Author Topic: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars  (Read 12590 times)

Offline KelvinZero

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Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« on: 12/25/2017 12:36 AM »
https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/2/11837590/elon-musk-mars-government-direct-democracy-law-code-conference

Hi. I realise this is sort of old news, but I was just becoming more interested in the concept recently.

Direct Democracy is such a basic idea that I would guess most people dismiss before really considering it.

It might sound like a lot of work. I don't think it has to be though. Anyone could personally set up a representative system for themselves. If I had to vote on a thousand bills a month, I could just go to the website of someone I trusted and copy from a spreadsheet they put up. If I wanted a system just like today's democracies I could choose who I trusted only once every few years, and then slavishly clone their votes for the entire period regardless of what a gibbering fool or sell-out they turn out to be. :). I could vote with my favourite web-app that showed me the votes of 5 other trusted people and their blog comments. It would all be personal choice.

Government would primarily just assure the webservice that take your 1000 votes. There could be issues with this on earth, but on mars access to this technology should be as basic a right as air is on earth.


Offline BrentAndrewHawker

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #1 on: 12/25/2017 01:05 AM »
I'm amused that Elon thinks it will be his call to choose what form of government may arise on Mars when as history has shown, it is typically the folks that finance the expeditions that eventually choose those sort of things.. which I'm thinking Elon already feels that will be him and partners.. unless of course those pesky issues of geopolitics interfere and another country, one that really could give a hoot about someone else's territorial claims, (islands and atolls come to mind these days), and they just declare it is theirs, and you can gladly land there and swear your allegiance and pay the Visitors Landing, & Leaving Tax to the People's Red Dragon Province of China, and no, you have no right to vote, or even say or own anything.
 

Offline Oli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #2 on: 12/25/2017 01:32 AM »

Elon lives in California.

Online spacenut

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #3 on: 12/25/2017 02:04 AM »
Direct democracy on every issue is impractical.  Every person cannot read every single bill and vote on it.  Thus representative democracy or a democratic republic is much more practical.  Maybe initially on Mars with less than a few hundred people, but a million people will need representative government. 

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #4 on: 12/25/2017 02:14 AM »
Direct democracy on every issue is impractical.  Every person cannot read every single bill and vote on it.  Thus representative democracy or a democratic republic is much more practical.  Maybe initially on Mars with less than a few hundred people, but a million people will need representative government.
That was my kneejerk reaction. I think it is everyone's.

I put a suggestion in the OP about how to get around this: Anyone can implement their own representative democracy on top of a direct democracy web interface, eg by cutting and pasting vote recommendations from a website or using a phone app.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 02:38 PM by KelvinZero »

Online kdhilliard

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #5 on: 12/25/2017 02:16 AM »
Any discussion on this subject is incomplete without mention of Wernher von Braun's Das Marsprojekt (The Mars Project).  From chapter 24, "How Mars is Governed", starting on page 177 of the translation[PDF]:
Quote
The Martian government was directed by ten men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and entitled "Elon."   Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet.

Stranger than fiction.

Offline AC in NC

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #6 on: 12/25/2017 02:35 AM »
Democracy is an inappropriate model for Mars governance.  Hell.  It's an inappropriate model for governance on Earth.  Even democratic tenets are troublesome.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 02:37 AM by AC in NC »

Online docmordrid

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #7 on: 12/25/2017 02:42 AM »
That's why we have a constitutional republic.
DM

Offline su27k

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #8 on: 12/25/2017 02:44 AM »
Just to put in my word before this thread get canned: Yes, you can setup your own personal representative. Personal digital assistant  is already on the horizon, it's not hard to imagine by the time Mars is colonized, you can have an personal wearable AI monitoring your every move/speech/online posting and deduce your political leanings from your behavior and vote accordingly for you, once a while it can let you confirm the vote in order to calibrate its actions.

Online Archibald

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #9 on: 12/25/2017 07:32 AM »
Red Mars. Green Mars. Blue Mars.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Oersted

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #10 on: 12/25/2017 11:02 AM »
Democracy is an inappropriate model for Mars governance.  Hell.  It's an inappropriate model for governance on Earth.  Even democratic tenets are troublesome.

Somebody much cleverer than you and I put together said the following: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/267224-democracy-is-the-worst-form-of-government-except-for-all

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #11 on: 12/25/2017 11:50 AM »
Just to put in my word before this thread get canned: Yes, you can setup your own personal representative. Personal digital assistant  is already on the horizon, it's not hard to imagine by the time Mars is colonized, you can have an personal wearable AI monitoring your every move/speech/online posting and deduce your political leanings from your behavior and vote accordingly for you, once a while it can let you confirm the vote in order to calibrate its actions.
Haha.. I can see your point about it getting canned. Of course people want to vent about current politics on earth.

On-topic issue #1

I think the technical issues are on topic. A mars base would start small. We could assure from the beginning that everyone has access to the network, and maintain that as a right since it would probably be important for a direct democracy.

I was thinking much simpler and more transparent than an AI. You copy the votes from someone you trust. Could be Jon Stewart. Could be Ron Paul. Could be your brother. People would invent web standards for sharing their opinions. Now all sorts of clever tricks you could develop without any government intervention. For example you could sample the votes of 5 different people you trust and look for points of radical disagreement, then read their various editorials etc. It could be as much or as little work as you like.

(Going into depth would be going off the topic of Mars I think. My only point was that technology can make Direct Democracy no more tedious than representative democracy. You could start small with a tiny mars colony, and develop these applications gradually over time.)

On-topic issue #2
There were a bunch of specific details in that article. Im hesitant about the 60/40 idea, because one of the key strengths of democracy is that it's simplicity makes it hard to corrupt. It is not a big complaint I suppose. I like the general principle that it is harder to make a new law than get rid of an old one.

The idea that laws expire is interesting. Im not sure if that would work though. I imagine laws are all entangled. Eg you take a tax from one area and move it to another for convenience. An unstated principle could be that taxes stay the same. This unstated principle would be violated when one law expires. What seems like just a reversion is actually a whole new circumstance, and it could be engineered by a minority impeding a "new" law that is really keeping the status quo.

How to stop polarisation is an interesting problem. Im looking forward to the effect of self sufficient cities on democracy There can be so many thousands of mostly self sufficient towns that you can probably do a lot of voting with your feet. This effect could be even greater with asteroid colonies.

Offline IRobot

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #12 on: 12/25/2017 03:04 PM »
Tough environments, where life is precarious, require at least technocratic ruling, perhaps even military ruling.

Direct democracy does not work because it assumes an average level of intelligence that does not exist. Elon has been spending too much time with a lot of smart people, he should come down, talk to average Joe and understand that most people are not smart enough for direct democracy to work.

Offline blasphemer

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #13 on: 12/25/2017 03:17 PM »
Elon has been spending too much time with a lot of smart people, he should come down, talk to average Joe and understand that most people are not smart enough for direct democracy to work.

Well, it wont be average Joes going to Mars..

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #14 on: 12/25/2017 03:27 PM »
Direct democracy on every issue is impractical.  Every person cannot read every single bill and vote on it.  Thus representative democracy or a democratic republic is much more practical.  Maybe initially on Mars with less than a few hundred people, but a million people will need representative government.
I think there's a fair bit of evidence that most lawmakers don't read all of the bills they vote on.

And that's before you have to deal with Bills written to be deliberately obfuscatory.  :(

But let me suggest the evidence that US "Voting machines" have been shown to have very poor security and the poor build quality of much modern software should give any sensible person pause for a lot of thought.

The vote you key into your app might not be the one that shows up on the totalizer.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online nacnud

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #15 on: 12/25/2017 03:38 PM »
Tough environments, where life is precarious, require at least technocratic ruling, perhaps even military ruling.

Direct democracy does not work because it assumes an average level of intelligence that does not exist. Elon has been spending too much time with a lot of smart people, he should come down, talk to average Joe and understand that most people are not smart enough for direct democracy to work.

I guess that's why Iceland has such a militaristic totalitarian government...  ;D

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #16 on: 12/25/2017 03:51 PM »
Elon has been spending too much time with a lot of smart people, he should come down, talk to average Joe and understand that most people are not smart enough for direct democracy to work.

Well, it wont be average Joes going to Mars..
This (weirdly) ties into something from the thread on flat earth believers. (I think it was some rapper wanting to fund a space mission to test if the world was round or flat.)

I actually welcome a future of many democracies, eg asteroid colonies, that fail. One of the attractions of space colonisation is the same as the urge to get back to nature and survive on milking goats or some such. I want a direct cause and effect relationship between the most basic physics and public common sense. If they stray too far apart I would prefer to see many small catastrophies and the survivors salvaged whenever possible but submitted to huge social shame. Better than one huge catastrophe on earth, because people convince themselves that business and finance is the real world and the environment is an abstraction.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #17 on: 12/25/2017 04:02 PM »
But let me suggest the evidence that US "Voting machines" have been shown to have very poor security and the poor build quality of much modern software should give any sensible person pause for a lot of thought.

The vote you key into your app might not be the one that shows up on the totalizer.
Im extremely suspicious of electronic voting machines, and moreso of the motivation to move to them.

I think that is fixable on many levels though. On the most basic, we could debate if votes should be private at all. Perhaps you and everyone else should be able to see your vote and tabulate the entire count themselves. Less intrusively, so long as everyone accepts the total population is X, the entire table of votes could be tabulated using a code, and individuals could check their own code and that the length of the table is X.

In short, I think the problem is solvable. The larger problem is a lack of faith that the people in power are trying to solve it.. here is a case where a mars base could be a fresh start. I also favour mars bases on earth for various reasons, including trials of new democratic experiments. Before people move to mars they should live for a few years in one of these.

Offline IRobot

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #18 on: 12/25/2017 04:05 PM »
But let me suggest the evidence that US "Voting machines" have been shown to have very poor security and the poor build quality of much modern software should give any sensible person pause for a lot of thought.

The vote you key into your app might not be the one that shows up on the totalizer.
Im extremely suspicious of electronic voting machines, and moreso of the motivation to move to them.
Electronic voting machines are not necessary and they are just a way to rig elections. Most European countries use manual vote counting and results are out in a couple of hours, with very few requests for recount.

One more situation where technology just gets in the way.

Offline AC in NC

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #19 on: 12/25/2017 04:08 PM »
Democracy is an inappropriate model for Mars governance.  Hell.  It's an inappropriate model for governance on Earth.  Even democratic tenets are troublesome.

Somebody much cleverer than you and I put together said the following: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/267224-democracy-is-the-worst-form-of-government-except-for-all

A quip.  Men far wiser than you, I, or Churchill indicted democracy hundreds and thousands of years before him.  And human nature doesn't change be it here or Mars. 

Mars will not be served well by governance influenced by democracy in anything other than very tightly controlled circumstances.  At heart, democracy is nothing other than mob rule.

Online nacnud

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #20 on: 12/25/2017 04:19 PM »
Mars will not be served well by governance influenced by democracy in anything other than very tightly controlled circumstances.  At heart, democracy is nothing other than mob rule.

Better may sure that the mob is highly educated with the issues at hand and political lies are severely punished.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #21 on: 12/25/2017 04:22 PM »
Hi guys, I have extremely vigorous opinions about democracy in general, (I am for it) but everyone should ask themselves if there is a SpaceX/Mars/Elon specific element to their posts.

Also. MERRY CHRISTMAS. It is 6am Tuesday 26th here in NZ and I really should get some sleep. :)

Offline Bynaus

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #22 on: 12/25/2017 04:32 PM »
I live in Switzerland, which is the one country in the world probably coming closest to a Direct Democracy. I can assure you that its not actually that much work, and no, we aren't all super-geniuses and the country is still functional (though it is a tad more conservative than its fully representative neighbors).

We vote on issues up to four times a year (if there are enough brought up), and re-elect the parliment every four years. Only issues which get 100k votes, or bills passed by the parliment which are subsequently opposed by 50k votes are brought up for a vote (tital population is now about 8.5M). Although some weird issues have been passed, and some important legislation was shut down by the population, things work fairly well overall. Participation however is way down, typically 25-50%.

But I like the idea of "entrusting" someone of your choice with your vote, while retaining the option of voting differently if necessary. You could perhaps also entrust one person with your, say, foreign policy vote, and another with your vote on worker rights. Or you could opt out and not vote at all. It would be election by reputation, and the persons representing the most votes could have regular meetings to exchange viewpoints. The actual votes can the be scheduled to occur a couple of times per year so you have time to study the issues and dwcide if you want to vote or just go with what the person you entrusted with your vote thinks.

Offline RonM

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #23 on: 12/25/2017 05:01 PM »
As the old saying goes, let's not get the cart before the horse.

Without changes in international law, the Outer Space Treaty will apply. Since SpaceX operates in the United States, any Mars base or settlement created by SpaceX will be subject to US federal law. So, individuals at a SpaceX-based settlement will not be able to do whatever they wish.

Interesting thing about the US government, local issues are up to the states. How does that apply to a Mars settlement? Since it can't be run as a territory (not under the OST), I guess there would be a lot of leeway for the locals as long as they don't do anything considered unconstitutional. That's a plus.

A minus would be who gets to vote. Under US law, that would be restricted to US citizens, a situation unfair to Mars residents from other countries. One way to avoid that would be to consider the settlement like a homeowners association with SpaceX as the management company. As anyone who has dealt with a HOA knows, that would be a terrible idea.

Looks like there needs to be some changes to international law before a Mars settlement can have the type of government they want.


Offline Nibb31

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #24 on: 12/25/2017 05:07 PM »
What makes people believe that one of several Mars colonies would have their own independent political system? If independence is some sort of declared goal, then why would any state support the colonization effort?

Offline Oli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #25 on: 12/25/2017 05:26 PM »

I always like to quote Rousseau in this context :):

Quote from: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall. When it is necessary to march out to war, they pay troops and stay at home: when it is necessary to meet in council, they name deputies and stay at home. By reason of idleness and money, they end by having soldiers to enslave their country and representatives to sell it.

Quote from: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The moment a people allows itself to be represented, it is no longer free.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #26 on: 12/25/2017 05:49 PM »
A minus would be who gets to vote. Under US law, that would be restricted to US citizens, a situation unfair to Mars residents from other countries. One way to avoid that would be to consider the settlement like a homeowners association with SpaceX as the management company. As anyone who has dealt with a HOA knows, that would be a terrible idea.

Looks like there needs to be some changes to international law before a Mars settlement can have the type of government they want.
Couldn't this be just like rules within a corporation that only apply to the execution of that corporation? These people may still have a vote in US elections, but that could be independent of any internal corporate structure.

I know zilch about HOA, so if that creates an impediment to the above it would be interesting to hear about.

Online AncientU

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #27 on: 12/25/2017 05:59 PM »
As the old saying goes, let's not get the cart before the horse.

Without changes in international law, the Outer Space Treaty will apply. Since SpaceX operates in the United States, any Mars base or settlement created by SpaceX will be subject to US federal law. So, individuals at a SpaceX-based settlement will not be able to do whatever they wish.

Interesting thing about the US government, local issues are up to the states. How does that apply to a Mars settlement? Since it can't be run as a territory (not under the OST), I guess there would be a lot of leeway for the locals as long as they don't do anything considered unconstitutional. That's a plus.

A minus would be who gets to vote. Under US law, that would be restricted to US citizens, a situation unfair to Mars residents from other countries. One way to avoid that would be to consider the settlement like a homeowners association with SpaceX as the management company. As anyone who has dealt with a HOA knows, that would be a terrible idea.

Looks like there needs to be some changes to international law before a Mars settlement can have the type of government they want.

Spoken like a true Earthman...

First of all, The Outer Space Treaty is a primitive attempt of those on this planet to 'claim' OUTER SPACE as if in their pitiful small minds and curiously expanded egos they could claim The Universe.  Pitiful in their hubris, pitiful in their impotence.  Without enforcement, the Treaty is a sham.

Whomever heads out and risks their blood and treasure will be entitled to whatever chunk of OUTER SPACE they can reach.  China, for example will just laugh if someone waves the Outer Space Treaty when they go claim a chunk of whatever...
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline RonM

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #28 on: 12/25/2017 06:03 PM »
A minus would be who gets to vote. Under US law, that would be restricted to US citizens, a situation unfair to Mars residents from other countries. One way to avoid that would be to consider the settlement like a homeowners association with SpaceX as the management company. As anyone who has dealt with a HOA knows, that would be a terrible idea.

Looks like there needs to be some changes to international law before a Mars settlement can have the type of government they want.
Couldn't this be just like rules within a corporation that only apply to the execution of that corporation? These people may still have a vote in US elections, but that could be independent of any internal corporate structure.

I know zilch about HOA, so if that creates an impediment to the above it would be interesting to hear about.

The corporate idea is interesting. Each settler could be given shares in the corporation, allowing for voting.

HOAs usually elect officers once a year, with homeowners getting to vote. Sounds like a good idea, but many times results in control freak neighbors getting power. I guess it's too small of a group to choose from. Another issue deals with people signing the agreement and then totally ignoring it. Enforcement requires lawsuits and HOAs may not want to go that far, rendering them ineffective.

With more regulation of corporations, at least in the US, that would be a better model.

Offline RonM

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #29 on: 12/25/2017 06:10 PM »
As the old saying goes, let's not get the cart before the horse.

Without changes in international law, the Outer Space Treaty will apply. Since SpaceX operates in the United States, any Mars base or settlement created by SpaceX will be subject to US federal law. So, individuals at a SpaceX-based settlement will not be able to do whatever they wish.

Interesting thing about the US government, local issues are up to the states. How does that apply to a Mars settlement? Since it can't be run as a territory (not under the OST), I guess there would be a lot of leeway for the locals as long as they don't do anything considered unconstitutional. That's a plus.

A minus would be who gets to vote. Under US law, that would be restricted to US citizens, a situation unfair to Mars residents from other countries. One way to avoid that would be to consider the settlement like a homeowners association with SpaceX as the management company. As anyone who has dealt with a HOA knows, that would be a terrible idea.

Looks like there needs to be some changes to international law before a Mars settlement can have the type of government they want.

Spoken like a true Earthman...

First of all, The Outer Space Treaty is a primitive attempt of those on this planet to 'claim' OUTER SPACE as if in their pitiful small minds and curiously expanded egos they could claim The Universe.  Pitiful in their hubris, pitiful in their impotence.  Without enforcement, the Treaty is a sham.

Whomever heads out and risks their blood and treasure will be entitled to whatever chunk of OUTER SPACE they can reach.  China, for example will just laugh if someone waves the Outer Space Treaty when they go claim a chunk of whatever...

I thought this thread was about near future reality, not science fiction.

Sure, what would anyone do if a government started claiming territory in space? However, SpaceX is a US corporation. If they decided to do whatever they wanted on Mars in violation of US or international law, they can be taken care of on this end.

Once Mars settlements are totally independent from resupply from Earth, then they can contemplate political independence.

Online AncientU

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #30 on: 12/25/2017 06:11 PM »
Tough environments, where life is precarious, require at least technocratic ruling, perhaps even military ruling.

Direct democracy does not work because it assumes an average level of intelligence that does not exist. Elon has been spending too much time with a lot of smart people, he should come down, talk to average Joe and understand that most people are not smart enough for direct democracy to work.

In the beginning of settlement on the Moon or Mars (or an asteroid, whatever), the hierarchical 'command' structure will be necessary -- but as a benign dictatorship which seems to be the most effective form of government (until it ceases to be benign which usually happens).  Direct democracy can take root even in this environment because there will be lots of things about which the residents living there will feel entitled to have their say.  At first, these might be minor, quality of life issues, but that can evolve into full governance.

At a population of a few hundred, and surely by the time a population of a few thousand is established, self-governance, probably by direct democracy, will play a significant role.  Rule from Earth will be much more impractical -- and the 'rulers' vastly more out of touch -- than Washington DC trying to run cities anywhere in the US.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 06:14 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Hauerg

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #31 on: 12/25/2017 06:14 PM »
Direct democracy on every issue is impractical.  Every person cannot read every single bill and vote on it.  ....

What's the difference?
The taxreform bill was read by how many who voted?????

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #32 on: 12/25/2017 06:23 PM »
Pure democracy, as practiced by ancient Athenians, can lead to "mob rule".  That is why we have a trial by jury, and innocent until proven guilty, in America.  They once had lynch mobs in various places.  Some practical law must be in place, at least what I mentioned.  There may be a murder on Mars, for whatever reason.  There may be more than one way of obtaining oxygen, water, etc.  There has to be some voting and democracy.  Pure democracy is impractical with large groups of people. 

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #33 on: 12/25/2017 06:25 PM »
 ;D
Elon's actual title on Mars will be the "Warlord of Barsoom". Once things get sidetracked by the chaos of direct democracy in action.
 ;D


The Outer Space Treaty stop being applicable for Mars when Barsoom is setup with their own Space Navy of BFWs (Big F*!# Warships).
 ;)

Online AncientU

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #34 on: 12/25/2017 06:48 PM »
...
I thought this thread was about near future reality, not science fiction.
...

If Dr. Wernher von Braun could discuss the government of a Mars colony a dozen years before human spaceflight became a reality, I think we can safely discuss it today in terms that aren't science fiction. 

In that vein, the Outer Space Treaty is a toothless anomaly that will be brushed aside.
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Online docmordrid

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #35 on: 12/25/2017 06:59 PM »
I live in Switzerland, which is the one country in the world probably coming closest to a Direct Democracy.
>
We vote on issues up to four times a year (if there are enough brought up), and re-elect the parliment every four years. Only issues which get 100k votes, or bills passed by the parliment which are subsequently opposed by 50k votes are brought up for a vote (tital population is now about 8.5M).
>

Here in Michigan we have a typical republic; a bicameral legislature and strong Governor with elected administrators such as the Attorney General, Secretary of State,  etc., but the wrinkle is that we have the ability to generate legislation and amend our state constitution by petition and direct vote.

If the legislature and governor do something the people find profoundly stupid, or they aren't enacting a law  the people want, all takes is a petition drive and it can be brought up to a vote in the next election. We can also recall elected officials for cause.

This is not a bad compromise.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 07:06 PM by docmordrid »
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Offline IRobot

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #36 on: 12/25/2017 07:22 PM »
But I like the idea of "entrusting" someone of your choice with your vote, while retaining the option of voting differently if necessary. You could perhaps also entrust one person with your, say, foreign policy vote, and another with your vote on worker rights. Or you could opt out and not vote at all. It would be election by reputation, and the persons representing the most votes could have regular meetings to exchange viewpoints. The actual votes can the be scheduled to occur a couple of times per year so you have time to study the issues and dwcide if you want to vote or just go with what the person you entrusted with your vote thinks.
That is a loophole, if vote is not secret, or worst, can be entrusted, it means the voting will be controlled by patriarchs/matriarchs/boss.

Offline AC in NC

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #37 on: 12/25/2017 07:27 PM »
A few quick points that I'd like to lay out in case they might spark some interesting discussion:

I think we have a built-in bias toward democracy being the answer because in some form or the other that's basically the only systems we've ever known and there are certain narratives that have become truth about alternatives that we might mentally project.  That being said and without having given it too much thought, a couple non-traditional ideas spring to mind that might have a place in the governance model of Mars.

1)  Adopting something (in part) like the governance model of internet standards whereby a group is charged with giving great and careful consideration to the manifold interrelated issues that are too challenging to be articulated into votable issues.

2)  Adopting a preference toward Consensus Based Descision Making rather than traditional voting.  In essence, a policy change is not adopted unless there is a consensus (lots of ways to define that ... but the salient point being not a 50% winner takes all vote) that the issue is ripe and that the change is for the better.

Offline alang

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #38 on: 12/25/2017 10:18 PM »
Engineers should stick to Engineering.
Politics is for those who like people and understand that all surprises cannot be engineered out but should be embraced as inevitable and to some extent be welcomed.

Offline rakaydos

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #39 on: 12/25/2017 10:27 PM »
But I like the idea of "entrusting" someone of your choice with your vote, while retaining the option of voting differently if necessary. You could perhaps also entrust one person with your, say, foreign policy vote, and another with your vote on worker rights. Or you could opt out and not vote at all. It would be election by reputation, and the persons representing the most votes could have regular meetings to exchange viewpoints. The actual votes can the be scheduled to occur a couple of times per year so you have time to study the issues and dwcide if you want to vote or just go with what the person you entrusted with your vote thinks.
That is a loophole, if vote is not secret, or worst, can be entrusted, it means the voting will be controlled by patriarchs/matriarchs/boss.
Who says you're entrusting your whole vote to the same person?
If I support Bernie on healthcare and women's rights but the NRA rep on gun control, that's a more nuanced position than "Straight ticket vote" even though it's still representative.

Offline mgeagon

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #40 on: 12/26/2017 12:01 AM »
The colonial model suggests that any entity  establishing a settlement on new lands will be governed under the laws of its parent country. After a period of maturity, the local residents may choose to go independent, adopting whichever form of government a large enough portion decides through violence or reason. The living conditions of the poor, the uneducated, the too stupid to vote correctly set, will largely dictate and produce the muscle for any insurrection.

Do not ignore the wants and desires of the masses. Smugly saying to a starving flat-earther that her opinions mean nothing is surely a recipe for conflict and further strife. To keep the vast majority housed firmly within reality, it is up to scientists to provide leadership and continually present facts in a coherent manner. The problems of every citizen are real and need to be addressed.

As a resident of China, I can assure you that only through a large, dedicated force, brutal reprisals and heavy censorship can any dictatorship or oligarchy remain in power. Even superstitious, illiterate surfs (farmers, rednecks, bigots, VR addicts) are experts at what it takes to survive in their own daily lives. Majority rule, with robust minority rights, may not be pretty at all times, but it does address what is really important to society, even if that is in conflict with the intellectual elite. A good, visionary leader can rally public support to do amazing things. It's how we got to the Moon.

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Offline TripD

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #41 on: 12/26/2017 03:41 AM »
I really think that this thread would benefit from first defining the conditions of the colony.  It has already been brought up, and rightly so, that the financial parents of this endeavor will have a heavy hand in decision making.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #42 on: 12/26/2017 05:07 AM »
I kind of liked this idea. But... Remember that The Orville episode where they have a kind of direct democracy where everyone is voted on? It's like our social media platforms taken to the extreme.

I kind of wonder if Musk would still support this so enthusiastically after his contact with social media lately.

Twitter might be the best anti-dote for the idea of direct digital democracy.
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Offline geza

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #43 on: 12/26/2017 06:13 AM »
Who says you're entrusting your whole vote to the same person?
If I support Bernie on healthcare and women's rights but the NRA rep on gun control, that's a more nuanced position than "Straight ticket vote" even though it's still representative.
Consistency is an issue. What if I support small government people on taxation and gig government ones on expenditures? Providing consistent system of choices is a function of representative democracy.

Offline Oli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #44 on: 12/26/2017 10:53 AM »

The job of representatives is not only to vote, but to negotiate laws capable of winning a majority. Even the Athenians had a smaller council whose job was to prepare laws to be voted on in the popular assembly. Insofar I don't think we can live without representatives, at least not entirely.

In my experience the main disadvantage of (semi-)direct democracy is that is slows down the political process significantly. There's often a back and forth between the sovereign (the people) and parliament until an issue is resolved. The advantage is that political decisions generally enjoy high acceptance. So contrary to popular belief direct democracy doesn't lead to chaos, it leads to more stability at the expense of agility.

Participation however is way down, typically 25-50%.

I don't remember it being as low as 25% (?). I think the average is ~45%.

Offline pietro

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #45 on: 12/26/2017 12:31 PM »
Just to put in my word before this thread get canned: Yes, you can setup your own personal representative. Personal digital assistant  is already on the horizon, it's not hard to imagine by the time Mars is colonized, you can have an personal wearable AI monitoring your every move/speech/online posting and deduce your political leanings from your behavior and vote accordingly for you, once a while it can let you confirm the vote in order to calibrate its actions.

All this will be relevant mostly in the AI Augmented Human (Homo Sapiens AI Augmentis:) phase of our evolution (i.e. 20+ years from now) and we can also assume that Minds (of Culture kind) will participate in governance. We will be missing the post-scarcity element, though, so probably not a space socialism, but makes some kind of augmented direct democracy quite plausible (ofc with the pre-condition that somehow the whole thing was kind-of "filantropically" financed, so can disregard the wishes of the moneymen). /s

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #46 on: 12/26/2017 12:43 PM »
Engineers should stick to Engineering.
Politics is for those who like people and understand that all surprises cannot be engineered out but should be embraced as inevitable and to some extent be welcomed.

That's pretty funny.
In the US, most politicians are lawyers.  And lawyers LOVE people, right?
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Offline Lar

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #47 on: 12/26/2017 12:45 PM »
This seems to have veered into general politics. That's off topic. Giving a think to whether this whole thread is off topic or not. (don't reply here)

Please at least stop with the general politics stuff.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #48 on: 12/26/2017 01:37 PM »
      On the face of it, a direct democracy, augmented with computers, seems like a good model for the initial colony, after the basic establishment of said colony.  But, realistically, even with the electronic augmentation, such a system will slow things down the larger the population becomes.

      Each person will have their opinion, and unpopular, but needed actions will likely go by the wayside as majority rule will tend to drown out the voices of those that may have good ideas.

      Generally speaking, as many of the decisions will likely have a life or death result, when a population get's past a certain level, a true direct democracy or even a communist government system, becomes unmanageable.

      While large, overarching projects could be set for public referendum, the detailed minutia would need to be handed to smaller committees or even individuals, to accomplish.

      Put simply, under normal circumstances, a pure democracy, (ie direct democracy) can work on a small scale, say up to 100 people, the risks for even a small colony of 50 people on Mars, would seem too great to risk allowing a vote on all major actions that will affect the whole colony.

      While politics are essentially off limits in the forums, I think that the discussion of the FORM of government and social structure of a Mars colony is quite pertinent, and thus doesn't violate the discussion of politics.
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Offline laszlo

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #49 on: 12/26/2017 02:50 PM »
A Mars colony will be the most despotic dictatorship ever. With any luck, it will be a benevolent despotic dictatorship, but it will be a dictatorship, nonetheless. This is a result of not being able to survive a nude walkabout for even 3 minutes. Everything it takes to survive beyond a few minutes will have to be, at least initially, imported from Earth. Returning to Earth is at the colonial agency's discretion, as is everything else. The colonial agency will have absolute life-or-death power over every person on Mars. Even a unanimous vote could be completely overturned in a matter of minutes (all ventilation, power and water shut off until populace changes its mind, for example).

There can be no true freedom in any environment where the discontent cannot walk nude over the hill with their hand raised flipping the bird to the government they left behind, living off the land using only their wits and hands.

Note, I am NOT predicting that Elon will grow a god complex and use Mars as his personal slave plantation. Just pointing out that based on Earthly experiences, Mars will be a precarious location vis-a-vis personal freedom.

Offline jpfulton314

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #50 on: 12/26/2017 07:05 PM »
The governance will evolve based on the situation of the colony.  Being a production of SpaceX, you'd figure that for several years you would have something solely in the hands of Elon & Co., along with requirements imposed by prevailing law. 

As more players take the field then you run into the need to accomodate diverse interests.  At that point you start getting the discussions on governance.  As a general observation, people do not act in their own best interests.  Scott Adams (Dilbert) refers to this as the Moist Robot Theory.  This needs to be accounted for.

Given Musk's intense interest in the development of strong AI, there is a chance that governance could be strongly influenced, even guided by some form of AI.  Until Mars is able to govern itself, those who live there must be protected from themselves.

I personally think that governance on Mars will look like nothing we've seen, so far.

Offline Mongo62

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #51 on: 12/26/2017 08:05 PM »
Direct democracy on every issue is impractical.  Every person cannot read every single bill and vote on it.  Thus representative democracy or a democratic republic is much more practical.  Maybe initially on Mars with less than a few hundred people, but a million people will need representative government.

I must disagree. How much time do you think that current representatives spend reading bills and voting? Answer: not as long as you would think. The US Congress (representing a third of a billion people) passes about 3 acts or laws per week. A few hours per week would be sufficient to read the texts, along with the arguments for and against all 3 acts or laws.

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #52 on: 12/26/2017 08:32 PM »
It will by default be a Company Town governed by your flight contract and US Federal law, since SpaceX will own all the equipment, infrastructure, transport capability you require.  If SpaceX decides to grant greater rights then it will become essentially a condo association, where you may own rights to your habitable volume, but not the structure itself, and gain some control over governance. Maybe it's a weak association, maybe it's a strong one. Are supply deliveries from Blue Origin permitted? encouraged? Are you allowed to connect into the new nuke plant that just landed up the road, or are you locked into the SpaceX grid at SpaceX prices? The proposed new landing pad blocks my view; who can I talk to?

You can't really escape US Federal law until there's a non-US transport provider who is capable and permitted to deliver needed supplies, which will presumably predate self sufficiency. You can't claim independence until you can at least mitigate your dependence with friends.

I expect it will be a weak condo association for a long time

Offline Watchdog

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #53 on: 12/26/2017 08:38 PM »
A good combination beween representative and direct democracy might be the right solution. Look at Switzerland, they follow the principle of subsidiarity. Since all legal papers and executive messures of a first Mars colony consider all inhabitants, it seems reasonable to start with forms of direct democracy. The larger the population grows and the more conflicting opinions emerge the greater might be the need of a kind of representative democracy. But even than the principle of subsidiarity has to be applied. Who is subject to a law must be able to decide about it. Somebody was asked what the difference between Germany and Switzerland is: "In Germany the people serve the politicians, in Switzerland it is the other way around.

Online docmordrid

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #54 on: 12/26/2017 10:28 PM »
>
But... Remember that The Orville episode where they have a kind of direct democracy where everyone is voted on? It's like our social media platforms taken to the extreme.
>

Orville S01E07 “Majority Rule,” a cautionary tale for direct democracy  and conformity/PC advocates.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2017 10:33 PM by docmordrid »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #55 on: 12/27/2017 08:47 AM »
>
But... Remember that The Orville episode where they have a kind of direct democracy where everyone is voted on? It's like our social media platforms taken to the extreme.
>

Orville S01E07 “Majority Rule,” a cautionary tale for direct democracy  and conformity/PC advocates.
Or Gene Hackmans ICBM Submarine Captain in "Crimson Tide"
"We defend democracy, we do not practice it." :(

Democracy has 2 problems from different PoVs
1) (from the "democrats" PoV) How do you get people to judge the issues and make rational decisions.

2) (from the "authoritarian" PoV) How do you get the people to vote for the course of action we want without being in an outright dictatorship. Naturally such people will tell you their path is for "The greater good,"  wheather or not it's their "greater good" or yours is another matter.

So before anyone sorts out what kind of democracy you can have perhaps you need to answer an earlier question.
1) What sort of place is this? Company town(most people SX employees) ? Settlement (most people paid their fare and sink or swim)? 

If it's a company town then effectively SX pays most of the fares, so that's not very self financing, is it? OTOH you can set detailed selection criterion. Just the way NASA sets selection criteria for astronauts.

If most people pay their fares then if you pass the physical and got the money you're on the next BFS to Mars. "If you have the fare, SX will take you there," to coin a phrase, which is pretty much how the US was settled.

But I'm sure it'll all work out fine.  :) I probably just read too much Heinlein and Bujold ("They have a low tolerance for social failures" Miles said) as a kid.


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Offline Lar

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #56 on: 12/27/2017 12:27 PM »
I suspect you didn't read ENOUGH Heinlein, actually. Or didn't pay attention.
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Offline IRobot

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #57 on: 12/27/2017 01:43 PM »
One option not being considered is that Mars could be a religious colony, created to escape Earth rules.
And religion can raise vast amounts of money.
And the most obvious form of government would be a religious totalitarianism.

Usually religions are shaped by the environment. For example, not eating pork due to health concerns. Or having numerous families to counteract infant deaths and counteract the growth of other religions.
So it would be interesting to watch new religious dogmas, rules derived from living in Mars.

Could, for example, shape the ratio between men and women. Could force women to family life, or exactly the opposite. Could forbid homosexuals men (not women) for not reproducing, or the opposite, establish a ratio for homosexual men, similar to the "gay uncle" concept, to improve family support.

Online AncientU

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #58 on: 12/27/2017 02:23 PM »
One feature of life on Mars, at least for the first hundreds/thousands is that some level of training and 'qualification' will be required.  Consider the analogy of a submarine where each person -- from mess cook to chiefs and officers -- has to qualify aboard by demonstrating knowledge of ship's systems, emergency procedures, etc.  This is essential to keep dumb mistakes to a minimum and to have knowledgeable individuals at the scene where things going wrong.  This forms something of a participatory democracy within a military command structure.  No one who doesn't pull their share and learn the common knowledge is 'accepted' by the crew.

This is a model for the beginnings of a participatory democracy.
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Online docmordrid

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #59 on: 12/27/2017 03:58 PM »
I suspect you didn't read ENOUGH Heinlein, actually. Or didn't pay attention.

“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.”
>
"When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.”
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #60 on: 12/27/2017 04:38 PM »
I suspect you didn't read ENOUGH Heinlein, actually. Or didn't pay attention.

“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.”
>
"When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

      Unfortunately, the number of people that will be colonizing Mars will likely have a number of "Rugged Individualists" amongst them, thus, likely skewing any sort of direct democracy towards a more personally biased point of view.

      Something along the lines of Heinlein's government in "Starship Troopers", may actually be more appropriate in this sort of environment, requiring a minimum of one to two Martian Years of "service to the public" before they earn the right to vote.  This would also act to allow newcomers time to acclimate themselves to the governmental and social structure as well as the realities of colonial life, prior to the ultimate commitment to being a martian.  Further; this would also allow time to evaluate a colonist on Mars, prior to the next Earth Bound departure, upon which any persons deemed unsuitable, could be shipped back to Earth.

     Overall, it is likely that at least one to two Martian Years would be needed in the first place, simply to determine if the person in question is even completely psychologically suited for to live in such an environment.  While testing on Earth could weed out most of the least suited, one cannot be certain of how a person will react in such a self contained environment for years on end, until actually in such a situation.  As such, the judgement of a person during this early time would likely be questionable at best, and potentially catastrophic at worst.  Thus; the acclimatization period of a couple of Mars years should be enough to allow people to find out how things actually work in the colony as well as what the true issues would be.

      Overall though, a direct democracy that is applied to policy and that sort of thing, could work, but for major decisions that could causer harm or terminate the lives of everyone, or even a large portion of the colony, should be made by a small representative group.
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Offline wes_wilson

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #61 on: 12/27/2017 05:28 PM »
Love this thread, one of the exciting things about mankind truly moving to the stars is experimentation with new government again (which has largely ended on earth with everything colonized). 

I agree with some of the upthread comments that the best historical fit might be the company town.  But I think the distance of Mars and the inability to get to/from Mars except through the "company" requires some level of protection stronger than mere corporate oversight or HOA type management because there will be no recourse to Courts, arbiters, or other traditional forms of dispute resolution.  There has to be some local government including rule making, executive, and enforcement from the very start.

Elon's spoken before about the necessity of a universal basic income and no where is that more required than a place where you literally can't live without management (government/corporation/hoa/etc) providing air, water, food, and housing. 

Probably veering a bit from direct democracy into constitutional or charter issues; but they're related.  There could be degrees of decision making that are done differently such as constitutional absolutes (like UBI); representative issues; and direct issues where democracy or representation acts at different levels.  Just because most Earth governments have a single approach to legislating doesn't mean it has to be that way. 

I'd propose three levels of democracy
Constitutional (UBI, Defense, Environmental/Terraforming)
- Changed only by super majorities (80%) of either representative or direct votes.

Representative (City planning, supplies, expansion, interactions with other colonies)
- Representative (simple majority) with direct veto (75%)

Direct (People Matters - Traditionally called police powers in states)
- Drugs, social morals, torts, crimes, family, etc (75%)

Maybe a constitutional issues for Mars thread would be fun?

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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #62 on: 12/27/2017 07:15 PM »
“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.”
>
"When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
People do love to quote Starship Troopers (written in the early 50's) but quite a number of Heinleins short stories, novellas and novels have political strains in them (although I often wonder how many have read it or just quote the Paul verHoven film. He never actually read it. He found it unreadable. He left the job to the writer.

"Magic Inc" is a masterclass in the foisting of unwanted legislation on the electorate (it's methods are still in use today in the US, but that's OT for this thread).
"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (from the late 60's) of course with the Moon as a deportation-for-life-penal-colony seeking its freedom (and the methods they use to achieve it) also expound Dr Heinleins tactical approach to the problem.
"Farnhams Freehold" discusses some of the issues surviving the end of the world and the aftermath.

With specific reference to Mars perhaps  Double Star would be most appropriate

Not forgetting (given this audience) "Space Cadet"  :) , although the consequences of such service are better spelt out in the short story "The Long Watch."

But if you want to read Heinlein as himself discussing how to make things happen, and how things happen in government you'd have to go with  this.

TL:DR. "And they all lived happily ever after" is the ending to a fairly story.  Heinlein believed IRL "happy endings" (for whatever your definition of "happy" is) take a great of work to make happen. A belief that "The meek shall inherit the Earth" will lead you to inherit about a 6 foot long plot of it. 
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline DanielW

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #63 on: 12/27/2017 07:25 PM »
I would not advocate it, but block-chain based smart contracts as a constitution is an interesting thought experiment. It could cover how legislation is brought forward and voted on as well as assigning authority to enforce.

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #64 on: 12/28/2017 02:42 AM »
History has shown that a benevolent dictatorship is the most efficient, (king, emperor, or such).  However, once they die the empire or country is thrown into problems.  The next leader may be weak or evil.  A pure democracy can be hard to do for a large number of people because of having a multitude of things that would have to be voted on.  To much productive time wasted, thus a representative government. 

Like someone said, a small number of people, pure democracy will work.  Large number of people, it has to evolve into a representative government.  Then you will need a court/judges system, an executive system for enforcing laws passed, and a legislative system for passing laws.  Only thing that really works for a majority of people. 

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #65 on: 12/28/2017 04:02 AM »
A Mars colony will be the most despotic dictatorship ever. With any luck, it will be a benevolent despotic dictatorship, but it will be a dictatorship, nonetheless. This is a result of not being able to survive a nude walkabout for even 3 minutes. Everything it takes to survive beyond a few minutes will have to be, at least initially, imported from Earth. Returning to Earth is at the colonial agency's discretion, as is everything else. The colonial agency will have absolute life-or-death power over every person on Mars. Even a unanimous vote could be completely overturned in a matter of minutes (all ventilation, power and water shut off until populace changes its mind, for example).

There can be no true freedom in any environment where the discontent cannot walk nude over the hill with their hand raised flipping the bird to the government they left behind, living off the land using only their wits and hands.

Note, I am NOT predicting that Elon will grow a god complex and use Mars as his personal slave plantation. Just pointing out that based on Earthly experiences, Mars will be a precarious location vis-a-vis personal freedom.

I disagree and in fact dictatorship like rule must be avoided at a all costs as they always end in failure.
A solution to avoid this would be to make sure things are decentralized and everyone owns a piece of the systems needed for life support.
Every section of the colony has it's own air and water recycling facilities or at the very least large buffer of several weeks.
That way you don't get a situation like in Total Recall where a central authority could turn off the air and force people into compliance.

You won't survive more than a hour or so at the most walking around nude outside during the dead of winter in Iceland or Norway these are not dictatorships.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2017 04:18 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #66 on: 12/28/2017 04:08 AM »
Heinlein is NOT a good template to use. He had some strong authoritarian and militaristic tendencies. His pro-militarism stance is in spite of, and maybe because of the fact that although he joined the military, he was only in for a few years and never went to war.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #67 on: 12/28/2017 07:12 AM »
Heinlein is NOT a good template to use. He had some strong authoritarian and militaristic tendencies. His pro-militarism stance is in spite of, and maybe because of the fact that although he joined the military, he was only in for a few years and never went to war.
Indeed, although he did run a campaign the California governership  :(

Real "life on Mars" will not be like "Life on Mars," the show about a cop who wakes up back in the 70's :)

Or indeed any other work of fiction.

What did Kim Stanley Robinson propose?
Every section of the colony has it's own air and water recycling facilities or at the very least large buffer of several weeks.
That way you don't get a situation like in Total Recall where a central authority could turn off the air and force people into compliance.
Unfortunately building such an architecture is likely more expensive than centralized (and centrally controlled) facilities, so unlikely to be done without other reasons other than "To stop a hypothetical Troskyist coup d'etat," when Trotsky took over the water works, the power plant and the telephone exchange while Lenin was busy trying to incite workers to armed revolution.
Quote from: Patchouli
You won't survive more than a hour or so at the most walking around nude outside during the dead of winter in Iceland or Norway these are not dictatorships.
Which is a good point. 
Why they are not might be another.

History has shown that a benevolent dictatorship is the most efficient, (king, emperor, or such).  However, once they die the empire or country is thrown into problems.  The next leader may be weak or evil. 
The poster child for this would be  the (former) Yugoslavia. 6 states with 4 languages, 2 alphabets and 2 major religions.

Which self destructed in quite a spectacular fashion after the Boss died.
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Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #68 on: 12/28/2017 08:27 AM »
History has shown that a benevolent dictatorship is the most efficient, (king, emperor, or such).

War economies are the most efficient, look at the incredible production in the 2nd world war from all sides and political systems.

Not that I'm advocating a war economy, there needs to be an existential threat and it would probably be unsustainable on timescales of a decade or more.

Offline MikeAtkinson

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #69 on: 12/28/2017 08:35 AM »
What the appropriate form of government depends on the size of the martian population and how it is distributed about Mars.

10,000 people in a single settlement would require a different governmental structure than 10,000,000 in many different settlements spread over Mars.

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #70 on: 12/28/2017 11:51 AM »
History has shown that a benevolent dictatorship is the most efficient, (king, emperor, or such).

War economies are the most efficient, look at the incredible production in the 2nd world war from all sides and political systems.

Not that I'm advocating a war economy, there needs to be an existential threat and it would probably be unsustainable on timescales of a decade or more.

Same idea... something has to focus attention and energy to achieving vital goals.  Cutting to the chase, so to speak.  Living on the Mars surface will do that.
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Offline Welsh Dragon

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #71 on: 12/28/2017 12:10 PM »
On Earth, anyone advocating direct democracy must be insane. The majority of the population is not informed, does not care, and, if pushed, will vote for those who shout the loudest. Thereby usually making decisions that only make things worse for themselves. See recent elections and referenda in the Western world if you needed any evidence. If anything, we need fewer decisions taken by the population. That is why we have a representative democracy. To moderate the base tendencies of large portions of the population into something that resembles sensible policy.

Now, early Mars would may be a different case. Smaller population, vastly higher average education level. It might work. The only way it could work though, is to have voting made mandatory, so the votes can't be hijacked by smaller interest groups. Then again, we all know what happens when you make something mandatory, people will start to resent doing it.

Still think the best start off government is the one which has essentially ruled all small starter settlements in history, a benevolent communist dictatorship. Resources must be shared, capitalism won't work in a small closed system.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2017 12:11 PM by Welsh Dragon »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #72 on: 12/28/2017 04:38 PM »
What I'd suggest early on is democratic socialism in that most stuff is collectively owned but that everyone has a say and all officials are elected and serve a limited term.
There would be some limited capitalism.
Think maybe like living in an eco village or arcology like Arcosanti.
In theory this could be evolved to a semi direct democracy something similar to the that in Switzerland or even a republic like in Finland as the colony grows.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2017 04:51 PM by Patchouli »

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #73 on: 12/28/2017 08:43 PM »
What I'd suggest early on is democratic socialism in that most stuff is collectively owned but that everyone has a say and all officials are elected and serve a limited term.
There would be some limited capitalism.
Think maybe like living in an eco village or arcology like Arcosanti.
In theory this could be evolved to a semi direct democracy something similar to the that in Switzerland or even a republic like in Finland as the colony grows.

I think the beginnings of real settlement (beyond expeditionary outposts created by public and/or private initiative) will be when private ownership of 'stuff' begins.  Collectivism is antithetical to the US essence and certainly Musk's way of thinking, IMO.
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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #74 on: 12/29/2017 02:36 AM »
Democratic socialism won't work in the long run.  It stagnates everything.  Musk, a private owner, is doing more than collective NASA in a shorter period of time.  Like it was said, collectivism doesn't bode well with Americans. 

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #75 on: 12/29/2017 03:06 AM »


I think the beginnings of real settlement (beyond expeditionary outposts created by public and/or private initiative) will be when private ownership of 'stuff' begins.  Collectivism is antithetical to the US essence and certainly Musk's way of thinking, IMO.
It's not necessarily anti ethical to the US essence as collectives and communes do exist within the US.
It's pretty much a necessity for a small autonomous society.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 03:15 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Exastro

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #76 on: 12/29/2017 03:43 AM »
Quote
It's not necessarily anti ethical to the US essence as collectives and communes do exist within the US.
It's pretty much a necessity for a small autonomous society.

IIRC, the American experience with collectivism has been almost uniformly disastrous.  Most notably, the Pilgrims at Plymouth nearly wiped themselves out by collectivizing agriculture at a time when they were a small colony living on the edge of starvation.  Roughly half of them died of starvation and diseases caused by it before they abandoned collective agriculture and started allowing families to keep the produce of their own labor. 

See also early Communist China and many other experiments associated with Communism.

The lesson seems to be that the impulse to respond to the harshness of a frontier by exerting tight control over individuals' labor is a road to deadly failure.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #77 on: 12/29/2017 07:48 AM »

IIRC, the American experience with collectivism has been almost uniformly disastrous.  Most notably, the Pilgrims at Plymouth nearly wiped themselves out by collectivizing agriculture at a time when they were a small colony living on the edge of starvation.  Roughly half of them died of starvation and diseases caused by it before they abandoned collective agriculture and started allowing families to keep the produce of their own labor. 

See also early Communist China and many other experiments associated with Communism.

The lesson seems to be that the impulse to respond to the harshness of a frontier by exerting tight control over individuals' labor is a road to deadly failure.
Well that's not the true story the real one is more complex.
The Pilgrims did hold their land in common course but in interest of realizing a profit sooner to pay back the debt to the company that funded their trip.
They were more like investors in a company than a commune and the system was intended to be temporary.
The main reason for the early hardship is they landed in autumn and many of the colonists had become ill during the voyage.
They held the first Thanksgiving in 1621 but did not abandon common course until 1623.
If food was scarce they would not have had 3 day celebration of of sport and feast and instead would have carefully rationed the harvest.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/weekinreview/21zernike.html

As for China they dismantled an existing system of small farms to make large Soviet style collectives up rooting existing means of distribution.
People were pushed off their land and traditional farming methods were abandoned for modern mechanized farming techniques.

Of course I'm not advocating full socialism for Mars but making the stuff needed for life support common property.

« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 06:09 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #78 on: 12/29/2017 10:16 AM »
Quote
It's not necessarily anti ethical to the US essence as collectives and communes do exist within the US.
It's pretty much a necessity for a small autonomous society.

IIRC, the American experience with collectivism has been almost uniformly disastrous.  Most notably, the Pilgrims at Plymouth nearly wiped themselves out by collectivizing agriculture at a time when they were a small colony living on the edge of starvation.  Roughly half of them died of starvation and diseases caused by it before they abandoned collective agriculture and started allowing families to keep the produce of their own labor. 

See also early Communist China and many other experiments associated with Communism.

The lesson seems to be that the impulse to respond to the harshness of a frontier by exerting tight control over individuals' labor is a road to deadly failure.
However, the Nordic countries (just about the closest analogue to the Martian environment) are uniformly social democracies, mixed economies, i.e. Capitalist economic core with large socialist safety nets. There's a high degree of cooperation, not the caricature of libertarian individualism nor the strict, authoritarian communism or fascism of Soviet Union, the Axis Powers, or even the wartime Allied powers.

Iceland as a model may work fairly well. Key is building a common culture, I think, ala Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 10:17 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline chalz

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #79 on: 12/29/2017 11:31 AM »
Everything it takes to survive beyond a few minutes will have to be, at least initially, imported from Earth. Returning to Earth is at the colonial agency's discretion, as is everything else. The colonial agency will have absolute life-or-death power over every person on Mars. Even a unanimous vote could be completely overturned in a matter of minutes (all ventilation, power and water shut off until populace changes its mind, for example).
This point is going to end up being behind everything. No matter what social organisation goes on if it can be undone at a moments notice by an individual then it is not going to last.

The American founders spent a lot of effort trying to make the political system intrinsically democratic. You can't be despotic without first being voted to be so. If Martians want to make their system intrinsically democratic they will have to include the physical environment too. It must be made impossible for an individual to destroy the colony. The design, construction, software must all be aware of the extra goal of only allowing the wishes of the majority.

This will mean inefficiency and overhead in construction and function. But that is what a democracy(and capitalism) is: inefficient in service to a goal.

So the talk of benevolent dictatorship and having a crew mentality is going to be unavoidable because in the beginning that will be what the technology embodies. Democracy starts in the design phase or it won't be available. I'm thinking it will be centuries before our moral and technical abilities are up to the task. But democracy has been a long march and so will this.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #80 on: 12/29/2017 05:54 PM »
However, the Nordic countries (just about the closest analogue to the Martian environment) are uniformly social democracies, mixed economies, i.e. Capitalist economic core with large socialist safety nets. There's a high degree of cooperation, not the caricature of libertarian individualism nor the strict, authoritarian communism or fascism of Soviet Union, the Axis Powers, or even the wartime Allied powers.

Iceland as a model may work fairly well. Key is building a common culture, I think, ala Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.

Agreed the Nordic countries are probably the idea model to copy.

One problem with a benevolent dictatorship is they often don't stay benevolent.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 06:13 PM by Patchouli »

Offline envy887

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #81 on: 12/29/2017 06:02 PM »
Everything it takes to survive beyond a few minutes will have to be, at least initially, imported from Earth. Returning to Earth is at the colonial agency's discretion, as is everything else. The colonial agency will have absolute life-or-death power over every person on Mars. Even a unanimous vote could be completely overturned in a matter of minutes (all ventilation, power and water shut off until populace changes its mind, for example).
This point is going to end up being behind everything. No matter what social organisation goes on if it can be undone at a moments notice by an individual then it is not going to last.

The American founders spent a lot of effort trying to make the political system intrinsically democratic. You can't be despotic without first being voted to be so. If Martians want to make their system intrinsically democratic they will have to include the physical environment too. It must be made impossible for an individual to destroy the colony. The design, construction, software must all be aware of the extra goal of only allowing the wishes of the majority.

This will mean inefficiency and overhead in construction and function. But that is what a democracy(and capitalism) is: inefficient in service to a goal.

So the talk of benevolent dictatorship and having a crew mentality is going to be unavoidable because in the beginning that will be what the technology embodies. Democracy starts in the design phase or it won't be available. I'm thinking it will be centuries before our moral and technical abilities are up to the task. But democracy has been a long march and so will this.

You also don't want one person going insane and killing everyone, so decentralization, redundancy, and systemic independence are absolute musts. That means even if everything is owned by one entity it cannot be designed to be centrally disabled, even by that entity.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #82 on: 12/29/2017 06:25 PM »
You do want to avoid a situation like in total recall where they shut off air to part of the colony.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 06:28 PM by Patchouli »

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #83 on: 12/29/2017 06:29 PM »
Everything it takes to survive beyond a few minutes will have to be, at least initially, imported from Earth. Returning to Earth is at the colonial agency's discretion, as is everything else. The colonial agency will have absolute life-or-death power over every person on Mars. Even a unanimous vote could be completely overturned in a matter of minutes (all ventilation, power and water shut off until populace changes its mind, for example).
This point is going to end up being behind everything. No matter what social organisation goes on if it can be undone at a moments notice by an individual then it is not going to last.

The American founders spent a lot of effort trying to make the political system intrinsically democratic. You can't be despotic without first being voted to be so. If Martians want to make their system intrinsically democratic they will have to include the physical environment too. It must be made impossible for an individual to destroy the colony. The design, construction, software must all be aware of the extra goal of only allowing the wishes of the majority.

This will mean inefficiency and overhead in construction and function. But that is what a democracy(and capitalism) is: inefficient in service to a goal.

So the talk of benevolent dictatorship and having a crew mentality is going to be unavoidable because in the beginning that will be what the technology embodies. Democracy starts in the design phase or it won't be available. I'm thinking it will be centuries before our moral and technical abilities are up to the task. But democracy has been a long march and so will this.

Re: The colonial agency -- no one will have a 'kill switch' off-planet.  On planet, the initial settlements will manage their own systems including those vital ECLSS provided by that group.  It will largely be up to the folks that have boots on the ground to make or break the success of keeping those systems running and themselves alive.

Re: Benevolent dictatorship and nascent democracy -- central control via a 'command structure' will be needed to get a foothold on Mars (or the Moon).  Once basic infrastructure is established -- ECLSS plus habitation facilities, etc. over the first few synods -- the number of complexities and choices that the population will encounter will grow much faster than the population itself.  At that point, either The colonial agency will make every decision or there will be a mechanism like direct democracy to engage the very individuals who have the largest vested interest (their own well being).  IMO, The colonial agency will be wise to take a step back and let the population decide most matters.  This will happen in the first decade of Mars habitation... and the issue of when, if ever, human nature is up to the task will be tested in a much more unforgiving environment.  This is the value of going to Mars to stay.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2017 06:33 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Lar

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Re: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars
« Reply #84 on: 12/29/2017 09:38 PM »
You do want to avoid a situation like in total recall where they shut off air to part of the colony.

Or a situation where the mods turn off posting because posters want to talk about the relative merits of various systems of government on earth.

Oh wait, that just happened.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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