Brexit and deliberative democracy

I fantasise about the day when the people who fancy themselves the champions of liberal capitalist democracy – you know the Business Class set – will realise that they are munching through the landscape and, as Schumpeter argued – following Marx – that they were undermining the very foundations of their good fortune. Looking at Inter State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) as enshrined in various (don’t make me laugh) ‘free trade agreements’ in which those in Business Class get to make judgements on how domestic law applies to foreign investors – rather than the institutions we evolved since Magna Carta to deliver the rule of law – they’ll say to themselves “Is it really a good idea to tear all that up to make sure we can keep tobacco brands safe from democracy?”

Likewise they might be wondering, in the light of the rise of people like Donald Trump, if the increasingly toxic brew of vox pop democracy to which the relentless drive for eyeballs in media has done so much to contribute, is such a great deal. Sure enough the befuddlement and endlessly wound up state of the electorate provides a way for vested interests to survive and prosper despite periodic elections to elicit the consent of the governed. But things are getting scary, and they’re getting scary quite fast.

There are plenty of occasions in which people warn that ‘the market’ won’t be pleased with one thing or another – one ‘signal’ or another that the electorate might send. Mostly it’s hooey. But the worrier in me senses more than a grain of truth in Anatole Kaletsky’s concerns about Brexit:

If Brexit wins in a country as stable and politically phlegmatic as Britain, financial markets and businesses around the world will be shaken out of their complacency about populist insurgencies in the rest of Europe and the US. These heightened market concerns will, in turn, change economic reality. As in 2008, financial markets will amplify economic anxiety, breeding more anti-establishment anger and fueling still-higher expectations of political revolt.

The threat of such contagion means a Brexit vote could be the catalyst for another global crisis. This time, however, the workers who lose their jobs, the pensioners who lose their savings, and the homeowners who are trapped in negative equity will not be able to blame “the bankers.” Those who vote for populist upheavals will have no one but themselves to blame when their revolutions go wrong.

Of course they may have no-one to blame but themselves, but something tells me they won’t be blaming themselves. 

Then there’s Simon Wren Lewis’s musings on the Brexit referendum and the media.

[I find] it unnerving when, after typing ‘UK media bias EU’ into Google, one of my own pieces comes up on the first page. The gist of that (mid-April) post was if the broadcast media stuck to their ‘shape of the earth: views differ’ policy, our EU membership might disappear as a result.

What I took as given in making that comment is the partisan behaviour of the non-broadsheet press. In a more recent post I argued we should not take this as given. Martin Kettle subsequently spelled it out very well here. He wrote “Remain or leave? Politics or the press? The question on Thursday, just as Humpty Dumpty said, is which is to be master.” But is this kind of sentiment just a form of Guardian writer/reader transference: blaming the messenger of working or lower middle class views because they abhor those views? Is this, as comments on my own post suggested, just the tabloids reflecting the views of their readers?

Forget the straw man of newspapers telling readers what to do. The concern is not with which side newspapers formally endorse. It is about how stories are selected and portrayed. Like the recent front page story from the Mail about migrants in a lorry saying “we’re from Europe – let us in”. Except they didn’t say that. Incredibly the Mail is not the worst offender for putting stories like that on its front page, as the montage below shows (source @kwr66 HT @mehdirhasan).

We need to find a way to ‘take back control’ of the means of communicating information.

Here’s Chris Dillow in a similar mood

However, whilst the idea that people are good judges is valid in some contexts, it seems assuredly untrue of the EU debate. There are three problems here:

 – Voters are wrong about the basic facts. For example, they over-estimate the number of EU migrants in the UK by a factor of three.

 – Some of their views are shaped (pdf) by cognitive biases. A form of halo effect has bred hostility to “elites”: because the Establishment has been wrong about many things, voters don’t trust them even when they correctly warn of the costs of Brexit. The post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy means voters over-estimate the costs of immigration, and blame immigrants for problems caused by the financial crisis and austerity – a process perhaps exacerbated by the “bad begets bad” heuristic: voters unsettled by the uncertainty caused by immigration also believe immigration is bad for the economy.  And people’s tendency to take risks when they have lost can cause them to become reckless.

 – Many voters are simply angry and spiteful. 61% say they’d accept a weaker economy as the cost of reducing immigration**. As Dan Davies tweeted, we are a nation of 60-year-olds in crap towns complaining about GP appointments.

The problem is that these defective preferences are systematic. It is those who have lost from economic and social change, or who feel discomfited by it, who aremost hostile to the EU.

Now, in saying all this I am not necessarily opposing referendums generally. In principle, it should be possible to have institutions which promote deliberative democracy, in which the public have a voice whilst ill-informed or nasty preferences are filtered out.

And here’s the thing, the institutions of deliberative democracy – such as citizens’ juries and assemblies chosen at random from the people – do provide a filter. I’m biased, and it’s hard to understand things out of context, but eyeballing the kinds of changes in people’s thinking before and after these processes seems to move people towards more sensible positions. Not necessarily more left or right – and sometimes clarity appears to emerge in various ways that one can imagine being portrayed as politically incorrect.

But ask yourself this question. If you’re a democrat – that is if you think democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other forms – and you’re told about any subject that people changed their minds after a deliberative process? Well people don’t change their mind all that often in the normal course of events. It usually takes a fair bit to get people to change their mind – and admit they were wrong! I’d say there’s a strong chance that the deliberative voting was something that better embodies the spirit of democracy than the voting before that process. And it turns out deliberative processes do produce substantial changes in voting. Here are two examples.

Here are the views of a group deliberating on Policies toward the Roma in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2007.

Before
Deliberation
%
After
Deliberation
%

Difference
%
Agree that:
“The Roma should live in separate Roma neighborhoods” 43 21 -22
“The Roma neighborhoods breed crime and disease that affect everyone” 60 69 +9
“The government should hire more Roma police officers” 32 56 +24
“The government should hire more Roma in the court” 26 45 +19
“The Roma schools should be closed and all the children should be transported by buses to their new school” 42 66 +24

And here is a group of British people in January 2010 (emphasis added).

Before
Deliberation
%
After
Deliberation
%

Difference
%
Agree that:
The UK should scrap plans for a National Identity card 62 72 +10
Expanding the Freedom of Information Act 69 57 -12
Consulting the public on matters of wage expenses and working conditions of MPs 72 62 -10
Requiring political parties to practice more “internal democracy” 69 61 -8
Giving more decision-making and taxation powers to local governments 53 67 +14
Requiring full disclosure of MPs and other civil servants communications with lobbyists 89 59 -30
Choosing mayors of populations centers by direct election 63 50 -13
Lowering the voting age to 16 40 51 +11
Holding a referendum on whether or not Britain should withdraw its membership from the EU 60 45 -15

People are currently fulminating against David Cameron for holding the referendum to sort out a problem in his own party. I don’t feel that censorious. It’s easy for people to require politicians to show ‘leadership’ on issues that are important to them. But politics is a difficult business and appealing to the people seems like a pretty reasonable part of the repertoire. The real pity of it is that “the people” are different depending on how you engage them – on whether you expect them to vote sensibly with or without deliberation. It looks like deliberative democracy might offer some pretty worthwhile anti-bodies against the toxins that are spreading throughout the Western World.

This entry was posted in Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, Philosophy, Political theory, Politics - international, Politics - national. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Brexit and deliberative democracy

  1. conrad says:

    I think this is surely issue specific — for major issues like the Brexit, surely people are as well informed as they care to be given the coverage from all political angles. Perhaps what’s really important here is how well educated the population is such that individuals can and will try to make reasonable and informed decisions.

    I also can’t help but think of biases in deliberative polling too which this skit from Yes Minister sums up.

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Thanks Conrad,

    I’m talking about deliberative bodies like juries – not deliberative polls.

    People can certainly become as informed as they like, but why should they inform themselves. After all, their own chances of influencing the resulting decision are infinitesimally small. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to inform themselves particularly well.

    In a deliberative process, the randomly chosen citizens have the time and far more incentive to take it seriously. They’re also in careful dialogue with each other.

    I’d fancy my own chances of thinking things through in dialogue with others – and with resources to call expert witnesses – than on my own out here in television land.

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      The informing process also works from the other side. For an expert, trying to craft a message that will convey their expertise even after it’s degraded by the bought media is a lot of work, and there’s high potential for blowback. Not to mention the apparently-averted UK law banning anyone getting government money from “lobbying” (I expect they excluded elected politicians, even the UK Conservatives are not *that* stupid).

      But once you have a fairly small group in a jury, it’s much more reasonable to craft a message for them. The same applies to every interested party, obviously, and given the almost complete failure of our legal system(s) to deal with corruption effectively I’m curious to see what would happen if we used citizens’ juries more often.

      Also, the potential for this to cross over with the more punitive aspects of the civil legal system is high – “sure, vote however you want, but I’m going to sue anyone who disagrees, or the whole jury, if you decide against my interests”. Like Peter Thiel’s campaign against Gawker those threats don’t have to be valid to be effective. And it would be difficult for the government to sheild jurors from a Thiel-type offensive.

      • Nicholas Gruen says:

        Thanks Moz,

        But I don’t understand. Are you saying that people participating in the citizens deliberative body might be sued (vexatiously or otherwise) for their expressed views in their deliberation?

        Of course properly set up, they would be legally protected from this, but even without that, if that’s what you’re saying it sounds pretty far fetched to me.

        • Moz of Yarramulla says:

          It is far fetched, but when you use a citizens jury on an issue where rich people (or even one rich person) have a strong opinion, its a risk. The NZ review of rape trials was a classic example of high emotion but low risk of lawsuits, because it would take extreme … something… to stand up and say “I think you’re being too hard on rapists like me”, then sue.

          Imagine that rather than Brexit, it was the subsidies paid to Tasmanian native forest logging. Contentious issue, politicians have been elected and de-elected on the issue, a fair bit of money involved… I can see the attraction of a jury. I can also imagine Gunns noting that anti-SLAPP laws and jury protections mean the jurors can’t be sued directly for the jury decision. But they could be sued for breaking the jury rules. Even a tiny bit. Or the media could be encouraged to think that those violations were newsworthy. And everyone breaks the law, all the time, that’s the British way. So they employ some private detectives and computer sleuths and provide the police with evidence of wrongdoing. And perhaps even launch civil suits if the Police aren’t interested. Or per Thiel, find anyone with a grudge who’s willing to put their name on a lawsuit. Compared to the cost of the other astroturfing and media campaigns, this could be quite cheap. You might only have to do it once, and suddenly “citizen’s jury” service becomes like legal jury service – only the poor are willing to do it.

  3. Moz of Yarramulla says:

    FWIW I think citizen’s juries are a great idea, and I’d like to see them used more. But I think they need some research and trials to make sure they work.

    My concerns are kinda selfish, but also pragmatic. If serving means taking time off work, there needs to be an arrangement so that I don’t have a choice between losing my house and going to prison (and losing my house). Viz, the pay for serving needs to be the same as the pay I get in my day job. Otherwise I can only afford to serve for as long as my employer is forced to subsidise the process. The current $200/day or so rate for legal trials is offensive and demeaning (I’ve been through it recently). I would very much like to see the rate links to politician’s pay, and either direction would be fine by me.

    Similarly, from my employer’s point of view it’s much cheaper to simply cough up the $2200 fine than see me vanish for a month to sit on a jury. Not that mine would even mention such a thing, of course.

    The problem is that taking a random citizen and getting them to the point of being able to make an informed decision on a non-trivial issue is hard work. Paying the jury is the least of it, you need to pay the experts on that issue as well as the experts on “how to present to a citizen’s jury” and in order to do that you need to have the research on juries.

    Then you need a place to do it, and quite possibly accommodation (because I’m buggered if I’m moving to Nugget Hill for six months to sit on a jury at my own expense, so why should someone from Nugget Hill move to Sydney?).

    On the other hand… counting the random opinions of shaved monkeys to decide whether trivially different shaved monkeys deserve human rights is an appallingly stupid idea. One that Australia is proud to have used, repeatedly, with often terrifying results. Most recently we’ve seen the request that hate speech restrictions be lifted… and that’s a very special moment. Right you are, now put them in the van (as FirstDogOnTheMoon would say).

  4. paul walter says:

    Enjoyed it. The plebs again hoodwinked, this time on something so large that people can’t identify it, like cosmic noise. Some of the stats were damning.

  5. john Walker says:

    This is a crisis long in the making – decades of expert opinion, on just about anything , opinion and ‘ evidence’ that was( and still is) simply fabricated to serve the intetests of ‘who ever’ has come home to knock down the dunny door.

  6. RexR says:

    A fascinating problem. Information overload is the same thing as ignorance. Today as a species we reject any information that does not conform with what we want to believe. Historically, in the absence of information we invented stories to believe.

  7. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Or identities

  8. RexR says:

    Them too.

  9. paul walter says:

    I remain fascinated at these deep conversations between Nicholas and Rex Ringshott.

    No unconsidered life is not worth consideration, with this lot..

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Thank you

      I know Rex appreciates the validation

      (not all that surprisingly for a fictitious entity)

  10. john Walker says:

    The foundation of modernism ( and i am one) is the Book of Job , its the color pallet is the pallet of of Blake Stubbs Burke and Delacroix , poetry as true beautiful and powerful as this is rare:

    .,. Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

    Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

    Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

    When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

  11. paul walter says:

    Just got back from the butcher wondering on this issue, due to the unhelpful msm coverage.. I’ve noticed the Brexit vote!!

    This time I’m here, “engaged” and to rescan that article is akin to being given a mug of cool water out in the desert.

    I wonder whither now for Britain, which seems to be falling apart? Will the City decamp off shore with its trillions, as some have suggested? Will the right or the left fill any vaccuum left by discredited neoliberalism?

    Seems to me, this has been inevitable since the Meltdown and because of the implementation of Murdoch-hijacked neoliberalism as a club to beat down union influence and the concept of social infrastructure and social goods, along with the unwillingness or inability of governments to ameliorate the social consequences of conservatist neoliberalism (say at the interntional level involving Tobin tax thinking) made this event inevitable.

    Look, this is a crude note and I’m not remotely qualified to offer an opinion, but Nick Gruen’s reposting of his article deeply resonates for some reason, particularly given the terms on which our own election is being fought.

  12. paul walter says:

    Nicholas Gruen, you are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Ringshott is clearly a real individual, otherwise his name would not appear below his posts.. you can’t fool me, I know my syllogism.

    Clearly Ringshott exists.. in fact Ringshott lives!!

    Maybe a pseudonym though, by the pic, of a former sportsman and failed entrepreneur unable to comment publically on issues poleconomic.

  13. Hubert says:

    Deliberative juries have changed their opinion, as the article says, fine. It’s up to everybody’s individual judgement whether the actual change was to the positive or not. Personally, I am fine with the Roma shift, the British shift seems a very mixed bag.

    The problem with the completely random way of picking juries is “less than optimal” competence. (Ok, some politicians are pretty incompetent, too.) This has been criticised ever since Athenian democracy a few millennia ago when their originally true democratic system was overthrown in favour of electing representatives.

    I wonder why deliberative democrats ignore the importance of fixing this painful Achilles heel?

    There is an obvious solution, namely weighing random selection by expertise, as proposed by New Demarchy.

  14. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Thanks Hubert,

    It sounds plausible, and perhaps you’re right that expertise needs to be built into the model. I think a decent body of randomly chosen citizens will understand their own ignorance and seek advice from experts. That’s part of the gig with deliberative democracy. And I’m suspicious of the means of choosing experts and of seeking to get some kind of ‘balance’ amongst experts. How do you propose it work?

    • Hubert says:

      Hi Nicholas,

      an objective way to determine expertise is to compare expert’s predictions objectively with what actually happened. Our experiments have shown that a person who predicts correctly in a certain topic has a much better likelihood of being right again in the same topic, particularly if you repeat this a few times.

      This discovery is already put to good use in innovation and product development market research. We can just as well apply it to improve sortition.

      If we weigh sortition with the empirically measured topic expertise of each citizen, we get citizens’ committees with much higher competence than with mere random selection. The algorithm ensures in parallel that the sample matches the socioeconomic profile of the affected community’s population.

      And voilá: we now can appoint citizens’ committees which combine both, representativeness and superior expertise. The highly intuitive and valid objection regarding their competence will no longer apply.

      Does this answer your question?

      —-

      PS: “Citizens will understand their own ignorance and seek advice from experts.” They will, as do professional politicians. Both still do not know reliably who is an expert and who is just a quack or a lobbyist or a misguided ideologist. The process described above solves this dilemma and directly, removing the need for non-representative experts.

  15. Nicholas Gruen says:

    I’m afraid I think your answer is unsatisfying. What we care about in this area is skill in determining ‘ought’ questions – predictive understanding – at least in a testable form – is much less important. Should we allow Central Banking for All for instance. To determine an expert to advise on this, I wouldn’t be particularly interested in their ability to make economic predictions.

    I’m a fan of prediction markets and all the rest of it, and also of novel ways of measuring expertise. But this is a small subset of the range of knowledge one needs to bring to bear to answer a question like the one above.

    • Hubert says:

      Nicholas: I am not at all suggesting that prediction questions should be employed to determine ‘ought’ questions. They cannot, as they deal with ‘will be’ matters.

      The only point – and a most crucial one for deliberative democracy – of employing prediction questions is to determine Hayekian knowledge in a strictly empirical way prior to weighted sortition. I posit that committees of representative citizens with superior expertise also have superior legitimacy compared to random citizens.

      Before deliberation, committee members will already have earned advance acceptance because of their demonstrable predictive success in the topic at hand. Afterwards, their predictably better decisions will earn such improved committees even more respect.

      Why is representative democracy so successful? Average (random) citizens believe that they get to elect persons better equipped to make decisions then they are. If we adopt the suggested improvement from drawing random (average) citizens to demonstrably better equipped ones, deliberative democracy will prevail.

      Does this increase your satisfaction with the point?

      PS: The ability to make consistently correct predictions is becoming more and more a recognised method to determine knowledge, and has been found superior to self-reported expertise. The testing method satisfies the Popperian scientific principle and cannot be cheated because no ground truth exists at the time of testing.

      PSPS: At another time, we can discuss the Central Banking matter in the light of predictable future developments in cryptocurrencies: central banks are dangerous dinosaurs and they will simply disappear, in a not so distant future.

      • Nicholas Gruen says:

        Hi Hubert

        I’m afraid you’ve stoked my misgivings, not allayed them.

        If you wanted deliberation on our health care system, our education system, or corrections system – or some interaction between them – what predictions would you expect those who are identified as experts to have distinguished themselves with?

        You and I disagree about whether crypto-currencies will displace national (and plurilateral international) currencies and central banks (though I’d argue that my case for central banking for all applies in any period before central banks are replaced).

        We’re each making a prediction. But it’s about the future! As will always be the case with ‘ought’ questions. How would we work out who’s view should be more trusted?

        • Hubert says:

          Hi Nicholas,

          expert rank does not determine “whose view should be more trusted” in the actual deliberation process. Rule #8 of the Manifesto states the following: “Each committee member shall decide individually in the interest of all citizens according to best knowledge and free conscience.”
          One member, one vote.

          Rather, expert rank determines the likelihood with which a citizen may be selected to a deliberative committee. No more, but also no less.

          You are correct that questions about the future now would not help the selection process. That is why prediction questions which determine citzens’ respective expert rank now must have settled with an empirical result already in the past.

          Regarding your NESTA paper, such questions could have been as follows, to mention but a few:

          For instance, the NESTA paper posits on page 45 that “government bonds are a source of risk-free investment” and that “government’s role in banking should be optimised” (an ambiguous word, btw).

          New Demarchy would have determined citzens’ expert ranks with a series of prior questions such as:

          Upon the passing of the Basel bank regulation in the 1990’s a prediction question could ask:
          “Will regulation, that EU government debt is risk-free, lead to excessive lending to EU governments?”
          Citizens who forecast correctly the debt defaults of Greek government bonds (or the financial calamities of Portuguese government debt or the rest of the “Club Mediterranee” countries) would have a higher expert rank.

          Or:
          “Is the likelihood of bank failure of Austrian banks where politics and governments have a significant influence, higher or lower than that of Austrian private banks?”
          Citizens who predicted correctly the multi-billion Kommunalkredit disaster or the even bigger Hype-Alpe-Adria Bank catastrophe (all politician run banks) would have a higher expert rank.

          PS: Anticipating an objection about long prediction horizons: there are almost unlimited short-term prediction questions which demarchic democracy can employ to measure citizens’s expertise in an objective way. The two examples above are fresh on economists’ minds and the general public can easily research them to confirm their truth.

  16. Moz of Yarramulla says:

    Surely the problem with obtaining experts is that the very questions best suited to citizen’s juries are those where we don’t know or necessarily can’t get, experts?

    Even on supposedly “narrow economic” questions, the whole point of a citizen’s jury (or indeed, parliament) is to get people who don’t have those narrow economic views to make decisions that weigh more than purely economic factors? Attempts to translate what economists call “externalities” have consistently failed, leading to nonsense like that various attempted to quantify finance costs into the “energy return on energy expended” calculations for electricity generation (the two are independent, you can use whatever factor you like without affecting the validity of the result).

    For those of us who live in a nation of people, rather than in a global economy, the difference is becoming increasingly important. “the economy” has been doing very well, while the great majority of people have been doing nearly as badly as the global environment. Asking economic experts to make decisions on how to fix that is at best optimistic (“maybe they’ll change”) but more likely displays a failure to learn from experience.

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      (“economy… has been doing very well” over the last 20-50 years, not the last 5)

  17. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Hubert,

    I don’t think you’re really responding to my point. Certainly the validity or otherwise of my proposals for central banking is more or less completely independent of people’s ability to predict the things you mention.

    And most of the decisions a polity makes are like that.

    On your points that quote the paper, yes, “optimised” is ambiguous – as are most of the words and sentences we’re using right now. My reference to “risk-free” investment is a convention from the literature – which I’m unhappy with – as indicated by the scare quotes I put around ‘risk free’ on p. 35.

    • Hubert says:

      Nick,

      Ok, let’s think about your own proposal. Does deliberation and judgement about its validity really not need a higher than average level of knowledge?

      Is it preferable or advantageous if the members of a committee have a high level of knowledge in economics, banking and the various other fields needed to understand it – such as the risk-free-ness, or not, of government debt – or is it better if they just have the limited understanding which is the natural consequence of our modern times where specialisation in all branches of knowledge is getting deeper and deeper?

      In (much simpler) Athenian times Socrates could brush away demarchy by lamenting “the folly of appointing public officials by lot, when none would choose a pilot or builder or flautist by lot, nor any other craftsman for work in which mistakes are far less disastrous than mistakes in statecraft.”

      Socrates was right, at the time. However, if we ensure both expertise and sociodemographic representativeness we can invalidate his argument and re-instate true democracy.

  18. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Hubert, your questions are tendentious. You seem to have little doubt that your right. Yet the questions we’re deliberating on are very difficult.

    Shouldn’t experts be having this conversation – rather than us. After all, we’re amateurs at this.

    If so, where will we get them?

    What predictions that they’ve made will we measure for their accuracy to work out who’s a proven expert?

    • Hubert says:

      Re: “What predictions…?” I gave you several examples. You never responded to them specifically. Why would a series of such empirical questions be inferior to random selection?

      Re: “Shouldn’t experts …?” You are using a rhetoric device. Selecting a citizen’s committee for decisions of consequence is an entirely different matter to public debate on a website. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in democracy.

      Re: “Where will we get them…?” I gave the answer. Sortition is from amongst citizens. Each citizen may be an expert, in some topic or another.

      Are we really engaging in a conversation here? Are we progressing? If not I’d rather desist.

  19. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Thanks Hubert,

    So we’re trying to get experts on what kind of democratic deliberation we should have. The examples of predictions that you’ve given above, from what I can see are about interest rates and the movement of economic aggregates and so on (which I argued would not even be relevant to the question of whether or not the macro-economic innovations I’ve proposed should be pursued, but certainly don’t help us turn up experts to decide what the best means of selecting experts on democracy and government is).

    • Hubert says:

      Let’s see: “We’re trying to get experts on what kind of democratic deliberation we should have.” means you want to deliberate how we should deliberate.

      The objective way to assess this is to have citizens predict the impact of policy decisions by the various kinds of deliberation (e.g. that of representative politicians or some royal or a benevolent dictator). We use the gold standard of a controlled environment.

      Cohort 1 – Representative Politicians/Queens/Dictator: We compare the actual impact of their policy decisions with its rationale, the intended impact, which is their forecast.
      Cohort 2 – Citizens “Random”: We randomly draw citizens and compare their forecast accuracy with the actual impact.
      Cohort 3 – Citizens “New Demarchy”: We randomly draw citizens who predicted better on earlier policy decisions, weighted more the smaller their prior forecast error. Then we determine this draw’s forecast accuracy, just like above.

      We can even monte-carlo the last 2.

      We predict that Cohort 3 will significantly outperform the other 2. However, we do not take it for granted. Therefore Rule #10 of the Manifesto establishes objective accountability of the deliberation method through mandatory impact forecasts.

Comments are closed.