[MG] Global advisory parliament - was Hi & Re: Invitation to Metagovernment project

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Thu May 26 03:49:53 EDT 2011

Welcome Wybo,

Thank you for replying, please see my answers below.

Wybo Wiersma wrote:
> Why focus on voting:
> - Apart from practical reasons of keeping the paper focussed, it also
>   is something that can both conceptually, and in its implementation
>   be kept separate.
> - Advantage of implementing it as a separate / interoperable app /
>   service, is that it can be used in as many different drafting /
>   voting / decision situations as possible, limiting fragmentation. 
>   It is a core, smallest common denominator.

Your exclusive focus on voting seems to be the only justification for
the importance you attach to critical mass (below).  It threatens to
undermine the overall argument of your essay.

> Why focus on critical mass:
> - Because it is the biggest problem facing online communities, and one
>   that is often ignored (no, if you build it, they will not come!).
>   And without it, nothing but marginalization will ensue.

Mass cannot be the only possible answer.  Thomas (offlist) mentions
drafting media in this context, to which I would add Wikipedia as an
example.  Wikipedia had a low mass initially, but it was not thereby
marginalized.  It grew continually and did not stall. *

I suspect that cultural and other aggregative forms of expression can
be immune to network effects, and I would place legislative expression
- even if it were stamped ADVISORY ONLY - well within that category.

> Why only advisory:
> - Because it will provide the best interaction with existing
>   institutions, and will be seen as reasonable by the majority. What
>   happens after traction has been gained among millions of people 
>   and advice is grossly ignored, is up to history. Though personally I
>   am not in favour of doing away with any existing democratic
>   institutions.

Some mistake?  I did not recommend "doing away" with any institutions,
or speak of them flaunting the public will.  I think all of the state
institutions are strong enough to endure the formation of an
independent public will - having done so in the past - and I believe
that a resurgent public would only strengthen them further. **

If we could somehow limit the public's influence on government to an
advisory role, then how would that result in the "best interaction"?
I gave reasons why it *cannot* be so limited, but why do you say it
*ought* to be?

> Why global:
> - Facebook, the internet, and the most pressing issues are global. In
>   addition the democratic deficit is greatest at this level. Also,
>   most people will have at least some interest in global issues.

  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Modelling_Wikipedia%27s_growth

 ** We must make an exception for the party system.  As an institution
    of will formation and expression it is unlikely to benefit from a
    functional public sphere.  Historically the rise of mass parties
    was attended by a decline in the public sphere, and there is every
    reason to suppose the two are incompatible.  They seem to occupy
    the same "niche" in the social ecosystem.

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

Originally posted to the mailing list of the Metagovernment Project:

More information about the Votorola mailing list