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Liquid Democracy in business
I have often thought that the web has the power to help move us away from the form of representative government. (A system where you vote for a local or regional 'representative', who in turn votes on political issues). That system made a lot of sense when transportation and communication was difficult. With the web, couldn't we all vote on every issue directly? While I have often thought about this as an ideal, I have never really done any research. Today, via Ming the Mechanic
, I came across a description of Liquid Democracy
, which is similar in concept, but it allows to you to give your vote to a proxy, on an issue-by-issue basis. This means you can vote yourself, or, assign any number of trusted experts to vote on various issues. And if you don't like the way they vote, you can immediately choose to vote yourself or proxy the vote to someone else. In modern governments, you vote for a single representative for a period of several years, you can't just say "Well, I didn't like the way you voted on that bill, so that's it for you." I think this is a fantastic model.
It is also a great model for structuring a business. Rather than a traditional hierarchical model, why not make business decisions in a liquidly democratic way
? The result would be a completely liquid organizational structure that would morph into different shapes for each decision, with trusted experts having more voting weight depending on the decision at hand. Note that I use the term "trusted experts". Hmmm... Now that I think about, this Liquid Democracy business structure has a bulit-in reputation system!
Reputation can be measured by the number of proxies entrusted to each individual. And not only that, the system organically assigns different reputations based on the topic or issue at hand! A person might have a strong marketing representation but a weak engineering reputation. And because reputation proxies can be taken away at a moments notice, there is perfect accountability, with very little structure. Individuals become prominent in the organization by earning (and keeping) trust. It's such a simple idea, but I think it could work. Am I crazy?
Posted by Mark at May 16, 2003 5:56 PM
Posted by: mark pincus
at May 18, 2003 12:32 PM
i have blogged on a similar idea i call 'eParty'. create an issue based marketplace where the most popular ideas become the platform. would love your feedback.
Posted by: Mark Carey
at May 18, 2003 3:29 PM
Mark, I read your entry about eParty. I think that is worthwhile endeavour, and I wish you luck. I do see it as an intermediate step towards a better system. It's main drawback is that the resulting entity is a lobby. Lobbies are part of the problem. A lobby representing 5 million people would have a loud voice -- but lobbies represnt the loud minority -- often drowning out the voices of the silent majority. It still wouldn't be perfect, but you could take eParty a step further with a goal of living up to its name: a full-fledged political party. But lobbies and political parties are, by nature, representative governing bodies, not direct democracies. Practically speaking though, to get closer to an ideal of direct or liquid democracy, you have to start by working within the current system, and I think eParty is a great first step.
Posted by: lover
at November 19, 2003 12:58 AM
hi every one this is me i want to know what is liquid plzzzzz tell me a bout it i am waiting bye all
Posted by: felicia
at February 6, 2007 5:42 AM
It looks like you really had a nice time. notem671
Posted by: Jagan at May 23, 2007 1:54 AM
I think liquid concept is excellent....lobbying would evole but let also be handled by the liquid decision making process.....ultimately we get wha we deserve....if such concepts can involve largest number of people, the danger of big lobbies getting formed...should be faced with a commitment