A Protocol for Mondial Lottocracy

In chapter 16 of his 1988 book The World Solution for World Problems, A Concept for Government, L. Leòn presented a protocol for mondial lottocracy.

At the moment, this blog, Equality by Lot, is all about an endless stream of opinions, opinions, …, and discussions, discussions… Would it not be an idea to start with a rules based protocol, such as L. Leòn’s protocol, and to ask people to add rules or to eliminate rules (with a short explanation of why)? It would make things much more down-to-earth and much more exciting.

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18 Responses

  1. For the discussion about the rules of mondial lottocracy I have numbered the rules as follows.

    1. We know that first of all, the job must not be liked,
    2. that secondly, the scientists must shed their fruits of study into it,
    3. that there must not be the risk of conspiracy within the group,
    4. that there must not be the possibility of a leader grabbing the power, and besides,
    5. that there must be an ample number of governors in order to eliminate the chances for a lunatic to decide matters.
    6. The only impartial system now, as the children teach us, is also the only scientific-, common sense one, namely the appointment by lot.
    7. Naturally we do not want a six-year old to be appointed, nor do we like a senile old man like a Hindenburg (who, as head of a state of 50 millions, thought a wheelchair too expensive (see Bullock, Fest, Toland, Shirer, Gunther, etc.), a Hindenburg who held the power to stop Hitler.
    8. The occasional crank we take care of by a great number and by avoiding veto’s.
    9. Just as children (try to) fiddle with this lot, we, in the jury-system, have managed to bungle the advantages of the conscience(s) appointed by lot.
    10. The jury members should only have personal encounters with (mind) experts, certainly not with the show-business and theatricals of the courtroom. Justice should be done, i.e. conscience and expert advice.
    11. The only obvious way then, for our world-government, is to have say, a thousand world-governors appointed by lot.
    12. They are not necessarily scientists, even not intellectuals or wide-scope students of reality. They will be ordinary citizens and need only everyday common sense.
    13. Thus it will be necessary to make all the advisory help from scientists and others, available to them, any time, on any occasion.
    14. But these thousand governors should never be able to ‘meet’ in person in their assemblies. We don’t want speeches and indoctrinations, machinations for certain ideas, and we tolerate no secrecy which is the core of diplomacy. Fortunately, today, (it was not possible in the days of the Roman empire) we have such a technological skill that we can form a thousand institutions on Earth, that are magnificently ‘en communicado’ with every other one ‘and’ with the general public.
    15. Linked up to these centers, should be the university-like organizations for scientific search (not re-search as Andreski 1972 pointed out). These centers, consisting of a department for science, and one for housing the (one) governor, make for easy access to whatever scientific advise is required.
    16. The governors are not chosen, but taken at random by computer out of the whole content of Earth-citizens of say, 45 years of age.
    17. When appointed, they have (as duty) the task of governing for a year, i.e. after a schooling period of two months, an effective ‘sitting’ period of ten. The schooling is necessary in order to teach them general knowledge, the procedures, and the way to understand scientists.
    18. During the in office period, they are only in electronic contact (computer, screen, printer, telephone, etc.) with each other.
    19. There is no (repeat no) permanent chairman. The necessary member during a session, the one who ‘orders’ things in agenda fashion, can easily be appointed by computer.
    20. The deciders, are a random sample of the mature population of Earth,
    21. they do not like the job,
    22. they have to do their duty,
    23. they know absolutely nothing about the decisions to be made, so
    24. they ‘have’ to ask advise.
    25. When things are arranged in such a way, it need not be that the appointment of all governors must happen on the same day, in fact, it is far more ‘barter and cow trade’ preventing when two or three persons are taken everyday.
    26. Except on the precise occasion of a voting session, there is no harm in having everyday two persons starting, and two persons ending their duty. It prevents barter and clodding (agglomerate) even more than the absence of proximity.
    27. Since there is no seasonal work involved, we even need not have their year in 365 1/4 days, 360 days being good enough, or 300, 600, etc.

    Note, that 27 = 3**3.

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  2. OK. That’s a starting point for sure. I’m not so sure that I buy a 45yr minimum for appointment. In general those that pay taxes and are liable for military service should have the right to serve.

    I would also ask you to expand on the first point: “…the job must not be liked.” Something is being lost in translation here I assume.

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  3. How do you create/amend/delete “rules” without discussion? Every one of them is highly debatable — for example:

    4) how do you ensure that a leader (or a number of charismatic citizens) will not seize power?

    10) who are these mind experts and how do you ensure that the advice they give is impartial? The reason for the theatricals of the courtroom is that competing experts need to persuade the jury that their expert view is the right one — theatricality is an unfortunate by-product of the need to persuade, but at least there is an attempt to get at truth by dialectic rather than just assume that the experts you happen to stumble on have some sort of god’s-eye perspective. You have a lot of faith in the scientific objectivity of university-style institutions.

    24) How do they know who to ask advice from? (given 23)

    I could go on, but the sensible approach is to a) decide what the purpose of allotment is b) devise experiments to test out if it works and c) if it does then see how it might augment the existing system of government. The “rules” will naturally evolve as a consequence. Your proposal is putting the cart before the horse, however elegant the mathematics.

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  4. Is everyone aware of the game Nomic? I t is a game created in 1982 by philosopher Peter Suber in which the rules of the game include mechanisms for the players to change those rules, usually beginning through a system of democratic voting. In essence it is a game in which changing the rules is a move.

    A full description by Suber is here: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/nomic.htm

    While the rule set that Ad van der Ven posted are incomplete, and perhaps unworkable in the raw they could serve as a departure point for the development of a more practical set by suggesting modifications along the lines of a game of Nomic.

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  5. The difference between a game and a proposal for fundamental change to our political arrangements is that only in the former case is there agreement amongst the players regarding the purpose of the undertaking. If you take the case of a recreational club, all members have joined in order to pursue their chosen sport (or whatever); the rules are then created in order to further this common aim and prevent disagreements between them. Notwithstanding widespread dissatisfaction with our current political arrangements, there is no agreement as to the role that sortition can play in resolving it (the dominant sortition faction, the Blind Breakers, would reject most of the above “rules”). Until there is agreement on this meta-perspective, the discussion of rules is entirely premature. It’s also rather arrogant, given the lack of experience of most of us of public administration — Terry and Robert being the exception that proves the “rule”.

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  6. My opinion is that proposals should not be unnecessarily fancy or unreasonably detailed. Tacking on a world government on what is already a radical reform doesn’t serve a useful purpose as far as I can see and trying to tune the fine details of the system serves no useful purpose either.

    I think that the C&P proposal (replacing an elected chamber with an allotted one, keeping everything else the same), which pre-dates Leon by 4 years, is a good goal. It is simple and concrete. (Naturally, it will need to be [self-]fine tuned on an ongoing basis once a sortition-based system is in place.)

    What I would like to see on this blog, in addition to the opinions and discussions, is activism: ideas for, and implementation of, strategies for promoting sortition as a tool of democracy.

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  7. Dear Robert Gauthier,

    You wrote:

    “I’m not so sure that I buy a 45yr minimum for appointment.”

    Actually, the rule is ‘to buy a 45yr (not minimum) for appointment’. The chosen ones should not be too young (lack of life experience) and not to old (lack of life energy). I believe the author once said to me: ‘This rule is for debate.’

    You wrote:

    “In general those that pay taxes and are liable for military service should have the right to serve.”

    In many under developed countries there are no taxes and there is no military service. These people should also belong to the sample to be chosen from.

    You wrote:

    “I would also ask you to expand on the first point: “…the job must not be liked.” Something is being lost in translation here I assume.”

    If you read the chapter A Concept for Government you will see that nothing is lost in translation here. However, the author writes about this issue somewhere else in his book The World Solution. For example in the chapter Characteristics for Governors of Earth the author writes:

    First of all, a governor, should ‘not’ want it. When he likes it, it means he gets something out of it, it means he wants to do something for it, in other words, his decisions will be according to his wanting the job (lying, cheating, barter, corruption, etc.), not according to the problem. Decisions ought to be taken solely with regard to the problem (desirabilities are problems too). We all see the hectic campaining for places in government everyday. It, in a way, ’caused’ the second world war and its 60 million casualties (see Churchill vol. 1, and Schwarzschild, Angell, Mowrer, Bromfield, etc.). The same principles are habitual to the ‘United Nations’ that were akin to the League of Nations, a cause for all the wars and murdering going-on on the planet today. The killing-deciding persons ‘want’ to be chosen (applause), they practically do everything for it. Our new-world governors therefore should not like it, should get nothing out of it, should do the job only as the conscripted soldiers do their job nowadays, as a duty but not liked.

    Finally, I did not write the rules. The author died in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, d.d. 13 februari 1992. His real name was Johannes (John) Leonardus Mijling.

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  8. Dear keithsutherland,

    As far as I can judge (I am not the author of the rules) the answers to your questions on rules 4, 10 and 24 can be found in the rules themselves. i.e. in the other rules. Your remark: “… the sensible approach is to … devise experiments to test out if it works …” makes sense to me. The jury system used in Belgian and in the USA seems to work, however, but some experimentation might still make sense. But, to be honest, there is only one problem. Given the climate change on this planet, which is going on in an exponential way (at least in Holland we can see and hear about this on TV every week), we do not have much time anymore. I would be very happy if I could say that it is not much of a problem.

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  9. Hi Yoram,

    Please, read the chapter The ‘Cannot’ Syndrome on

    http://www.socsci.kun.nl/~advdv/leonbook/node10.html

    I hope you are not offended, Ad.

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  10. No – I am not offended, but I don’t see this as being relevant. My point was not that a world government is impossible. (It is certainly conceivable, even if very difficult.) My point was that this is a goal that is unrelated to sortition and tying the two together is counter productive: it confuses the issues and hinders the cause of sortition.

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  11. >The difference between a game and a proposal for fundamental change to our political arrangements is that only in the former case is there agreement amongst the players regarding the purpose of the undertaking.

    I suggested Nomic a tool for going through the process of constructing a practical system within the context of discussions like this. I am well aware of its limitations as a model for governance in and of itself.

    >In many under developed countries there are no taxes and there is no military service. These people should also belong to the sample to be chosen from.

    Also I was not suggesting that paying taxes or military service should be a requirement to participate in government, only that those that do should not be excluded due to their age.

    >First of all, a governor, should ‘not’ want it.

    While I tend to agree that simply wanting the job of leadership for its own sake is a poor indication of suitability by itself, disqualifying anyone for that reason alone is both ethically suspect and probably unworkable from a practical standpoint. Furthermore having dealt with functionaries who wielded considerable power in the civil service and who had become grossly indifferent for whatever reason, I am very sure that this would not be the sort of attitude I would care to see in someone holding a position of greater authority.

    >My opinion is that proposals should not be unnecessarily fancy or unreasonably detailed. Tacking on a world government on what is already a radical reform doesn’t serve a useful purpose as far as I can see and trying to tune the fine details of the system serves no useful purpose either.

    I agree that discussions of world government are premature at best at this point and that the focus should be on what might be practically achievable. To that end however we need to present a complete package showing how such a system will work on a practical level. Simply asserting that current bodies should move from having members selected by election to having members selected by lot raises many questions that right now we do not have firm answers for.

    This weekend I had the opportunity to engage in a broad discussion on sortition with a dozen members of my family all which have a well-developed and lively interest in politics. All of them agreed in principle that the idea had merit on many levels there were many pertinent questions on structure for which there are no ready answers that have been worked out by sortition’s proponents. The consensus was that while the concept was generally appealing ideologically, it was not yet developed enough to be taken seriously as a viable alternative.

    While everyone in this group has a university education, they are a broad cross-section of ages (27-81) and from a variety of fields, and while I don’t claim that they are representative of the population in general in any statistically significant way, the fact that they are voicing these concerns indicates to be that we have to be prepared to supply answers. They are not going to buy the argument that just because sortition is an ethically superior system it is going to function on that bases alone.

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  12. Ad

    The Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford has been conducting experiments in this field for two decades.

    >Given the climate change on this planet, which is going on in an exponential way (at least in Holland we can see and hear about this on TV every week), we do not have much time anymore.

    I don’t think that (except perhaps in countries that lie close to sea level) there is any particular reason to think that changing the method of appointing political decision-makers would change policies on climate change. In fact the opposite could happen — in the UK this is very much an elite-driven phenomenon (the general public are a lot more sceptical and also reluctant to pay the premium for low-carbon energy.)

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  13. Dear Robert, Keith and Yoram,

    You three could do me a great favor. Just enumerate the rules you could agree on (no comments or questions). Then we can find out which rules you would agree on all together. I am very curious.

    The author of The World Solution also wrote a book on wisdom called Tao Stoïcs. You can find the book at:

    http://www.socsci.kun.nl/~advdv/taostoa/taostoa.html

    There are several Tao Stoïcs on Lottocracy (see Alphabetical Register). Please, read Tao Stoïc 255:

    Design World-Government

    On our planet there should be one Government of, perhaps a thousand persons, Lottocratically appointed, a better word than conscripted or press-ganged, yet virtually the same. It happens per computer, out of say the content of 45 year olds. The most utter care must be taken against grouping processes, leading to leadership, lobbying, barter, hierarchy, secrecy, and whim. There are no assemblies in proximity, no gatherings in large Halls complete with ‘performances’ but all over the planet, electronically linked, each sits in his cubicle with his own conscience, and in touch with all of the best scientific advice possible.

    The main stress should lie at the numbers of te members, not their names. This promotes the feeling that the members can decide in anonymity, purely as related to the problem.

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  14. I don’t think there’s any point in rules until there is an agreement on principles. This, I’m afraid to say, means the need for ongoing discussion. In any event, they pretty well all read to me as desiderata not rules, as they are in fact normative principles (“there must not be the risk of conspiracy within the group”). A rule would specify exactly how that desideratum was achieved — and this generally requires a structural solution, rather than a rule. You can prohibit conspiracy until you’re blue in the face — the important issue is how to structure political arrangements in such a way as to minimise conspiracy.

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  15. Ad, I don’t think there is much chance Keith, Robert and I will agree on any specifics.

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  16. Dear Keith,

    You wrote: “I don’t think there’s any point in rules until there is an agreement on principles.”

    According to David Van Reybrouck in his new booklett ‘Tegen verkiezingen’ (Eng. Against Elections) you proposed the members of the House of Commons to be selected at random from the population of adults. I quote from page 126:

    Het House of Lords blijft het House of Lords, maar het House of Commons moet worden omgevormd tot een geloot lichaam, …”

    In translation: Het House of Lords stays as it is, but the House of Commons has to be transformed into a randomly sampled body, …”

    This proposal is simply a new rule! Suddenly you yourself are proposing rules without any agreement on principles and, by the way, agreement with whom?

    Moreover, for almost every rule the underlying principle is given by Leòn. For example:

    Principle: The most utter care must be taken against grouping processes, leading to leadership, lobbying, barter, hierarchy, secrecy, and whim.

    Rule: There are no assemblies in proximity, no gatherings in large Halls complete with ‘performances’ but all over the planet, electronically linked, each sits in his cubicle with his own conscience, …”

    And what is against this principle and this rule?

    With regard, Ad.

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  17. Ad,

    Perhaps there is something being lost in translation. In English usage my suggestion for the House of Commons is a proposal, not a rule. Proposals are generally the product of principles arrived at through discussion and experimentation. I know the discussion can seem a little tedious but until you resolve some of the basic issues regarding what sortition is and isn’t capable of doing all talk of rules is premature.

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  18. Dear Keith,

    You have teached me one thing. Thanks for that.

    Ad.

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