Criteria for a “good” legislative system?

I’d like to pose a question to everyone in this forum – what are your preferred criteria for a “good” legislative system?

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4 Responses

  1. “Good” in the normative sense presupposes political equality; “good” in the epistemic sense presupposes that legislative judgment should be cognitively diverse.

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  2. David,

    A while back I had a post that may be relevant to what you are thinking about: Government quality and government selection. The discussion in the comments may also be relevant.

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  3. David,

    It would be possible to generate a long list of adjectives that describe a good system (transparent, honest, efficient, descriptively representative, etc.), but I’m not sure of the value of that without indicating their relative importance, as it will always be a balancing act where more of A means less of B.

    But, I can offer a few challenging criteria that are not “standard.”

    1. A good system should encourage seeking win-win options, rather than merely determining the majority preference.
    2. It should have a means for weak minorities to defend themselves against the majority (note I said WEAK minorities, not POWERFUL minorities).
    3.It should encourage fact-finding to establish a base of agreed on facts, prior to decision making.
    4. It should take account of uncertainty and probability, and weigh unintended consequences.

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  4. And 4a) it should take account of the interests of future generations and “externalities” — ie those who are affected but have no say in the process. It’s interesting that Rupert Read argues for the creation of a Guardians of the Future council by random selection:

    https://equalitybylot.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/guardians-of-the-future/

    but I confess I’m not sure why sortition would be the obvious mechanism to create a body charged with this function.

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