Game Theory and candidate selection

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A number of interesting applications of game theory in this article by Fred E. Foldvary. Land value taxation and the green tax switch you would of course expect me to approve of, and the principle of constitutional liberty is something I would very much be interested in exploring further as well. Demand revelation is an idea that I’ve heard of before and would like to see how it could be applied in practice.

Cellular democracy though. My kneejerk reaction is to think that this sounds remarkably similar to Chinese-style democracy. Internal party democracy however is rather similar. There’s a technocratic aspect to it that I don’t like. Ultimately democratic systems must enable the person at the top of the system to relate to the person at the bottom as far as possible. A cellular system does not enable this.

But should the Liberal Democrats consider it for things like the selection of candidates for the European Parliament or GLA? I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that we should. If we aren’t prepared to give candidates (or allow them to raise) the resources necessary to competitive OMOV contest that meaningfully engages members, then we should lose the pretence and have the candidates elected using a college system where the candidates would concentrate their campaigning on a few elected representatives.

One nice side effect is that it would mean that members in relatively small local parties like mine would actually have a voice instead of being utterly ignored (beyond the occasional round robin email which is almost worse than nothing).

I’m sure I’ve said this before but at least in the case of the Euro selections it really is one member one vote. In the GLA selections, the local parties with the largest membership bases get to both appoint their own constituency candidates and dominate the top of the London-wide list. Given that they are the ones most likely to get their constituency candidates selected, this means they effectively get double the candidates. This is so manifestly unfair – and blatantly self-defeating as it confines our appeal to South West London – that we really do need to reconsider.

2 thoughts on “Game Theory and candidate selection

  1. The GLA elections use the silly “Additional member” system which means if you strive hard to get a constituency member elected all it means is you elect one less list member. Most people don’t understand that the party list vote is the only one that counts in this election, the constituency vote is an irrelevant beauty contest whose only effect is possibly to alter which candidates from a particular party get elected. I’ve heard that Germans, who’ve used this system since WW2, don’t understand that’s how it works either. There is a tendency to think of the constituency vote as the main one, and the party list as a “second choice”, which is only the more likely when the election is run alongside the London Mayoral election which DOES have a first and second choice vote.

    I am told the Irish, however, have a fine appreciation of how STV works.

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