Sunday, 11 August 2013

Hierarchical democratic government

Current democratic structures are not without some flaws, which include a lack of transparency, a disconnection between the represented and representatives, etc.

One possible solution to this would be a hierarchical form of democratic government. Each citizen would have a vote on only one representative (who would be their representative), and in turn that representative would have a vote on only one representative at a higher tier, and so on.

The ratio of representatives to population needs to be low enough that every person can get to know their representative: at the least one face-to-face meeting per year.

The tier that decisions are taken at would depend on the urgency and importance of the decision. For example, some non-urgent strategic decisions would be decided by plebicite. Less-strategic non-urgent decisions would be put to a vote of tier 1 representative (i.e. those immediately above the populace) (this is for the kind of decision where plebicite turn-out would be low). Urgent decisions (e.g. responding to natural disaster) would be taken at the highest tier.

Every decision of every representative would be publicly disclosed. Citizens could challenge tier 1 representatives on their decisions, including their choice of tier 2 representative; tier 1 representatives could challenge tier 2 representatives, and so on.

One potential down-side to this system could be the number of representatives. I would suggest 1 representative per 1000, at each level. This roughly corresponds to the number of people any one person is able to be acquainted with.

This would result in 1 million representatives for 1 billion people (and hence 7 million representatives for the current population of the world).

Population Number of representatives
1,000 1
1,000,000 1,000
1,000,000,000 1,000,000

Interestingly, this is actually a lower number of representatives per head of population that the US: in 1992 therewere 510,497 popularly elected state and local officials, against a population of 300 million (1 representative per 600).

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