TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Hacking democracy: a simple, legal way to put the power in the hands of the people

Literally all the problems in the way we're governed right now are due to the people with decision making power being disconnected from their constituents. No one except those running the military industrial complex want our tax dollars to fund endless war. No one except the bankers want our tax dollars to bail them out.

Occupy wall street, anonymous hacking government emails, peaceful protestors yelling at passerbys on weekends, hundreds of thousands of people signing online petitions, anarchists dropping out of college to go live in the woods, these techniques have not proven at all effective in fixing the broken system. No one seems to want to get to the root of the problem, the power structure itself.

I propose an online direct democracy system that any registered voter can use (not only members of a particular political party) that would allow every citizen in a community to propose, edit, upvote, comment, and vote on legislation that impacts their community. But this system is toothless without the hacking democracy part of my plan.

A person (not a politician) runs for office under the platform that he will exclusively use this decentralized decision making process to make decisions. Imagine that instead of his own brain deciding whether or not to pass legislation, he agrees to submit to the whims of the people. He will still be proposing legislation through this system, but now everyone can. If he has good ideas, the citizens will vote for his legislation. If he doesn't, he can just execute the legislation his constituents come up with.

I have a million bulletproof counter-arguments for any criticism of direct democracy & I have the time to explain them to you, but the most important idea you need to consider is this: we need to incrementally improve the system. No one is going to come up with a plan tomorrow that fixes all of society's problems and instantaneous paradigm shifts aren't practical.

Check out my site: http://hackingdemocracy.wordpress.com

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 10 2013: There is a site where anyone can pose a question and everyone can vote on them. It's IMO a mess. The questions are shallow and often have false dichotomies. So, it's a good idea, but needs a good team to work on it.

    PeopleCount.org has a different approach, compatible with our existing laws. A team creates better questions, starting with national issues, and then tests and refines them. The questions are organized into "political profiles" which give a broad overview on issues. People log in and give advisory votes. They can return at any time and change their answers and answer more questions. They can see how their district, state and country voted, and they might change their vote.

    The site is primitive now, with much more planned. The site was done with existing technology and the project needs funding to go forward. To support the project, please register and begin to complete your profile. Donation of $1 would show that it can be self-funded.

    What does an advisory vote do? Currently representatives don't know what we want. Though their may be data in polls, these are almost always national, so representatives don't particularly believe them, especially if they are contrary to what they hear from the few constituents that contact them, and the special interests that pay for their campaigns.

    And WE don't know what we all want, so we don't know what we can reasonably hold our reps accountable for. With this system in place and people participating, incumbents can be easily challenged if they don't deliver what people want.

    To make this easier, a communication system will be added so our officials can report back to us, according to what issues we say we want to hear about, and at whatever frequency we desire. They'll be able to effectively account to us on what they've done.

    Candidates can, too, cheaply, making campaigns much less expensive.

    There's broad agreement on many issues. Without us knowing it, govt need not deliver.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.