with politics and elections in the air, i've been thinking a little about an alternative way for a country (or any group of people for that matter) to collectively make decisions in a more efficient way.
here's the basic idea.
imagine there's a web site with a list of the most important decisions to be made, organized by various taxonomies. in the case of the US, the high level groupings might be healthcare, foreign policy, education, etc. and within each topic would be a list of the decisions to be made.
an individual gets one vote either for or against each particular decision. so in one extreme case, every single person would vote on every single issue and you'd get an aggregate vote. but of course this is both unrealistic and inefficient. most people don't want to spend their time analyzing every issue, and don't have the skill or background to understand every topic in the first place.
so the second part of the equation is that they can delegate their votes on a particular issue, topic, or group of topics to another person. for example, if ten people delegated their healthcare votes to me and i voted a particular way, then i'd be effectively casting my vote plus the votes of the other ten people. of course, i can turn around and delegate my healthcare votes to another party, allowing this person to then control even more votes. anyone can change their voting configuration at any time, so there's no concept of a "elected term" in the usual sense.
in practice, i might delegate my healthcare votes to someone i respected as an expert in health care, my foreign policy votes to an expert with my leanings, and my education votes to a teacher i admired. these individual might cast these votes directly or delegate votes on these topics to people that they felt were even more expert than themselves.
in the current political system, i cast a few votes over a period of years, delegating my vote on most topics to some individuals or parties that i have little personal experience with. with the new system, i can delegate my votes to individuals that i might know personally or have researched, and easily change my delegation based on new information. i can also control the delegation at a fine or course grain.
for example, if a new expert on healthcare came on the scene, campaigned for votes, and won the favor of some key individuals, they could rapidly control a large number of votes on the topic. if they screwed up, they could lose the control within a few days.
note that the new approach is only made possible because of technologies like the internet. in many ways, it's all about creating an efficient marketplace for votes. i hope to add some more notes on the flow of power and money behind these votes so that you can see how votes ultimately translate into action.