Friday, 12 February 2010

Citizen Mundi

Citizen Mundi is a site that simulates how a type of direct democracy would operate. Anyone can join and participate.

In some ways it operates in a similar way to the Interactive Democracy proposed here, with initiatives that may be voted through to a second round debate and final referendum. But, one of its innovations is that your voting power depends on how much participation you have previously demonstrated. This can be measured by the technology. For example "Submitting an initiative is worth 5% towards your participation ratio."

To my mind, the big disadvantage of such a system is that it is prejudiced against in-frequent participants who may have key and detailed knowledge on a certain subject but generally don't get involved in every issue. Imagine if this was applied in the real world: there may be a busy nurse or doctor, with a family to look after, with little time or inclination for politics, but with excellent insight and a keen interest in voting on a health care bill. Indeed some may consider that these people should have more voting power on this issue than a frequent participant with no specialist insight. The proposed Interactive Democracy system doesn't give them any more clout, except that they are free to influence as many people as possible by the power of their well informed arguments.

But to be fair, Citizen Mundi could evolve away from the "participation ratio" system if someone were to propose a change and the vote was carried.

(The name Citizen Mundi means citizen of the world.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there. After months of re-thinking and going back to the drawing board, we have re-lauched Citizen Mundi. Come and spend some time with us.
We still place some importance on participation because it is the one means we can think of through which the people who claim that "people are too stupid to rule themselves" could be proven wrong and... actually, I don't think they are that wrong.
I have discussed this many times at WDDM and it's a chicken and egg thing. Should people be taught to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process first or should they just be given the power first. Personally, I don't care which one comes first, particularly in a virtual model like this, which can do no harm...
But the question still remains, with great power comes great responsibility and in a more democratic society, each citizen would get a great deal more REAL power. Can they use it wisely? Should it just be handed to them? Would they take the time to learn a few things before voting or would they just use their power to display bigotry and prejudice with catastrophic consequences? This is why we believe that regular participation is the key to getting people used to wielding that responsibility. We believe that people are just not used to it. You talk about a nurse with a busy family life... how many hours per week does this nurse spend on Facebook? Or watching TV? Politics is what will determine if her kids will have a future or not. Is it worth a few minutes per week, just to have a decent enough participation ratio and a general awareness of what other issues besides a health bill are going on? Would she not be interested in school legislation that affects the future of her children directly? Busy lifes is a good excuse for the Western World to prepetuate a policy of escape-goating of ellected representatives, totally absolving ourselves from anything that might be wrong with our society. It's always the politician's fault, we hide behind it, it's a cosy arrangement... but it's not very grown up. Lets watch a little less "Sex in the City" and take responsibility for our children's future. Is it too much to ask? I know it is... until people are hurting, it is. Please come and debate at Citizen Mundi. We need good analytical minds.