[EM] Trees and single-winner methods

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Mar 17 15:16:45 PDT 2007

On Mar 17, 2007, at 8:02 , Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:

> Asset Voting simply uses this; it assumes that if we would vote for  
> someone for the office, we would trust that person to choose  
> reasonably well a replacement for himself or herself if he or she  
> is unable to serve for whatever reason. If actually elected, this  
> is really what is going to happen with respect to much that is  
> covered under the duties of high office.
> And given that voting under Asset becomes totally free of the need  
> for strategic considerations: just vote for the candidate you most  
> trust! -- I should be able to focus entirely on candidate  
> qualifications.

One could also say that Asset voting is not free of the need for  
strategic considerations but that the strategic considerations get so  
complex that the the votes could as well forget them. I mean that as  
a voter I might be thinking that I know candidate A quite well and he  
would probably behave in a certain way when participating the further  
negotiations and elections, and therefore it would be strategically  
optimal to vote for him. But as said, this may be too complex to manage.

> Given, again, that there is no need that the "candidate" actually  
> be elected or electable, I can choose a candidate whom I personally  
> know. I expect the numbers of candidates to blossom if Asset is  
> adopted. And the result will be much closer to what a hiring search  
> would produce.

Many points in your mail dealt with knowing the candidates  
personally. If we want this property, the basic model in my mind is  
to arrange more levels in the representational system.

Let's start from a village of 100 inhabitants. Everyone knows most of  
the other inhabitants quite well. The village elects 5 of the  
inhabitants to represent the village in communication towards he  
external world.

Then 20 villages send all their 5 representatives to a town meeting.  
All 100 meeting participants know each others reasonably well since  
this group has made decisions together many times before. The meeting  
elects 5 of the participants to represent the town in communication  
towards the external world.

Then 20 towns form a region. Now we already cover a population of  
40'000. The next level covers population of 800'000. Then 16'000'000,  
320'000'000 and 6'400'000'000. And finally we have 5 persons that  
could represent the earth in communication with other civilizations,  
if needed.

One key positive thing in this scenario is that the representatives  
are always in direct contact with the people who elected them and  
therefore need to be able to explain to them at personal level the  
rationale behind whatever decisions or negotiations they work with.  
One key negative thing in this scenario is that the direct  
responsibility may fade away when the distance from the village  
people to the top level decision makers increases. It is e.g.  
possible that the people at the top consider themselves to be more  
clever and more important than the people that elected them, they may  
consider their closest colleagues and direct electors more important  
than those at the lower levels.

Clearly there is a tradeoff between knowing your nearest  
representatives at personal level, and electing your top level  
representatives directly but knowing them only via TV. To me the  
additional layer of representatives and negotiations that you  
discussed represents in some sense adding one step in this hierarchy.

Direct democracy has some benefits and the model above has some. Same  
with weaknesses.


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