[MG] A podcast on direct democracy

Scott Raney metamerman at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 18:20:54 EST 2016

On Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 12:38 AM, Patrick Millerd <mrpdublin at gmail.com> wrote:
> http://www.flashforwardpod.com/2016/04/19/episode-11-swipe-right-for-democracy/
> Not necessary to listen to the whole thing, the show notes are what I found
> most interesting, some good links in there.

I suppose it's good to see how the hoi polloi understand
mispresentative democracy, but I think there's a lot of
misunderstanding in there too. For example:

1) On turnout, the actual input of the people is much lower than even
they estimate. For example, Trump was elected with the support of only
18% of the US population.

2) They gloss over the difference between the number of bills passed
and the number of *substantive* bills passed. The majority of bills
passed are indeed for stupid stuff like renaming post offices and
declaring "National Lobster Day". In 2013 only 61 *substantive* bills
were passed by the US congress (not the 223 they cite). Which is
roughly one a week. Of course this does mean that a lot of the chaff
will need to be filtered out before people see it: For maximum
efficiency there should be a very high passage rate for bills once a
direct-democracy system is up and running so that we're not just
wasting enormous amounts of people's time. Real social engineering
should help us achieve this...

3) They've properly identified the idea of polling stations and voting
on a Tuesday (and not a holiday) as big problems, but unfortunately
also fall for the red herring that absolute secrecy *and* security are
both requirements for a DD system. I say you can have one or the
other, but there's no way to provide both. IMHO we don't even have the
latter in our current systems, so it's really no big loss to shift our
priority to that and abandon this whole delusion that secrecy even
matters anymore (Banning selfies at polling stations? Are they

4) I agree that an app for voting really is the best solution, but
would go further to propose that you won't even have to interact with
it in the vast majority of cases: You'll just look at the vote the
system calculates for you and let it ride unless there is some
indication that there is some need for you to pay attention to it
(e.g., if half of your matched proxies voted one way and the other
half the opposite).

> http://www.mobergpublications.se/printed/direct.htm Gave me some things to
> consider.
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