2005/03/27

A thought about democracy

"Anatole ... says the business of throwing pebbles into bowls with the most pebbles winning an election — that was Belgium’s idea of fair play, but to people here [in the Congo] it was peculiar. To the Congolese (including Anatole himself, he confessed) it seems odd that if one man gets fifty votes and the other gets forty-nine, the first one wins altogether and the second one plumb loses. That means almost half the people will be unhappy, and according to Anatole, in a village that’s left halfway unhappy you haven’t heard the end of it. There is sure to be trouble somewhere down the line.

The way it seems to work here is that you need a hundred percent. It takes a good while to get there. They talk and make deals and argue until they are pretty much all in agreement ..."

— Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (London: Faber and Faber, 1999), p. 265.

5 Comments:

Two words: Proportional Representation.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/polit/damy/BeginnningReading/howprwor.htm

I can see the pragmatic ease that is attractive to the status quo: simple majority rules. Unfortunately under that scenario you end up with the same results. The difference being scale.

I think that a system of proportional representation would be a good first step for most western governments. Its regrettable that politions think in terms of (and drafft policy for)election cycles rather than doing the job they are elected to do: run stuff for the rest of us.

Otherwise, you end up with a bunch of blue and red states and your nation is divided, and thats not usually a harbinger of good things to come.  

Posted by deviant1
3/27/2005 06:08:00 pm  
"Two words: Proportional Representation "

Amen, D1. As you say, not the ultimate answer to the word's evils, but certainly a good & healthy start.

Thanks for the great  link ! VERY interesting. I like the last formula (where you vote multiple choices in descending orders), and it does ring a bell of my days in Oz. I can't vote here in France because somehow, although born of French nationality, I'm apparently not French enough to be granted the privilege, LOL, but I'm 100% Australian enough so that I could vote while I was there - I remember getting fined for failing to vote once. Must be cuz I like kangaroos :-) 

Posted by WhyNot
3/27/2005 06:37:00 pm  
Yes, thanks for the link Deviant1. I haven't yet read it through but I will add it to my list of hundreds of other documents I need to absorb. ;)
Majority rule does not a true democracy make accept in a totalitarian state and then it wouldn't be called democracy, naturally. Does this make sense? LOL

 

Posted by Dianne
3/27/2005 07:57:00 pm  
I think proportional representation looks like a good idea. Polls fluctuate, but America is almost always split down the middle, roughly half-and-half, which leaves half the country out in the cold. The 51% majority only makes it worse. 

Posted by SheaNC
3/28/2005 12:53:00 am  
It also stops a slim majority from ramming legislation through the process like a farmer helping a sheep over the fence.  

Posted by deviant1
3/28/2005 03:23:00 pm  

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