[EM] APR (11): Steve?s 11th dialogue with Juho (Steve)

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Dec 20 06:16:47 PST 2014

> On 20 Dec 2014, at 15:11, steve bosworth <stevebosworth at hotmail.com> wrote:

> S:  I am afraid that any such decisions would be “arbitrary” ( i.e. capricious, unpredictable, unprincipled, haphazard, etc.).  The current parties in the assembly (including each current majority party or coalition) has a vested interest in excluding any threats to the methods by which it has gained representation or domination in parliament.  In contrast, APR’s method follows inescapably from the logical application of the following principle:  the vote of each citizen must be equally respected (i.e. it enables each citizen equally to guarantee that their vote will continue to count within the assembly through the weighted vote of the most favoured rep who has received their vote).

Yes, current rulers are typically not very interested in allowing new parties to enter the game. You can however not use this fact against other methods and assune that APR would not have the same problem (the difficulty to make the incumbent parties accept the APR reform). 

If you are afraid of later malicious modifications, the rules for changing the required number of supporter names can be fixed permanently or agreed to be automatically adjusted according to some fixed rules (that can not exclude parties that are likely to win seats).

> J:  I can make the definition simpler: "proper party" = "traditional party". This definition works in all countries that I could quickly think.
> S:  This “definition” seems to amount to a confession that you are a “traditionalist”, i.e. simply tied to the status quo.  You need to define “good” or “improvement” independently of what already exists to escape this characterisation.

No. We are talking about definitions of terms here, not about what I recommend.

I'm actually very far from trying to maintain status quo in any system (except maybe if some country is in a bad and dangerous turbulence right now). I'm pretty much a reformist as you can guess (like practically everyone on this list).

> J:  Systems that do not support secret voting tend to be vulnerable to vote buyers and coercers. In APR the general election does not cancel all the (important and worth influencing) decisions made in the primary (e.g. the decision on which associations are allowed to participate).
> S: You seem not to have appreciated the fact that an association being “allowed to participate”, by itself, will produce no weighted votes in the assembly unless citizens also secretly vote for its candidate(s).

That is to some extent positive, with weaknesses e.g. in determining the number of representtives of each party. Another problem that this trick does not solve is that some associantions are not allowed to participate at all in the actual election. That is more difficult to fix in the actual election.

> > > J: For example, methods that allow only voting of one candidate are easier to understand.
> > > 
> > > S: Does the fact that APR allows citizens to choose this simplicity rather than being forced into it provide a valid argument against APR in your view?
> > 
> J:  Yes. The system is still complex, although it would have one rather simple branch too.
> S:  My question was, does this trivial extra complexity provide “a valid argument against APR in your view?”

You could say that being allowed to choose a simple option from a complex set of options means extra complexity when compared to systems that are always simple. I wonder if this was the answer you asked for.

> S:  Of course, but what we need is a prime value or principle which would enable us to assess each of the “hundreds” of proposed changes as to whether it is or is not an improvement.  What is your “prime value”?

It is hard to tell which of my various improvement considerations to various systems would be my "prime value". I'm afraid I don't have any such obvious top targets. It is maybe more typical to me to correct the worst problems of a system to make it maximally better.

> > > J: And a very difficult to understand system to all.
> > > 
> > > S: Please explain or name the parts of APR that you do not understand, or you bel ordinary citizens would find hard to understand.
>  > 
> J:  Someone already wrote on this list that if it takes days to make the experts on this list understand the system, then APR must be quite difficult to understand to the regular voters.
> S:  Yes, Richard Fobes said this.  However, do you independently agree with him?  If so, “please explain or name the parts of APR that you do not understand, or you believe ordinary citizens would find hard to understand.”

I do agree with him. I think I have understood all the parts that I have carefully read.

> Also, what do you think of Richard’s and my attempt jointly to draft a more simple summary of APR?

It would be good to write a short description. Actually it could be also useful to try to simplify the method to make it more marketable and easier to discuss and implement (I'm not sure if its complexity and offered benefits are in good balance).

> J:  You can take my comments one by one, and estimate if the arguments that I give are in your opinion on the right path towards a good method.
> S: You seem to want me only to make a purely “subjective” judgment in response to your “comments”.

I prefer objective, following your own understanding on what is good (optionally supported by facts and evidence).

> You have not explicitly rejected the value I place on the equality of citizens but you seem not to share it.  Instead, you seem simply to want to accept the inequalities in the status quo (i.e. in the currently dominant traditions).  What do you think?

I do share it. Following one mathematically exact formula may however not be the right way to do it if that causes problems in some other fronts (or if there are other unrelated problems left, like complexity).

Note that I see methods as compromises between different needs. In this situation an almost perfect or roughly perfect equality of citizens (or some other feature) can be perfectly sufficient or even overly emphasized.


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