[EM] Fair and Democratic versus Majority Rules

Raph Frank raphfrk at gmail.com
Fri Dec 10 05:30:35 PST 2010

Another issue is the fact that the resulting legislature would end up
using majority rule for making decisions.

A legislature of

60) A
0) C
40) B

gets the A faction almost all of its policies and the B faction nothing.

Replacing that by

0) A
100) C
0) B

means that the A faction loses some of its policies, as C compromises.
 Thus the A faction will refuse.

Control of 60% of the legislature is better than 60% chance of control
of 100% of the legislature.

I think to make it so the compromise works, you still need the random
element.  It is the threat that the "other-side" could win everything
that causes compromise.

If power was actually shared in the legislature, then that issue goes
away.  For example, the rule could be that the national budget is
shared equally between all legislators.  A funding bill might require
support from 1/3 of the legislature in addition to legislators willing
to pledge a portion of their funding allocation.  Another option would
be to give legislators a finite number of votes and allow them cast
more than 1 per motion.

Alternatively, you could introduce a small random element.  The fall
back could be standard list-PR, however 1/4 of the seats are reserved
as bonus seats and given to one party.  The odds of a party getting
the bonus would be proportional to the number of votes it receives.

This means that a faction with 1/3 or more of the votes who wins the
lottery will have a majority.  They would get 1/3 of the 75% standard
seats + 25% of the seats from the bonus, giving them more than half.

However, a minor faction would still need the support of other
parties, even if they win the lottery (though their influence would be
greatly enhanced for that 1 term).

Another issue is that it would make parties much harder to manage.  A
party couldn't offer potential legislators the potential of being
careen politicians.  This may or may not be a good thing.  However, it
does mean that the degree of representativeness of the legislature
would vary over time.  Sometimes there would be wide representation
and sometimes there would be narrow representation.

One option would be to make the bonus seats the only seats that are
subject to the lottery/compromise system.  This means that there is
more stability.

The voting system could be

Each party submits a list

The votes would be

- voter marks at most 1 party as favorite
- voter marks any number of parties as approved
- voter marks any number of parties as acceptable

If the most approved party is acceptable to 90% of the voters, then it
is given the bonus seats.

Otherwise, a party is picked at random using the favorite votes and
that party is given the bonus seats.

I haven't been keeping up to date on Jobst's latest single seat
proposals, so there could be a better way to handle the specifics.

Another problem is one legislature taking decisions that bind later
legislatures.  For example, a legislature could increase the national
debt or enter in long term agreements.  A party which is unlikely to
have power after the next election is likely to try to take as many
irreversible decisions as possible.

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