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Pyramid Republic

Think Globally, Vote Locally
  [vote for,

The fundamental problem with representative democracy is that it is only as good as the process for choosing the representatives. Consider, for example, the process of voting for President of the United States: in any given election, about half the population is going to feel disenfranchised as a result, and that's arguably not an incorrect perception on their part. But in order to be a representative government, there must necessarily be some compromise on the matter.

In the Pyramid Republic, the general public only directly votes for local representatives. These representatives are apportioned roughly according to population. For example, every cluster of 5,000 people might get to select three representatives. These districts could be determined geographically, although experiments involving other methods of assigning districts, such as voluntarily through coordination and registration of a group via the Internet could prove interesting.

These representatives are responsible for managing local affairs, and are also responsible for electing representatives to the level of government directly above them. The scope of their collective authority, then, is limited to the set of people represented in aggregate by the representative they elect to the next higher level of government. So, citizens might directly elect neighborhood presidents, who then are responsible for electing a city councillor, who in turn may, along with all of the other councillors, collectively exercise power over all residents of the city. Elections are held whenever there is a vacancy, but no person may ever advance more than one level upwards at a time—so, for example, aldermen may only become mayors, not governors, and the system may only be entered from the bottom.

The pyramid proceeds upwards, group by group, until it reaches a handful of representatives at the highest level (although in countries adhering to the principles of Federalism, there may be multiple such pyramids, and there may regardless be multiple pyramids representing different branches of government). The need for a single executive at the top is thereby obviated, since the representatives at the highest level need only negotiate statewide policy among themselves. They may, if they choose, select one of themselves to be the "President", "Speaker", "Prime Minister", or "Grand Poobah", but that person remains "first among equals" and enjoys no special powers over the others.

Anyone elected to a position may serve in that position indefinitely, or until removed from office via an ostracism vote. Patterned loosely after the Athenian process, ostracism is a method of removing unsatisfactory representatives from office. Every so often, each citizen may participate in a retain/recall vote for any of his own representatives, including any representative elected by one of their representatives. These elections are held with frequency varying from every six months for the lowest level representatives, to every four years for the highest. Any person who receives more recall votes than retain votes is immediately removed from office, and relegated to basic citizen status. That person may run for office again, but of course must start over at the very bottom.

Under this system, government more directly comes from the mandate of the people. At each level, the people you vote for are largely from the pool of people you personally are familiar with, and you can therefore be far more confident in knowing that you've chosen the best person to represent the interests of you and your constituents. Additionally, each citizen has a more or less equal say in the overall makeup of the government, without giving one group or the other a disproportionate amount of power at any given time.

Of course, as an (as yet) experimental/theoretical form of government, many of the above outlined parameters could be adjusted or substituted as necessary to address unforeseen problems; the practical implementation presented here is merely a suggestion. So this idea really encompasses any form of government defined by the two key features of (1) level-by-level ascension, wherein a vacancy in any given rank may only be filled by a member of the immediately preceding rank, and (2) the presence of some process by which citizens may, either directly or indirectly, remove any unsatisfactory representative from office.

ytk, Jul 20 2011

Proposal for universal democracy http://www.monbiot....the-age-of-consent/
[pocmloc, Jul 20 2011]

The Venetian Republic http://en.wikipedia.../Republic_of_Venice
[DrBob, Jul 21 2011]


       This is already partly operational, where people vote for their constituency MP; the MPs in the house of commons vote for the Prime Minister, and the various heads of state in the EU get together to appoint various EU chiefs. And the EU chief meets with the NATO chief and the Chinese PM to decide on issues of world government and domination.   

       At any rate, we are closer to that model than to universal equitable democracy <link>
pocmloc, Jul 20 2011

       So make local officials the electoral college. That could work. I think events in the US lately are proving that a layer of sane and rational people between the voting public and the officials they elect might be a good idea.
bungston, Jul 20 2011

       // a layer of sane and rational people //   

       Oh no, he's been at the Funny Mushrooms again ....
8th of 7, Jul 20 2011

       We could hire in the Swiss.
bungston, Jul 20 2011

       Like the Vatican ? Yeah, good call ...
8th of 7, Jul 20 2011

       "With village and factory soviets as a base, there arose a vast pyramid of district, cantonal, county and regional soviets, each with its executive soviet. Over and above these stood the 'All-Russian Soviet Congress,' which appointed an 'All-Russian Central Executive Committee' of not more than 200 members, which in turn chooses the 'Soviet of People's Commissaries' — the Ministry."
mouseposture, Jul 21 2011

       I both agree and disagree with this Idea. That is, I've also noticed a problem with the design of ordinary representative government systems. The problem I see, at least with respect to the United States system, is that it was designed when the population of the nation was maybe 10 million, and now it is 300 million.   

       That means each "direct representative" needs to handle the needs of 30 times as many people as originally designed. This has resulted in officious flunkies who have the job of filtering out those who actually get to see their representatives. The flunkies also make corruption easier.   

       Something Needs To Be Done. While modern communications may make it easier for Person A to contact Person B, when one of them is supposed to ALSO communicate with hundreds or thousands of other people, how can you expect that person to get any OTHER work done?   

       It therefore seems almost inevitable that a tiered system of representatives will be part of the solution. However the 2nd tier is defined, it can mostly concentrate its communications with members of the 1st tier, who have the job of directly representing the desires of some smallish segment of the Public (perhaps only 100 adults). This implies that that membership in the 1st tier of the Government could be as large as 1% of the adult population. (Huge salaries and other perks for this group obviously can't be afforded and must be forbidden!)   

       Notice that if the population increases, then so also automatically increases the 1st tier, and, as appropriate, also the other tiers. If we keep the ratio the same, then the 2nd tier would be 1% of the 1st tier, and the 3rd tier would be 1% of the 2nd tier, and so on. And you definitely need 1 person at the top, if only to ensure that "passing the buck" Stops Here.   

       I've been thinking of this Issue for some time, and am not yet ready to write it all down. When I am, I'll probably post it as a nice long separate Idea here. I just hope I remember that others have been thinking about it, too!
Vernon, Jul 21 2011

       This will do for our government what the ponzi scheme did for our economy.
Alterother, Jul 21 2011

       //the MPs in the house of commons vote for the Prime Minister, //

No they don't. In the UK, the party elects a leader and, if the Queen invites that party to form a government, the leader assumes the role of Prime Minister. At no point do the MPs in the house of commons elect the Prime Minister. Occasionally, if the Prime Minister resigns or dies, the MPs of the ruling party get to elect the new Prime Minister but that's as far as it goes.

As for the actual idea, it's not dissimilar to the electoral process in the later years of the old Venetian Republic. <linky>
DrBob, Jul 21 2011

       sounds like a recipe for bloated plutocracy and a massive self serving political class. still anything would be better than the mockery of democracy that we have here in the Estados Unidos.
WcW, Jul 21 2011

       True [DrB}.
pocmloc, Jul 21 2011


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