Looking for co-presenter on sortition in Washington

The National Coalition on Deliberation & Dialogue is holding its annual meeting in Washington, 17-19 October.

They ‘highly encourage’ two presenters.

I’d be interested in focusing on the cultural aspect of switching from electoral campaigns to sortitional selection. Especially how media might be used. Encouraged by NCDD’s suggestions, I might devise an on-the-spot exercise for participants.

I would assume that a co-presenter would concern her- or himself with the more conceptual aspects.  But maybe not. Maybe doubling up on the “How?” would be best.

Please contact me directly if interested: dgrant (at) thecommonlot (dot) com

Lotteries in the Atlantic

While I was out of town this weekend (for a conference–some good lottery-related discussion there, BTW), no fewer than 2 friends brought to my attention this recent piece from the Atlantic. It proposes that highly competitive universities deem admissible twice as many students as they have positions to fill, then select randomly from this list. A very sensible idea–from my own experience at competitive universities, I have little doubt that there are at least as many qualified applicants rejected as accepted.

Anyway, here’s the link:


Lottery Selection for Medical Students scrapped in the Netherlands?

Oh no it is not! There is still a large element of lottery selection, but because of de-centralisation, under the new rules it is difficult to tell how much more (or less) ‘loting‘ will take place. 

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Analysis programme BBC R4 24 Feb 2014 – feedback

A splendid piece with excellent contributions from Barbara and Peter. (I spoke to the producer and gave him a lot of pointers, but couldn’t do the interview because of a 3-week break in Tenerife)

I was delighted that most of the programme was devoted to lotteries for school and university places. The case for university entrance by lot was well made, as a difficult but inevitable method of choosing between generally well-qualified applicants.

However no mention was made of the highly successful Dutch medical school entry lottery which has stood up very well over the decades. Pity!

Lotteries for school places (seats in the US) produced a less satisfactory result. The obvious fairness of lottery and the unfairness of nearness-to-school were demonstrated.

But the result of using the lottery, especially in Brighton, is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ because the desired social mixing has not been achieved.

This is entirely predictable, because entry to the lottery is voluntary. Only the determined (middle-classes) go for it. If a representative outcome didn’t happen, at least all parents/children had a rough equality of chance.
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Life By Lottery

BBC Radio 4’s flagship Analysis programme next week is devoted to sortition and distributive lotteries:

Should we use chance to solve some of our most difficult political dilemmas? From US Green Cards to school place allocation, lotteries have been widely used as a means of fairly resolving apparently intractable problems. Jo Fidgen asks whether the time has come to consider whether more of society’s problems might be solved by the luck of the draw.

Producer: Leo Hornak. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03w02sl

The presenter interviewed Barbara Goodwin and Peter Stone and the producer consulted Conall Boyle and myself. Broadcasting on Monday 24th at 8.30 pm.

A Protocol for Mondial Lottocracy

In chapter 16 of his 1988 book The World Solution for World Problems, A Concept for Government, L. Leòn presented a protocol for mondial lottocracy.

At the moment, this blog, Equality by Lot, is all about an endless stream of opinions, opinions, …, and discussions, discussions… Would it not be an idea to start with a rules based protocol, such as L. Leòn’s protocol, and to ask people to add rules or to eliminate rules (with a short explanation of why)? It would make things much more down-to-earth and much more exciting.

Conference on ‘loting’ in the Netherlands

Ben Wilbrink draws our attention to a recent (Sept 2013) Conference on random selection:


(In Dutch, but google-translate will help)

At least nine papers presented, including one from Prof Em Piet Drenth. It was mostly about selection for entry to medical school, a very important practical application which has been run successfully for more than 30 years throughout the Netherlands.