Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The weight of public opinion

The scales of...whatever.
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,
against]

This is a sculpture/public art piece which also serves as a money raiser for charity. Basicaly it's a large set of scales, contained in a perspex box. On the side of the box is a poll with two alternate opinions. Depending on which view they support, the public drops coins in through a slot to one of the scale's trays. Thus, the more popular view will weigh down the scale. The money is cleared out once a week and given to charity, and a new poll is added.

Note #1. To make sure no-one tries to put washers or other weights in the slot, a standard vending machine coin sorter would be utilised.

simonj, Mar 29 2004

British Coinage Standards http://www.royalmin.../specifications.asp
Weight does not equate to value. [DrBob, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       +, but I say give the money to political funds supporting either side.
Worldgineer, Mar 29 2004
  

       I like this very much, because it illustrates the idea of money being able to sway decisions - yet is very democratic and participatory on its surface.   

       [... and then there's the guy who felt particularly strongly in favor of one side and showed that by throwing in a $1000 bill...]
jutta, Mar 29 2004
  

       + Very nice, [simon]. I surrender my pocket change.
Letsbuildafort, Mar 29 2004
  

       Would the instareadable state of such a poll be an issue and skew results?
theircompetitor, Mar 29 2004
  

       Finally I could put all my pennies to good use. Ten pennies would have more weight than a dime.   

       Charities could compete, let's say United Way against Red Cross. After a week the winner gets it all.
kbecker, Mar 29 2004
  

       Excellent idea. +
cromagnon, Mar 30 2004
  

       ah, the penny drops!
po, Mar 30 2004
  

       Judging from your website, I am assuming you have read Piers Anthony's Split Infinity series. This comes straight out of Juxtaposition.
ato_de, Mar 30 2004
  

       No, I don't read piers Anthony. Bio of a Space Tyrant put me right off.
simonj, Mar 30 2004
  

       Nice. If it was set up for a particular issue for, say 3-4 months it would be nice to chart the 'score' over that period. My guess is that it would also show the foolishness of asking people's opinions on very complex issues.
hippo, Mar 30 2004
  

       My guess is that the fluffy cute animal side of any issue would win, decisions of minor importance but much local interest would be best decided in this manner, such as should a certain pub be allowed to gain a late license, should the local authority change parking charges, stuff like that.
engineer1, Mar 30 2004
  

       I am going to start planning the Political coin dispenser and hire it out for several hours in the evening when no one is looking, for large corporations say British American Tabaco or Exxon etc. so that they can easily lobby on any issue for significantly less than the millions that it costs them at the moment.   

       Sorry unless you put a guard there to stop mechanical coin dumping then its bones for me.
PainOCommonSense, Mar 30 2004
  

       Hey Engineer1 at least that would be real democracy.
PainOCommonSense, Mar 30 2004
  

       you jest!
po, Mar 30 2004
  

       I dunno. Maybe the guy/gal could be married.
Idea seems like it'd be prone to abuse by ballot-stuffing.
thumbwax, Mar 30 2004
  

       I believe in "One man, one vote." just so long as I am the "One man."
ato_de, Mar 30 2004
  

       The charity angle is good.   

       I'd miss wading into fountains to collect money, but at the same time I'd play this game.
dpsyplc, Mar 30 2004
  

       Yea good idea. You'd have to make sure the polls weren't anything too controlversial to avoid offence   

       (such as 'Do you think your town should be a white-only zone).
britboy, Mar 30 2004
  

       Why? It's art. The reaction people have to a display can be as interesting as the display itself.
Worldgineer, Mar 30 2004
  

       Isn't this just politics with scales? How do we keep billionaires, corporations, and unions from tipping it?
RayfordSteele, Mar 30 2004
  

       Same as always. We don't.
Detly, Mar 30 2004
  

       Rayford provided the issue was minor then would it matter? a billionaire wastes a few dollars or a few hundred to get their pet idea through, the winner is the charity.
engineer1, Mar 31 2004
  

       Here’s the wishing well variation, where two fountains are used. One is named for one proposal, and the other for the counter proposal. Let’s say the first is: “I wish my taxes were higher”; and the other: “I wish they were lower”. At the end of the wishing period, the coins are collected and weighed. Whatever the decision, taxes are raised, and the coins go to build more fountains.

Once the public becomes familiar with the wishing process, the two fountains are consolidated into one.
ldischler, Mar 31 2004
  

       Dunno. Not getting this. Seems to me it's going to be pretty static, tipped on one end pretty much all the time. Unless the question is one with a very even split, even a 51% lean would probably yank it over to one side and keep it there.
waugsqueke, Mar 31 2004
  

       er.. [waugs], so what ?!
It's a sculpture/money raiser.
pjd, Mar 31 2004
  

       "...even a 51% lean would probably yank it over to one side and keep it there."
I vote that we get someome other than waugs to design the scales.
  

       I like this. If you restricted the coins to one type, this would work particularly well. Change machines could be located nearby.
st3f, Mar 31 2004
  

       I think this display, since it would characterize the entire local community, would tend to be phony, i.e. people would vote differently then they would have in a secret ballot.
theircompetitor, Mar 31 2004
  

       re: "weight does not equate to value" You could have a mechanism that sorted the coins out into their values. Each value could be dropped into a separate tub. You could position the tubs at different distances away from the pivot, so that the turning moment they made was proportional to the monetary value. Plus, this would encourage people to put more money in, since it's quite fascinating watching the coin go in the correct tub. I used to have a transparent money-box that sorted coins out like this. +
spacemoggy, Mar 31 2004
  

       Nice addition, [spacemoggy].
bristolz, Mar 31 2004
  

       Well, why not make certain polls pennies, or dimes only?
Letsbuildafort, Mar 31 2004
  

       I like this (even though it reminded me of those TV talent contests where the audience votes by sending SMS texts or calling in at a premium rate, thereby making money for the "daddy wants a new Bentley" charity).
methinksnot, Nov 23 2010
  

       There's a supermarket chain in the UK (Waitrose) which gives money to charity. The charity they give money to is decided by their customers. Every time you spend £10 (I think), you are given a small green plastic disk which you deposit in one of three perspex collecting boxes near the exit, each collecting box being labelled with the name of a different charity. I find it interesting that customers leaving the store, laden down with shopping, etc. do not make a random choice, but will read the names of the charities and choose where they want their contribution to go to - this can be seen by there being one charity (usually one with animals or children in its name) having a lot more green disks than the others. Personally, I put my green disk in the box with the least green disks in.
hippo, Nov 23 2010
  

       AM I correct in understanding that everyone who has supported this idea equates democracy with cash?   

       This is an appaling state of affairs - quite literally direct cash lobbying - legitimised bribery - call it what you will it is the ugliest face of politics.   

       I have only one bone to give. How much did those 6 buns cost?
Twizz, Nov 23 2010
  

       So making decisions based on public opinion is not the essence of democracy?   

       And public opinion can be measured in cash?   

       While it may be true that many self-proclaimed democracies actually operate on the above principles, this should not be confused with the definition of democracy
Twizz, Nov 23 2010
  

       Democracy is the best form of government that money can buy.
8th of 7, Nov 23 2010
  

       This has nothing to do with democracy and only a little to do with public opinion. It is a sculpture/public art piece. No need to get grumpy, really.
methinksnot, Nov 23 2010
  
      
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