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Encyclopedia > Demarchy
Democracy

This series is part of
the Politics and the
Forms of government series The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... A form of government (also referred to as a system of government or a political system) is a system composed of various people, institutions and their relations in regard to the governance of a state. ...




Politics Portal ·  v  d  e  The history of democracy traces back from its origins in ancient world to its re-emergence and rise from the 17th century to the present day. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into List of types of democracy. ... It has been suggested that Democracy (varieties) be merged into this article or section. ... Anticipatory democracy is a theory of civics relying on democratic decision making that takes into account predictions of future events that have some credibility with the electorate. ... The Athenian democracy (sometimes called classical democracy) democratic system developed in the Greek city-state of Athens. ... Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision making to the process of legislation. ... Deliberative democracy, also sometimes called discursive democracy, is a term used by political theorists, e. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... For other meanings, see Grass roots (disambiguation). ... Technically speaking, an illiberal democracy could be any democracy that is not a liberal democracy. ... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ... Non-partisan democracy (also no-party democracy) is a system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections (by secret ballot) take place without reference to political parties or even the speeches, campaigns, nominations, or other apparatus commonly associated with democracy. ... Participatory democracy is a broadly inclusive term for many kinds of consultative decision making which require consultation on important decisions by those who will carry out the decision. ... Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... Republican democracy is a republic which has democracy. ... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... For the Soviet republics of the Soviet Union, see Republics of the Soviet Union. ...

Demarchy is a term that describes a political system based on randomly selected groups of decision makers, also known as sortition. Demarchy attempts to achieve democratic representation without needing elections—it has been referred to as "democracy without elections." This article is about the political process. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... Sortition is the method of random selection, particularly in relation to the selection of decision makers also known as allotment. ... A by-election or bye-election is a special election held to fill a political office when the incumbent has died or resigned. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. ... A show election or a sham election is an election that is held purely for show, that is, without any significant political purpose. ... A Fixed-term election is an election that occurs on a set date, and cannot be changed by the incumbent politician. ... A general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are up for election. ... Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election do not actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. ... Rules for, and experience with, local elections vary widely across jurisdictions. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ... Apportionment, or reapportionment, is the process of determining representation in politics within a legislative body by creating constituencies. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The Gerry-Mander first appeared in this cartoon-map in the Boston Gazette, 26 March 1812 Gerrymandering is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage. ... The process known as redistricting in the United States and redistribution in many Commonwealth countries is the changing of political borders (in many countries, specifically the electoral district/constituency boundaries) usually in response to periodic census results. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voters choices are confidential. ... This article is about the political process. ... “Political Parties” redirects here. ... Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ... Elections by country gives information on elections. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The List of election results by country gives information on elections. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This electoral calendar 2007 lists the national/federal direct elections held in 2007 in the de jure and de facto sovereign states and their dependent territories. ... This electoral calendar 2007 lists the national/federal direct elections held in 2007 in the de jure and de facto sovereign states and their dependent territories. ... Sortition is the method of random selection, particularly in relation to the selection of decision makers also known as allotment. ... An election is a decision making process whereby people vote for preferred political candidates or parties to act as representatives in government. ...


Demarchy was first coined by Australian philosopher John Burnheim, whose political model removed the need for the state or bureaucracies. These randomly selected groups, sometimes termed "policy juries," "citizens' juries," or "consensus conferences" would deliberately make decisions about public policies in much the same way that juries reach verdicts on criminal cases. John Burnheim, Professor of General Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia. ... For jury meaning makeshift, see jury rig. ...


Demarchy attempts to overcome some of the functional problems with conventional representative democracies, which in practice have often been subject to manipulation by special interests and a division between professional policymakers (politicians and lobbyists) vs. a largely passive, uninvolved and often uninformed electorate. According to Burnheim, random selection of policymakers would make it easier for everyday citizens to meaningfully participate, and harder for special interests to corrupt the process. Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ...


More generally, random selection of decision makers is known as sortition. The Athenian democracy made much use of sortition, with nearly all government offices filled by lottery rather than by election. In the Canadian province of British Columbia, a group of citizens was randomly selected to create the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform to investigate and recommend changes to the province's electoral system. Sortition is the method of random selection, particularly in relation to the selection of decision makers also known as allotment. ... The Athenian democracy (sometimes called classical democracy) democratic system developed in the Greek city-state of Athens. ... Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin: Splendour Without Sunset (diminishment)) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo - Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 36 - Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area  Ranked 5th - Total 944,735... The Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform is a group created by the government of British Columbia, Canada to investigate changes to the provincial electoral system. ...

Contents

Demarchy and the problem of modern politics

Demarchy is an attempt to produce a form of democracy that is free from many of the influences and problems that are part of modern politics.


Electioneering

Most modern democracies are made up of republics or parliaments. In both of these cases, citizens participate in the direct election of individuals to represent them. Unfortunately, most citizens have neither the time nor the inclination to adequately study which person or party to vote for (see Rational ignorance). As a result, much time and money is devoted to political canvassing and advertising—where politicians promote themselves in much the same way as a commercial product. The result of this is that people vote according to their impressions of the politician and party based upon political advertising, plus any other form of media that has influenced them. The problem with this is that people may not necessarily vote for the best candidate since they have not taken the time to examine for whom to vote. Demarchy does away with the election process, thus saving the time and money involved in self-promotion, and instead gives power to a person who has not attempted to promote themselves in this manner. Rational ignorance is a term most often found in economics, particularly public choice theory, but also used in other disciplines which study rationality and choice, including philosophy (epistemology) and game theory. ...


Institutional corruption in political parties

Demarchy could also replace traditional political parties. Since people are randomly selected to act as representatives, there is very little chance that the person involved is part of a "party political machine." While random selection will not remove political bias, what it will do is select a person as a representative who has not had to compromise their own beliefs in order to gain political alliances and support. Institutional corruption (such as a person being supported by businesses in order for both to mutually benefit from the situation) is also unlikely—any corruption would occur after the person is selected and is more likely to be reported (since the person selected would probably not be used to corruption at that scale).


Making decisions based upon political expediency

Many politicians make decisions based not necessarily upon what is the best thing to do, nor upon their own ethics and morals, but upon what is best for their own political gain. A politician is dependent upon his or her good standing with voters, as well as an ability to "fit in" with the party political structure. Since a person's time in politics sometimes is short, it is only natural that they do everything possible to continue their career. Demarchy, because it is based upon random selection, does not make a person's career dependent upon popularity, and, because a demarchy is likely to remove the direct influence of political parties, there is no "party line" that the individual must adhere to. This is not to say that political alliances will not be formed after a person's selection—but that the structure of demarchy is less suited to decision making based upon politics.


Areas of thinking and debate

Although this form of democratic thinking has yet to be popularized or rigorously examined and critiqued, there are three broad areas of thinking:


The first area of thinking concerns whether those randomly chosen should replace a representative democracy. In this sense, rather than elect politicians to serve in a representative council and/or senate, people are randomly chosen to fulfill this role. The alternative to this is that representation is dispensed with entirely and those randomly selected are appointed to make decisions within a specific government department or area of responsibility. For example, a person may be selected to make decisions about national defense, or they may be selected to make decisions about the environment—and they do so as part of a group of randomly selected individuals.


The second area of thinking concerns the range and extent of decision-making and focuses upon macro- vs. micro-government. Should demarchy be practiced at a federal/national level only, at a local/community level only, or should it be practiced at every level of government? This issue is important, but focuses more on other issues of democracy that are not necessarily specific to random-selection of decision makers.


The third area of thinking concerns whether those randomly selected should first meet some form of minimum criteria (such as level of education, lack of criminal record, age, and so forth) in order to be selected, or whether anyone should be allowed to be represented. In the former case, some form of meritocracy would apply. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Burnheim's model of demarchy involves the partial or complete dissolution of government departments and bureaucracies, which are replaced by citizen's juries. Demarchy as a concept does not necessitate such a radical step as integral to its purpose.


When one considers how much time and effort politicians and bureaucracies expend in gaining or supporting political strength, the practice of demarchy may be quite efficient. Politicians in western governments spend a good deal of their time either influencing others or being influenced by others. The purpose of this influence is that politicians and lobbyists can achieve their political goals. Because demarchy selects decision-makers randomly, the time and effort spent on politician machinations and manipulation is limited. In theory, therefore, demarchy could be a more efficient system of democracy than having elected officials.


Problems of implementation

No modern nation has attempted to use demarchy as a primary system for political decision making, so it is difficult to assess problems of transition or shortcomings of the system.


Possible barriers to implementation include:

  • The difficulty of convincing incumbent politicians and political parties to give up power voluntarily
  • Public uncertainty over adopting an untried system
  • The veto power of minority groups over legislation (in some systems) or amendments to a national constitution, if necessary

Political candidates are generally familiar with the issues facing their constituents, and are usually elected based on how the constituents judge their reaction to those issues. A randomly selected jury may not actually be well-educated about the political problems of the day (because they would not be professional politicians) so the culture of a demarchist society would have to change dramatically to educate citizens on complex political issues. Although, without the need to curry favor among potential voters in order to succeed in future elections, they would have little incentive (other than public opinion) to listen to their constituents. There is also little incentive, other than the laws which also apply to existing politicians, for the randomly selected legislators to avoid corrupting the system for personal gain.


Demarchy is designed to make balanced decisions by including a diversity of people in a consensus-forming process. It is unclear how this could be applied to an office which is held by a single person, such as a president. Elimination of such offices would be criticized as leaving the country without clear leadership in times of crisis or military emergency. An alternative to elimination might be the election of the executive by a randomly selected group of people, or a change to a system where the legislature chooses an executive in the form of a prime minister. (Many countries already use the latter parliamentary system of government.) President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies, trade unions, universities, and countries. ... A prime minister is the most senior minister of a cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Demarchy also runs considerable risk of appointing people who are not educated or informed about the issues they have to make decisions on, or people who simply do not care. (For example, a Demarchy would possibly force shopkeepers to make decisions on defense, or the education system). People who are apathetic towards politics may find themselves thrust into a position of power they do not want and cannot wield effectively. Even more dangerous is the prospect of appointing incompetent people to positions of power. Any system that decides who can and cannot be given political power runs the risk of being abused, except for public elections, which of course destroy the whole purpose of a demarchy.


A possible solution for the problem of placing uneducated or unwilling people in power would be to make people apply to be selected, but this does not solve the problem entirely (people could still apply even if they were not really competent).


Courts as an example

An example of direct democracy is the use of most democracies to use a jury of peers in criminal cases. The jury is normally a body of randomly selected citizens who decide the guilty or not guilty verdict, which is a prime example of direct democracy.


Demarchy in fiction

The concept of demarchy played an important role in Frederick Pohl's science fiction novel, The Years of the City (ISBN 0-671-46047-1), which is set in a near-future New York City. In the novel, all government offices, including the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court, are filled by average citizens chosen using a form of selective service. Appointees are aided in their duties by android-like Digital Colleagues, extensive computer databases, and an overall goal of reducing bureaucracy and legislation rather than creating more. The last of the book's five sections (Gwenanda and the Supremes) focuses on the story of a Supreme Court Justice. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States...


In Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space series of novels the concept of demarchy has been used to flatten hierarchies. Here, in one of the human factions—the demarchists—everyone is theoretically equal in the realm of government and all major political related issues are voted upon by everyone in a technological version of Greece's direct democracy. Joan D. Vinge also uses demarchy in the sense of electronic direct democracy in her 1978 novel The Outcasts of Heaven Belt (later incorporated into The Heaven Chronicles), perhaps the earliest use of the term. Alastair Reynolds (born in 1966 in Barry, South Wales) is a Welsh science fiction author. ... Revelation Space is a 2000 hard science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. ... Joan D. Vinge (born 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American science fiction author. ...


In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy, the Martian government's lower house is selected via Demarchy in the third book Blue Mars. For the late American actress, see Kim Stanley. ... The Mars trilogy is a series of award-winning science fiction novels by Kim Stanley Robinson, chronicling the settlement and terraforming of the planet Mars. ...


Klerostocracy

Demarchy could also be called klerostocracy, as kleros is the Greek word for casting lots. Klerostocracy would literally mean, "Rule by random selection." In Book 4 of Aristotle's The Politics,[1]

I mean for example, that it is thought to be democratic for the offices to be assigned by lot, for them to be elected (assigned by vote) oligarchic.

Lottocracy

The concept of demarchy is similar to but slightly different from the concept of lottocracy.[2] Burnheim ... insists that the random selection be made only from volunteers.[3] In the chapter A Concept for Government, León states: ... that first of all, the job must not be liked..[4] A detailed protocol for lottocracy is described in the same chapter.


See also

This entry is related to, but not included in the Political ideologies series or one of its sub-series. Other related articles can be found at the Politics Portal.

Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision making to the process of legislation. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... Panarchy is a conceptual term invented by the Belgian political scientist Paul Emile de Puydt in 1860. ... Sortition is the method of random selection, particularly in relation to the selection of decision makers also known as allotment. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Aristotle's Politics
  2. ^ The term was coined by L. León in his book The World Solution for World Problems (ISBN 90-900259-2-8, no copy rights attached)
  3. ^ Brian Martin, "Demarchy: A Democratic Alternative to Electoral Politics", Kick It Over, No. 30, Fall 1992, pp. 11–13.
  4. ^ A Concept for Government, León

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Demarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1681 words)
Demarchy is a term coined by Australian philosopher John Burnheim to describe a political system without the state or bureaucracies, and based instead on randomly selected groups of decision makers.
Demarchy attempts to overcome some of the functional problems with conventional representative democracies, which in practice have often been subject to manipulation by special interests and a divide between professional policymakers (politicians and lobbyists) vs. a largely passive, uninvolved and often uninformed electorate.
Demarchy is an attempt to produce a form of democracy that is free from many of the influences and problems that are part of modern politics.
libertarianism: Demarchy as a Means of Decentralizing Power (1923 words)
Demarchy does not guarantee anyone a formal decision-making position, but instead gives everyone an equal chance of being members of groups of their choice.
Historically, the closest thing to demarchy in practice was democracy in ancient Athens.[26] The Athenians used random selection for most public offices, typically selecting 10 individuals, one from each of the ten tribes, for a term of just one year.
Demarchy's greatest strength is its model of participation that does not give anyone a formal position of influence, no matter how brilliant, ambitious or ruthless.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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