Friday, 11 March 2011
In the last post I mused on the notion of separating politicians from ideas in a system that encourages competition in both. This aspect of Interactive Democracy also encourages transparency in that the system would allow you to read what politicians have written on each subject. You may disagree with the proposal yet still appreciate the values, intellect and communication skills of the MP promoting it. You may vote for the MP and against the idea.
The last post suggested that the ability to change and evolve is an important strength of democracy. Perhaps competition is the key ingredient.
Interactive Democracy could be seen as an ecosystem for ideas, where the fittest survive.
Sure, Parliamentary Democracy also promotes competition but it is far less dynamic, being constrained by the protocol of the Parliamentary life cycle. It also usually ties a politician, and their success, to an idea. ID separates the two, allowing each to be examined independently and directly: the politician assessed for political skills and the idea on its own merits. I expect this would foster greater creative vigour, especially as many ideas would come from those without the burden of cultivating a political career or social standing.
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Every political decision, every prediction and plan, involves uncertainty and doubt. It may be impossible to fully understand the probabilities and risks involved, and each provision is also subject to the the law of unintended consequences. We would probably all prefer to trust in a gifted seer or oracle, or own a crystal ball, but unfortunately that's not the way the world works and we have ample evidence that leaders are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. But can crowds do better?
The stock market is an example of a crowd of individuals that try to predict the future. The market sets the price for a stock based on all sorts of analytical information, partial understandings and instincts but the markets are beset by irrational exuberance and paranoia, causing wild swings in valuations: bulls and bears, boom and bust. Is the democratic crowd any different?
Maybe it isn't that democracies make better decisions than dictators or appointed leaders. For example, in recent years the dictators in China have presided over the greatest increase in living standards for the greatest number of people, any time in human history. Maybe it's societies ability to change, evolve and correct its mistakes that's more important.