Posted on December 29, 2011 by davidschecter
I’m still thinking about the basic legislative activities, and the order of them.
In a previous post, I proposed a set of activities that drew distinctions between choosing issues to address, deciding the objectives and criteria for laws about each issue, and proposing laws. Despite what I said before, I now think this does represent a sequence of activities, but it’s an order of logic, and not meant to dictate the actual order in practice. For example, choosing issues is logically prior to writing bills, but often issues are discovered or clarified through the process of writing bills.
Terry pointed out that while there is value in this logical order, in actual practice advocates are likely to jump immediately into proposing laws, and that the lawmaking process should allow for this. So I wrote, “there ought to be a way to get the benefits of both the top-down and bottom-up kinds of thinking.”
Filed under: Participation | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 28, 2011 by Yoram Gat
Thomas Fleming advocates sortition in the Daily Mail, even though, with the sordid state of the national character, he seems unsure whether it would do any good:
If Americans ever needed a clear refutation of Churchill’s fatuous aphorism on democracy–an institution he, more than any man of his time, knew how to manipulate to his own benefit–they have it now. If modern democracy cannot do better than the presidential candidates of the two parties, we need to adopt the model of the ancient Athenian democracy, which selected political leaders by lot.
Even a national presidential lottery would not save us. We have the leaders we deserve, leaders who reflect the American character. American voters like to complain that they are dissatisfied with the politicians they elect, but Bush, Obama, McCain, and Gingrich are the political face Americans see when they look in their mirrors.
Filed under: Athens, Press, Sortition | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 28, 2011 by Yoram Gat
Gap Between Americans, Congressional Representatives Grows Considerably Over Last 25 Years
A new investigation by the Washington Post has revealed the financial gap between Americans and their representatives in Congress has widened considerably over the past 25 years. Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars. Over the same period, the wealth of an American family has declined slightly, with the comparable median figure sliding to just more than $20,000. A key reason for the shift is the soaring cost of political campaigns. According to the Federal Election Commission, since 1976, the average amount spent by winning House candidates quadrupled in inflation-adjusted dollars, to $1.4 million.
Filed under: Elections, Press | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 24, 2011 by conallboyle
We have already seen one major catastrophe in 2011 with a lottery allocation procedure, when the ‘Green Card’ went wrong. There were a reported 22,000 people world-wide who thought that they had won, and were then told that they hadn’t.
How did these lottery-losers feel? ‘Humiliated’ according to a paper by two kleroterians Jon Dolle and Anne Newman.
Badly-run lotteries leave the participants, and even the winners feeling humiliated. Even a properly-run lottery may leave both winners and losers feeling bad, if there is not complete transparency about the randomisation mechanisms used. Continue reading
Filed under: Distribution by lot, Press | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 20, 2011 by davidschecter
I’ve been thinking recently about strategies to implement sortition – especially incremental strategies that start with relatively small, feasible steps, and then gradually build up to more ambitious goals. I have a special interest in strategies that could be feasible on a municipal level in or near the city where I live (San Francisco), because I’d like to be part of such a project, but I’m also very interested in any strategies people have suggested that might work in any part of the world.
Harald, you recently proposed two strategies:
- Add a small number of allotted members to an existing elected legislature, then increase the number of allotted members
- Conduct one-off sortition exercises (with the allotted bodies having some decision making power) on first a few issues, then more
Kevin O’Leary proposed starting by creating an allotted legislative body (the “People’s Assembly”) that would be advisory only, then later giving it legislative authority.
I’ve been thinking about three other strategies:
- Conducting a foundation-funded, local government supported experiment with a municipal level second chamber chosen by lot (in US cities, the legislative branch is usually unicameral).
- Creating an actual allotted second chamber in a municipality, with legislative authority; then doing the same in a few more municipalities, then replacing one branch of a state legislature with an allotted chamber in a small state or province.
- Creating a single purpose allotted legislative body (say, on health care or environmental legislation), then adding more.
What other strategies do you folks know of?
Filed under: Proposals, Sortition | 24 Comments »