[EM] Consociational PR

Raph Frank raphfrk at gmail.com
Fri Sep 7 03:26:06 PDT 2012

On Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 5:34 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
<km_elmet at lavabit.com> wrote:
> I'd use the same ballots, or subsets of them.

Ahh, ok, I misunderstood.  That doesn't break the secret ballot then.

> In the US, you know there will always be a Senate and a House of
> Representatives. That's okay. The House meets in the south wing of Capitol,
> the Senate in the north. But now imagine that some years, there would be no
> Senate (as would be the case if they'd use a dynamic clustering method).
> Would you keep the north wing vacant? Would you have to keep 541 seats in
> the room of both wings?

That is more a logistical thing, maybe there could be 1 big room with
(sound proof?) partitions.  The total number of members could be kept

> Yes, and that may give some information as to what makes PR work. PR works
> when the groups are kept both representative and dynamic. With many parties,
> you can have representativity, but if it isn't dynamic, then permanent
> alliances or outright mergers could subvert the representativity.

One issue here is that it is in the best interests of the incumbents
to make setting up new parties harder.  That can make things less
dynamic, even ignoring their other advantages.

Also, larger parties that vote as a bloc can end up with
disproportionate power.  51% of the members of the assembly get 100%
of the power, so there is an incentive to be a larger party.  OTOH, a
small party can sometimes end up in a king maker position, if the
large parties refuse to go into coalition with each other.  Over time
it should balance.  If there are to many small parties then, none of
them would be king maker, since the large party can play the off
against each other.  OTOH, if there are to few, then it encourages
factions of the larger parties to split off, since small parties have
disproportionate power.

In Germany, they have had instances of "Grand Coalition", where the 2
biggest parties form the government, which shows a willingness to
negotiate even with the other side.

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