7. The Fix for Our Political System

Using the best decision makers for each role

The two government processes that empower political parties and elites must be redesigned to gain the most from citizen's collective intelligence and small group intelligence. Our first design requirement for our new democracy was to utilize the most capable decision makers possible. We defined them as those with the ability to exercise the best judgement when solving a complex, governance issue. Most of the decisions involved in governing are judgement calls. To solve an issue, decision makers must judge which information is important and valid when conflicting information exists. They judge which needs are the most important out of all needs and which solution features have the most potential and would be the most acceptable. Therefore, the ability to make the best judgements is the key to governing decisions.

Three categories of decision makers exist, a large group of citizens, a small group of citizens such as a council, and individuals. The one that would consistently execute the best judgement depends on the type of decision and their role.

  1. Citizens – A large, diverse group of citizens would be the best for complex governing decisions that require good judgement, cooperation, and collaboration. These types of decisions are currently made by Congress in the forms of laws, policies, and spending bills. They may also include some of the laws, mandates, and policies currently made by the President, Cabinet members, and politically appointed executives.

  2. Councils – A small, diverse group of qualified, independent citizens would be the best for administrative decisions over departments and programs. Each member would have an equal vote. A council would provide multiple perspectives, moderating the biases of individual council members. By "independent," I mean that they represent the citizens according to their own judgment rather than under the control of a political party or special interest. These administrators would implement the laws, policies, and solutions developed by the Citizens and ensure they were followed. Administrative decisions would include fiscal responsibility for budgeted funds just as it does now.

  3. Individuals – Individual professional managers would be the best for operations management and supervisory decisions that require specific expertise and experience. In some cases, higher-level Councils may decide that a Council should replace an Individual manager as well, based on the scope of responsibility and the importance of the role.

To integrate our new decision makers into government, we will create Federal Councils and Citizen Governance Websites. Federal Councils will be small groups of citizens that replace the individual executives currently in administrative roles. Citizen Governance Websites will allow citizens to enter issues and collectively solve them online at a national scale.

Federal Councils

In general, each executive position in the federal government currently filled by election or by political appointment would be replaced with a Federal Council. Some agencies are already managed by councils. Individual managers would continue to manage operations and staff as they do now but they would report to a Federal Council.

To illustrate the concept through an example, the diagram in Figure 7-1 shows the line of authority of the executive decision makers over the National Park Service. The Director of the National Park Service is the administrator over all national park staff. The director is appointed by the President, as are all of those above him. The National Park Service falls under the Department of the Interior in the executive branch. The Secretary of the Interior is a Presidential Cabinet position.



Figure 7-1


Figure 7-2 shows an example of how Citizens, Federal Councils, and Individual Managers would work together as decision makers over the National Park Service. It would be the same for other departments and agencies. Each politically appointed executive would be replaced with a Federal Council as shown. Each Federal Council would have its own Citizen Governance Website to govern its department.



Figure 7-2


Figure 7-2 also demonstrates how it might be possible to merge several political appointment roles into one Federal Council in some cases. For example, the positions of Secretary of the Interior and of Deputy Secretary of the Interior might be combined into one Federal Council rather than two. The chairperson of this new Council of the Interior would be the Secretary of the Interior who would meet with the Presidential Council (the Federal Council that replaces the President) as requested.

Federal Council structure

Each Federal Council would have an odd number of members based on the scope of their duties, typically 9. Every member of a council would have an equal vote just as justices on the Supreme Court do and as members of the Swiss Federal Council do (the plural executive of Switzerland).

Members of Federal Councils would not be elected or appointed. They would be selected randomly (equivalent to a lotto) from a pool of qualified applicants for each individual council. This would ensure the independence of council members, eliminate political influence, and create true equal opportunity to serve regardless of gender, wealth, or race. Random selection (called "sortition") is a longstanding democratic selection process that will be explained fully in a later chapter.

Empowering Citizens to rule themselves

Governing decisions and solutions in the form of laws and policies would be made by Citizens through Citizen Governance Websites at the departmental level where the issue or the opportunity actually occurs. For example, if a new federal park were proposed, it would fall under the domain and scope of the Council of the National Park Service. The solution would be developed and the final decision made by Citizens using the council's Citizen Governance Website. The council's staff would manage the website and facilitate its use by the Citizens. The council would help Citizens prioritize issues, manage issues, develop solutions, and determine the cost and source of funding for each solution option related to their department. The council would ensure sufficient Citizens participate for a solution to be accepted.

Every Federal Council at every level would host a Citizen Governance Website to allow Citizens to develop governing solutions for issues within the domain of that council. For example, if an issue arose that affected multiple departments within the Department of the Interior, the issue would be resolved on the Citizen Governance Website of the Council of the Interior. If the Presidential Council proposed a new department within the executive branch, they would do so through the Citizen Governance Website of the Presidential Council.

Naturally, it might take some time and effort to determine the proper boundary between decisions that should be made by a particular Federal Council itself and decisions that should be made by Citizens. However, Citizens would have the final say on which decision maker would be the best. The specific Citizen Governance Website design and function will be explained in a later chapter.


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