The case against voters voting – book extract #2

A ballot paper is supposed to send a message to the government, telling it how it should behave. There are plenty of signalling mechanisms that would do the job a lot better, and it’s a mystery why the vote has been allowed to be fetishised as it has.

There are so many different ways of making decisions. Academics decide what they know using the peer review system, or by conducting clinical trials. Judges use a jury to decide what happened so that the law can be applied. Market mechanisms are used to make decisions about production and prices.

Bookmakers, actuaries and stock markets help to decide whether something is likely to happen, so everyone can allocate their risk accordingly. Artificial intelligence makes decisions that affect everyone, and it is beginning to transform the way that professions work, and to influence the decisions that are made.

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The bug in democracy’s code – book extract #1

This is an extract from my forthcoming book “Save Democracy?—?Abolish Voting”. It is taken from the Introduction to the book.

The bug in democracy’s code

The variety of liberal democracy used in Europe and North America has created untold growth, prosperity and inter-democracy peace. It has been a fantastically successful experiment and no generation of humanity is as lucky as ours.

Its continuing positive development is not assured, however. One of its fatal flaws is that politicians are stuck in something that looks a lot like the prisoner’s dilemma where, in a climate of distrust, their default setting is to accuse each other, however opaquely, of being liars and thieves. Because of this, politicians fail to defend the idea of democratic governance itself.

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Tidying up

Now that my book has definitely been completed, this is probably the last time that these books will be in one place, so I thought I’d get a pic for posterity.

It’s not the definitive pile and others have already been scattered around the house, but it’s a representative cross-section.

Its been a very satisfying, if occasionally lonely and patience-straining process.

Using these titles is not necessarily an endorsement of their contents -particularly the Arriaga book…

bookbinding

Final script sent to print

Yesterday, in what was a big milestone for me, I handed in the final copy of the text of my book, which is provisionally titled ‘Save Democracy – Abolish Voting’.

It will be published at some point over the next month or so (date tbc) by The Democratic Society. It’s their first publication in a series entitled “Ideas of Democracy”, and I hope, the first of many.

In advance of the launch (you will be able to buy it in print or as an e-book), I’ll be posting a few samples here, but in the meantime, here’s the draft blurb from the back cover to give you a flavour of what to expect:

draft book blurb

Picture Credit – featured image: Bookbinding – from here.

Neither neoliberalism nor Putin. Democracy has a bigger problem.

This is a short post that is intended to introduce a theme. I won’t develop it too much here (though I’ve filled it with links to posts that I, and others, have written that flesh out specific parts of the argument). I will be publishing something a lot more substantial on this shortly.

We are going through a period of political polarisation at the moment. The organised left may think that this is a good thing, but I have argued previously that this is a game that we are always going to lose at.

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Labour and Leninism

In the 1980s, Labour faced an existential threat.

For most of its existence, it had managed to fight off a particularly awkward challenge from Leninists of one kind or another. Initially, in the post-wat years, it came from The Communist Party, and it was awkward because Leninists were always been able to present themselves as the expression of Labour’s soul – socialism of an uncompromising and pure type.

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Why brexit may not happen

This has been my ‘pinned tweet’ for a while.


Here’s how I think it may work.

Imagine you had been offered a cake. It will be the most fantastic cake that you will ever taste. It’s like nothing you have ever imagined before.

Eating it will be so good it will have a transformative effect on you. It will change your life forever. It’s not so much a cake as a whole new culinary paradigm.

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