[ExI] size of polities

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sun Feb 17 19:27:40 UTC 2008

On Feb 17, 2008 9:36 AM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> One obvious idea that emerges from this is that most nations
> are too large to properly reflect the desires of an individual
> citizen.

Correct, within the historical context you apparently take for granted.

A broader view might restate your assessment in terms of information
technology (in the broad sense that paper documents and even town
meetings are technologies), recognizing that while historically
"obvious" that a nation could not effectively represent, let alone
model, the fine-grained values-complexes of its constituents, we have
now at hand technology capable of representing, modeling, aggregating
our values in **better** detail than we previously could know even
ourselves, c.f. amazon, lastfm, pandora, etc.

Your other implicit assumption, again correct within historical
context, is that our actions, whether at the level of the individual
or the group (nation), normally reflect our **desires**, rather than
express our **values**   The significance of this distinction is
twofold: (1) action at the level of the group (the hive?) is optimally
an expression of a maximally coherent comprehension of the group
values-complex, functionally beyond the comprehension of its
constituents, and (2) to the extent that specific outcomes within a
complexly evolving environment are unpredictable, it is better to
discover the future by creating it, than to attempt to build to a
preconceived specification within an incompletely conceived context.

> More people would vote if the representatives they were
> electing could effectively represent them in much smaller
> legislatures, too.

We are beginning to see that prediction markets, betting on expected
outcomes, has many advantages over "democratic" voting.  Less
well-recognized is the meta-benefit -- and within a societal context,
the moral imperative -- of rather than betting on specific outcomes,
betting on the efficacy of the principles driving successful outcomes

Apologies in advance for the density of my comments. I am in fact quite dense.

- Jef

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