well, are we still opposed to a democracy?

Nov 2015
3,547
1,091
UK
#94
Less so by far than rule by the minority.
You could have a Party System like the UK but you won't get much above being governed by a minority. Conservatives needed 326 seats and won 318 so they went into coalition with the DUP to gain enough seats to form a government. There were 46,843,896 registered voters, 68.7% voted and the Tories achieved 13,636,684 votes. So the Tories achieved 42% of the vote.

You could have proportional representation but those governments can never agree and end up having regular elections. Take UKIP for example, they achieved more votes than some parties but have no seats (representation) in parliament.

Or which system did you have in mind?

Results of the 2017 General Election
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
70,768
38,642
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#95
You could have a Party System like the UK but you won't get much above being governed by a minority. Conservatives needed 326 seats and won 318 so they went into coalition with the DUP to gain enough seats to form a government. There were 46,843,896 registered voters, 68.7% voted and the Tories achieved 13,636,684 votes. So the Tories achieved 42% of the vote.
That is not government by a minority, though. The plurality got most of the way there, and after a coalition to form the government went over the 50% mark.
Or which system did you have in mind?
I was referring to the gerrymandered results of the American system, where a party can be in power without a coalition, and despite the other party having received more votes. That is minority rule.
 
Jan 2014
16,045
6,080
south
#96
That is not government by a minority, though. The plurality got most of the way there, and after a coalition to form the government went over the 50% mark.

I was referring to the gerrymandered results of the American system, where a party can be in power without a coalition, and despite the other party having received more votes. That is minority rule.
yeah. might be similar to the U.K bring run by the minority Labour Party.
 

StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
11,760
12,703
Work
#97
Direct democracy...? Ugh, I've not been too terribly impressed with the results provided by representative democracy over the last decade or two or three. I shudder to think what sort of laws more direct democracy might bestow upon us. More Proposition 13 type popular initiatives...? No thanks.

Seriously, as others have already noted, our supposedly thoughtful and informed legislators cannot reliably be counted upon to fully read and completely understand many of the laws that are being voted upon these days. How is an everyday citizen likely to be better and more fully informed? They aren't. And creating a system that enshrines gridlock in the absence of informed participation by the majority isn't likely to be a workable or desirable solution.

I appreciate your passion here, and your dedication to communal decision-making and action. Really, I do. But there are limits to the wisdom of the crowd, eh? So, call me more of a Federalist and less of a Jeffersonian Democrat, if you like. Educated technocrats have their place. Yes, I believe that.

Anyway, I think we are more or less inexorably on a path toward less democracy rather than more. As the impacts of globalization, resource depletion, and climate change bite harder and harder and the inability of popularly-elected, populist governments to deal effectively with the crises that ensue becomes more pronounced, people will look to "caretakers" to make decisions and take action. At the same time, we'll be creating what will be perceived as "superior beings" though some combination of artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and/or cybernetics. I fully expect that in 50 or 100 years the kind of democracy we here in the U.S. enjoy today will seem frightening and anachronistic to the people of that time, as will the sort of human-piloted transportation vehicles that we take for granted and even embrace as a symbol and manifestation of personal freedom.

Very like the way a "Mountain Man" of the 1840s would probably consider so many aspects of our modern lives to be intolerably structured and controlled by others... Times change, yeah?

For better and for worse...

Cheers.
With all of this, I do have to say I do favor the idea of a more direct democracy, but at the same time, don't think the way bonehead is framing it will get us any closer to it. I do think it's possible for people to be more active participants in social and cultural life rather than merely passive spectators. And I think the steps we take towards a society like that will foster more active participation by people. I just don't see a way to have more democracy while leaving capitalism exactly as it is. The two just won't and can't live together. Democracy can grow to a certain point, but eventually there is a wall that it hits. The dictatorship of capitalism. Giving people the power to vote on arcane laws that have no direct impact on them is silliness. But giving people more power to decide things that have a direct effect their everyday life, like their job, would have much more of an impact.

I think this points directly at your mention of the world inexorably becoming less democratic rather than more (I tend to disagree even though certainly there are aspects of modern life that are less democratic than the way things were before, but I don't see anything inexorable about that.) The things that have become less democratic—the parts of our life where people used to have some relatively equal say in decisions, or some equal share of control which they no longer have, are directly related to the move towards capitalism in the last 200+ years. Capitalism is from top to bottom, a dictatorship. But are we less democratic than we were (in the US) in 1950 when there were poll taxes and segregated restaurant counters? What about in 1900 when women didn't have the right to vote? What about in 1850 when it was still legal to own slaves? What about before anyone had any democratic control over government at all?

I tend to think of democracy more like the stock market trend (perhaps a bad analogy, considering the previous paragraph, but it's the best analogous graph I could think of). There are crashes and bear markets here and there, and it can be easy to fall into a state of despair if you look too closely at the graph and where things are going, but if you back away, and remember where it used to be, you see this:

 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
70,768
38,642
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#98
I tend to think of democracy more like the stock market trend (perhaps a bad analogy, considering the previous paragraph, but it's the best analogous graph I could think of). There are crashes and bear markets here and there, and it can be easy to fall into a state of despair if you look too closely at the graph and where things are going, but if you back away, and remember where it used to be, you see this:

Is that inflation-adjusted?
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
70,768
38,642
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
The democracy or the stock market? ;)

The stock market scale is on log scale, so it starts at zero but then grows by multiples of ten as you go up.
I understand that about the scale. I just wondered if the numbers were constant dollars or not.