Political fluidity, the cultural replacement of Opinion Leaders with Influencers, and the need for a faster democratic paradigm have brought me to the conclusion that our century will see some rather major restructuring of our institutions.
One of the possibilities that are discussed time and again is the shift from representative democracy to direct democracy.
Among many reasonable and voiced complains about such approach, people may not be interested enough or simply not have enough knowledge on selected topics to be able to express an informed decision.
Following this line of thought, I evaluated the possibility of a hybrid democracy that would still maintain the principles of representativeness, but also allow for direct participation.
In a very simplified, 3 steps overview, I envisioned a hybrid parliament as follows:
- Parliament is open to virtual participation via internet
- Each person has 1 vote on each topic, and can chose how to use it:
- voting directly via internet
- delegating a “spokesperson” to vote in their behalf
- not voting
- The right to speak in parliament is granted only to those who were delegated by a large enough number of voters
As about delegation, it could work in many ways… one could delegate a single vote, could delegate different people for different topics, and the delegation could be time bond (1 week while I am on holiday, or the whole year). Ideally all delegations should expire after a “term” to use current terminology.
The advantages of such approach would be numerous:
- political fluidity would be addressed,
- lack of representativeness would be a thing of the past,
- each spokesperson’s vote would count for the number of received delegations,
- there would be a good balance between the representativeness of a proportional voting system, and the agility of a majoritarian system,
- while there would be tens of thousands of delegates (anyone could delegate their wife, dad or cousin), potentially there could be many less spokespersons in parliament, facilitating debates between different stances,
- spokespersons would not need to pledge loyalty to a party, but would be judged on a continuous basis by their delegators,
- spokespersons would be personally accountable for each of their decisions
There would certainly be disadvantages too that would need to be addressed, but fortunately this isn’t going to happen any time soon, so we have time to rectify the imperfections… for example selling and buying votes would arguably be easier, and lobbying in form of advertisement and marketing to the voter/customer would probably end up taking a huge slice of the political debate in many areas.
It is important however to understand that the current “crisis of the elites”, is not temporary, and it reflect the end of an era of trust towards policy makers, or more in general the end of mediation: everything in the internet era is immediate (i.e.: non-mediated) and the role of mediators is undergoing a complete revolution: from drivers, to bankers, translators, journalists and -of course- politics, no one is safe.
While my suggestion here can be seen as amusing by some, the current political model is unfit for purpose in this century, and while criticizing new ideas is perfectly reasonable, if done with the intent of bringing back solutions from the last century, that is unlikely to be a viable option at all.