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Thread: improvements to our political system(s)

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    improvements to our political system(s)

    It's pretty clear that our western political systems don't work properly. Australia just suffered an idiot for a PM for a couple of years before the politicians finally couldn't take the embarrassment any longer. The US is apparently considering voting in Trump. This isn't the desired outcome.

    I watched this video of Michio Kaku one day where it seemed to me that the interviewer was saying that democracy is fairly flawed, and Michio just said "it's better than anything else, though". And I thought that was a bit disappointing.

    Let's suggest some ways that it could be improved, and perhaps the idea of what is "the desired outcome" could be established as well.

    I have some very vague thoughts on it:

    - possibly turn more decisions over to the public through use of technology (online voting on issues, or up-voting / down-voting issues, etc). I'm not quite sure how that would work.

    - I'm starting to think that not everyone should be allowed to vote, unless they actually know something about what they're voting on. But how could that be proven? There could be a whole lot of sensitive people getting upset that some people miss out / elitism. There might also be some corruption. Or maybe the way to prove that you know something ends up being really depressing as well, like the watered down school exams that are now in.

    - I think that in the future there will / should be a more logical way to deal with issues. Climate change, for example, should be dealt with based on facts, but is instead not. In the TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion, I think they had a computer system which made all the decisions and ran the country. I'm not sure about the details, of how possible it is to convert the issues which politicians consider, into a form which could be used in a computer program. Some things are probably subjective. But I think progress can be made.

    - Someone mentioned this to me once: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%...bility_theorem I haven't really read it yet. It basically says that when voters have three or more options, then it doesn't work properly. I haven't gone into the more specific details, but I think there must be other theorems like this which have some interesting implications.

    How do you think we can fix this broken thing?

    Bonus question: could any significant change to the system even take place? It seems fairly clear that most politicians are corrupt and would quite possibly prefer things to stay the way they are. I wonder if Trump got elected, could that get people to wake up. I'm not very hopeful.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    Someone mentioned this to me once: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%...bility_theorem I haven't really read it yet. It basically says that when voters have three or more options, then it doesn't work properly. I haven't gone into the more specific details, but I think there must be other theorems like this which have some interesting implications.
    There was a ballot initiative in Oregon a while back to institute a state-level version of the system that Portland uses for city elections.

    It was defeated by a "no" campaign involving both the Republican and Democratic parties, making me think it was an example of something that was vehemently opposed for making too much sense.


    Parties aren't directly involved in Portland's municipal elections--for citywide offices like mayor, there's a "primary" held in May in which all voters get the same ballot, with the names of all registered candidates on it. Those votes are tabulated and if no one has gotten a "50% + 1" majority, a second vote is held in November with ballots that only contain the names of the top two performers in the May election.

    Frankly, I'd like to see the whole country just scrap the current absolutely ridiculous primary system for national elections and replace it with something along these lines. I don't really see any downside, other than people who are very committed to partisan identities and loyalties being upset that the role of parties in forcing the process of determining whose names are on the final ballot is obviated.


    States should also be forced to allocate their Electoral College votes proportionally. (Currently all but two use a "winner take all" system where the candidate receiving the largest plurality of popular votes in that state receives all of its Electoral votes.)

    This would eliminate the phenomenon where something like 40% of the votes cast in a presidential election effectively get thrown out (because they were cast in favor of a candidate who got slightly fewer of them than the candidate who won the state), which in turn would presumably tamp down a lot of the convoluted ridiculousness of how campaigns are run. (I.e. strategically focused appeals to "swing states".)


    I'm inclined to assume that merely simplifying the way our elections happen would do a lot to make campaigns less expensive and thus deal with the whole campaign-funding issue partly from the "demand" side.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    I sort of regard all social systems and forms of organisation (including governments) as a form of 'garbage in, garbage out' proposition these days.

    If enough of us survive and the technology ever reaches the level where we can be ruled by super-intelligent machine capable of long-term planning and global considerations, I for one would be glad.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I honestly don't know how to solve the current problems with democracy. There seem to be 2 root causes of dysfunction.

    1) Most people who run for office do so for power/fame/accomplishment not from altruism.
    2) Most voters are not informed and are short sighted. Nor do they pay attention to the malfeasance of those they elect and hold them accountable.

    Unfortunately, these tendencies are rooted deep in human nature, and changing human nature takes a long time.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    - possibly turn more decisions over to the public through use of technology (online voting on issues, or up-voting / down-voting issues, etc). I'm not quite sure how that would work.
    Hate to break it to ya, but the only reason why we aren't all personally voting bills into law is because nobody wants us to. It's not like you're a genius and our governments are stupid because they haven't thought of this. They just wouldn't entertain it as a desireable scenario in their most pot-soaked fantasies.

    There are like 2 billion people on Facebook. Imagine if instead of posting pictures of cats, maybe they could be voting for some bills (scary thought, actually - rofl). The point is that we are well aware that we have never been so technically close to direct democracy. You just need radical governments who would put tech to that purpose.

    - I'm starting to think that not everyone should be allowed to vote, unless they actually know something about what they're voting on. But how could that be proven? There could be a whole lot of sensitive people getting upset that some people miss out / elitism. There might also be some corruption. Or maybe the way to prove that you know something ends up being really depressing as well, like the watered down school exams that are now in.
    The beautiful thing about direct democracy is that it forces you to educate people. Because direct democracy in an alienated society will probably reproduce the same results we have now. Take the most direct election we have, the presidential one (unless you're American, in which case, nevermind). People vote morons into office all the time. Just because people suddenly have a voice doesn't mean they're going to say something smart.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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    One interesting possibility for direct democracy is the use of smart-contracts for relatively simple motions. The Ethereum netywork went live recently and with that, there is the possibility of having votes lead directly to a specific action that gets "locked in" and cannot be circumvented by politicians. It would probably have to start out with things that are relatively linear like directing funds to specific projects but I think it could eventually be adapted for the more complex elements of politics as well. (Of course as Madrigal said, that opens up a whole bunch of other crazy stuff but meh, it's probably at least as good as what we have already and has the potential to be way better.)

    That will tide us over until the benevolent AI dictatorship takes hold.

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Don't see how we are slaves in the work place and then be expected to be Lincolns at the ballot box. Freedom begins with being free and shit like that.

    But before we start fooling around with the system it seems best to get most people to agree on some first principles. The ideological split (which is obviously being accentuated by the fifth estate) in the US must be to some extent both sides misunderstanding the first principles of others. Or maybe those other guys really are fuckheads, I'm not sure.

    One thing I'm really tired of is cynicism, it literally oozes out of every cultural pore and orifice. Fuck cynicism, it never got anything done in the history of the world and it never will.

    Oh yea, and fuck monarchies and one man shows of all stripes. This isn't the Middle Ages. (For Bronze Age Fuck You's see under Fundamentalist Pricks)

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