Different uses for voting need different types of voting.
Civic Clubs and Congregations
Common Pool Resource Users
Venture Capital Groups
Legislatures and Councils
Civic clubs might use FS to improve their selection of service projects. Buyers' clubs and environmental groups might use FS in the same way. The ballots and tally allocate the club's limiting resource, money or volunteer labor.
Highly-responsive democratic clubs for neighborhoods, consumers and other groups may grow more popular if members know it is impossible for one interest group to dominate and control all funding. Such clubs are a form of economic organization somewhere between individual consumers and the government in terms of size, choices, and negotiating power relative to corporations.
There will always be public problems and opportunities that need area-wide, government regulation. But if clubs flourish, the balance of economic power would tilt a bit less toward the competitive cultures of big corporations, politics, or individualism, and more toward cooperative, voluntary associations.
Common-Pool Resources, CRPs — such as forests, fisheries, gas fields, grazing land or water — often can be governed best by the users. Voting rules affect some of the “design principles” needed for success.
Elinor Ostrom found these principles as she, “advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention.” in the words of her 2009 Nobel Prize committee. She showed how common pool resources often can be managed best by the users, rather than by governments or private companies.
Venture capital groups might give each member a number of ballots equal to his or her investment shares. The tally finds which proposals score high on enough ballots to win funding and how much funding.
Investment fund managers might use Condorcet and fair-share rules to consolidate experts' opinions on stocks. The voting weight of each expert could depend on his or her past performance.
Market research can use fair-share tallies of polling data, for example, ranking features for cars. FS would coalesce the votes into a few models for the company to manufacture efficiently.
Grant givers in foundations and government can use fair-share spending to spread grants well in the community of interest. This works best when the grant committee accurately reflects that community.
Emergency response leaders use simulation software to predict the path of a wild fire, the plume of a toxic cloud, the route of a lost hiker and other scenarios. But they also use human judgment by polling the experts on the team. They prioritize the allocation of resources to areas in the emergency zone. (Thanks to response expert William G. Sanderson for teaching this.)
Election audits likewise can combine expert opinions. They need to send the audit teams to the most vulnerable precincts.
There is a great opportunity for Fair-share Spending in the Omnibus Transportation Bill of the U.S. Congress. Each year it allocates funds to hundreds of projects. Critics often find, hidden in the huge bill, projects designed to benefit only 1 business in 1 rep's district — hardly a federal matter. Fair-share Spending would require each item to win substantial funding from a substantial number of reps; then it would let constituents see and judge their rep's choices.
Reps with seats on powerful committees control much more money than other reps. Fair-share Spending, FS, would be evenhanded to all.
Voting could control a cooperative journal, video or Internet channel. A board of directors, elected by an ensemble rule, hires and directs the management. The subscriber-voters directly allocate most of the funds for features and columnists, supplements and cartoons. This is an incentive to join because part of the subscription fee is allocated by the subscriber and only subscribers may vote. Thus it satisfies our innate desire for “strong reciprocity”.
Through Fair-share Spending, each subscriber's “voting weight” is a fixed portion of the subscription fee.
It might work this way: For a week the journal shows an expanded comics section with new cartoons. On Friday that section includes a ballot. Ballots received by the following Friday count in the results, published the next week. Such surveys maintain readers' interest and strengthen their sense of involvement.
Voter Media is an outstanding innovation which “helps communities connect with their elected leaders, by letting voters allocate community funds to competing blogs.”
The Evolution of FS in One CommunityA community-owned furniture maker in the U.S. was the inspiration for developing fair- share spending. For over 25 years the 80 employee- owners have voted to fund special projects -- mostly shared amenities. Over time, various voting methods have been tried, as designers made them more accurate and fair.
Their problem is complicated because: 1) They want minority groups, say ten people, to own the power to fund some of their wants/needs. 2) But they don't want any individual to use this public fund for private desires. 3) Yet some items, for example, a $10 disk, cost much less than one person's $1,000 share of the overall fund.
This community's story shows that many multi-winner election rules can be adapted for one-time resource allocations. The use does not change a rule's tendency toward an erratic or central or fair distribution of winners.
The need for fair-share spending is shown starkly on the page about the earmark process used by the US Congress, some state legislatures and city councils. It lets a few politicians control central funds for local uses.
You might skip that page to see a much better system called Participatory Budgeting. But you will see that it too needs fair-share voting.
|Electoral Systems||Legislative Systems|
|Chair||Reps||Council||Policy||Uses for FS
USA Needs FS
PB Needs FS