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More stupid ideas

Take The European Citizens' Initiative, add a public forum, link it up with EU proceedings, build a Citizens' Parliament.

The ECI proposal says that you need a million signatories to send a citizens' initiative to the European Commission. The EC is the main proposal-generating entity in the EU. The European Parliament, in contrast, is the proposal-filtering entity (now with new proposal-generating powers granted to it by the Lisbon Treaty). In that sense, the ECI impacts the very top of the EU legislative system.

The million signatories must include 0.2% of the voting-age citizens for a third of the member states to be valid. And after collecting 300 000 statements of support, you must submit it to the EC for an admissibility acid check where the EC figures out whether they can legally do it or not. After two months, you should get back a yay/nay. And you can collect the statements of support online as long as your mechanism is secure (further details pending).

After that, 3 months of checking the signatures for validity by the member states using random sampling. After that, 4 months of examination by the EC, at the end of which it "would then be required to set out its conclusions on the initiative and the action it intends to take in a communication, which would be notified to the organiser as well as to the European Parliament and Council and would be made public."

Not the most blisteringly fast method of democratic participation, is it? Still, it's very interesting.

I wonder how much governance is a problem of thinking power (in terms of "need more heads to think better solutions!") and how much a sensor network problem ("need to know what's wrong with the world to fix it!") and how much a problem of integrating the two into a working system. How would this kind of a wide-ranging massively large parliament work best?

A large and diverse population has experts from all the different walks of life. Which is probably where the thinking power of the citizens' parliament would best manifest. But you need to find the best proposals from the noise of mediocre proposals. Then you have the sensor network side, where a large population is again an asset. But again, there's a large amount of noise with a large population. So perhaps the important thing is making a good network to filter the signal.

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