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Internet Democracy

One of the frustrating features of being an inventor of an alternative system of governance is the lack of imagination of the acknowledged thinkers of democracy. These thinkers get all sorts of attention for their ideas on electoral reform, campaign finance reform, parliamentary reform, etc. But these thinkers more or less leave the existing system intact, with no attempt to address the 12 Limitations of Western Democracy which I have outlined in Chapter 2.

Since putting Tiered Democratic Governance on the internet, I have come across only one innovative thinker on governance. This fellow created a system called Dynamic Recovery Proxy (DRP), which I’m going to briefly summarize.

Let’s assume a legislature of 100 legislators. Rather than have legislators represent certain geographical areas, they would represent certain ideas, ideologies, or positions. A legislator’s strength in the legislature would be proportional to the citizens who are supporting that legislator. For example, if 6% of the citizens support a particular legislator, that legislator would have 6% of the voting strength in the 100-seat legislature. In essence, the citizen is looking for a legislator who is thinking the same way as the citizen (proxy).

Citizens, through an online process, could change their support for a current or aspiring legislator at any time (dynamic). Let’s assume a citizen has a preference for a certain legislator. However there is a bill is going through the legislature and the citizen and the legislator have opposing opinions. On the day the bill is voted for, the citizen can shift his support to another legislator voting the way the citizen wants the bill to go. The next day, the citizen can change back to the favorite legislator (recovery).

I was impressed that someone else was considering a system of governance without political parties as being viable. So this thinker and I had a week-long email chat about DRP. We came to the agreement that about 70% of the citizens under DRP would probably park their support for a particular legislator for a few years, not paying a lot of attention to the political process. About 5% would be quite vigilant, monitoring the legislators quite closely and often changing their support.

For some reason I was quite fascinated with DRP — even after I realized that a DRP legislator could gain a lot of political influence with the help of a big one-issue lobby or by communicating some poorly thought-out yet popular idea. And such a legislator, I thought, would unlikely be willing to listen to differing perspectives on issues. Why should I give any credence to DRP when my TDG is going in an opposite and collaborative direction?

Then I figured out my fascination: DRP would provide continual drama for political watchers. They could continually see legislators moving up and down with their political strengths, readily see the reasons for such movements, and happily conjecture future movements. The former political junkie inside of me was seeing a lot more entertainment than western democracy could ever provide.

Like me, this inventor wasn’t getting much traction for his idea. While his ideas should have generated lots of discussion (for DRP seems more democratic), I am thankful that DRP did not go anywhere.

Unlike me, DRP’s inventor has given up and taken down his website. I can’t give up the TDG: I am sensing an increasing dissatisfaction with western democracy, yet the world citizenry just can’t let go of western democracy just yet. The TDG is ready for that very small minority to realize the futility of hanging on to western democracy — and its 12 limitations.

Published on 2011

The TDG Essay

Building a Wiser, Kinder Democracy