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[Membership] Is Karl describing a different part of the elephant?
- To: Esther Dyson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Geraldine Capdeboscq <email@example.com>, George Conrades <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Greg Crew <email@example.com>, Frank Fitzsimmons <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Hans Kraaijenbrink <H.Kraaijenbrink@kpn-telecom.nl>, Professor Jun Marai <email@example.com>, "Linda S. Wilson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Eugenio Triana <email@example.com>, Joe Sims <Joe_Sims@jonesday.com>, membership <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Membership] Is Karl describing a different part of the elephant?
- From: Eric Weisberg <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1999 15:51:33 -0600
- Organization: Internet Texoma
- References: <Pine.LNX.firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Sender: email@example.com
Karl Auerbach wrote:
> > Does this imply "proportional representation" with all seats filled at
> > each election? Or, are there other ways of attaining such objectives
> > such as Joop's proposal <http://www.democracy.org.nz/model.html> or by
> > cumulative, "approval" or "rational" voting mechanisms discussed in
> > sec. 5.8.5 of the MAC report
> > <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rcs/prelim.html#Method>?
> To me, there is no "proportional representation".
I agree and disagree with Karl, but I am not schizophrenic about it. This is
simply a question of semantics. I focus on "proportional" mechanisms and
Karl is (here, but not elsewhere) discussing "representation" in the limited
sense of defined constituencies. We are using the same words to describe
different parts of the elephant.
Karl is correct in the sense that there may not be "proportional"
representation of discrete interests under a proportional representation
scheme; proportional representation of defined constituencies may not reflect
the divisions which exist within those constituencies; and, given a choice,
voters may balance multiple criteria and concerns with each vote and the
product may not be the straight line proportionality you get from single
interest decisions. But, the results can still be proportional (or not)
simply by the nature of the mechanism for electing the board. It just may not
accurately reflect the relative proportions of defined constituencies.
In the context of ICANN (an organization with limited functions and an
informed electorate with understood and strong views), people are likely to
vote according to self-identified but real interests and concerns. In such
case, the results should tend to be more issue oriented--reflecting our
divisions on what is of real current concern. And, the results can be value
oriented--focusing on concerns such as competition, privacy, openness, or
resistance to "managerial" or governmental control.
However, because the range of views and interests in the community is greater
than the number of seats available, it is impossible to devise a system which
affords representation to all interests on every board. Therefore, we must
seek a system which allows a large and changing array of interests to be
represented as a proportionate reflection of community support for the various
choices presented at each election.
Thus, while a system of "proportional representation" may not shake out
representatives according to clearly defined categories, it should mechanize
(if not maximize) the chance for representation of divergent interests on the
governing board and give all legitimate interests (including geographic
interests) a reasonable reflection on the board over time, and accurately
reflect the proportionate support for each candidate in that election.
> Indeed there is no
> "representation" -- rather, people vote directly in accordance with [what]
> believe is the right thing to do (emphasis added).
No matter what you call it, this rose smells sweet. If the board does not
represent the community in accord with our consensus, it will stink. So, how
do we grow a rose?
We want a system which not only allows us to vote for candidates who
"represent" or govern in accord with what we think is right (something which
can also occur under disproportionate representation schemes), but also elect
them in a reasonable proportion to their community support (the real
> Cumulative or STV voting mechanisms *do* come into play when there are
> multiple seats up for election. But that would be true regardless whether
> we had formalized "constituencies" or voting by individuals.
But, what of the reciprocal? How do you get diversity without proportional
representation? And, what kind of diversity do you get from "head-to-head"
winner take all elections? Which is more conducive to capture? Which less?
Lets get concrete about our choices and compare them against agreed criteria.
We are killing other people's "straw men" in this "debate," but not measuring
them against alternatives under consideration.
Are we moving toward something we have not publicly discussed nor adequately
analyzed? What do you propose instead of proportional representation?
I think our real problem is elsewhere. There is deep-seated fear of
democracy. We are afraid of any form of general representation, not to
mention proportional representation. We all (or most) want capture by our
interests and are hiding behind rhetoric to squelch schemes which fail to
accomplish our ends. As a result, none of us will be represented. Capture
will be by others and we will continue to be on the outside trying to look in.