[ER] What Use?

Mike Ositoff ntk at netcom.com
Thu Oct 22 19:42:00 PDT 1998

>   ---------- Forwarded Letter ------------
> Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 19:17:16 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Ren Aguila
> Subject: What Use?
> To: New Democracy <donald at mich.com>
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Dear Donald,                                    19 October 1998
> I am a resident of the Philippines, a country whose middle class is
> growing disenchanted with the political system of the country in
> general. The piecemeal reforms of the constitution initiated back in
> 1987 have been defeated by traditional politicians (whose local name
> is "trapo" or rags in English) who feel that representatives from
> alternative political groups would endanger their hegemony.
> I came across your electoral system proposals, and I find them a
> viable alternative to the system we have now in our country. However,
> I would like to ask some questions:
> 1. Would this system work in countries which have been ethnically
> divided such as Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Hercegovina? Should there
> be any modifications that would help? This is primarily to help
> alleviate the concerns of the southern Philippines, which is itself
> ethnically divided to some extent.

I believe that partition is a wise solution, especially where
groups don't want to be with eachother, dislike eachother,
or disagree on govt.

In fact, I like partition better than PR anywhere. Of course
PR could still be used _within_ the areas, but, even there,
I much prefer direct democracy to any form of representation,
including PR. Of course even with DD, there'd still be some
limited need for elected officials, a limited executive team.

> 2. Some complaints which I believe would be brought up if any form of
> preferential voting is imposed is that counting would be more
> complicated, especially if we do a manual count. Thus, people in our
> country believe that plurality, for all its flaws, is easier to count,
> considering that most election officials are volunteers who cannot get
> much sleep. How would you answer this?

Very good point. Use Approval. Much easier count than any
rank-balloting method. Better method than any but a very few
of the very best rank-methods. No debate on how to count rankings.

In Approval, each voter may vote for as many candidates as he
wants to, for  particular office, giving each 1 whole vote.
Candidate with most votes wins, as in Plurality.

reply concluded

> 3. With a computerized election system, how would voters enter the
> numbers needed? And, for that matter, would voters be confused with
> too many numbers? One advantage I believe the current electoral
> systems have is that names are much more important for persons in
> developing democracies than anything else. Unfortunately, for me at
> least, this is the case.
> 4. Lastly, do you think direct democracy would work in developing
> democracies? Does it require that the upper and middle classes lose
> their indifference and apathy which I am afraid stands in the way of
> any political reform?
> That's all I want to ask.
> Anyway, good luck on your proposals. I am sure they can be fairly
> applied in any scenario, but these questions must be answered first.
> Thank you and have a good day.
> Ren Aguila
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Dear Ren Aguila,
>      No electoral system is going to stop someone who is trying to kill
> you, but people who have been divided need an electoral system that not
> only includes everyone but also gives these people the power to control
> their own government. Direct Democracy is able to do this more so than any
> other political system.
>      Yes, there is a modification that would not only help, but is
> necessary. That modification is the use of Conclusive Majority (aka
> Supermajority). I feel that a sixty percent Conclusive Majority would be
> fine for any country which is not in turmoil. But as the level of turmoil
> increases the level of Conclusive Majority should also increase. Places
> like Northern Ireland and Bosnia - Hercegovina maybe should be at the
> eighty percent level.
>      Most current governments are based on the policy of "Us against Them".
> A better policy is to include everyone into the decision making process -
> or at least more people. The principles of Direct Democracy are good for
> the people and necessary but they will not stop a "Simple Majority" faction
> from becoming a ruling class and abusing the rest of the people. A
> Conclusive Majority will force the "Simple Majority" faction to consider
> the concerns of others. In the long run the sensible people of each faction
> will prevail(I hope).
>      The same Conclusive Majority requirement would apply to anything that
> is voted on, such as: Citizens' Initiatives, laws passed by any lawmaking
> body, and Citizens' Review of laws.
>      It is interesting to note that one of the conditions of the Northern
> Ireland peace agreement is that the area is to have proportional
> representation(PR), but England and the USA, who are active working on the
> agreement, do not have PR. These countries see the value of one principle
> of Direct Democracy as good for peace. It is hoped that someday they will
> see that all the principles are good for peace and good for themselves.
>      The answer to your second question will require a letter of its own.
> Regards,
> Donald Davison
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