[EM] language/framing quibble

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Mar 22 01:20:17 PDT 2009

--- On Sun, 22/3/09, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:

> Good Afternoon, Juho
> re: "Our political systems do have serious problems but on
> the
>      other hand we are somewhat above
> 'the laws of jungle'."
> We may be "... somewhat above 'the laws of the jungle'",
> but that's no testament to our government of
> ourselves.  We will do better when adopt an electoral
> process that encourages probity instead of suppressing it.
> re: "I'd say that all large structures have the tendency
> to
>      become oligarchic (that covers
> e.g. companies, associations
>      and administrative structures in
> addition to parties)."
> Thus, if we seek a democratic electoral system, one of our
> first considerations must be to forestall this oligarchical
> tendency.

Yes.  Democracy itself was a
quite revolutionary invention.
Instead of the "natural"
hierarchic system where the
"best" climb to the top one
gave main part of the power
to the weakest. This simple
trick that mixed the layers
made the system also more
dynamic and responsive, and
in some respects also more
robust and stable.

(Btw, I think there are
interesting prospects also
in the other hierarchies.)

>  Since, as you note elsewhere in your post,
> "... in all systems people will find the loopholes", we must
> do our utmost to reduce that potential.  We can do that
> by ensuring that every citizen has a fresh and equal
> opportunity to influence the choices made within the
> political structure, in every election.
> When everyone participates in the Practical Democracy
> process, the only way I've been able to imagine for an
> oligarchic tendency to appear is if election cycles are
> infrequent or terms of office are excessive..  Both
> should be matters of great concern to those who implement
> the process. Limiting terms of office to three years and
> barring elected officials from re-election would reduce the
> potential for an oligarchical supremacy to develop.

Yes, the Practical Democracy
adds some randomness in the
process, cutting the usual
paths that "the oligarchs" use
to climb and stay at the top.
Of course the process must
always be in balance.  We must
also guarantee that the best
expertise is available at the
top (one way or another),
there is some continuity in
the system etc.  Appropriate
length of terms is one way to
seek the balance..

> re: "... And there are new challenges like reaching the
> limits of
>      the earth to support continuous
> growth of the economy (and
>      our well-being), and the
> exponential growth of human
>      population."
> These challenges are the result of human activity. 
> The advent of the cancerous 'growth' that threatens our
> existence flows from a political system that puts the
> interests of economic entities above the interests of the
> humans among us.  If we wish to reverse this course we
> must begin by selecting the best of our people as our
> political leaders.

Yes, we need some changes in our
political and economic thinking
and in how we model and value
different things.  That is
unfortunately not an easy and
fast process.  Just like
democracy was maybe difficult to
invent, promote, implement and
adopt, all radical (in Latin
radix = root, radicalis = having
roots) changes are.  In the end
it is us who think that money
and good position in the current
hierarchical system are more
important than other values,
i.e. it is not those few at the
top of the hierarchy but the
whole pack that sets the targets
and rewards and appreciates the
current value system and model
of behaviour.

Well, in order not to be too
pessimistic I note that I do
believe that people are quite
fast in adopting new habits when
they are explained well enough
so that they can see the benefits
and that the proposed new model
indeed works.

The world of electoral reforms is
an interesting one.  People try to
promote complex mechanical systems,
to be used by all, to influence the
roots of our political systems, to
reduce the number and seriousness
of political conflict situations,
and quite often at the same time
fight against the other reform
proposals :-).  PD seems to be a
peaceful initiative.  Thanks for


> Fred Gohlke
> ----
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