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Re: [Demexp-dev] Thoughts on voting machines

From: skaller
Subject: Re: [Demexp-dev] Thoughts on voting machines
Date: 21 Sep 2004 06:51:18 +1000

On Tue, 2004-09-21 at 00:25, Brian Hurt wrote:
> On 20 Sep 2004, skaller wrote:
> > There is no such thing as a 'non-political' vote. Community
> > decision making IS politics. 
> There is a difference between, for example, electing the Debian board of 
> directors, and electing the President of the US.
> First of all, how valuable is the "prize"? 

Exactly. It makes little difference who is President
of USA (or Australia). It won't change anything.

The Debian board might. In fact the Debian board
is likely to have more impact on my life: for me,
even though not currently a Debian user, it has
an affect on my serious career-like activities.

Whereas USA elections are necessarily just a source
of entertainment -- no matter how serious it is,
I can't influence it, and no one in power is actually
going to do anything sensible. They'll just go
on with the same old drivel, lies, and deceit.

Its the same here -- just that USA elections are
even stupider than ours, and hence more entertaining :)

Put it this way -- no politician is going to make
more than 10% difference to my income, which is
50% below the poverty line.

Debian might make a 1000% difference. There's no comparison:
the USA and Australian governments are already
inconsequential for me.

I don't mean they won't do things that make a difference.
For example I can travel to USA now without a visa.
That's nice. What I mean is, it doesn't really matter
who is in power -- that small change isn't important
and would probably have happened anyhow.

Please note *some* changes do occur which are very
important -- the collapse of the Soviet Union for example.
But none of that kind of change is going to happen
any time soon in USA or Australia -- we had our big
change in 1972 with Gough Whitlam, things aren't bad
enough yet for another one, and USA is so conservative
it is unlikely to change until it passes out of the
Imperialist stage -- which is at least 50 years away.

>  Plus, while it's plausible the state of 
> Minnesota would spend a few thousand dollars per voting booth, I doubt 
> very much that Debian would.

Sure -- and they don't need to, they can happily use
computer systems instead because they're all technically

> "All elections are the same" is true in the same way that "all computers 
> are Turing machines" is true- true in some theoretical sense, false in 
> most practical senses.

No dispute. I'm not saying they're all the same, I'm
saying its all politics. People value their work
for smaller organisations that actually *can* influence.
Most would consider it more important than any National
Government election. So actually making small scale
processes 'more democratic' is probably the path
to better large scale management.

John Skaller, mailto:address@hidden
voice: 061-2-9660-0850, 
snail: PO BOX 401 Glebe NSW 2037 Australia
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