Posted on December 21, 2010 by Yoram Gat
A 2005 BBC documentary has the answer:
As usual, the presentation is made in such a way as to imply that sortition was used solely in the courts, eliding its more crucial, and less familiar, roles in government.
Filed under: Athens, History | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 18, 2010 by keithsutherland
I assume that everyone has by now read Claudio López-Guerra’s excellent paper. It was circulated on Conall Boyle’s email list and is available from the author: firstname.lastname@example.org. The paper compares the enfranchisement lottery with universal suffrage and concludes that, although the former is clearly an improvement from an epistemic point of view (ensuring that voters are properly informed), universal suffrage wins on account of being more conducive to political stability. I would like to make the alternative case – the epistemic benefits come out on top because political stability is ensured by factors other than the ‘perceived fairness’ of universal suffrage.
Filed under: Distribution by lot, Elections, Proposals, Sortition | 9 Comments »
Posted on December 13, 2010 by Yoram Gat
Claudio López-Guerra, an assistant professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City, has a new paper, “The enfranchisement lottery“, part of an upcoming book on the right to vote.
This article compares the ‘enfranchisement lottery’, a novel method for allocating the right to vote, with universal suffrage. The comparison is conducted exclusively on the basis of the expected consequences of the two systems. Each scheme seems to have a relative advantage. On the one hand, the enfranchisement lottery would create a better informed electorate and thus improve the quality of electoral outcomes. On the other hand, universal suffrage is more likely to ensure that elections are seen to be fair, which is important for political stability. This article concludes that, on balance, universal suffrage is prima facie superior to the enfranchisement lottery. Yet the analysis shows that the instrumental case for the ‘one person, one vote’ principle is less conclusive than democratic theorists usually suppose.
Keywords: voting rights, mini-publics, citizen juries, deliberation, democracy, lotteries
Filed under: Elections, Sortition, Theory | 7 Comments »
Posted on December 3, 2010 by Yoram Gat
Randomization is a standard solution in problems of game theory. In this context, randomization is used to baffle an adversary, who would be able to counter any deterministic strategy (assuming that that strategy was known to her) more effectively than she would be able to counter a randomized strategy. Thus, randomization is a maximin strategy: it guarantees the randomizer the best possible worst-case outcome. Sortition – a randomized strategy for selecting political delegates – can be advocated on similar grounds.
In a standard conception of the problem of selecting delegates, the people can assess the quality of any possible delegate set. They do so and then choose the delegation that maximizes that quality. Thus, in this conception, delegation is a maximization problem.
An alternative conception is one where the quality of potential delegations is difficult to assess. In such a situation, selecting a delegation requires some way to handle the uncertainty. Continue reading
Filed under: Sortition, Theory | 21 Comments »