Author Topic: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars  (Read 12559 times)

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.

Mark Eagon

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

Online AncientU

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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.

Offline 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.
"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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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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Offline 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.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
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