Today I thought about the issues of crony capitalism and lobbying in parliament. Direct democracy would solve those problems, but direct democracy has its own drawbacks, and people mostly prefer having their representatives which mostly take over the job of dealing with politics.
What if we removed those politicians who can be easily influenced by lobbyists from the game? Well, that’s probably much easier said than done. Why not use reputation for that, then? We could use Quantified Prestige (in a perhaps slightly modified version) to implement a reputation-based representative democracy in the following way: Every citizen belongs to the electorate and can allocate their 12000 Esteem Points to anyone who volunteers as official candidate for being a member of parliament.
There is a fixed number of MPs, let’s say N. With N candidates with the highest Prestige scores are MPs. Because Esteem Points can be allocated and reallocated at every point in time, the set of MPs is highly dynamic. An MP can be voted out of parliament within a second, and others can replace them just as quickly. The MPs vote on political issues, but the voting strength of each MP is proportional to their Prestige score.
Parties are optional. Each party can act as Esteem Point allocator that forwards them to its members and MP candidates according to its own policy. But the MPs are still the primary entities in this system: It’s them who get the Esteem Points.
Good idea or bad idea?
The advantage of this system is that MPs who are immune to lobbying and corruption can be supercharged, while the others can be quickly removed from parliament. A disadvantage might be that the decisions of MPs would become very populist, because otherwise they would be punished by getting their voting power reduced, or even kicked out of parliament. Those who hold most power over popular sentiment would have the greatest power in this system: In other words the media would effectively rule the system, and whoever controls the media, effectively controls the nation.
Another problem of this setup is how to create a stable government, or any government at all. Would the president be the MP with the highest Prestige score, which could change at any second? Why not? For a while the nation might have a different president every day, but sooner or later people would get sick of that and decide not to switch out presidents so often. The presidents in such a system wouldn’t very strong anyway, because at any time they make a seriously unpopular decision, they get demoted to regular MP status. Should that be moderated by making the status of president sticky for a certain time, for example a year or so?
Even in that situation getting a stable government would be a problem. What if the governments gets out of favour of the people and the party of the president doesn’t hold enough voting power to do much? Having a minority government would be quite frustrating.
Alternatively, the voting power of MPs is determined each x years via a snapshot of the current Prestige scores. The Prestige scores could still change all the time to reflect the sentiment of the people in real time, but the voting power would still only change every x years. That would be a system that’s pretty similar to the system we currently have, and might not be as disruptive as the unmodified version.
What do you think? Which version, if any, would you prefer? Do you have any better ideas?