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Freegrass

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Direct democracy
« on: May 08, 2023, 10:38:13 PM »
I just asked ChatGPT about direct democracy, and if an app for it exist...
Apparently they do exist...
And Nobody cares...
Nobody spent 44 billion on them...

What a fucked up world we live in...
Real democracy is an illusion, and the main stream media really are culprits to entropy...

What is direct democracy?
ChatGPT
Direct democracy is a system of government in which citizens participate directly in the decision-making process of the government, rather than electing representatives to do so on their behalf. In a direct democracy, citizens have the power to propose, draft, and vote on laws, policies, and other government decisions through various means such as town hall meetings, referendums, and initiatives.

Direct democracy allows citizens to have a more active role in the decision-making process and can lead to increased participation and engagement in the democratic process. However, it can also be challenging to implement on a large scale, as it requires significant resources and participation from citizens to ensure that decisions are made fairly and effectively. Additionally, direct democracy may not be practical for large, complex societies or issues that require specialized expertise.

User
Does an app exist for direct democracy?
ChatGPT
Yes, there are several apps that have been developed to facilitate direct democracy and enhance citizen participation in the decision-making process. These apps allow citizens to propose, vote on, and discuss policies and laws directly from their smartphones or other digital devices.

Some examples of apps for direct democracy include:

DemocracyOS: An open-source platform that allows citizens to propose and vote on legislation, as well as participate in online discussions and debates.

LiquidFeedback: An online platform that enables members of organizations and political parties to vote on proposals and policies and modify them collaboratively.

Decidim: A participatory democracy platform that allows citizens to participate in policy-making processes at the local and regional level.

Pol.is: A tool that facilitates group decision-making by allowing users to express their opinions and engage in constructive discussions.

These apps aim to increase citizen engagement in the democratic process, improve transparency, and enhance the accountability of elected officials. However, they are not a substitute for traditional forms of democratic participation and require careful consideration of their potential benefits and limitations.

When computers are set to evolve to be one million times faster and cheaper in ten years from now, then I think we should rule out all other predictions. Except for the one that we're all fucked...

morganism

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2023, 09:37:33 PM »
Re-imagining democracy for the 21st century, possibly without the trappings of the 18th century

Imagine that we’ve all – all of us, all of society – landed on some alien planet, and we have to form a government: clean slate. We don’t have any legacy systems from the U.S. or any other country. We don’t have any special or unique interests to perturb our thinking.

How would we govern ourselves?

It’s unlikely that we would use the systems we have today. The modern representative democracy was the best form of government that mid-18th-century technology could conceive of. The 21st century is a different place scientifically, technically and socially.

For example, the mid-18th-century democracies were designed under the assumption that both travel and communications were hard. Does it still make sense for all of us living in the same place to organize every few years and choose one of us to go to a big room far away and create laws in our name?

Representative districts are organized around geography, because that’s the only way that made sense 200-plus years ago. But we don’t have to do it that way. We can organize representation by age: one representative for the 31-year-olds, another for the 32-year-olds, and so on. We can organize representation randomly: by birthday, perhaps. We can organize any way we want.

U.S. citizens currently elect people for terms ranging from two to six years. Is 10 years better? Is 10 days better? Again, we have more technology and therefor more options.

Indeed, as a technologist who studies complex systems and their security, I believe the very idea of representative government is a hack to get around the technological limitations of the past. Voting at scale is easier now than it was 200 year ago. Certainly we don’t want to all have to vote on every amendment to every bill, but what’s the optimal balance between votes made in our name and ballot measures that we all vote on?
Rethinking the options

In December 2022, I organized a workshop to discuss these and other questions. I brought together 50 people from around the world: political scientists, economists, law professors, AI experts, activists, government officials, historians, science fiction writers and more. We spent two days talking about these ideas. Several themes emerged from the event.

Misinformation and propaganda were themes, of course – and the inability to engage in rational policy discussions when people can’t agree on the facts.

Another theme was the harms of creating a political system whose primary goals are economic. Given the ability to start over, would anyone create a system of government that optimizes the near-term financial interest of the wealthiest few? Or whose laws benefit corporations at the expense of people?

Another theme was capitalism, and how it is or isn’t intertwined with democracy. And while the modern market economy made a lot of sense in the industrial age, it’s starting to fray in the information age. What comes after capitalism, and how does it affect how we govern ourselves?
An overhead view shows a busy road between buildings.
Artificial intelligence may be good at smoothing traffic flow – but is it good at governing? Busà Photography, Moment via Wikimedia Commons
A role for artificial intelligence?

Many participants examined the effects of technology, especially artificial intelligence. We looked at whether – and when – we might be comfortable ceding power to an AI. Sometimes it’s easy. I’m happy for an AI to figure out the optimal timing of traffic lights to ensure the smoothest flow of cars through the city. When will we be able to say the same thing about setting interest rates? Or designing tax policies?

How would we feel about an AI device in our pocket that voted in our name, thousands of times per day, based on preferences that it inferred from our actions? If an AI system could determine optimal policy solutions that balanced every voter’s preferences, would it still make sense to have representatives? Maybe we should vote directly for ideas and goals instead, and leave the details to the computers. On the other hand, technological solutionism regularly fails.
Choosing representatives

Scale was another theme. The size of modern governments reflects the technology at the time of their founding. European countries and the early American states are a particular size because that’s what was governable in the 18th and 19th centuries. Larger governments – the U.S. as a whole, the European Union – reflect a world in which travel and communications are easier. The problems we have today are primarily either local, at the scale of cities and towns, or global – even if they are currently regulated at state, regional or national levels. This mismatch is especially acute when we try to tackle global problems. In the future, do we really have a need for political units the size of France or Virginia? Or is it a mixture of scales that we really need, one that moves effectively between the local and the global?

As to other forms of democracy, we discussed one from history and another made possible by today’s technology.

Sortition is a system of choosing political officials randomly to deliberate on a particular issue. We use it today when we pick juries, but both the ancient Greeks and some cities in Renaissance Italy used it to select major political officials. Today, several countries – largely in Europe – are using sortition for some policy decisions. We might randomly choose a few hundred people, representative of the population, to spend a few weeks being briefed by experts and debating the problem – and then decide on environmental regulations, or a budget, or pretty much anything.

Liquid democracy does away with elections altogether. Everyone has a vote, and they can keep the power to cast it themselves or assign it to another person as a proxy. There are no set elections; anyone can reassign their proxy at any time. And there’s no reason to make this assignment all or nothing. Perhaps proxies could specialize: one set of people focused on economic issues, another group on health and a third bunch on national defense. Then regular people could assign their votes to whichever of the proxies most closely matched their views on each individual matter – or step forward with their own views and begin collecting proxy support from other people.
A stone marked with regular indentations.
This item, called a kleroterion, was used to randomly select people for jury service in ancient Athens. Marsyas via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
Who gets a voice?

This all brings up another question: Who gets to participate? And, more generally, whose interests are taken into account? Early democracies were really nothing of the sort: They limited participation by gender, race and land ownership.

We should debate lowering the voting age, but even without voting we recognize that children too young to vote have rights – and, in some cases, so do other species. Should future generations get a “voice,” whatever that means? What about nonhumans or whole ecosystems?

Should everyone get the same voice? Right now in the U.S., the outsize effect of money in politics gives the wealthy disproportionate influence. Should we encode that explicitly? Maybe younger people should get a more powerful vote than everyone else. Or maybe older people should.

Those questions lead to ones about the limits of democracy. All democracies have boundaries limiting what the majority can decide. We all have rights: the things that cannot be taken away from us. We cannot vote to put someone in jail, for example.

But while we can’t vote a particular publication out of existence, we can to some degree regulate speech. In this hypothetical community, what are our rights as individuals? What are the rights of society that supersede those of individuals?
Reducing the risk of failure

Personally, I was most interested in how these systems fail. As a security technologist, I study how complex systems are subverted – hacked, in my parlance – for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many. Think tax loopholes, or tricks to avoid government regulation. I want any government system to be resilient in the face of that kind of trickery.

Or, to put it another way, I want the interests of each individual to align with the interests of the group at every level. We’ve never had a system of government with that property before – even equal protection guarantees and First Amendment rights exist in a competitive framework that puts individuals’ interests in opposition to one another. But – in the age of such existential risks as climate and biotechnology and maybe AI – aligning interests is more important than ever.

Our workshop didn’t produce any answers; that wasn’t the point. Our current discourse is filled with suggestions on how to patch our political system. People regularly debate changes to the Electoral College, or the process of creating voting districts, or term limits. But those are incremental changes.

It’s hard to find people who are thinking more radically: looking beyond the horizon for what’s possible eventually. And while true innovation in politics is a lot harder than innovation in technology, especially without a violent revolution forcing change, it’s something that we as a species are going to have to get good at – one way or another.

https://theconversation.com/re-imagining-democracy-for-the-21st-century-possibly-without-the-trappings-of-the-18th-century-210586

John_the_Younger

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2023, 10:47:52 PM »
Wikipedia article on Direct Democracy.

Many New England (USA) towns still use direct democracy for much decision making - very interesting to experience both "how it gets decisions made" and how smart people can sometimes manipulate the process.  The town I lived in also had ballot measures and town officers and staff to do the daily stuff of government administration and 'work' (you know, filling in potholes, shooting the injured horse hit on the highway).

wdmn

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2023, 09:00:39 PM »
What's rarely talked about is that a democracy is only as strong as its individual citizens and their capacity and willingness for good faith, rule based discourse, coupled with a self-awareness of how easy it is to deceive ourselves as to our aims.

All of that requires not only some specialized training, as well as the development of the common sense, it requires the development of virtues, which are habitual ways of acting, not the ability to echo whatever is trending as "good."

Right now almost everyone I talk to in person will admit -- in confidence -- to being afraid to talk about certain topics that they nevertheless think are of importance to the nation. This can be achieved when a small minority of zealous and vicious (in the proper sense of being opposite to virtuous; i.e. habituated towards acts of vice) people come to dominate within institutions / work environments.

Those I talk to who are relying more on repression, avoidance and dissociation in an attempt to ignore what is going on around them are less able to admit their fear, and just attempt to dismiss data and anecdotal observations as unimportant. But their noticeable anxiety reveals the psychological truth of their condition, as does the forcefulness and dishonesty with which they will attempt to silence the troubling discussion.

That is to say, absent the "third," or -- for a lack of a better way to put it, God; the faith that interlocutors are oriented towards the truth, both inwardly and outwardly and so willing to be corrected even when it is painful to do so; i.e. a commitment to a process over which no interlocutor has full control -- discourse breaks down and becomes useless as a means to get anywhere. Plato taught this to his students 2500 years ago: there are people with whom the Socratic method will not work, and so with whom it makes no sense to dialogue. In our society this often leads to the establishment of entrenched camps unable to communicate.

In such a circumstance, more democracy will not necessarily lead to better outcomes.

Think about the skills that democracy selects for: the ability to haggle and persuade, intimidate, calumniate, etc well enough to win over a majority. But who takes responsibility when things aren't working? Responsibility in what sense?

The movement of the zietgeist depends upon virtuous and talented individuals who take on the responsibility to push out ahead, not just the ebb and flow of however things appear at any given moment to the majority of people.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2023, 07:10:29 AM by wdmn »

The Walrus

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2023, 09:50:42 PM »
“The leftist is always a statist. He has all sorts of grievances and animosities against personal initiative and private enterprise. The notion of the state doing everything (until, finally, it replaces all private existence) is the Great Leftist Dream. Thus it is a leftist tendency to have city or state schools—or to have a ministry of education controlling all aspects of education. For example, there is the famous story of the French Minister of Education who pulls out his watch and, glancing at its face, says to his visitor, “At this moment in 5,431 public elementary schools they are writing an essay on the joys of winter.” Church schools, parochial schools, private schools, or personal tutors are not at all in keeping with leftist sentiments. The reasons for this attitude are manifold. Here not only is the delight in statism involved, but the idea of uniformity and equality is also decisive; i.e., the notion that social differences in education should be eliminated and all pupils should be given a chance to acquire the same knowledge, the same type of information in the same fashion and to the same degree. This should help them to think in identical or at least in similar ways. It is only natural that this should be especially true of countries where “democratism” as an ism is being pushed. There efforts will be made to ignore the differences in IQs and in personal efforts. Sometimes marks and report cards will be eliminated and promotion from one grade to the next be made automatic. It is obvious that from a scholastic viewpoint this has disastrous results, but to a true ideologist this hardly matters. When informed that the facts did not tally with his ideas, Hegel once severely replied, “Um so schlimmer für die Tatsachen”—all the worse for the facts. Leftism does not like religion for a variety of causes. Its ideologies, its omnipotent, all-permeating state wants undivided allegiance. With religion at least one other allegiance (to God), if not also allegiance to a Church, is interposed. In dealing with organized religion, leftism knows of two widely divergent procedures. One is a form of separation of Church and State which eliminates religion from the marketplace and tries to atrophy it by not permitting it to exist anywhere outside the sacred precincts. The other is the transformation of the Church into a fully state-controlled establishment. Under these circumstances the Church is asphyxiated, not starved to death. The Nazis and the Soviets used the former method; Czechoslovakia still employs the latter.”

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/10227392-the-leftist-is-always-a-statist-he-has-all-sorts

gerontocrat

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2023, 10:23:12 PM »
I have worked and lived in a good few one-party democracies, otherwise known as dictatorships.

It is not a pleasant environment to live in.

Religious dictatorship, communist dictatorship, free-market dictatorships have much in common. The suppression of dissent and discussion, total control over how people live their lives, and the inevitable degradation of the rule of law, rampant corruption and accumulation of wealth by the elite and in the end, failure.

To those who deride democracy I say "Cry Freedom!" plus words that belong in the bad language thread.

ps:

Dear Moderators & Administrator,

Please get rid of this thread and the other politics threads on the unread posts section.

Yours,

totally pissed off,

gero
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wdmn

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2023, 04:28:58 AM »
“In dealing with organized religion, leftism knows of two widely divergent procedures. One is a form of separation of Church and State which eliminates religion from the marketplace and tries to atrophy it by not permitting it to exist anywhere outside the sacred precincts. The other is the transformation of the Church into a fully state-controlled establishment. Under these circumstances the Church is asphyxiated, not starved to death. The Nazis and the Soviets used the former method; Czechoslovakia still employs the latter.”

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/10227392-the-leftist-is-always-a-statist-he-has-all-sorts

Well, what we've seen in the West is the circulation and growth of capital replace all other values as the supreme one. This has atrophied the Church for 200 years, as success in the market now justified overthrowing or commandeering social values and norms one by one. Now -- to borrow the above terminology, -- the asphyxiation is occurring. The destruction of Christianity is very advanced, with a rapid capitulation of many churches to values they had previously prohibited as sins, with the changes in values first happening at the state level, and eventually being accepted by the various churches. (However, these new values are international -- as is the circulation and growth of capital -- and do not emerge from the leaders of a particular state).

The Catholic Church is now succumbing to this "asphyxiation," as the Anglican and Unitarian already have. The XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will meet in Rome in October. The meeting aims to shape a new, “synodal” Church, meaning democratic and participatory. That Church should include everyone, particularly “marginalized minorities” such as LGBTQ2+ people, unmarried couples, people living in polygamous marriages, etc. They also want to discuss women’s ordination to the priesthood, or at least the diaconate.

The Church is doing this, ostensibly, in an effort to remain relevant. However, this is nihilism through and through, since it amounts to saying, "yes, we were always wrong, and now, in order to survive, we will allow you to tell us what is right. We don't believe in anything but survival as an institution." So then what's the point in going?

Whatever you believe, it is quite a thing to witness happening.

Oh, and as to what Gero insinuated, my description of the challenges facing democracy (based in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, and combined with observation) in no way means that I support dictatorships.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2023, 09:34:17 AM by wdmn »

Freegrass

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2023, 08:21:48 AM »
I didn't take long for this thread to go in the wrong direction again.
When computers are set to evolve to be one million times faster and cheaper in ten years from now, then I think we should rule out all other predictions. Except for the one that we're all fucked...

morganism

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2023, 08:37:47 PM »
Electoral College and Election Fraud
Georgy Egorov, Konstantin Sonin
The electoral college discourages election fraud by making it more difficult and costly to manipulate votes in swing states where opposing parties have sufficient political power to prevent fraud.
View Research Brief

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in January 2021, 55% of Americans favor electing the president based on the popular vote, while only 43% support keeping the electoral college. Even prior to the controversial 2016 and 2020 elections, headlines such as “How to Get Rid of the Electoral College” have been pervasive. These ideas are not new: Since the adoption of the US Constitution in 1787, there have been more than 700 congressional proposals aimed at reforming or repealing the electoral college. This paper considers a possible advantage of the current system — that it prevents election fraud.

Under the electoral college, presidential candidates compete for votes on a state-by-state basis. The winner of each state obtains all the state’s electoral votes, the number of which is equal to the size of the state’s congressional delegation, which, in turn, is roughly aligned with the state’s population. This system often results in very close elections in a select few “swing” states. For example, during the 2020 presidential election, the incumbent President Trump faced losses of 10 thousand votes (0.3%) in Arizona, 12 thousand votes (0.2%) in Georgia, and 20 thousand votes (0.6%) in Wisconsin.

Swing states present a significant opportunity for election fraud, as a relatively small number of votes would be needed to reverse their results. But, and herein lies the contribution of this paper, under the electoral college, these are also the states where it would be most difficult to obtain fraudulent votes because the opposing party is well-represented in the elected and administrative bodies responsible for combatting fraud. The authors explain this theory first through historical examples and then by establishing an abstract framework applicable to a broad range of scenarios.

Consider what President Trump would need to have done to change the outcome of the election he lost in 2020. In the states that he lost closely – Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia – his opponents had a significant representation at all levels of government such as the state Supreme Courts, the lower and upper chambers of the state legislatures, and the states’ Congressional delegations. Given this oversight, organizing fraud sufficient to swing the election outcome would have been extremely challenging. It would have been easier to obtain fraudulent votes in Republican-dominated states such as Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, or Oklahoma, where President Trump won by significant margins and enjoyed widespread support at all levels of government. Under the electoral college system, however, it would be pointless for a Republican to steal votes in a “red state.”

Formalizing this notion, the authors establish the following framework, which they use to compare the likelihood of fraud under the popular vote versus the electoral college across a range of varying contexts (e.g., rising polarization): For a losing party to commit fraud, they argue, two constraints need to be satisfied. First, fraud must be feasible: the losing party should be able to flip enough votes to overturn the election. Second, committing fraud must be incentive-compatible, in the sense that the benefits of winning elections should be higher than the aggregate cost of fraud.

The authors show that relative to the popular vote, the electoral college system drives down feasibility in high-incentive elections. They conclude, therefore, that the electoral college system offers superior protection against election fraud. The authors also note that increasing polarization is unlikely to alter this conclusion (a result which they expand upon in their paper)

This research offers a framework both for comparing the tradeoffs between a system of popular vote and the electoral college, and for considering the likelihood of election fraud. On the former, the authors show that implementing a popular vote system while entrusting the counting of votes to local authorities may create a system that is particularly vulnerable to fraud. On the latter, they provide theoretical evidence against the widespread claims of fraud in swing states during the 2020 election."

https://bfi.uchicago.edu/insight/research-summary/electoral-college-and-election-fraud/

oren

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2023, 11:45:59 PM »
I didn't take long for this thread to go in the wrong direction again.
Indeed. Discussing god and religion never goes anywhere.

be cause

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2023, 09:36:54 AM »
'there is nowhere to go .. '
There is no death , the Son of God is We .

Villabolo

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2023, 10:00:25 PM »
The reformist in me has the following idea. Ban ALL financing of any campaign. Just as cigarettes and alcohol are banned from advertising so shall political advertisements of all kinds. I would replace them with a channel that I would call "Politics Channel." In that channel, there could be five 1 hour slots dedicated to the top five parties - no reason we should be limited to two parties.

In that one-hour time slot, each party can say whatever they want. The public would have access to whatever information/politician that they wish without being deluged by multiple advertisements by those with the most money. Ideally, one should be objective enough to listen to at least two or more sides (not that it's likely to happen with many).

The Utopian in me would reorganize society into self-reliant villages of 300-500 people. Each village would have one square kilometer of land. Each individual will have a parcel of land up to a maximum of a quarter acre (.1 hectares), or the land directly under the house shall be given, free of charge. No rent will be allowed under penalty of incarceration. Everyone will be limited to one parcel per adult. You will not be able to evict the inhabitant from his house unless he has committed a crime.

The first home for the occupant - search YouTube for a plethora of videos - may be a tiny house of approximately 200 square feet (20 square meters). Tiny houses are architecturally designed to maximize living space with enough room for a tiny living room; a tiny but full kitchen; a full bathroom; and a loft. They can cost approximately 50,000 U.S. dollars. Many people will be able to afford that if they were to save $10 an hour for 2,000 hours of work a year. After five years of work, assuming you are paying no rent, (For example, staying home with your parents) you will have accumulated $100,000. Half of that will be enough for the cost of the house and the other half for infrastructure, such as roads, windmills, etc. The remaining amount of money, depending on your hourly wage, will be enough for subsistence.

This arrangement will allow many of the working poor to afford a house. Later in life, they may be able to afford a 'normal' house.

And, to get back to the topic, each village shall be a direct democracy. Such a foundation will give people a sense of what can be accomplished in the world in general. I picture the world as a network of democratic villages.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2023, 12:24:06 AM by Villabolo »
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Direct democracy
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2023, 10:30:01 PM »
The reformist in me has the following idea. Ban ALL financing of any campaign. Just as cigarettes and alcohol are banned from advertising so shall political advertisements of all kinds. I would replace them with a channel that I would call "Politics Channel." In that channel, I will have five 1 hour slots dedicated to the top five parties - no reason we should be limited to two parties.
 
Excellent reform idea.  However, implementing this in the US would require either a Supreme Court decision overturning Citizens United or else a constitutional amendment.  I do not anticipate either of these to happen in my lifetime.

Quote
And, to get back to the topic, each village shall be a direct democracy. Such a foundation will give people a sense of what can be accomplished in the world in general. I picture the world as a network of democratic villages.

A plausible idea.  The Swiss have a system of limited, local, direct democracy, analogous to this.  It may be easy to think of objections, but I'm unaware of major problems arising with it.