Posted on December 30, 2013 by Common Lot Sortitionist
Does anyone know of organizations, publications or websites that discuss sortitional selection of legislatures in German?
Filed under: Academia, Books, Experiments, Proposals, Sortition, Uncategorized | Tagged: Austria, Citizen Legislature, German, Germany, politics, random selection, representative democracy, selection by lot, sortition, Switzerland | 8 Comments »
Posted on December 21, 2013 by Yoram Gat
Ahmed Teleb makes the wisdom-by-diversity argument against elections and more specifically against first-past-the-post systems:
We’ve all heard of the “wisdom of crowds” especially after James Surowiecki’s 2004 best-selling book by that name and Scott Page’s 2007 “The Difference.” […]
So why does the US Congress, a crowd of 535, seem so remarkably un-wise?
Filed under: Books, Elections | Tagged: wisdom of the crowds | 43 Comments »
Posted on December 16, 2013 by Yoram Gat
The essay below was written at the suggestion of Campbell Wallace. It is meant as an attempt to recruit feminists to the cause of sortition. As an aside, it is worth mentioning, I think, that while, of course, men could be feminists, and some are, it is still somewhat embarrassing that all of the regular writers on Equality-by-Lot are men (I believe).
Almost 100 years ago, as the suffragist struggle in the US was approaching its successful culmination with the 19th Amendment, the feminist-anarchist activist Emma Goldman wrote her essay “Woman Suffrage”. It opens so:
We boast of the age of advancement, of science, and progress. Is it not strange, then, that we still believe in fetich [sic] worship? True, our fetiches have different form and substance, yet in their power over the human mind they are still as disastrous as were those of old. Our modern fetich is universal suffrage. Those who have not yet achieved that goal fight bloody revolutions to obtain it, and those who have enjoyed its reign bring heavy sacrifice to the altar of this omnipotent deity. Woe to the heretic who dare question that divinity!
There is no reason whatever to assume that woman, in her climb to emancipation, has been, or will be, helped by the ballot.
The veracity of Goldman’s opening statements has not diminished by the passage of time. Indeed, “electoral fetish” is a two-word description of most of the political discourse of the last 100 years, both public and academic. As for Goldman’s last assertion, it may be considered somewhat extreme, but what is clear is that 100 years of women’s suffrage have not brought women anywhere near equality with men. If attaining suffrage was a tool of emancipation (rather than merely the milestone it surely was), then it is evident that this tool was not nearly as powerful as its most ardent promoters believed it would be1.
Filed under: Elections, History, Sortition | 44 Comments »
Posted on December 8, 2013 by Yoram Gat
Google Alerts found the following proposal and discussion, going much along the standard lines.
The Athenian magistrate system had many problems during it’s long life, and one of them was the issue of rule via oligarchy: in a democratic system driven by voter elections (as championed by Socrates), magistrates could effectively buy their seats. In turn, the Greek administration created by popular vote came represent only the interests of the wealthy.
This problem was solved by discarding elections in favor of sortition – simply drawing from the public at random whom would hold what seat for a given term.
I think this is a system that ought to be seriously considered for use today (of course it will never be, but whatever, I can pretend that this is totes up for debate somehow & somewhere).
…So you just pick people at random, and boom, there’s your government?
In essence, yes. There’s an annual lottery (or bi-annual, or however many times over ‘X’ time period you want to rotate people out), and everyone that meets eligibility criteria (so, presumably, no children) are included in said lottery. If your name / SSN / whatever is drawn, you fill a seat. It’s a paid position, just like today, and you otherwise do exactly what government officials do (or are supposed to do) right now.
Filed under: Athens, Sortition | 3 Comments »