[EM] Sociological issues of elections

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Sun Oct 13 06:19:20 PDT 2013

Kristofer Munsterhjelm said:
> From a control perspective, voting happens too infrequently. It would 
> be like trying to keep a temperature by adjusting the power to the 
> heater once every four (or two) years.

Also problematic from this perspective is the degree of indirection.
The would-be temperature controller knows nothing of power adjustment,
but only of electing a body of power adjusters.

Fred Gohlke said:
> Pivato moves beyond our common structures of political parties and
> periodic elections and outlines a permanent institution where the
> people can replace their representatives in the legislature 'on the
> fly', as the needs of the nation change.

So faster changes to the body of power adjusters...
> The power of the system is vested in small groups of motivated
> citizens organized into a pyramidal hierarchy who participate in
> deliberative policy formation.  Each group elects a delegate, who
> expresses the deliberative consensus of that group at the next tier
> of the pyramid.  ...

... plus explicit directions concerning the temperature.

I like to keep the two types of issue (law makers and law) separate.
After all, if Pivato's method yields legislative directions that are
valid, then we can expect those directions to be followed by any
competent legislative body, even if it wasn't elected by a Pivato
method.  Or if the method yields a competent legislative body, then we
can expect that body to follow any valid legislative directions, even
non-Pivato ones.  So we can decouple the two solutions.  Or anyway, I
hope we can, because it would allow for independent variance and a
wider range of overall choices.

This seems important because the problem of "who are the law makers"
already has an electoral solution that's difficult to change, being
cast in constitutional stone.  Meanwhile the problem of "what ought to
be the laws" has no solution at all, nor is there any great hinderance
to implementing one.  I think it's here in the "ought" questions that
are raised by the decision systems (legislative, executive, electoral)
and yet go unanswered that sociology can be most helpful.

For instance, a political "ought" question can never be answered by a
decision.  That would be begging the question.  The question of "what
ought to be the decision" can only be answered from quarters that are
free of the power of decision and defenceless before its effects.
This is equally true of electoral issues.  The electors as such (as
power holders) are incompetent to answer the question of who ought to
be elected, which is a question of the proper use of their own power.
That question can only be answered from outside the decision system,
as by ordinary people who are (between elections) without electoral
power and defenceless before its consequences.

>From this point of view, a continuous election would be problematic.
When the electors fail to make good decisions, the only available
space in which to implement a solution is the gap between elections.

Or coming back to Kristofer's thermostat analogy, it's important to
know what the temperature ought to be.  That's one thing.  Then to
tell the landlord, because he alone has access to the controls.
Sometimes you need to change landlords, but not often.

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

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