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Time for change - one man one vote is dated

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Baron Greenback
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Time for change - one man one vote is dated

Postby Baron Greenback » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 10:44 am

Ok, here is my thinking. The way society is controlled through government changes every few hundred years. Feudal, monarchical, socialist, democratic whatever. The needs of our society change as we become greater in number & become better educated. Fundamentally there are some hard fast rules that never change - eg don't kill, don't steal.

But as we develop new technologies new crimes come into the picture eg piracy, white collar crime etc. The system of democracy has been a successful one, those in power attain their right to rule from the people. However this still leads to governments not following the will of the people eg the war in Iraq (oops whole new can of worms all over my lap!). Which you can justify by saying the government has access to 'intelligence' that we are not privy to.

Democracy stems from the ideal of one (wo)man one vote. I think we are now in a position to improve on this. When governments are really divided on which direction to take the country eg joining the EU, it goes to a referendum. However the flaw I see in this is that a university professor with a phd in history & politics has the same vote as anyone else. I think he should have more sway in the matter.

So here is my thought. It will prove extremely time consuming & costly initially as there will have to be a massive census which is very detailed & will have to be updated regularly. It should take into account; occupation, eduation, family, income, perhaps even IQ. But lets say there is a decision that has to be made about farming. Shouldn't farmers have a more weighted vote than accountants - this system of census & referendum could be a way of giving them a more weighted vote.

In essence it decentralises power back to the people & gives more power to those the decisions directly effect. There would still have to be some system of government to implement changes & decide what decisions need to go to 'e' referendums. That is probably where the chance for abuse of power will occur. Also the fact that most people are passive in politics, it is hard enough to get people to vote for government once every 4 years.

I never studied politics so I may be missing something very obvious here, apologies in advance if I have.

What do you think, has democracy had it's day? Can we use the technology we now posses to help us give the power back to the people? If you got an email a day where you had to make a decsion to make a change that directly affected your life could you be bothered to do it?
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Postby Carpe Diem » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 11:06 am

Your idea sound quite good. Indeed that is what happens in a company when people start to do what we call "management by project". The ones with more skills and abilities or experience are usually the ones who can make the best decisions. No problem with that.

But the drawback is what will happen to those who have no or little skills, abilities or experience? If I understand you correctly, their vote will count much less than that of other people. Why should they vote then? They will loose confidence in the system and most probably will not do any effort.

Also you are talking about technology and email. So if I don't have access to email, because I can't afford to have a computer, or did not learn how to use it, I am out of the system? Not very good...

In a way I am afraid your "system" could turn into a kind of selection of the "superior race". Those who don't have blue eyes and blonde hair...

Oh, by the way, you were mentioning about referendum. I think this procedure can be totally misused, as most of the time (at least in France, yes, I know, we are an exception!) people will not answer to the question asked, but rather to the person who asked the question...

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Postby Baron Greenback » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 11:22 am

Good points CD. My thought on the weighted vote system would not alienate the uneducated exactly as they may get a more weighted vote if it is about where they live or what job they do. Vote = 1 is the base level which everyone gets regardless, then we can factor in education, location, occupation etc & depending on what we are voting on gives your involvement a different weight.

Ok you point about access to email is also a good one, but there will be a day when everyone has access to email, like everyone has a tv now.

I didn't want to create an elitist system, perhaps education can be a factor but knowledge of the debate should be more weighted.

I didn't realise there was such selective voting in France depending on who asked the question regarding the referendum. Oh well back to the drawing board.
"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools."

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Postby sved » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 11:47 am

Who will decide which vote has less value than the others ?

And for referendum...it also strongly depends of the question itself ... which may be relevant, or not.

To come back to the point, I think the "amount of points" shouldn't be chosen by yor wealthiness or education level or else...

Maybe just a quizz about the subject before the vote, to know if you're aware of what's going on or what is it for... but the problem is still the same, the one which do the questions can strongly influence the test.
Forgive my english, still learning ...

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Postby Carpe Diem » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 11:56 am

Baron Greenback wrote:Good points CD. My thought on the weighted vote system would not alienate the uneducated exactly as they may get a more weighted vote if it is about where they live or what job they do. Vote = 1 is the base level which everyone gets regardless, then we can factor in education, location, occupation etc & depending on what we are voting on gives your involvement a different weight.


Still there are some limitations I guess. OK let's take a supid example. There is a poll to decide if cars should have 5 wheels instead of 4. Because I don't own a car, my vote counts less. But if I plan to have a car, I should have my say! And if I am a tyre business man who knows the subject, my vote counts more? Isn't that a bit dangerous?

Baron Greenback wrote:Ok you point about access to email is also a good one, but there will be a day when everyone has access to email, like everyone has a tv now.


Are you sure of that? Some people don't have TVs because they don't see the need. So if I don't have a computer the government will give me one? And if I have already one, will I get an extra one? Just wondering...

Baron Greenback wrote:I didn't realise there was such selective voting in France depending on who asked the question regarding the referendum. Oh well back to the drawing board.


I was referring to the last one (about EU) where people voted no. Because the government and our President were not popular at that time, I am sure there is a part of the population who voted no just to give them trouble.

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Postby Baron Greenback » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 12:05 pm

CD on the car with 5 wheels vote - line drawing is always difficult but has to be done. So lets draw the lines - no car, no weighted vote. If your industry is directly effected then you should get a weightd vote, but if the only gain is monetary then not weighted as much as say if your job was threatened. The problem is who decides where the lines are draw? who gets a weighted vote? How much? etc we still need someone setting the rules.

Alright I admit it needs work & is far from perfect, I just want to know what comes after democracy?
"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools."

Hemingway

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 1:21 pm

Baron Greenback wrote:I just want to know what comes after democracy?

that's an excellent question, baron. and this is a very thought-provoking thread, thanks for starting it.

interestingly LKY suggested some time back that tertiary educated singaporeans in the workforce be given two votes instead of one, on similar grounds that you are proposing, cos they contribute more to the economy and are more directly affected by taxes etc and so should have more say. it didn't take off, but he did think about it.

i actually like the concept of plato's philosopher-king. that a very wise ruler should make the decisions for his nation state, as opposed to the democratic idea of everyone having an equal say. in the real world singapore actually comes closest to that, as far as i know.

your idea of weighted voting according to the relevance of the vote to different groups of people has merit. i like the concept, notwithstanding practical challenges in implementation.

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Postby Wham » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 2:04 pm

This is an interesting topic. The biggest problem with Democracy is that you have some people that vote purely based on self-interest - and some people that selflessly vote based on what they perceive is best for everyone. These two forces generally balance each other out. However, the risk is that the selfish (say corrupt politicians colluding with big business and promising everyone everything OR corrupt politicians colluding with say those who want HUGE government handouts) take over and abuse the system. It seems to me that these risks would get WORSE in a system of weighted voting - and that by an equal distribution of votes you have the greatest opportunity for a balancing out of all the divergent forces. As an example, the US is, like Singpore, often seen as not very corrupt - but the US suffers from an ENORMOUS burden of special interests manipulating the system. If the wealthy educated elite had any MORE power i think the US would be worse off - not better.

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Postby locallass » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 2:24 pm

If people with more education and those that pay more taxes were given more votes, does that mean that the social welfare system would effectively be abolished? And if so, is this the best way to go?

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Postby Wham » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 2:36 pm

Well we have a pretty low safty net as it is in the US - but I guess that it would get even lower under the suggested system - and i am not sure that this would be for the better.
I think that independence and self reliance are the best qualities that any system can attempt to inspire in the general population - and for some people being "part of the system" is the first step up the ladder. Something does not smell right about weighted voting. Democracy isn't perfect - but at some level it does inspire participation - and in this sense it is an inclusive system - and i think this is good.

Nothing wose than having too many people who act like robots because they are so used to being told what to do. 8)

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Postby Bafana » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 3:08 pm

Dear Mr Baron

I am with you brudder as long as my vote is worth 50% of the electorate in its weighting.

The system sounds a little bit like communism to me comrade...

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Postby T2K » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 3:53 pm

locallass wrote:If people with more education and those that pay more taxes were given more votes, does that mean that the social welfare system would effectively be abolished? And if so, is this the best way to go?


Yes and yes.

As to the whole topic, I like the idea. But then, I would get two votes so I would, wouldn't I?! How would this ever come into practice? A vote, a referendum? The majority who aren't "in" would hardly vote themselves out of the game, would they?

But, hypothetically speaking, education level would be the way to go. I also like the benevolent dictator idea. Vote a guy in, and he has absolute power to do whatever he wants for a 5 year term. Get rid of all the lobbying and arguing and compromises and campaigning. If he really pisses people off, a 75% vote puts him out of office. With a well-educated electorate you would hopefully get people like Colin Powell and LKY and Christopher Patten in office.

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Postby Ling2 » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 5:04 pm

Discrimination

one person dictatorship sounds good except 5 yrs is too long. I don't even give my managers that long to prove himself worthy. If you think the wise one should dictate (definately wiser than my managers) so, less than a year should be enough.

Power would never be given back to the people, because one revolution overthrown the govt. the next patch will change once they have power & wealth, their heart is no longer in the right place. History repeats itself again & again. Govt. is a joke.

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Postby locallass » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 5:05 pm

Actually T2K, I disagree with you that it's best to do away with the social welfare system.

I'm with Wham on the need to cultivate independence among the population. But when you abolish the social welfare system, the rich will become richer and the poor, poorer. The widening income gap will be divisive, resulting in social instability. Don't forget that most revolutions happen due to malcontent from the poor or proletariat.

About giving more power to the more educated, does it mean we're linking education with rationality?

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Postby JayV » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 5:30 pm

More to the rich, less to the poor. That is what the initial suggestion would mean in practice.


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