A Technological Fix for Failing Democracies

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.

Implementation

  • 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
    • reinventdemocracy.net
    • 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.

5 responses to “A Technological Fix for Failing Democracies

  1. So, can you give an example of how things might play out in a simple scenario? Say there are 4 “hot” issues, and the populace is split about 50-50 on each. A voting bloc arises on each side of each issue, 8 voting blocs, and each is quite successful, getting 10% of the electorate to join. Each has a candidate in the election, but none of them will get a majority. They could form coalitions, “reaching out” to voters on one side or the other of the other issues. There are 16 permutations, so if every voter cared about every issue it is unlikely that either coalition will choose what he thinks is the “right” side of all 4 issues, unless the voter views and the coalitions align with the general stance of the current two major parties.

    How wold this play out differently from the US two-party system, or European multi-party coalitions, and how would the coalitions form if not along the current left-right spectrum?

    • Hello Jonathan,

      Thank you for this interesting question.

      The Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS) would change the scenario you depict in the following ways:

      1. Since there is no limit to the issues and priorities an individual voter, voting bloc, party of coalition can espouse, they would never be constrained to address any set list of issues or priorities.

      2. There is no limit to the number of blocs, parties or coalitions using the IVCS platform to set their priorities.

      3. Blocs, parties and coalitions can reach out to voters across partisan lines to increase their electoral base by negotiating common agendas and slates of candidates with ever large number of voters.

      4. By reaching out to broad cross-sections of voters across partisan and ideological lines, they will be able to build transpartisan electoral bases that outflank and outnumber the electoral base of any single party and defeat its candidates.

      5. This is especially likely to be the case in the U.S. where voters hold both major parties in extremely low regard. The IVCS platform enables blocs and coalitions to place their candidates on major party lines by having enough bloc and coalition members sign nominating petitions to place them on the ballot. So IVCS-enabled blocs and coalitions can either get control of who runs on major party ballot lines or beat major party candidates by building large transpartisan electoral bases.

      5. So the voting strength of each bloc, party, or coalition will be highly fluid depending on how many voters they can build consensus with, in terms of setting common agendas and adopting common slates of candidates.

      6. This fluidity makes it highly likely that coalitions will be continuously changing and growing proportionally to the number of voters they can bring into their online collectdive decision-making processes to set common agendas and adopt common slates of candidates.

      All of above factors, IMNSHO, enable voters to break out of the electoral cages that most political parties put them in and either co-opt the party’s electoral machinery or over ride it via their own self-organizing voting blocs, parties and coalitions.

      All best regards,

      Nancy

  2. There is another very simple way to make a very large difference. Some countries have a law that you must vote to maintain your driver’s license. They usually have voter turnouts in the 90 + percentage range.

  3. … or we could simply TAX ALL wealth or income above $10,000,000 at 100%.
    But that can’t happen because the United States and ALL capatilist societies have been totally corrupted by the Ultra High Net Worth Individuals who would sooner eat their children than part with the wealth extraced from the “little” people!
    Government always and everywhere decide who gets to have and keep the most money, and government always and everywhere was and still is corrupted by the Monied Elite.
    But lets not talk about the true source of corruption, and pretend any government anywhere has ever given a good god damn for the little people that government allows the RICH to exploit.
    Extraction Economics for the benefit of the few is clearly destroying world peace.

  4. Jim, The US government after the Depression and WWII instituted many policies that favored the advancement of the middle class. And, the middle class prospered and so did the country. It’s clearly the way to go. But, given human nature we have slowly gone back to an oligarchy. For me the thing to do is support leaders like Elizabeth Warren. Find enough who can educate and galvanize the public and we could have another ‘revolution’. I don’t know whether technical fixes like Joe’s can help.