[EM] The structuring of power and the composition of norms by communicative assent

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Sun Jan 11 17:20:03 PST 2009

Juho Laatu wrote:
> ... The topmost thoughts in my mind when thinking about this
> approach is that 1) the principles are good and 2) making the votes
> public limits the usability of the method. Traditionally secret
> votes have been a building block of democracies.  Public votes work
> somewhere but not everywhere.

(1). Re good principles.  I've heard it suggested that modern
democracy is the political form that is best suited to
capitalism.^[1][2]  If we change it to something with a firmer base in
principles - a more substansive democracy - will it continue to be
friendly to business entrepreneurs?  If not, what will happen?  Has
anyone explored that scenario?  (Any references?)

(2). Re public/private voting.  Maybe there are two possibilities:

  i) Initial participation by a small group of public "pioneers"
     gradually changes attitudes.  Open voting comes to be accepted as
     a natural form of expression in the public sphere.  Participation
     levels grow.  (There remains a core who will not/cannot vote
     openly.  We can get empirical data on this.)

 ii) A private voting facility (secret ballot) is grafted onto the
     public medium.  Anyone who is content to participate merely as a
     voter (not as a delegate, or legislative drafter, etc.) may vote
     without disclosure.  So we could extend participation to those
     who will not/cannot vote openly.  Results verification (and maybe
     voter authentication) would be complicated by this, but the
     overall function of the medium should be unaffected.

[1] Jürgen Habermas.  1973.  Legitimation Crisis.  Translated by
    Thomas McCarthy, 1975.  Beacon Hill, Boston.

[2] John Dunn.  1992.  Conclusion.  In Democracy: the Unfinished
    Journey, 508 BC to AD 1993.  Edited by John Dunn.  Oxford
    University Press.

Michael Allan

Toronto, 647-436-4521

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