Distributed Mind

The Issues, Part 1

Well, no one has contributed anything on issues yet, so it looks like I will have to do my own work! Of course, I had already planned on writing some things up, but life has a tendency to get in the way. But, I'm taking a few minutes here to hopefully get the ball rolling farther, on my part at least.

First thing is a good example of the kind of thing I was looking for that I saw earlier this week. It's even on an issue I've thought about before, but was not high on my list of things to write about. But now someone has done the work for me... Anyway, the issue is food. That might not seem like a huge thing to worry about but it certainly has the potential to have some big impacts - some of which you can think of yourself probably, but Dustin Kidd suggests some too - and it certainly represents an issue that isn't being thought about at the policy level (and there is some room for improvement on that front, even, I think, for people who are generally opposed to gvernment involvement). So, go read Kidd's post on the topic.

The second is electoral reform, which I was reminded of this week when someone linked to Fair Vote. I've ranted about this in the past, and I don't want to spend all night writing about it, so I'll be brief (thus violating my own rules of carefully laying out the problem...). Basically, it's easy to see that getting people elected who we actually want elected is hard. I haven't seen any surveys, but anecdotally that seems to be true. There are all kinds of things that could be done to fix that. The most useful would probably be to implement alternatve voting systems, of which Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is a good one that currently has momentum. (You'll occasionally here debate on which alternative voting system is best, and frankly I haven't done enough research to be able to back any particular system over another. One thing everyone agrees on though is that all of the main alternative voting systems are better than the present one, which system is chosen is less important than choosing one. If it proves problematic, it could always be replaced later anyway.) In terms of making it easier for third party or independent candidates to get elected, there are lots of other reforms that could be useful, but most of those don't have to do with voting so I won't adress them now, but of course they are also things that should be considered. Fair Vote is an example of an organization promoting IRV (and similar systems) among other electoral reforms, and IRV and similar systems are part of the Green Party platform and is backed my most other smaller parties as well. I've never heard any one present an argument for why any of these systems are a bad thing (though I could imagine some entrenched partisans might present such arguments...) so this issue seems non-controversial; it just needs some more momentum.

Another major electoral issue that was talked about a lot six years ago but has been sadly mostly ignore since is switching to a popular vote for the presidential elections. National Popular Vote is a campaign to get a popular vote to replace the old electoral system, and it has had a fair amount of fanfare. I haven't followed it closely, I'll admit, but it sounds like it could have chance of being implemented.

posted at 18:54:32 on 11/17/06 by ben - Category: Politics

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