[EM] Silver Linings in Alaska

Narins, Josh josh.narins at lehman.com
Wed Aug 28 06:06:58 PDT 2002

I'd remind the readers of this fascinating little article, which includes
this summary of Athenian voting...

In democratic Athens in the era of Pericles [Josh: he died in 429 BC], the
governing institutions were Assembly, Council, and juries. The Assembly was
the meeting of all citizens. The executive was the Council, whose membership
was chosen by lot and rotation, so that any citizen might be president of
Athens for a day. Juries were bodies of (typically) 501, 1001, or 1501
members, numbers being odd to avoid ties. Voting played a relatively minor
role, the most common recorded case being votes on proposals to ostracise
(banish) citizens.


By the way, banishment would be cool.

We could have banished OJ.

-----Original Message-----
From: Alex Small [mailto:asmall at physics.ucsb.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 2:25 AM
To: election-methods-list at eskimo.com
Subject: Re: [EM] Silver Linings in Alaska

> Lately my thinking has been that anyhow even the best election-method
> reform  will be sham - a diversion from real democracy that makes a
> real difference  - so long as we continue to use mass elections to
> select or legitimize or  rubberstamp a governing officer oligarchy.


I find your suggestions intriguing.  I would suggest that better election
methods are a necessary step toward your proposals.

As I understand it, your goal is to place decision-making authority in the
hands of ordinary citizens rather than an elite.  To bring that about, we
would have to first make the government accountable to us, and then demand
the changes you propose.  Currently, we have a two-party duopoly.  Often
the leaders are elected only because their opponents are even worse.  A
system that allows new options to be competitive is the only way to bring
fresh and drastically different ideas into the arena.  PR and better
single-winner methods are necessary (but obviously not sufficient) steps
toward this goal.


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