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Re: [Membership] James Fishkin proposes Internet Deliberative Council

Yes, this is what happens.

Maybe it depends whether you take a utilitarian and humanist view of the
maximization of human happiness (I want this, they want that, we should talk
this through rationally, US Constitutional view of (at least some) people as
being literate, able to make decisions, come to group agreements) , a
scientistic view leading to a behaviorist systems analysis, where people are
attributes of the systems and interests that employ them (entropic view, people
are products of the environment, what sort of environment and people should we
choose? Marxist/reductionist) or a teleological/ontological view where both can
be true contemporaneously.

To give a concrete example, who is in charge in a normal: rulers or ruled? In
principle, the ruled only have to get on an aeroplane to divest the rulers of
their authority, rulers rely on consent to enlightened governance in the
interest of the governed. Therefore it can be easily argued that it is the ruled
who rule the rulers with their consent to submission to rule. On the other hand
smart rulers do things the ruled don't understand to retain rule. In the United
Kingdom, that bastion of pragmatic muddle, it is both assumed that power is
devolved down from the monarch (according to 16th/17th century-based sovereignty
theory, see they are British subjects, not citizens in their passports) and that
there is a functioning democracy where power is allotted by democratic vote.
Illogical, but true.

In Switzerland, where power is devolved upwards only, with exceptions for the
army and some taxes, nobody knows that the President, Ruth Dreifuss, is not only
female, but  Jewish and Marxist. It doesn't matter as she has no power.
Switzerland is a very conservative country, so conservative that it has no
politics. It would be impossible for such a person to be elected in the US,
where it would be perceived. So it all depends whether the perception of the
board/membership power structure leans one way or the other in the majority of
the stakeholders's view.

These cultural preconceptions and I only give two in my own experience, there
are obviously as many as there are participants in the process and views, hinder
understanding of what is going on. It seems to me that the concerns of ICANN are
sufficiently abstruse for the membership to avoid the morasses of democratic
theory, involving all participants in the world in any decision as it
theoretically affects them. Realistically, a small number of people have an
active interest in ICANN governance or membership, roughly related to the
fifteen people who complain publicly they have not been consulted. The passive
majority is either too stupid, complacent, or happy to care, possibly to their
long-term detriment.

Surely the allocation policies that ICANN must follow are much more like the
municipal land registry in terms of fair use and the people who will become
actively interested in the outcome of any decision. Everybody should be
involved, as everyone uses or potentially uses land, but only a small minority
of buyers, sellers, right-of-way fanatics, die-hard conservative defenders of
absolute right to property etc. will be active.

As such at-large membership will likely use criterion (ii) above in terms of
interest and activity to self organize. Whilst this may commit them to an
understanding in terms of interest and not democracy, they may well be the
answer to quis custodes ipsos custodiet, in terms of their ability to make
transparent the inevitable skulduggery emerging from the organizational side of
the board. I'm not sure whether Fishkin covered that.


"Scott, Thomas R." wrote:

> An anonymous voting body can just as easily be replaced with a star chamber.
> Given anonymity, who is to know if the voting body is a select group that
> never changes.  Those who control the selection process could just as easily
> "augment" the star group with truly random people in order to maintain the
> appearance of a representative sample group while the "star" voters make the
> decisions.
> Sounds paranoid, but without checks and balances...  History is replete with
> examples of the usurpation of democracy.
> Tom Scott
> > ----------
> > From:         Mark R. Measday[SMTP:measday@ibm.net]
> > Reply To:     measday@ibm.net
> > Sent:         Friday, February 26, 1999 11:25 AM
> > To:   Wendy Seltzer; membership@icann.org
> > Cc:   Diane Cabell
> > Subject:      Re: [Membership] James Fishkin proposes Internet
> > Deliberative Council
> >
> > Whilst applauding  many aspects of this model, do I understand these
> > random
> > users undertake to remain anonymous to avoid 'capture'?
> >
> > If I have read the text correctly, deliberative polling is a sampling
> > technique
> > for one time questioning, not continuous representation.
> >
> > Also the problem of anonymity remains, in terms of identifying whether the
> > pollee (?) is the same as last time, has been influenced by (i) outside
> > forces
> > i.e.captured by interest (ii) has learned too much to be representative of
> > the
> > sample or (iii) changed in some other way.
> >
> > Why not take the model, but submit it to a new randomly selected
> > deliberative
> > group anonymously each time there is a decision to be made. Confers great
> > power
> > to the group of people assembling the results, but is otherwise complicit
> > with
> > vox populi and the  principles stated by professor Fishkin.
> >
>         . . .


Mark Measday

Josmarian SA measday@josmarian.ch/measday@ibm.net
UK tel/fax: 0044.181.747.9167
French tel/fax: 0033.450.20.94.92
Swiss tel/fax: 0041.22.363.88.00

L'aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci. Divina Commedia, Paradiso, XXII, 151