Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 01, 2014, 06:33:33 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Atlas Fantasy Elections
| |-+  Atlas Fantasy Government
| | |-+  Constitutional Convention (Moderators: Gustaf, MasterJedi)
| | | |-+  Parliamentary Universalism: A Wonky, Redundant, Gamble
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Parliamentary Universalism: A Wonky, Redundant, Gamble  (Read 1492 times)
Marokai Besieged
Marokai Blue
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16721
United States


View Profile
« on: March 29, 2009, 12:29:41 am »
Ignore

I'm making this thread as a more direct discussion of the mechanic of including all members of Atlasia into a lower House of the legislature, and partially a response to Smid in another thread. I got a bit distracted from the ConCon, but I wanted to get my thoughts out before the pro-universalism crowd marches to what unfortunately seems like an inevitable victory.

1: Senseless Redundancy.

When coupled with a system that involves an Upper House creating the "Parliamentary Universalism" proposal, both Houses do nothing but mimic the other. There literally becomes no differences between the two Houses at all. Each House votes on legislation, each House introduces legislation, each House debates legislation, each House holds hearings, etc, etc. There is almost no point in having two Houses, with one elected, and one comprised of all the citizens of Atlasia, when each body does the exact same thing. There are some proposals, like committees in the lower and possible upper House as well, that might shake the process up, but these proposals have no impact on differentiating the overall function of the body, and could be done, possibly better, in a Presidential Parliamentarian model, and literally any other that includes more than a handful of members.

The response to this goes as follows:

Slightly less people, actually, which is why any individual Senator is more likely to be holding the balance of power on a vote and therefore more powerful as they will be determining the outcome of the legislation.

Unfortunately I made a typo when I made my initial comments he responded to, so I'll correct myself here. I actually did mean slightly "less" people from the beginning. My point was that there are no differences between the two legislative bodies except maybe the number of people involved, which Smid unwittingly confirmed. But thinking about it more, I don't even think that will be the case, and that leads me to..

2: A Manpower Shortage.

The assumption is that the Upper House in a Parliamentary Universalist system will have less people in it than the Lower House. This is a serious gamble though, because that would mean that the Lower House would need at least 16+ active/semi-active members or more compared to the Upper House's active/semi-active 15, while still having enough members to hold competitive and interesting elections that just doesn't shuffle the deck chairs.

Atlasia has 111, give or take a few, citizens overall. We can safely assume that a third of these are completely dead citizens who take little to no interest at all. This leaves us with roughly 80 citizens. But wait a moment, we only have 63 voters, give or take a couple, in the last major election. Certainly we don't have 63 active members of the game that take an active interest, we have trouble running Senate elections competitively, especially regional ones, and only about half the delegates here are active in the convention, and several of the people who took the time to vote never really posted in the game since, and certainly the zombies never took an interest in the Government, or they would have run for elections. So lets say we have 40 people who take at least a minimal interest, and that's being generous.

Running with that kind estimate, we would have 40 or so people in the Lower House who would show any interest at all. But again, there's a problem. At least 15 of these people have to run for elections to fill all the Seats in the Upper House (Senate) or the legislature. Assuming all 40 members are active, which isn't very likely, you end up with a Lower House of 25 active members, and an Upper House of 15 active members.

Does that really have a serious difference to it? The Houses effectively do the same thing, and 10 less members isn't going to give a Senate any more serious powers than a member of the House of Representatives. The lack of any serious differences in power and the low amount of active members overall would carry over into the elections, basically making the elections to the Senate/Upper house not very competitive or exciting at all.

3: The Universalist's Gamble.

They take enough of an interest to register. I think you mistake taking an interest with a capacity to participate. Before I had a position, I never posted on here. I generally didn't even check the board unless there was an election. People don't have an opportunity to participate if they don't hold an elected office. They can't debate Bills, they can't vote on Bills, they can talk about elected representatives in the media threads and they can vote in elections and that's about the extend of it.

This is the gamble of the Universalist. The people do want to participate in the Government, but simply aren't given the opportunity to do so, and additionally that people do have an interest in the process or they wouldn't have registered in the first place.

The latter is laughable for obvious reasons. With at least around 111 registered citizens of Atlasia only 63 of these people took part in the elections that lasted a good amount of time. As I said earlier we most certainly don't have 63 active members and the real number of people who at least look at the board once in awhile is probably around 40, if that. Nothing prevented these people from voting, so the idea that all those who register are interested in the process is silly. Not everyone who signs up for the game is going to take an active or even semi-active interest. Not even half.

The former point is valid, I can think of a few people that are interested in the process but are repeatedly shut out of it, but only a few. I can't think of two dozen, or even a dozen, or even ten members who are repeatedly shut out of the process who actually give two damns about participating and have attempted to do so. There aren't enough people like that to sustain a system of at least 31 members (to jive with the theory of a large Lower House and a smaller Upper House comprised of 15 members) and engage in competitive elections. Hell, the bare minimum here would be half of all the voters that participated in the last major election. Pardon me if I'm skeptical.

This doesn't even get into the problem of not having dual office holding and/or regional offices. That further whittles away at the number of people free to participate in all of the elections and the legislature.

Furthermore, not all people are interested in government, and if they are, not all people who are interested in the government are interested in being forced into a legislative body and keep up with detailed debate just to stay active. It would choke off members who don't have the time to always participate or simply don't always want to. I'll get to that later as well. I know the responses to this would be to tweak with the Universalist system, perhaps with less members in the Upper House. But doing so would just make the legislature even more redundant. The problem is the system of Parliamentary Universalism itself and not the little details.

This is a gamble we just can't take, there are too many things here that are subject to faith.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 12:33:01 am by AG Marokai Blue »Logged

Marokai Besieged
Marokai Blue
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16721
United States


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2009, 12:30:02 am »
Ignore

4: Changing The Nature of the Game.

First and foremost, Atlasia has been an election sim, but it's been more than that too. It's been a bit of a roleplaying game, a social experience, a government sim, and just something to do to relax. Right now you can work as a citizen, or get appointed to a cabinet post from obscurity to work hard just as that. You're not forced to participate if you don't want to, you can work as a citizen, you can observe. You can just be a party leader, you can run a newspaper from the outside looking in. But above all, you're not forced into doing anything. Yes, I ran for the Senate, and yes, I serve as Attorney General, but I have the freedom to bow out of office if I so choose, because there are other things to do, other things to follow.

Yes there are elections in the Universalist's proposal, but only in the most tacked on, unnecessary way. Regional governments would probably be preserved, but what purpose do at least 15 of the offices (the Upper House) hold? We already know the two Houses are virtually identical in terms of processes, why even have it? It doesn't solve any of the problems of course, but it would at least make it seem like less of a "Government sim with elections on the side." The elections are pointless under this system and would be even more uncompetitive than they already are, not only for population reasons but because there is no incentive to advance. (A handful less people does not make a body more powerful than the other.)

This system would force all citizens into the legislature and change the focus of the game, from elections, to a government sim. A government sim is much more of a time investment, is much more complicated, and quite frankly, more like a job, than a fun social experience with a game on the side. There's a reason Atlas Fantasy Elections isn't in the Games board, and it's because this is bigger than just a game, it's a gathering place and a much larger place of ideas. It's bigger than "just" one thing. We have enough inactive members as it is that only appear to vote in elections, and you'd either have even more inactive people that only show up to vote in legislation with only a handful of people remotely interest in debate of legislation, or you'd just choke already fading members to death.

5: The Pitch.

For these reasons, and I'm sure others that I left out, I oppose a move to a Parliamentary Universalist system, and urge all delegates to take these arguments to heart and oppose that system.

A Presidential Parliamentarian system solves many of the problems you'd already have. Instead of having two identical bodies, with one comprised of all the citizens, you have one slightly expanded (perhaps 15-20, but no more than 20 at the most) unicameral legislature that is elected by the people as the Senate is now. Regional governments will still exist, if they choose to have governments at all.

A Prime Minister is elected by the expanded & elected Senate, and a President as a representative of the people, elected by the citizens of Atlasia, holding powers of their own (one to introduce referenda, another to call for elections, for example) to keep have two leading positions that make the highest offices in the land more exciting.

It retains the system of solely having elections instead of handing people offices, makes the legislature unique and actually have a point, creates an incentive to rise up in offices and even hold opposing leadership roles for the country, expands the government to still allow for more people to participate (and still allow for Committees) without all of the problems associated with a Universalist system, and simply keeps the perfect balance between a social experience, the government sim, and an election sim.

Thank you all for listening, and I apologize for the length of the post.

A.G. Marokai Blue
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 12:31:38 am by AG Marokai Blue »Logged

Marokai Besieged
Marokai Blue
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16721
United States


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 12:41:42 am »
Ignore

One thing I just thought of I'd like to add on: Ironically, the Upper House (15 Members) could conceivably end up having more active members than the Lower House, which would be the complete opposite of what would be intended.
Logged

Purple State
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 6780
United States


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2009, 12:53:00 am »
Ignore

At first glance I agree with everything you said. However, it's pretty clear that a Presidential Parliamentarian system is just a slightly expanded version of what we have now. Combined with the fact that elections are barely competitive as it is... You know where I'm going with this.

The only way to make this function may be with a large lower house and a drastically reduced Senate. Maybe between 5 and 10 members. In addition, the Senate would be more free-flowing, reflecting their special status as elected; whereas a lower house would be given strict restrictions on debate and legislation development.

What I partially hope for in a bicameral system is a situation in which some members strive for greater, less restricted positions in the Senate while others feel an antagonism towards the upper house and seek to rule the lower house.

While Parliamentary Universalism is far from perfect, we can develop it to be better. It has the potential to incorporate the other ideas proposed into itself and thrive on an array of balancing acts. It creates relationships and interwebbing networks of communication. It just has that feel of excitement and constant flow. Something is always going on somewhere.
Logged

Marokai/Purple Main Campaign Thread

Thank you to all our supporters!

Brandon H
brandonh
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4418
United States


Political Matrix
E: 3.48, S: 1.74

View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2009, 10:22:54 am »
Ignore

We would have to make sure each house would have set powers. For example in the U.S., only the Senate confirms Presidential nominations.

Also, I would say that instead of picking a number like 15, (unless we do the upper house elected by the regions) we could say a percentage of all registered members (or all voters in the last election). If we did 1 for every 10, we would get either 11 (from the 111 people on the rolls) or 6 (from the 63 voters).

I guess we need to find out, how many Atlasians would participate in the lower house if it used a form of universalism.
Logged

A Republican - at least for a little while
Purple State
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 6780
United States


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 10:37:12 am »
Ignore

We would have to make sure each house would have set powers. For example in the U.S., only the Senate confirms Presidential nominations.

Also, I would say that instead of picking a number like 15, (unless we do the upper house elected by the regions) we could say a percentage of all registered members (or all voters in the last election). If we did 1 for every 10, we would get either 11 (from the 111 people on the rolls) or 6 (from the 63 voters).

I guess we need to find out, how many Atlasians would participate in the lower house if it used a form of universalism.

That proportion thing is actually a great idea. I would say you base it on the number of voters in the general election.
Logged

Marokai/Purple Main Campaign Thread

Thank you to all our supporters!

Purple State
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 6780
United States


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 10:55:22 am »
Ignore

I guess we need to find out, how many Atlasians would participate in the lower house if it used a form of universalism.

On that note, I have started a poll to find this out in the Election board.
Logged

Marokai/Purple Main Campaign Thread

Thank you to all our supporters!

Marokai Besieged
Marokai Blue
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16721
United States


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 03:34:25 pm »
Ignore

I guess we need to find out, how many Atlasians would participate in the lower house if it used a form of universalism.

It's impossible to know until it's actually implemented.

While Parliamentary Universalism is far from perfect, we can develop it to be better. It has the potential to incorporate the other ideas proposed into itself and thrive on an array of balancing acts. It creates relationships and interwebbing networks of communication. It just has that feel of excitement and constant flow. Something is always going on somewhere.

Tweaking minor things and including tiny little details isn't going to change the fact that it's still Universalism.
Logged

Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines