Posted on May 30, 2013 by keithsutherland
Sir: Peter Jones (25 May) is right to draw an unfavourable comparison between ancient and modern democracy, but he is focusing on the wrong institution. The Athenian council was merely the secretariat for the general assembly, and the legislation passed by the assembly was often as erratic as modern referenda. After the restoration of democracy in 403 bc, legislation was entrusted to nomothetai — large randomly selected juries that, unlike modern parliamentarians, were obliged to listen to the arguments of well-informed advocates for and against the proposed law before deciding the outcome by secret vote
If David Cameron wants the people do decide. . .
read on: http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-week/letters/8921081/letters-285/
This proposal, written in response to André Sauzeau’s proposal for minimal reforms, was submitted as an article (see below) and originally accepted for publication by the Spectator, but ended up cut down into a short letter. The Spectator website has a comments section, so suggest we use that as an opportunity to kick-start the conversation on sortition there, rather than commenting on this forum.
Put the EU on Trial
By Keith Sutherland
The answer to Britain’s EU problem is not a public referendum, it’s an adversarial judicial inquiry in front of a large citizen jury, selected by lot
The success of UKIP in the recent elections has led to unprecedented soul searching within the political class in general and the Conservative Party in particular, with no fewer than three former cabinet ministers arguing that Britain should leave the EU. David Cameron has committed the party to a referendum on EU membership, but the public often just use referenda as an excuse to put two fingers up to the government. There is an urgent need to find a more reliable mechanism to allow the people to make a well-informed decision on what is arguably the most important issue in contemporary politics.
Filed under: Action, Athens, Juries, Press, Proposals, Sortition | 11 Comments »
Posted on May 28, 2013 by Yoram Gat
David Graeber is an
American anthropologist, political activist and author. He is currently reader in social anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and was formerly an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University. David is a member of the labour union Industrial Workers of the World, and has played a role in events such as the 2002 New York protests against the World Economic Forum. His most recent book is Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011)
He is also described as
a man of many talents. A longtime activist, a professor of anthropology at the University of London, and a prolific author, David also helped found the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. He even coined the phrase “We are the 99%.”
Graeber is not impressed with the electoral system:
Filed under: Academia, History, Press, Sortition | 8 Comments »
Posted on May 26, 2013 by Yoram Gat
Sebastián Linares writes in Con Distintos Acentos (Google Translate with my touch-ups):
Lottery for public office: a method to improve democracy
The concept of democracy has been associated, in different historical periods, with two very different methods for selection of public officials and accountability: the popular election of representatives and sortition (drawing names at random). In the last two hundred years democratic theory has assumed that the only democratic method to choose public officials is the election of representatives by popular vote. However, from its origins in Athens (435 BC) until well into the nineteenth century, the concept of “democracy” used to refer to the use of sortition for the selection of public officials (Manin 1997).
Filed under: History, Press, Sortition | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2013 by peterstone
On a Lighter Note…
Google alerts brought this to my attention. The same paper (with no author indicated) can be found at http://www.handmenotes.com. At first, I thought someone had written some kind of working paper on my work. But it looks like this is intended for use by students trying to cheat on a term paper assignment. I had no idea that enough professors were assigning my work as to justify circulating a paper like this. I’m deeply touched.
Filed under: Academia, Distribution by lot, Theory | Tagged: Justice, Lottery, Peter Stone | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 16, 2013 by peterstone
It appears that the U.S. Diversity Lottery may be in trouble. Thoughts?
A segment on today’s Take Two featured an interview with a immigration policy expert on the Diversity Visa Lottery, a quirky program based partly on random selection that rewards applicants from countries that are under-represented among the nation’s immigrant diasporas. The Senate immigration reform bill proposes doing away with the program.
If the diversity visa sounds familiar, that’s because a related fiasco made headlines two years ago: In the spring of 2011, thousands of applicants were mistakenly informed they’d won an immigrant visa by the U.S. government, and then — whoops! — told there had been a computer glitch and that the good news was a mistake.
Filed under: Distribution by lot, Press | Tagged: Diversity Lottery, Immigration | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by Yoram Gat
Nikita Malo proposes selecting the members of a constitutional assembly using sortition:
Why constitution, why sortition?
Constitution is central to political systems; it is mainly aimed to define power. Who make the new laws? What powers have citizens? How are chosen deputies? What are their obligations?
We do not know yet what the new constitution will be (even though it could be possible to define a new constitution first, and then to support and empower it), but what is crucial is that a constitution has not to be written by the politicians, or they will write their own rules, and so be able to take advantage of the situation. That is why sortition is supported in this article, as a way to avoid conflicts of interests. On that question, I recommend this video.
Filed under: Proposals, Sortition | 62 Comments »
Posted on May 8, 2013 by conallboyle
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
― Adam Smith (not Karl Marx as you might have thought!)
Filed under: Sortition | 10 Comments »