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Is there a numeric limit to an effective democracy??

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The Sushi Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:16 PM
Original message
Is there a numeric limit to an effective democracy??
It seems that the larger the democracy (Population wise) the less democratic it becomes.

Is America reaching a numeric limit on having an effective government?

Would it be better to divide it up into 2, 3 or more parts??
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent point, but I'd say more like 10 parts.
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 10:38 PM by Vidar
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survivor999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The only way to have some answers
to this question would be via computer simulations... Even then, it probably depends on a ton of parameters...
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
3. What American Democracy?
I'd love to give it a try.
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The Sushi Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. kick this for more input
Edited on Tue Aug-22-06 09:11 PM by The Sushi Bandit
the problem of living in Hawai'i is when I post stuff, every one on the mainland is asleep!
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
5. This is why some support more power to states
and less federal.

Let me cite an example I heard years ago about north and south California, folks were wanting to split them up into two states. One underlying reason I heard from a guy was - There are more people and bigger cities in the south and laws made by the state that affect them, and might be good for them, do not really apply to us. But because we are in the same state we must adopt those same laws.

One could extrapolate that to states, like Texas vs Montana.

The larger area we try to control, the more people we try to control, the more we are forcing people to act and be the same way, and diversity either dies off or becomes a flame point of debate.

I think religion might be a slight indication of this as well, consider nativity scenes or school songs. When I was in elementary school most all the people that went there were christians. We had one jewish kid. To balance out things and be fair we celebrated and learned about Hannukah, we also sang songs at our christmas play of such nature, and he took off days for the holidays his faith observed. We celebrated diversity and tried to be inclusive. Now a days you cannot do those things in school, because some people don't like that part of diversity (ie, religious). Laws get bandied about, schools get sued, lawyers get money, and some parts of people's lives are not welcomed as part of a learning environment (out of fear it may make someone uncomfortable). This is how such things are seen - and so little towns see the big towns as stripping away their heritage and enforcing a uniform standard.

The big towns see it as, this is better for all including you (which goes back to the north/south thing in California I was mentioning earlier). So people see their freedoms, or way of life, traditions, etc, as vanishing in favor of a borgish existence.

A national ID may fit into this schema as well. The more 'national' things become, the less diverse they become and the ideas of one group in society start to dominate the other. Christians may become a majority power and seek to limit things we think should not be limited, like gay marriage, abortions, etc ----

The cure is - less power in the few to control the many, and more power to the many who get better representation in their district, city, state, etc.

There will be some things some don't like, but at least they would have more of a voice for change and the option to move to somewhere else more to their liking. The more it all becomes the same, the less choices we have in our limited lifetimes.

Just my 2 cents. (And no, I don't think extreme answers are the answer, no all or nothing kind of thing, balance though needs kept, and I think that is eroding).
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The Sushi Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Well thought out response
I think less federalism is as Martha would say "is a good thing"
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yes, but you also have to take into consideration cultural/race issues too
Edited on Tue Aug-22-06 09:40 PM by Selatius
The larger a population, the more difficult it becomes to govern. With a country of 300,000,000, it would be much more difficult to govern than a country with only 25,000,000 or 50,000,000; however, the difficulties can be compounded if there are cultural differences and racial differences among the people. If people cannot agree on fundamental cultural/racial issues, then you will have a nation that is more inherently stable than one that is more culturally and racially homogenous. You will get a country that is closer to Iraq or Lebanon than any country like Spain or Sweden.

My best advice is to dissolve the US in a peaceful manner and allow several regions to form into their own independent nations. You would need at least five regions representing the former lands of the US.

I would predict that if the US is not allowed to dissolve peacefully, there will be another civil war within the next 125 years.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
8. The magic number is
One
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
9. Yes, with our current flawed 2 party system
300 million is too large to have an effective and responsible democracy...
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Not if you have effective and responsible citizens
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Do we have effective and responsible citizens
right now?
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. ....oh-- and an informed public, a free press................
:patriot:
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. That's up to each one of us, now isn't it?
:hi:
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
11. Scalability is an issue that's seldom raised...
... especially in idiotic conversations where people say things like "But Sweden can do it! Why can't we?".

I recall looking up info on serious people studying such an issue seriously a few years ago, and found some folks at Stanford. I think my google terms were something "institution design" with some others that I can't quite recall...

But the scaling effects on govts would be an excellent topic for someone to seriously study - rather than jump to offhand conclusions about - imo.

And it's fascinating too.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Sweden is often used a lot in these discussions, but...
The difference is that Sweden's population is infinitely smaller than the US population. It is not only more culturally homogeneous; it also tends to be more racially homogeneous.

In fact, they're having problems integrating North Africans and Arabs into their society at present; they are ending up in disproportionate numbers in their prisons. Actually, this tends to be a problem across a good deal of Western Europe. It seems the more multicultural the nation becomes, the more fragmented the nation becomes and the greater likelihood of social programs collapsing, as witnessed with the spectacular riots in France over issues of lack of opportunity and discrimination with respect to hiring practices despite the fact that France has universal health care, a publicly subsidized college education system, and generous unemployment/labor benefits.

Sweden's form of government is also radically different than the US with many viewpoints in government, not just two.

So yes, comparisons can be made between the US and, say, Sweden, but diligence must be paid to the differences between the two as well in order to draw any meaningful relationship between the two.
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The Sushi Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Your point "many viewpoints in government, not just two"
is telling... with a 2 party system all the others who need input into the system are effectively silenced.

I don't agree with this 2 party dilemma we have
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IChing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
12. A book I would suggest is "Small is Beautiful"
By E. F. Schumacher

For more information go here:http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 02:23 PM
Original message
self delete
Edited on Wed Aug-23-06 02:24 PM by Jed Dilligan
agh
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
13. I think the diversity of culture and geography
has a more anti-democratic effect than the sheer numbers.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Yes, I've sadly come to the same conclusion myself
The different regions of this country don't even agree on fundamental cultural issues anymore, and I'm asking myself if it ever did at all. I'm trying to find a period where this country hasn't been divided over a major issue, and I can't think of any significant period of US history where that has held true outside of war, and if this country only unites in the face of a grave threat, then that's pretty sad commentary on the nation as a whole if it cannot even find peace with itself when its sons are not dying in war.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. When some areas of the country exist to provide raw materials
to other parts of the country, there is an intrinsic conflict of interest that probably can't be resolved in a democracy. Until production and consumption are both more evenly distributed, we will have pockets of the "American dream" in a country that otherwise closely resembles any empire.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
16. Yes. It Fails at 8 Trillion People. We Ain't There Yet. So Get To Work
Making the one we got better.
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otherlander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
22. Interesting idea... Could doing that also
make the people more aware of global events? In Europe, the media reports more on what goes on outside of its own country, partially because the countries are smaller and other countries aren't that far away. In America, you can travel so far and still be in your own nation, and that might influence people to think less about the rest of the world. Seems like smaller countries could improve that.
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The Sushi Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I like that
but everyone will need a geography lesson!
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