Lambert here: Joe Firestone has been persistent in doing the very important work on the IVCS (Interactive Voter Choice System). We could probably build a full-scale IVCS for the price of a single F-35, and it wouldn’t even catch on fire! We could pilot one for a fraction of the cost of the ObamaCare Marketplace. So why don’t we? (Personally — and granted, completely in “Hey, kids! Let’s put on a show!” mode, here — I’m uncertain about one big system first. I’d like to see IVCS bootstrapped in the context of Gene Sharp’s Non-Violent Method of Persuasian and Protest #198: “Dual sovereignty and parallel government.” For example, there’s really no way to manage a watershed, presumably as a Common Pool Resource, as a watershed, because there’s a mismatch between jurisdictional and ecological boundaries. So set up a parallel system of voting on watershed resource management issues with an IVCS. The difference between our dysfunctional electoral system and a functional one will become evident soon enough, as word of the disparate voting outcomes spreads.
By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at Corrente, Firedoglake and Daily Kos as letsgetitdone. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives
Dysfunctional democracies are provoking anger, confrontations, crises and conflicts for the following reasons:
- In many cases, the citizens of dysfunctional democracies are unable to decide who runs for office, who gets elected and what laws are passed because of obstacles erected to prevent them from doing so.
- Several of these obstacles, for example election laws in the U.S., result in the election of lawmakers, such as those who control the U.S. Congress, who represent only a minority of eligible voters and pass legislation that rarely represents the will of a majority of voters.
- According to extensive research, special interests, wealthy individuals, corporations and financial institutions tend to exert greater influence than voters over lawmakers’ legislative actions because they finance lawmakers’ electoral campaigns.
- Rogue lawmakers whose actions are not controlled by their constituents but by influential groups and wealthy campaign funders are contributing to the creation of increasing inequalities of wealth that enable a small percent of the population to acquire most of their nation’s wealth, while the rest of the population has little or no wealth and few if any opportunities to create wealth.
- Undemocratic political parties that control electoral machinery and do not allow competitive parties to take root prevent voters from setting party agendas and nominating and electing candidates of their choice, increasing the legislative disconnect between voters’ and lawmakers’ priorities.
These dysfunctional democracies are creating and failing to resolve life-threatening domestic and transnational problems, crises and conflicts for the following reasons:
- Lawmakers from opposing parties, who spend most of their time competing with each other for campaign contributions from sources other than their constituents, tend to be unable to resolve conflicting priorities that must be resolved before they can agree to pass urgently needed legislation.
- Even if lawmakers recognize the urgent needs of their constituents and their countries, they nonetheless tend to pass special interest legislation demanded by campaign funders that are not their constituents.
- Lawmakers often fail to pass coherent and workable legislative programs to solve life-threatening societal challenges because they are too limited in their knowledge bases and too corrupted by campaign funders demanding legislation that is not in the public interest.
- Lawmakers and chief executives faced with transnational conflicts tend to prefer the use of force rather than diplomacy to solve them, which often aggravates and expands conflicts.
- Lawmakers and heads of state typically do not consult or obtain the support of their citizens for transnational policies that involve the use of force, despite the fact that polls show most people prefer non-violent solutions rather than the use of force.
- Many nations, including the U.S., are expending large amounts of scarce resources fighting continuing wars around the world, expenditures that benefit special interests such as military contractors at the expense of legislative programs that serve the public interest.
- Economically marginalized, socially excluded and politically disenfranchised groups that do not participate in electoral and legislative processes are opting to form armed militias and exploit the vulnerabilities of “open societies” to attack civilians and government officials.
The Technological Fix
The web-based technology of the patented Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS) can fix failing democracies and enable voters and other democracy stakeholders to surmount domestic and transnational problems, crises and conflicts in the following ways:
- By providing voters, lawmakers, candidates, political parties and issue groups common ground online for devising common legislative agendas and slates of candidates to enact them.By enabling these stakeholders, under the leadership of voters, to build transpartisan voting blocs, political parties and coalitions large enough to elect their candidates without special interest funding.
- By facilitating the formation of transnational voting blocs, parties and coalitions to solve transnational problems, crises and conflicts, through collectively formulated peace plans and common agendas.
- By enabling the members of transnational blocs, parties and coalitions to form blocs, parties and coalitions within their home countries to elect candidates who will enact the peace plans and agendas of transnational blocs, parties and coalitions.
Here’s how the technology will work:
- It will enable individual voters to set legislative agendas that cross partisan and ideological lines and connect online with voters with similar agendas to form voting blocs, parties and coalitions around common agendas collectively set by their members.
- It will empower voters and other stakeholders to supplant undemocratic political parties that segregate and cage voters into divisive party organizations controlled from the top down, and replace these parties with self-organizing voting blocs, parties and coalitions controlled from the bottom up by voters themselves.
- It will replace divisive and ideologically framed political party agendas with pragmatic transpartisan legislative agendas set by voters, lawmakers, candidates and political parties that respond to the current needs and wants of voters at the grassroots.
- Elected representatives and candidates who use the system to collaborate with voters to set common legislative agendas will be able to build winning electoral bases that enable them to get elected and re-elected without campaign contributions from funders outside their election district.
- It will enable blocs, parties and coalitions to adopt common slates of candidates and create transpartisan electoral bases around collectively determined agendas and slates – electoral bases that can numerically outnumber the electoral base of any single party and defeat party candidates because they comprise broad cross sections of actively involved members of the electorate.
- These voters, blocs, parties and coalitions will be able to oversee the work of their elected representatives to ensure they exert their best efforts to implement the legislative agendas they were elected to enact.
- The Interactive Voter Choice System contains an inherent consensus building incentive because it motivates and enables voting blocs, parties and coalitions to reach out and negotiate common agendas with virtually unlimited numbers of voters and other blocs, parties and coalitions so that they can create an electoral base large enough to elect their candidates; in contrast, blocs, parties or coalitions that do not reach out to build consensus with enough voters and other blocs, parties and coalitions will be unable to elect their candidates.
- While people can create blocs, parties and coalitions based strictly on ethnicity, race, religion, culture, etc., they will be more likely to grow large enough to win elections if they reach out to broader cross-sections of voters to negotiate common legislative agendas, adopt common slates of candidates and build transpartisan electoral bases.
- Marginalized, socially excluded groups and politically disenfranchised groups who use the technology to build voting blocs, parties and coalitions, domestically and transnationally, will be more likely to elect their candidates and get their agendas enacted if they reach out to non-group members to generate greater understanding of their perspectives, collectively adopt comprehensive agendas and slates of candidates that appeal to other groups, and build electoral bases that include broad sections of electorates in addition to their core membership.
- The system will circumvent political propaganda and media that propagate propaganda because IVCS-enabled blocs, parties and coalitions will create and manage their own independent information and communication ecosystems.
- The Interactive Voter Choice System can be implemented in a single web platform accessible from a single website more quickly than piecemeal reform efforts that are unlikely to be adopted over the opposition of lawmakers who do not want to change existing laws, regulations and practices that enable them to get elected.
- The core technology of the platform and website will be the patents for the Interactive Voter Choice System and the System for Playing an Interactive Voter Choice Game. This online multiparty interactive game enables users to familiarize themselves with the agenda setting, political organizing and consensus building tools provided by the Interactive Voter Choice System.
- The core technology will be combined with decision-assisting Artificial Intelligence technology to enable voters and other democracy stakeholders to query an expanding global database of laws, legislation formally under consideration by various legislative bodies, and informal proposals for new legislation.
- The technology and platform will also comprise social software providing users state-of-the-art communication and interactive capabilities.
- The platform will provide access to
- reinventdemocracyfoundation.net, an interactive global democracy building community.
- Mobile interactive multimedia kiosks that enable voters and other democracy stakeholders around the world to increase their understanding of the strengths and vulnerabilities of democratic forms of government and ways to use technology to overcome the vulnerabilities.
More information about the Interactive Voter Choice System is available at reinventdemocracy.net.