Posted on December 19, 2012 by keithsutherland
When the Athenians reintroduced democracy in 403 the aspiration was to return to the ‘ancestral constitution’ – the lost golden age of Solon and Dracon (Hansen, 1999, p.175) – democracy type one in Aristotelian parlance. Fifth-century democracy had allowed the people’s judgment to be corrupted by demagogues in the Assembly, hence the wish to recover respect for the laws:
In 403 the Athenians returned to the idea that the laws, not the people, must be the highest power and that the laws must be stable, even if not wholly entrenched. (p.174)
Henceforth the powers of the Assembly would be limited to issuing temporary/specific decrees (psephisma), whereas any change to general/permanent laws (nomos) would be subject to trial by a jury of nomothetai. These were to be composed of persons selected randomly from the group of 6,000 older male citizens who had sworn the Heliastic Oath. The main purpose of the nomothetai was the overtly conservative one of ensuring that proposed changes were consistent with past laws – only if ‘there is no [relevant] law I will give judgment in consonance with my sense of what is most just’ (Heliastic Oath, quoted on p.170).
Filed under: Athens, History, Sortition | 13 Comments »
Posted on December 18, 2012 by Yoram Gat
Posted on December 10, 2012 by keithsutherland
According to Robert Goodin (2008), one problem with a deliberative forum (allotted or otherwise) is that:
conversations, seen as serial processes with dynamic updating, can easily be path dependent. The outcome of the conversation depends upon the sequence of conversational moves, particularly those early in the conversation that set it off down one path rather than some other. (p.114)
A path-dependent process displays the following features:
Unpredictability. Because early events have a large effect and are partly random, many outcomes may be possible. We cannot predict ahead of time which of these possible end‐states will be reached.
Inflexibility. The farther into the process we are, the harder it becomes to shift from one path to another.
Nonergodicity. Accidental events early in a sequence do not cancel out. They cannot be treated (which is to say, ignored) as ‘noise’, because they feed back into future choices. Small events are remembered.
Potential path inefficiency. In the long run, the outcome that becomes locked in may generate lower pay‐offs than a forgone alternative would have. (p.112)
Filed under: Academia, Books, Theory | 66 Comments »
Posted on December 9, 2012 by avanderven
The following two letters were sent by postal mail to President Obama at the beginning of his first term as President of the US.
Until now no response.
January 23 2009
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
The reason why I am contacting you is, that I would like to bring to your attention the following important issue (at least in my opinion). The issue is about the establishment of a World Parliament by means of the principle of Lottocracy. The idea of Lottocracy is described in detail in the chapter: A Concept for Government in the book: The World Solution for World Problems. However, the text of that chapter is also available on my homepage. You can go directly to:
The book: The World Solution for World Problems is available as an electronic book on:
However, you can find the book directly on:
The book (ISBN 90-9002592-8) has originally been published as a hard copy and is, for example, available in The Library of Congress in Washington DC. Continue reading
Filed under: Elections, Proposals, Sortition | Leave a comment »