Article Index

Ideas and Policy Formation

Two areas need to be progressed, the nitty gritty policy details of

  • How to extend democracy and distribute power
  • How to reform and revise the political economy

Extending democracy and distributing power.

Ou current, limited representative democracy has to be supplemented. As we have seen competition for control of the state attracts power seekers, it may not be possible to overcome this human trait, power is seductive, but it surely can be moderated.

Sortition (selection by lot) will be part of the solution. The tribe can rein in the silverbacks, we can widen democracy and open up all areas (the executive, business externalities) to public scrutiny

  • We have selection by lots (sortition) already, it is the principle behind jury service. We have used it since the middle ages. The Ancient Greeks, from where many of our ideas of democracy came, recognised that a lot of oversight and governance work is just a chore. Not all work could be subject to meetings and voting. The use of sortition, alongside elections and voting, was a practical response, recognising that citizenship has obligations, to get things done.
  • The Ancient Greeks also though that without some drawing by lots elections were too open to manipulation and would result in plutocracy (rule by the powerful)
  • We have seen that the bonfire of the quangos has led to a proliferation of agencies and arms-length management organisations which create opportunities for cronyism, patronage, lack oversight and don’t deliver good governance. We need to supplement the currently lamentable oversight of the executive, which is failing and get all these areas under control.

This supports principle 2 – equality of citizenship

Reform of the political economy.

Make it sustainable and value adding, create responsible ownership and deal with externalities. This will be achieved by encouraging the responsible and alternative sectors of the economy at the same time as withdrawing favoured treatment from aggressive rent seeking corporations

  • Setting clear guidelines, standards and enforceable regulations for sustainability
  • The overhaul of corporate governance and accounting practices. The inclusion of the workforce, suppliers, customers and wider society where business activity has implications for it – just because you own it does not mean you have a free hand if it impacts the rest of us
  • Creating a level playing field where it is as easy (and thinkable) to create co-operatives, not for profit or social enterprise as it is to create a plc. Encouraging small and medium sized enterprises that have responsible ownership, specifying deal breaking standards, investment and service requirements and fully open contracts with citizen oversight where ever the state outsources services

This supports principle 1 – freedom limited by impact and principle 2 equality of citizenship