reflect the horizontal power relationships of the hyper-connected, interactive society of the 21st century? A bi-representative system, combining elections with the democratic principle of sortition, or drawing of lots, could steer democracy into smoother waters.
Filed under: Books, Elections, Press, Sortition | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Yoram Gat
Arthur D. Robbins:
To quote Sean O’Casey, “Th’ whole worl’s in a terrible state o’ chassis.” Why is it that way? Does it have to be that way? What can be done to set it straight? These are the questions the intellectual should be asking.
There are many factors creating the “state o’ chassis.” Most of them can be traced to a combination of action and inaction on the part of government. Government promotes the exploitation of fossil fuels. It favors the private car over public transportation. It diverts to war critical resources that could be used to develop alternative sources of energy. All of these policies are humankind’s contribution to global warming. These policies can be reversed, but not without transforming government. And I am afraid yet another election will not do the job.
Currently, there is considerable discussion and some experimentation exploring the possibilities of using sortition as a means of restructuring government. In ancient Athens, sortition was used as a means of selecting magistrates. We could substitute sortition for elections as a means of selecting our representatives and senators.
Filed under: Action, Elections, Press, Sortition | 5 Comments »
Posted on October 20, 2014 by conallboyle
A lottery system would help poorer children access better education
Collaborative research by the University of Cambridge, the University of Bristol and the Institute of Fiscal Studies has suggested that a lottery system of admissions could make the intake of Britain’s leading schools and universities fairer.
The research was based on the Millennium Cohort Study, which follows the lives of 19,000 children born in the United Kingdom in between 2000 and 2001.
You can read the whole article here:
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Posted on October 19, 2014 by Yoram Gat
This is the clever headline of an article in The Independent about a survey by the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London measuring public perceptions of various public policy related facts:
A new  survey by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London highlights how wrong the British public can be on the make-up of the population and the scale of key social policy issues. The top ten misperceptions are:
1. Teenage pregnancy: on average, we think teenage pregnancy is 25 times higher than official estimates: we think that 15 per cent of girls under 16 get pregnant each year, when official figures suggest it is around 0.6 per cent.
2. Crime: 58 per cent do not believe that crime is falling, when the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that incidents of crime were 19 per cent lower in 2012 than in 2006-7 and 53 per cent lower than in 1995. 51 per cent think violent crime is rising, when it has fallen from almost 2.5 million incidents in 2006-7 to under 2 million in 2012.
3. Job-seekers allowance: 29 per cent of people think we spend more on JSA than pensions, when in fact we spend 15 times more on pensions (£4.9bn vs £74.2bn).
Filed under: Academia, Elections, Opinion polling, Press | Tagged: Ipsos MORI, King’s College London, public perceptions, Royal Statistical Society | 8 Comments »
Posted on October 17, 2014 by Yoram Gat
A recent international study of inequality by Michael Norton and Sorapop Kiatpongsan was already mentioned here for its findings about how uninformed the public was about matters of public policy. The study collected the opinion of people about what the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio should be, and their best guess of what it actually was. A summary of the findings are shown in the table at the bottom.
Interestingly, not only do median estimates of the pay ratio in all countries grossly underestimate the true values, but there is essentially not correlation between the two (R2 = 14%, 3.5% after dropping the U.S. outlier):
Filed under: Academia, Elections, Opinion polling | Tagged: economic inequality, income inequality, inequality, Michael Norton, Sorapop Kiatpongsan | Leave a comment »