Author Topic: Elon Musk: Direct Democracy on Mars  (Read 10948 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.

Offline 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 »

Offline 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 »

Offline 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.

Offline 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..

Online 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 So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline 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.