“Real democracy” videos

Tomas Mancebo wrote to draw attention to the following video clips. They seem to be inspired by the ideas promoted by Étienne Chouard.

Sortition and reform of political institutions

Keith has described me as the Godfather of sortition. Of course, I reject the capital G, which is associated with mafia, but I also reject the strict Christian role in which the godfather promises to see that the godchild is brought up in the True Faith. For me there is no such thing, especially in politics.

Politics is mainly a matter of making and enforcing collective decisions where it is desirable to do so. The decision procedures and enforcement procedures may well differ from context to context. As every engineer knows, a design that will work well on a certain scale will fail miserably and perhaps disastrously on a smaller or larger scale. From my first book on I have always seen sortition as a procedure that depends for its utility on many factors. In that book I argued for it as a way of selecting decision-makers in the decentralised authorities that I hoped might replace most of the functions of the highly centralised modern state.

The structuring of authorities charged with producing or protecting certain public goods has to be designed in relation to the problems that emerge from patterns of social interaction. In that book I singled out a few examples of areas of social activity that might have their own independent regulatory authority. But I had no systematic analysis of the problems of contemporary society. Certainly, if I had one it would now be hopelessly out of date. Humanity now faces major problems of which we were hardly aware a generation ago, some created by, and all changed by the explosion of our capacity to record, store, process, communicate and exploit information, where that misleading word has to cover not just figures and facts, but contracts, threats, promises, suggestions, commands and many other kinds of organisation, interaction and interdependence.

All nations have surrendered control of their currency, their terms of trade, much of their law and even entertainment to supranational bodies and processes. The nation-state as we know it survives as the authority responsible for many of these activities, only because we have not invented authorities capable of regulating them satisfactorily on the required scale, and we need to feel we are doing something about them by the occasional international agreement.
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