[EM] Re: "Proxy ranking" versus "proxy approval"?
baford at mit.edu
Sat Aug 14 01:39:24 PDT 2004
Oops, one more argument in favor of "proxy approval" that I forgot to include
in my last message...
Suppose that a large and highly active system or direct democracy eventually
forms around the proxy voting idea, in which people with many different
interests and specialties are concurrently deliberating on thousands of
issues in hundreds of interrelated categories or topic areas. In such a
large system we wouldn't expect any single person to be able to participate
directly in more than a few specific topic areas, or even to be able to
_select proxies_ individually for each topic area. Instead, we would expect
most people to participate directly one or a few topic areas, delegate their
votes to specialists in a slightly wider group of topics areas near their
primary focus, and finally delegate their votes in all the other more distant
topic areas to "generalists" whom they know and trust to be generally
representative of their ideals and interests. A participant may want to
select one or more generalists as his default proxies for "all topics" , or
may want to assign different generalists for a few very broad, "high-level"
topic areas, such as "environmental issues" or "civil rights", that may each
have many sub-topics. These generalists would in turn typically delegate
their voting blocks to people they know who are more specialized in the
respective sub-topics, and so on.
Now, unless we artificially impose the somewhat unnatural restriction that all
the topic areas must form a strict, hierarchical tree structure, the "proxy
ranking" scheme runs into a problem. Suppose that there are two broad topic
areas "animal rights" and "pollution", and there's a more specialized topic
area "meatpacking industry" that's a sub-topic of both "animal rights" and
"pollution". Suppose further that I have registered two _different_ proxies
in "animal rights" and "pollution", but haven't registered any proxy
specifically for "meatpacking industry". If both proxies vote differently on
a "meatpacking industry" issue (and I don't), which one gets my vote in the
proxy ranking scheme?
In the alternative proxy approval scheme, of course, there's an obvious
solution: my vote simply gets divided evenly among _all_ the proxies I've
selected in _any_ of the topic areas that apply directly or indirectly to the
issue at hand.
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