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Natalie P.

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10 comments so far
  1. Louisa October 8, 2007 8:53 pm

    Your idea is a really interesting one. I particularly like how it gives two years of political experience to people who may not have had the opportunity to ever go down that road on their own. I’m curious how you think it would work with students who are accumulating debt rather than earning, or parents who stay at home raising the kids while their spouse is the one earning money?

  2. Pat October 8, 2007 11:03 pm

    Not to be anal about it, but election day is October 10th, not 12th.
    Thanks for the explanation of MMP, most other explanations I’ve read just didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  3. Natalie P. October 9, 2007 12:27 am

    Oops. Thanks for pointing that glaring error out. I fixed the original posting.

  4. Natalie P. October 9, 2007 12:34 am

    Louisa, to answer your question,

    If a person is currently unemployed when selected for government duty, they will earn a standard salary while in office. Students can think of it as an extended co-op work term. Childcare will be provided for parents. As with jury duty, only in extreme circumstances can someone get excused and not have to serve.

  5. Louisa October 9, 2007 10:31 am

    Thanks for answering, Natalie!

    What I’d be concerned about with a system like that is the constant policy switching that could happen when you bring in a new group of people every two years. Say one group pushes through one policy just before they are replaced by a new lot, who promptly decide they disagree with the previous decision and change it, and so on and so forth. Or one group is in the middle of working on beneficial changes (which always seem to take the longest to get put into action) and that is then disregarded by their replacements. One of the good points about having parties in government, IF they’re competent (which I know, they often aren’t) is that if they remain popular throughout the years, the aims and actions remain consistent.

    On the other hand, as you say, only certain people can get into a political party and the strength in your scheme is that people from all ages and backgrounds are represented, meaning they can set out a variety of policies based on what they KNOW will be beneficial to the people rather than what current politicians seem to THINK is what everyone wants.

  6. Mike October 9, 2007 5:11 pm

    Actually, Frederick Pohl had a similar proposal for choosing government officials in one of his novels–\i{The Years of the City,} I think.

  7. Jaakarhu October 11, 2007 9:41 am

    Hi,
    Just read your article. The idea is interesting, but it ignores at least one vital issue – the advisers. Where does the newly selected official get them? Americans might have a retard for a president, but this retard has an army of advisers, whom he trusts. Now, a single person can not possibly be an expert on gun control, civil engineering and social security at the same time. That is why people have advisers. There probably be less work for PR pros (and that can be good), but how can a garage mechanic, who never went to college can make decisions about the economy in the province all by himself? I have a masters in economics, but even I can not imagine going at it alone…

  8. Matt October 12, 2007 11:04 pm

    It’s a fun idea to toy with, but not all that practical of a system. For starters you’re expecting students to interrupted their studies and be paid a bare minimum (along with anyone else who happened to be unemployed for any reason the previous year), while others are paid significantly more for doing the exact same job. What happened to equal pay for equal work?

    Of course I realize where you were going with this: if you make the pay equal for everyone then those who were in a position with a large income would feel cheated. Millionaires sit back and lose two years of significant income? I don’t think so. You could pay everyone rather large sums of money to cover for this eventuality, but that’s pretty damn expensive.

    So really, the system has to be either blatantly inequitable, or ridiculously expensive. I know, I know. Not much different from now. But I thought this was about trying to improve things?

    The whole random selection is also going to play hell with people’s personal lives. Not that freedom doesn’t require sacrifice and all that good stuff, but come on now. People hate jury duty, let alone a two year commitment.

  9. Mely October 18, 2007 10:42 pm

    The MMP system sounds remarkably similar to what they have in Germany. When it was first instituted, shortly after reunification, there were hundreds of experts saying it wouldn’t work at all. Then it did!
    It’s not perfect, but it’s gotten fairly stable, with five parties that get seats on a national level and tons of new ones constantly trying. Also, representatives who get directly elected (the “first vote”) have higher unofficial status within the Bundestag than reps who were elected by the “second” (party) vote, but that’s the only real difference. They all feel equally bound to serve.
    The major drawback is that forming a majority coalition can be a real bitch, but at least the minority parties are getting seats! Plus they become even more important, because the few seats of a minority party can often make or break a coalition. I hope the referendum passes!

  10. Mercurial Georgia December 7, 2007 8:56 pm

    re: pockets

    Back when Stronach was in politics, there were peons who made disparaging remarks about how she must have slept her way in. I remember thinking, who didn’t? At least someone who has paid their shady dues with whatever they have BEFORE being elected into office, can be relied upon not to pay them later with something that isn’t theirs to give away.

    I manage to be poll clerk on election day, and though it was for an apartment complex, much less than half the people on the voter list showed up. One person was surprised that it was election, several people had no clue what MMP was. We weren’t allowed to instruct them, but I told one man to try and check on the Internet. I seem to recall that everyone, or nearly everyone, voted no on MMP, or mostly, did not vote at all.