Thursday, December 30, 2010

Leadership Part Five, Thoughtful Thursday

Winston Churchill, First and Second Volume of the Five Volume Set on World War I

As England was mobilizing for World War I in the first part of the 1910's, Mr. Churchill as in charge of the Admiralty. And he made to decisions regarding the new warships being built. Should we build with fifteen inch round guns? Or stick with the 13.5 inch gun which were a tried and true commodity? Every time one increases the caliber of a naval gun, it fires longer and more weight. Going from twelve inches to 13.5 inches increased the size of shot from 850 pounds to 1400 pound. But there was concern whether the gun barrel steel would withstand the stress. (As a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering, I certainly can appreciate the possibility. Having seen how much was learned since then about fatigue propagation, low-cycle themal fatigure and creep, as well as the cracking of the Liberty Ships from low-temperature brittle failure. The brittle failure became a problem because of a technology change, going from rivetted construction to welded steel. Thus a crack once started, could go all through the ship. IN all fairness, once they figured out was wrong, the applied a fix to each boat and no more ships lost due to this problem--Google Books, Does Measurement Measure up? How Numbers Reveal and Conceal the Truth, John M. Henshaw.) As Winston Churchill, pointed out, his decision to go ahead with the larger size did work, but just as easily, it could have meant his downfall politically as young and rash, had the materials failed in the new untested gun size.

But the entire design of a naval boat revolves around the decision as to the guns. If the guns did not work, and they had to go back to 13.5 inch gun, the whole redesign of the ships would have been in vain.

A science fiction story of 1913 had the Germans with a 15-inch gun totally defeating their enemies. W. Churchill was happy that the boot was to be on the other foot.

Winston Churchill also made another decision to go with untested technology, using oil instead of coal. The oil had a greater energy density so the ships could go faster than the enemy. The ships would not have to dock to recoal or refuel so often and the men would not have the thankless job of shovelling coal.

But just as shifting to electric cars now would have the expense of redoing the fueling station infrastructure, shifting to oil would be an expense in setting up the infrastructure and reserves of oil. And founding the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Winston Churchill pointed out that the government invested 2.2 million pounds Sterling. They gained from thirty to fourty million pounds. (Foot note on page 139 and 140 of the volume.)

The people were in an uproar! A German cruiser force attacked fishing towns killing five hundred innocent civilians. The British attempted to pursue them. They were lost in the mist! But like our own terrorist defense, they had to have had people and ships everywhere.

And he talked about the power of naval intelligence, using a little bit of data. In World War I, like World War II, the German code books fell into Allied hands. But the Germans suspected something, so they often used other code books that the Allies did not have. And they also gained much from triangulating on wireless telegraphy from ships. And, then as now, much was made of the analysis part of intelligence, putting the pieces together to make actionable intelligence.

He closes the first volume on the beginning of the problem with the Dardanelles.Britain was trying to keep Turkey neutral. Unbeknownst to him there was a secret agreement between the Young Turk party. The Balkan states saw that Germany appeared to be winning in 1914, and to some extent because of the antipathy with Russia, which was fighting Germany on the allies side, decided to go with Germany. Three months after the hostilities opened with Turkey, the forts garding the European part of Turkey were undefended. And Winston Churchill was concerned that Christians might be massacred in what is now Israel.

At this point, Winston Churchill does his masterful summary. England cleared some stray German warships that were terrorizing shipping throughout the Indian Ocean, Pacific and South Atlantic. "From the uttermost ends of the earth ships and soldiers are approach or gathering in the Easter Mediterranean in fulfilment of a destiny as yet not understood by mortal man." "The arrival of the Anzacs [Australians and New Zealand] created the nucleus of the Army, needed to attack the heart of the Turkish empire. The deadlock on the Western Front, where all was now frozen into winter trenches, aforded at once a breathing space and large possibility of further troops. While Australian battalions trampled the crisp sand of the Egyptian desert in tirless evolutions, and Commander Holbrook in his valiant submarine dived under the minefields of Chanka and sank a Turkish transport in the throat of the Dardannelles, far away in the basins of Portsmouth the dockyard men were toiling night and day to mount the fifteen-inch guns and turrets of the Queen Elizabeth. And yet all was unconscious, inchoate, purposeless, uncombined, Any one of a score of chances might have given, might still given, an entirely different direction to the event. No plan has been made, no resolve taken. But new ideas are astir, new possibilites are coming into view, new forces are at hand, and with them marches towards us a new peril of the first manitude. Russia, mighty steam-roller, hope of suffering France and prostrate Belgium--Russia is failing. Her armies are grappling with Hindenburg and Ludendorf, and behind their brave fronts" there is already signs of weakness.

They had to deal with the submarine menace. There was no harbor for the fleet to retrofit. Thus, do we keep the ships moving where they would be less vulnerable. But, they would suffer wear and tear and burn up precious fuel. Or do we let them rest, and be sitting ducks should Germany get submarines into the harbor. England was frantically setting up booms and nets to stop the submarines.

"Resources, almost measureless and of indescribable variety in ships, in men, in munitions and devices of war will now flow month by month steadily into our hands. What shall we do with them? ... "Shall we

  1. use our reinforced fleets to turn the Teutonic right in the Baltic
  2. or their left in the Black Sea and the Balkans
  3. or shall we hurl our manhood against sandbags, wire and concrete in frontal attack upon the German fortified lines in France?"
  4. Shall we save Russia
  5. shall they try to ally some of the smaller nations
  6. shall the British army only fight in Belgium or should they open a new front
  7. "shall our fleets remain contented with the grand and solid results they have won, or shall they ward off future perils by a new inexhaustable audacity."
In the beginning of the 1915, there were two possibilities. The ships could try and seize a German island giving them a foothold to fight or stop their fleet. Then the Russians army could be transported on their Northern front to open up a new front. Or, they could turn Turkey and hopefully turn a front on the South.

The Tank

After the German and French armies were stalemated in trench warfare, Winston Churchill demanded that someone develop what is now known as a tank. Winston Churchill, as serving in the admiralty, ordered 70,000 pounds Sterling worth of "landships." He pointed out that he went out on a limb here, having no authority to do so.

The idea of a tank was not new. Several peple proposed it. Winston Churchill acknowledge H. G. Wells had written science fiction about tanks in 1903. (Wikipedia has an excellent article showing the concept goes back to two letters published in the 1833 The London United Service Magazine and a patent in 1878.) (I had occassion to read H. G. Well's Outline of History that he wrote in 1921 with concern that the next war would have poison-gas-belching mechanical monsters.) Winston Churchill wanted a large number of landships prepared in secret--that would overwhelm the Germans and punch through the trenches. Winston Churchill sighed that the British government built very few of the tanks, destroying the potential to smash through the barbed wire, taking several lines of trenches at night. He presented his plans in a memo of December 3, 1915, calling for "above all, surprise." But this was not put into affect until November 1917. (Winston Churchill also looked into smoke and gas warfare.)


The Demos is faced with a similar high stakes scenario, dependent in large part on metallurgy like the fifteen inch gun, the TerraPower reactor. A self-contained reaction breeding fuel from depleted Uranium 235. (When one enriches Uranium, one extracts Uranium 235 and leaves the Uranium 238 behind. It is useless for conventional fission reactions or nuclear bombs. It is used in munitions and armor.)

But the question is whether the materials would withstand the heat and neutrons over decades. Do we go on a fast push or the slow push--the company plans to have a test reactor in 2020 and not have it commercialized for several years after that.

I get the IEEE Spectrum each month--I am a member; it is the IEEE flagship. There are many articles on wonderful schemes that could revolutionize energy production or space travel, including the space ribbon and a plan to mine asteroids.


At first, the plan in the Dardanelles, was that the Navy would destroy the forts with guns from their ships. The British had longer range guns than the Turkish forts, so they could simply destroy the guns therein from the Sea without risk being attacked in return. Thus, the ships would methodically destroy all the guns defending the pathway from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. Then the ships could operate at will, splitting Turkey into an Asiatic part and the remainder on Europe.

The Army said it had no divisions to spare, so the plan was a ship-only plan. But as there were successes in South Africa, more training and the French made committments, as well as troops from Australia and elsewhere, the issue of sending the army at the same time was made. Thus, the Turks would have faced an attack on their European side, the famous Gallipoli, while dealing with British Navy steaming up and down the water way separating them. The Twenty-Ninth Division was the one that they discussed sending there.

Lord Kitchener was pivotal in this as Secretary of State for War. Yet sometimes he was in favor of sending armed forces to the Dardanelles, and sometimes felt that it would be unwise to have a two-front war weakening the effort in France and with insufficient forces in Turkey to win. After a few ships had problems, apparently from mines or torpedo tubes mounted in the gulf, the War Council voted to hold the navy attack and rely primarily on the military, an exact reversal of their earlier procedure.

The Dardanelles Commissions said that after they started the attack, There were really only two alternatives that were thoroughly defensible. One was to accept the view that by reason of our existing commitments elsewhere an adequate force could not be made availablefor expeditionary action in the Eastern Mediterranean; to face the possible loss of prestige which would have been involved in an acknowledgment of partial failure, and have fallen back on the original plan of abandoning the Naval attack on the Dardanelles, when once it became apparent that military operations on a large scale would be necessary. The other was to have boldly faced the risks which would have been involved elsewhere and once to have made a determined effort to force the passage of the Dardanelles by a rapid and well-organized combined attack in great strength. Unfortunately, the Government adopted neither of these courses..." Winston Churchill points out that indecision delayed the 29th Division by three weeks or more, as it would have arrived in better order.

So what happened to the Navy Plans Under Winston Churchill to force the straits with navy means: Thus it will be seen that never after March 22 were the Admiralty and the Naval-Commander-in-Chief able to come to a simultaneous resolve to attack. On the 21st all were eunited. Thereafter, when one was hot, the other was cold. On March 23 and 24 the Admiralty without issuing actual orders pressed strongly for the attack, and the Admiral on the spot said 'No." On May 10 the Admiral on the spot was willing, but the Admiralty said 'No.' On August 189th, under the impression of the disaster at Suvla Bay, the Admiralty raised the quesiton again and authorised the Admiral to use his old battleships to the fullest extent, and the Admiral met them by a reasoned but decisive refusal. Lastly, in the advent of the final evacuation Admiral Wemyss, who had succeeded to the command, armed with plans drawn up in the most complete detail by Commodore Keyes for forcing the Straits, made vehement appeals for saction to execute them: and this time the Admiralty refused.

A sad note, but not related to participatory democracy, was that Greece offered to send four divisions as well. The Russians were willing to aid, even though it ws surely pressed by Germany. But the Russians were unwilling to ally themselves with Greece and would not have the Greek King in Constanople. Churchill was hoping that the naval success in the Dardanelles would cause all of Eastern Europe to pile onto Turkey. But they could not bring themselves to ally themselves in the hope of great gains to be split.

Conclusion, and relating to our Blog

Our question for this blog is should the demos rely on leaders following things on war maps to make the decisions. And Winston Churhill described excellently how the war room worked in those days. Or are these so stupendous, involving so many political calculations, that there is a role for the demos, a right of the demos to have a say. Perhaps Winston Churchill as Lord Admiral should have been left alone, but the decisions above him, that were made by Lord Edward Grey as Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and the Exchequer, be made by the Demos directly.

On Leadership Empathy

Winston Churchill had an opportunity to view an attack against the Germans in France (in Aubers Ridge against the Souchez position, April Ninth 1915).

I made every effort in my power without incurring unjustiable risks to view the battle. But neither far off from a lofty steeple nor close up on the fringe of the enemy's barrage was it possible to see anything except shells and smoke.Without actually taking part in the assault it was impossible to measure the real conditions. To see them you had to feel, and feeling them might well feel nothing more. To stand outside was to see nothing, to plunge in was to be dominated by personal experiences of an absorbing kind. This was one of the cruellest features of the war. Many of the generals in the higher commands did not know the conditions with which their troops were ordered to contend, nor were they in a position to devise the remedies which could have helped them.

On Vacillation

We saw above that Supreme War Commands and individual leaders and the combination of the commander on the ground and the command forces at home, all can suffer from vacillation, starting something but not really seeing it through.

And how can a demos avoid going back and forth, particularly when they might be polarized on a decision, with 48% strongly in favor of opposite directions and four percent undecided. (We certainly have seen that such situations can cause changes of government in conventional representational democracies.) We certainly could not have such in military matters, whether it be in major campaigns as we have seen above in the Dardanelles, or even a war. A Demos should not start a war, only to stop it a few months later, then to restart it...

In the latter case, the Constitution should specify that war should not be declared, or started unless two thirds (or more) approve. (The constitution could authorize a sortion jury to initiate a covert or surprise attack with an even greater supermajority requirement.) But there are peace time operations that should not be started and restarted. An example might be the massive undertaking to build electric recharging infrastructure for switching to electric cars to avoid dependency upon petroleum supplies. Thus, the Constitution or rules should allow a Demos to declare:

  • Before, we make a decision on the issue, whatever decision we make shall not be reversed except by a sixty percent supermajority
  • Now, we make a decision on this issue.

Lee Kuan Yew and Leadership in Development

From Third World to First, The Singapore Story: 1965 to 2000, Lee Kuan Yew, Harper Collins 2000

When can a leader change habits and development and personal decisions to help a country? When is it good? And can a Demos rise to the occassion itself to eliminate vices or develop itself?

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew: ("We would have been a grosser, ruder cruder society had we not made these efforts to pursuade our people to change their ways. We did not measure up as a cultivated, civilized society and were not ashamed to set about trying to become one in the shortest time possible... After we had pursuaded and won over the majority, we legislated to punish the willful minority.")

  1. introduced a plan to build housing and have the individuals living in them own them, the HOusing Development Plans. He relocated some from "squatter huts with no water, power or modern sanitation" but no utility payments o rrent. into high rise apartments. These had rent and utilities. And this was a wrenching experience psychologically. Some tried to bring their pigs, ducks and chickens to the high rise apartments. Others continued to use kerosene lams, stairs instead of elevators, and selling sundry goods.
  2. introduced an antispitting compaign
  3. rounded up stray cattle in the 1960's that were eating grass in public areas
  4. moved food vendors to special areas equipped with water, sewage, etc.
  5. dealt with grey-market taxis
  6. eliminated hog raising
  7. banned public smoking and advertising for same. (That is, of course, an issue now in the United States and elsewhere.)
  8. banned chewing gum--this was famous

There were other contentious examples of leadership--language being one of them. Do they teach students in Chinese, with which the majority had deep emotional ties, or English for the obvious trading advantages. Also, there was an issue of which dialect of Chinese to use, Hokkien which was the home language for most, or Mandarin to better communicate with those in Mainland China. "During our [Lee Yew and his family] walks in public parks and gardens, parens would be talking to their children in dialect until they noticed Cho and me, when they would like embarassed and switch to Mandarin, abashed for not heeding my advice. The switch was especially difficult for the grandparents, but most managed speaking to their grandchildren in dialect and understanding their replies in Mandarin."

As a different kind of development decision, several American cities are downsizing. Major Dave Bling of Detroit intends to constructively evict 20% of the area--leaving them without municipal services such as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair and street lights.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Leadership Part Four, Thoughtful Thursday

Leadership Behavior: Its Description and Measurement, by Ralph M. Stogdill and Alvin E. Coons

The Bureau of Businesss Resarch, College of Commerce and Administration The Ohio State University, Columbus 10, Ohio, 1957

Leadership behavior can be looked at in terms of two factors

  1. consideration, such as doing personal favor for crew members, dealing with work-family balance issues on the family side, and being friendly. I read about an accounting manager atCaterpillar bring ing in "Bear Claws" whjen they worked hard to get a big report in
  2. initiating structure. That would be assigning members to particular tasks or organizing a schedule. Such questions as "He plans his day's activities in detail." and "He has everything going according to schedule" By the way, both of these two questions had very high correlations with superior evaluation.
(See below for more details of these factors.)

They did several studies comparing how effective a manager or leader was with their scores from their employees or crew members. Some were done in the military, others in business and still others looked at educational leaders.

  1. Navy Wing Commanders
    1. They said that initiating structure activities were strongly correlated with success. Keeping things organized among your crew members earns points with your boss. And overall effectiveness ratings shows a -0.46 correlation with consideration and an equal correlation but in the opposite direction with structure! (Table 13, page 50)
    2. When, they looked at the subordinates overall rating, their overall satisfaction were affected by the commanders who were considerate and who maintained the structure of the group.
    3. However, when one looks at the combination of initiating structure and consideration, eight had high effective units and two had low. By comparison, where both were low, there were six below average. (It would be interested to do a Bayesian tree analysis. I taught the graduate software engineering course here at Western Illinois University for many years. These impressed me as much more effective in predicting project cost than traditional statistics.)
    4. There was little correlation between what aircraft leaders said was important as far as both consideration and structuring behavior.
  2. Educational Administrators When teachers described their leader there was a small correlation between ratings for initiating structure and consideration. When board members rated administrators, there was a much higher correlation. Halpin speculated that superintendents put on their best face when dealing with their board but did not do so in the day to day job of dealing with the teachers (their subordinates)--citing Halpin. (The Leadership Behavior of School Superintendents also from the Ohio Leadership group.)
  3. Industrial Foreman Correlations with measures of effectiveness. The tests were categorized in those departments that had a direct production job versus those that did not : NP--in non-production department and P in production department. >accidents P
    RatingConsiderationinitiating structure
    foreman supervisior rating P -0.310.47
    foreman supervisor rating NP 0.28-0.19
    absenteeism P -0.490.27
    absenteeism NP -0.490.27
    accidents NP-0.420.18
    formal grievances P-0.070.45
    formal grienances NP0.150.23
    turnove P0.130.13
    TURNOVER NP0.040.51
  4. For a test of ROTC students/cadets, rating by superiors were not correlated significantly with either consideration or initiating structure, but rating by pairs were.
  5. When you ask leaders to rate themselves, they do so very differently from what their subordinates do so.
  6. When groups spend a lot of time together, they are likely to lable their bosses with behavior that could be consider dominative as opposed to democratic or suggesting. But his could mean that they are just more sensitive to it rather than leaders are more dominating.

The Ohio State University Leadership Behabvior Questionaires and their Research

Ohio State University researched leadership in the 1950's. Ralph Stodgill published a series of monographs and books. And he developed the Leadership Behavior Questionaire of 150 questions. They were in ten categories. For example, Organization included:
  1. He plans his day's activities in detail.
  2. He has everything going according to schedule.
  3. He meets with trhe group at regularly scheduled times.
  4. He assigns members to particular tasks
"Recognizing Member performance" includes
  1. He critizes members for small mistakes
  2. He reacts favorably to anything members say
  3. He expresses appreciation when a member does a good job
This basic 150 question test was categorized with factor analysis, a statistical technique. They got the four factors:
  1. Consideration, discussed above
  2. initiating structure, considered above
  3. a Production Emphasis, "encouraging overtime work" "stresses being ahead of competing crews" "needling crew members for greater effort"
  4. sensitivity social sidtuation
However, the latter two only accounted for sixteen percent of the variance--so aparently they did not consider them further. And looking at variance between members of the same crew and comapring it to the variance between crews, they found a difference for initiating structure and structure. There was greater agreement among crew memembers for initating structure.

A quote

Myrdal notes that "for all our our [USA] egalitarian emphasis, 'the idea of leadership pervades American thought and colelctive action.' 'Americans are in general quite unaware that the leadership idea is a particular characteristic of their culture' 'regularly show a marked reluctance to admit the fact even when it is pointed out by the observer'
For future Thoughtful Thursday, Myrdal, G. An American Dilemma New York: Harper and Brothers, 1944.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday, Leadership part Three

Haiman, Frankly, Group Leadership and Democratic Action Boston, Houghton Mifflin 1951.

Empiricial Evidence presented

Nine groups of five students were put in separate rooms and asked to come up with a recommendation on a specific issue. No leader was appinted. They observed the groups and noted when someone does something "that could be construed as leadership."

They then tried another set of nine groups on a similar problem. A leader was appointed. In the class, they asked the members to rate who was an effective discussion leader. But Dean Barnlund did not choose the best leader, he chose six who got poor ratings and three who were in the middle. After the second set of groups discussed the problems:

Then Dean Barnlund prepared a leraning exercise on "democratic leadership." Six of the leaders got the training. Three did not. The groups were reconstituted--they did not know who got the training. The ones who got the training did show dramatic improvent. (I will need to track down Barnlund's dissertation and subsequent work for a future Thoughtful Thursday.)

Dr. Benne at the National Training Laboratory in Group Development have used a series of facilities not only to train the leader to train the group to become "more alert to its own leadership needs."

Benne, Kenneth, "The Future of Work-Survey Conferences" Adult Education Bulletin XII (February 1948) page 93 to 96.

On the job training can convert leaders from an authoritarian style to one more democratic. A controlled study had two groups of Sumemr camp leaders. Six had a training exercise which included observation and discussion of other leaders in action. They were also observed on the job by the experimenters. Then their actions were assessed and arbitrary and authoritarian actions went down. The morale of both the Summer Camp leaders and the children improved. Observations showed authoritarian methods went from 70% to 10%. There was no change or an authoritarian change for the other leaders.

Bavelas and Lewin, "Training in Democratic Leadership" Journal of Abnormal and Social psychologyXXVII (January 1942) 115 to 119.

So training can make authoritarian leaders into those who adapat a democratic style. Precisely what one would want for sortition groups--if they have a leader at all.

Role playing including on-the-job training with role-playing worked to a person training scoutmasters. A "metamorphosis' was achieved

French, John R. Jr, "Retraining an Autocratic leader" Journal of Abnormal and Social PsychologyMXXXIX (April 1944) 224 to 237.

The Unpresident

So what is the role of leadership in particpatory democracy. I thought of the idea of an Un-president who says, "The buck stops with you." (the people). Who unlike "Bush" is not the "Decider" (I hear the second President Bush saying "I am the decideer" on the Political Junkee on NPR each week.)

The "UnPresident" might say, we have a crisis in Korea, should we send the fleet in a show of strength for the South Koreans. And then invite several academic and government experts to present the reasons to/from to do this as well as a fair evaluation of the pros and cons. Then, the "polls open tommorrow for three days, please vote what America should do."

I have heard "that military action" was not taken off the table in regards to Iran nuclear ambitions. Should not this decision be taken by the American People. I discussed earlier, how we could have handled the health care crisis.

Broader Discussion

As I mentioned in an earlier Thoughtful Thursday in the Leadership series, it is a contention whether democratic-type leadership, and hence participartory democracy, makes for happier people. In a controlled study, Dr. Lewin found that children in a group led democratically were happier. But others studies have found that groups that expect a "strong leader" on "horseback." are unhappy when presented with a democratic one. (I need to track these down.)

And he raises the issue, does the process of having and presenting an opinion, even if voted down, help an individual? And, if so, would a participatory democracy be more helpful than a conventional democracy. Or as Henry Thoreu asked, "how can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely, and enjoy it?"

And Dr. Haiman raised the issue of rules, lines and policies very cogently:

A society may agree that disabled war veterans should receive aid, perhaps to prevent homelessness. But is a G.I. who lost his little finger opening a keg of beer at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on V-J day count as a disabled veteran? A small lodge might agree to buying some paper at twenty-five dollars, but will they select the brand of paper, possibly at the stationary stand. And they may establish a poicy of no excessive drunkenness, but will a committee of the whole deal with each individual who might be considered excessively inebriated. And how do we make decisions quickly, particularly in emergency situations?

And where is the line between oppressing an individual and consensus--could individuals be slaves to the people in general. And he wisely quotes Bertrand Russell.

Those who believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God may infer that any unusual opinion or peculiar taste is almost a form of impiety, and is to be viewed as a culpable rebellion against the legitimate authority of the herd. This will only be avoided if liberty is as much valued as democracy, and it is realized that a society in which each is the slave of all is only a little better than one in which each is the slave of a despot. There is equality where all are slaves, as well as wehre all are free. This shows that equality, by itself, is not enough to make a good society.
One can certaintly imagine a participatory democracy, where each person's every move is directed by a sortition jury with no privacy or free will or the opportunity to let out a little steam at a party. But each person will also have the right to vote on other's freedoms, and will the problem resolve itself in that everyone will understand that they don't want a TV camera overhead all the time for themselves , and thus not do it to others. Will they understand that they want to be able to spend a little of their money foolishly from time to time, and thus let others do the the same? (I talked about financial privacy and referenced David Brin's Transparent Society in my Daily Kos section.) Or will some, e. g. those who might have committed an offense, or the rich in a paroxysm of anger about Wall Street bailouts and bonusses, be subjected to invasive control while the vast majority will be given reasonable freedom. It is really an empirical question, what is most likely to respect human rights: a participatory democracy, a Constitutional democracy which has the equivalent of the United States bill of right, a representative democracy, or a dictatorship, hopefully benevelent.

citing Lewisn, Kurt, "Experiments in Social Space" Resolving Social Conflict New York, Harpers 1948 and Bertrans Russell, Authority and the Individual

And, of course, we must deal with the "great man" theory of leadership. Others say it is the social interplay and an individual can rise to the occassion. As an example of the first is Thomas Carlyle who wrote in 1840:

This.. is an age that, as it were, denies the existenc eof great men... Show our critics a great man, a Luther for example, they begin to what they call "account" for him.. and bring him out to be a little kind of man. He was the 'creature of the time,' they say; the Time called him forth, the Time did everything, he nothing...This seems to me but melancholy work. The Time called forth? Alas, we have known times call loudly enough for their Great Man; but not find them when they call! he was not there; Providence had not sent him; theTime, calling its loudest, had to go down to confusion and wreck because he would not come when called.

Carlyle, hypothesizes a given time to be a collection of dry wood, but without the spark, it never would burn. But we know that a dry forest will eventually have its forest fire or wild fire, even from "spontaneous combusion." And similarly, an idea, a bill can bubble up, and get voted on, even without Speaker's of the House or Presidents.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thougghtful Thursday: Leadership Part Two

Jerome David White, "Autocratic and Democratic Leadership and their REspective Groups' Power, Hierarchies and Morale" Dissertition for a Ph.D. in Education at NYU in 1962

They gave a "dogmatism" test to Synagogue Presidents and identified the five most dogmatic and the five least dogmatic. They then gave a morale test, asking questions like recall events in which "they felt a special feeling of accomplishments" and those where "they held something back even though they worked." They also looked at who were considered second most influenctial, third most influential.

The most important result is that the range of morale score in the autocratic group was 47.7 to 61.2 and the democratic was 55.2 to 62.8. Although these differences were not statistically significant, I note that the autocratic group has the two lowest scores. Thus, a dogmatic autocratic leader can cause problems but does not have to. Of course, absence of significances does not mean significantly absent. Perhaps, a larger sample would have come up with a difference.

I have always felt that one of the advantages of participatory democracy is that it does not allow a particularly bad leader to really ruin things.

Dr. White also looked at the members of boards with high power leaders, and found with the democratic leaders, there were more likely to be two or three powerful board members. Perhaps, one of the advantages of a particpatory democracy is that it allows all those who might want to influence the group to do so, rather than the one who was appointed the "leader." But for the vast majority of the demos, they simply don't care. That is that maybe five percent of the American Politician would want to function as a Congress person. But now, rthey can't do so, but under particpatory democracy, everyone who wanted to vote in detail on policies could do so. So five percent would be happier under participatory democracy with the remaining 95% not affected one way or the other.

An important point is that in ALL synagouges, the boards made the decisions of budget, hiring the Rabbi and any building.

The dogmatism questions included

  1. The United States and Russia have just about nothing in common. (Remember that this study was in 1962)
  2. Even though freedom of speech for all groups is a worthwhile goal, it is unfortunately necessary to restric the freedom of cdrtain political groups.
  3. Fundamentally, the world we live in is a pretty loneseome place
  4. In a heated discussion, I generally become so absorbed in what I am gong to say that I forget to listen to what others are saying

Other quotes

Like many dissertations, I found the facts and quotes that the author brought to bring his study into context, very interesting if not more interesting than the work itself. This is no exception.
  1. Some people thought that suburbs would become a new Toqueville democratic small town, Robert C. Wood, Suburbia But Mumford found that only one in three spend any time in civic affairs and they also were not involved in professional associations as well.) (Reminds me of Powell, Bowling Alone). That included that "every ten minutes of commuting reduces all forms of social capital by ten percent.
  2. There is concern that those who lead autocratically will stifle others who could develop their leadership potential. (Albert I. Gordon, Jews in Suburbia Harold D. Lasswell, Power and Personality and Power and Personality and A. Liveright Strategies of Leadership But Haiman states "it is still impossible to demonstrate that either of the two styles (autocratic or democratic) promotes high productivity or high morale.

    Other studies have shown that Autocratic Leaderhsip debilitates:

    1. Ronald Lippitt, "An Experimental Study of the Effects Democratic and Authorities Group Atomospheres, in Studies in Topological and Vector Psychology I, edited by Kurt Lewin, University of Iowa Press, 1940 (This found that groups under one authoritarian leader were not frustrated when replaced second, and thus groups would eventually increase in morale after many autocratic leaders, even though they started from a lower level of morale.)
    2. Kurt Lewin , "Patterns of Agreesive Behavior in Experimentally created 'Social Climates," Journal of Social Psychology 100 1939, pages 271 to 299
    3. Ralph White and Ronald Lippitt, Leader Behaviro and Member Reaction in 'Three Social Cliamtes' in Group Dynamics Dorwin Cartrwiehg et. al White Plains, Russ Peterson and Comapny, 1953
    4. Daniel Katz, Productivity Supervision and Morale in an Office Situation founded that high productive offices had more democratic supervisors than the others
  3. While other studeies questioned this
    1. R. C. Anderson "Learning in discussionsL A Resume of the Authoritarian-Democratic Studies" Harvard Educational Review 29 (1959) page 202
    2. Lippit found that when an authoritarian leader replaced
    3. Daniel Katz, An Overview of the Human Relation Programs in Groups, Leadership and Man
    4. Katz, Daniel, Survey Research Center: "An Overiveiwof the Human Relations Program" pages 68 to 85 in Groups, Leadership and Man Harold Kuetzkow Editor, Carnegie
  4. Going back to the synagogues, they observed that the annual meeting has one slate of members, have no opposition and the annual meeting.
  5. Wood comented at length that in small towns and here in synagouges, thinge are done in an informal way ignoring rules of procedure, such as helping a "friend" with a ticket or getting closer holiday seats.
  6. At the budget meeting, the citizens do not understand or pay attention to the budget. Most of the members who care are already on the board. (Wood, Suburbia)
  7. And Dr. White quotes Richard E. Gordon, The Split Level Trap that people who rule or have leadership positions are often immoral and Lasswell that power-hungry leaders repress other's democratic leanings. Power and Society, 1950

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Leadership Part One

As I believe you all saw, I am a Computer Science professor. We are in a College that has the business departments, as well as the Agriculture, Engineering Technology Departments. (It also has the new School of Engineering.) And universities and schools of business are accredited. And the accreditation agencies require "assessment." This simply is some check that the students are learning or gaining in other goals. So every two years College of Business asks a samples of its graduates to take an EFT multiple choice exam on various areas of business such as accounting, marketing, finance. We also have some of the faculty look at the case studies the Bachelors of Business students do for the Senior Capstone course -- do the students integrate all their other courses? do they use grammar properly.

a I serve on the Committee that handles all this. And one of the things we were trying to assess was "leadership." What does the leader on the case study team do? One way to do this was to simply ask the other students to rate the project team "captain." But was there a better way or a different survey? I volunteered to find out about this. In the course, I ran into several books, published many decades ago, on what leadership is, and the effects of different leadership styles.

And they helped answer questions about leadership, what makes a good leader, what affects do the The research involves surveys, and in a few cases interviews and observations, and comparing these to results. I will report in later submissions on the work of the Ohio State University Leadership Group, headed by Ralph M. Stogdill.

But in this submission, I cover some, probably random, selections.

setting the tone

An army group has both a Commanding OFFICER (CO) and high-ranking sergeans. If there was a Commanding Officer that was good, wouldn't the sergeants do well as well. Actually not. (In businesses, the leader chooses his subordinates. That is not true in the army.) Apparently, a CO can't "order" the other leaders to do a good job. A manager might choose good middle managers, but can't do anything to encourage them to do a good job. Selvin used a fifteen question test, which he found after factor analysis, broke up into three categories, positive emotions (I would follow this guy into combat), "tyranical" which I would interpret as authoritative "going to bat for men" but also included punishing at every opportunity and inducing fear. The last category was "vacillating " or inconsistency such as breaking promises and playing favorites. The latter two factors were themselves strongly correlated. Thus, there are four types of companies

PositiveTyranicall and vacillating
highlowPERSUASIVE or democratic
lowhigharbitrary, or just plain "bad"

Affect on the men

Those in a good leadership situation, persuasive, and were older draftees were much less likely to get drunk (13%) than any other group. Yong draftees were 31% likely to get drunk regardless of the leadership climate. Similar but less intense were for having anger attcks, "blowing one's top." And the arbitrary leadership leads to aggressive behavior in those who did not graduate high school and high rates of visiting wives or girl friends, seeing the chaplain and short term AWOL. (Remember that this study was done during the Korean War in Basic Training.)

definition of leadership

Does a team need someone appointed or annointed "leader" or "President" or "Commanding Officer." And that leader might choose to give the team options on what to do.

Some leadership assessment looks at who becomes a leader in a group where no leader is appointed. On of the "gifts" in gifted education is leadership--who might become leader if a bunch of kids are put together and given a group task. Watch them--who becomes natural leader. NPR had the author of "Good Boss, Bad Boss" talk and he said that in any group of three or more people, whether peple or animals, a leader emerges.

Thus in a group, someone might become:

  1. the formal leader
  2. a person who everyone identifies with and whose personality is most associated with peoples perception of the group
  3. If you survey the people and ask them who is the most influential-- determing what to do.
  4. who does the most to advance the group
  5. the person who sets the structure of how the group does things. (QUOTING from Gibb


Konrad Adenaur, a West German Chancellor was known for democratic leadership, but was very autocratic with his family.

Churchill, Truman and Roosevelt in World War II

As the Allied Armies and Eisenhower in particular were advancing into Germany, what would we (the U.S.) do with the Germans. The ideas were going around the White House. Roosevelt was telling exagerated stories about the Winston Churchill and Roosevelt would talk nonsense and reminisce. Mr. Hopkins, a Roosevelt advisor, would tell the two "leaders" to focus on that which their men were fighting and dying. (From Haiman, Group Leadership and Democratic Action page 119 quoting Robert Sherwood's Roosevelt and Hopkins.)

Morgenthau as Treasury Secretary lobbied first for something to be done to save the Jews in Europe during World War II--Roosevelt was inclined to emphasize winning the war--he did have information about the atrocities. And then Morgenthau was determined to have a relatively punitive peace against the Germans--which is what the emphasis of the book Conquerors Yet Morgenthau was unqualified to be Treasury Secretary, the "Brownie" of his time, a gentleman farmer.

As of August 25th, there was little planning on what do when the US won in Germany--like there was little before the Iraq invasion. Morgenthau was calling for Germany to be reduced to a 'land of small farms.' And while Americans were fighting and dieing, Secretary of War Stimson, Assistant Secretary of War McCloy and Morgenthau flew to Saranac club for an August holiday. And later the President were in their home at Hyde Park and motored to have "tea" with the Morgenthaus at their home.

And Morgenthau wanted to close down the Ruhr and sell all the machinery that could be moved and wreck the rest--damn the unemployed Germans. Secretary of War Stimson on the other hand was pushing Christian kindness towards the Germans and ensuring due process before shooting anyone--Stalin wanted 50,000 to die after "drumhead court martials."

Page 193 of Beschloss' book has James Dunn, third in the State Department, sneaked a document past his boss and Roosevelt taking advantage of Roosevelt getting sick. He said, 'I can't remember if I signed it. I have no idea what I signed.' A battle of documents over a dying President.

When told that Europe needed coal from Germany, the President suggested appointing three German businessmen to supervise the mines and if they didn't succeed, simply "shoot them." Morgenthau handed him a document revoking it.


  1. Hanan C. Selvin, The Effects of Leadership The Free Press of Glencoe, Illinois, 1960
  2. Michael Beschloss, The Conquerors, Simon and Shuster, 2002

For Future Thoughtful Thursdays

  1. Malcolm G. Preston and Roy K. Heintz, "Effects of Participatory vs. Supervisory Leadership on Group Judgment" Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology XLIV, 1949, 345 to 3355
  2. Cecil A. Gibb "Leadership" in Gardner Lindzey (ed) Handbook of Social Psychology Addison Wesley, 1954.
  3. Morris L. Cogan "Theory and Design of a Study of Teacher-Pupil Interaction" Harvard Educational Review 26, 1956, 315 to 342.
  4. A. Paul Hare, "Small Group Discussions with Particpatory and Supervisory Leadership" Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology XLVIII, 1953, 273 to 275
    reprinted n A. Paul Here et al. eds. Smalll Groups
  5. Michael Argyle , Godfrey Gardner and Frank Cioffi, "The Measurement of Supervisory Methods" human Relations X 1957 295 to 313
  6. Robert F. Bales and Philip E. Slater "Role Differentiation in Small Decison-Making Groups" in Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales Family, Socialization and Interaction Process Glencoe ILL The Free Press, 1955
  7. Robert L. Kahn and Daniel Katz, "Leadership Practices in Relation to Productivity and Morale" in Cartwright and Alvin Zander, Group Dynamics, Evanston ILL, Row, Pearson and Company

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughtful Thursday, More on Wally Smith and Voting Systems

I had some more thoughts on Dr. Smith's work on Range Voting, or more precisely:

As this is the first Thoughtful Thursday that will be on Thanksgiving, I close with a thanks to some of the wonderful people have explored the ideas of democracy. Political scientists study Locke but do not study Rosseua. I greatly enjoyed Dr. Smith's observations on the probabilities that face a single voter in an election, even a simple binary choice.

  1. One goes into a voting booth. What are the odds that your vote will make a difference--that A would have won except for your vote for B. It is 3/sqrt(8*pi*V) where V is the number of voters. If there are a million voters, it one out 1671. Not bad. But this assumes that the poll says the election is a virtual dead heat. That every other voter is as likely to prefer A to B as the other way around, or it is simply "too close to call."
  2. But many elections are that close. If the pollsters are saying that people are 60% for A and 40% for B, then the chances that your vote for B will make a difference are vanishingly small. (Even for a 51% to 49% case, the chances are about 1090)
  3. If we did not have any idea what other people thought--your electiont ou was too small to attract the interest of pollsters, then the odds that your vote would have an effect would be 1/V or (1/2V), depending upon whether V is even or odd. Thus, in our small-town Alderman election with a 1000 people, we would have about a one in 1500 chance of who votes.

Dr. Smith, with his wonderful wry humor, points out that in most elections it is not worth the voter's time to vote as their vote will never matter. And in spite of the hand-wringing of people complaining about voter apathy and lack of turn out, lots of people do vote. But on the other hand, people generally don't "waste their vote" on third party candidates that have even less of a chance than A or B. I can understand people not voting for Nader in the election of Bush vs. Gore, where it was close. But in the election of McCain vs. Obama, where it was clear who was going to win the Presidency, why did we not see more small party voters. As Dr. Smith pointed out that "rational voter" arguments should be given as much credit as most economists talking about a rational homo economicus.

The latter is the key assumption in Dr. Smith's work on Range Voting. Each voter looks at the poll data, and looks at the winner and closest runner up. Then,the voter decides which vote under the voting system, will he be most likely to affect.

And he gets the following algorithms for the Borda vote (a voter ranks the candidates adn the winner gets the sum of the ranks) and range voting.

Borda:: Look at the top two candidates in the polls. Award c votes to your favore. Award 0 votes to your second favorite. Now look at the third most likely to win (from poll data), if you think they are better than the average of the two previous candidates, give them c-2 votes. Otherwise give them 2 votes.

Range: Assume the maximum range you can assign is +1 and the minimum is -1 in this election. Go to the top two candidates, most likely to win--call them A and B. Decide which one you like the best out of those two, the lesser of two evils. Give them +1 to your favorite candidate and -1 to the worse of the two evils. Consult the poll data again and go to the third most likely to win. Call them C Give +1 if that candidates is better than the the average of candidates A and B, -1 otherwise. Then in deciding among the fourth most likely to win, if you like them better than the average of A, B and C, give them +1 , otherwise -1. Dr. Smith calls this generalization the Moving Average Strategy

Dr. Smith tries thirty voting system/strategy pairs. but all the strategic voting possibilities are individual strategies.

Let's say seven percent of the population follows the edicts of Demagogue C. the demagouge has considerable resources and hires computer boffins to determine the best strategic choice. Demagouge says give the vector <0.3,0.2, 0.8, 0.1> In a game theory setting, there might be another demagouge or interest group followed by five per cent that say give the vector< 0.6, 0.2,0.3,0.7> The other 88% are honest. Dr. Smith mentions the issue of allowing the honest voters to be honest which range voting does, and even ten percent honest voters will give better results for society than if everyone is strategic.

Coalitions are important. The wonderful paper of Vinent Conitzy, Tuomas Sandholm and Jerome Lang in Journal of Acm, volume 54, Issue Three discusses these--a topic for another Thoughtful Thursday. And as Dr. Conitzy pointed out, coalitions are weighted electoins. We may have these in shareholder elections where each vote is weighted by the number of shares that one has.

Thus, we should simulate it as a game. This means that each voter considers more possibilities than that given by the affine space and whether it makes sense to only look at the top two candidates in the polls.

I raise a possibility for elections to bodies like the house or Senate. The election is for m candidates over the n fielded. Each of the m winners are weighted by the number of votes they get. So in the Senatorial electon for State S, assume the Republican candiate, R gets 73% of the vote and the DemocratD gets 23% of the vote. There are two possibilities. Unlike the United States current system, the senators from each State are elected at the same time. R gets 1.46 votes and D gets 0.46 votes in the Sentate. The State loses 0.08 votes (for the minor parties). An alternative system which would be kinder to those voting for minor parties would be dividing by the number of votes for the top two candidates. Thus, here R would get 1.52 votes and B would get 0.48 votes so S would not lose a vote.

We should be thankful for the power of simulatoins to look at how large number of voters behavior under various models, and various possible voting systems. Dr. Smith is one such example. We should be thankful for the theoretical models that tells us that it is impossible to create elections and designing systeems that have certain properties. We should be thankful that there have been some trials of particapatory approaches, most notably Switzerland for referenda and cantonal democracy, Participatory Budgeting most notably in Brazil and to a lesser extent in south America, and Athenian Democracy And we should be thankful that somebody has asked in a survey-kind of way about participatory and direct democracy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A link to Dr. Krugman's blog

Dr. Krugman is looking at the Minsky moment when "everyone has decided that debt is too high." Here is a link to his blog post with the links to the real analysis.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facts and Factoids about Civil Wars, Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday James Fearon, "Iraq's Civil War" in Foreign Affairs March April 2007, Volume 86 Issue Two and the Wikipedia article on Civil wars.

  1. There have been 125 civil wars since the end of World War II--as defined as those leading to over a thousand dead.
  2. Another 104 civil wars occurred between 1816 and 1997.
  3. Ninety of the Post World War II civil wars killed more than one thousand per year.
  4. Nine Civil wars since World War II have killed sixty-thousand or more. These include Iraq. They also include Algeria, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Sri LAnka.
  5. Twenty civl wars were ongoing as of 2007.
  6. According to Fearon, the average civil war has been ten years with a median of seven years. Wikipedia has the number at four years.
  7. From 1900 to 1944, civil wars only lasted 1.5 years. They occurred just as frequently as after 1944, just lasted less time.
  8. Since 1945, civil wars killed 25 million people.
  9. 55 of these civil wars were fought to control a central government.
  10. The remainder were fought for secession (like Biafra or the United States) or regional autonomy.
  11. Of the civil wars fought to control a government, 40% of the time the government crushed the rebels. 35% of the time the rebels won. Sixteen percent ended up in a pwer sharing agreement.
  12. Most civil wars are fought in a guerilla fashion and are rural. Thus, the United States model of organized armies fielded by states is unusual.
  13. Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, for the World Bank, argued that civil wars are primarily motivated by economic desires rather than identity issues. However identity issues did become important, and were a source to restart the conflict. I will report more on their work in a later Thoughtful Thursday.
  14. Having commodity exports dramatically increases the chance of civil war. A country with one-third of its gross product being commodities has a twenty percent chance of getting a civil war in a five-year period. Those countries lacking exportable commodities are spared the risk of civil war. (The tendency to create conflicts is part, but not all, of the resource course)
  15. And if there is a national diaspora, that dramatically increases (up to six times) the chance of a civil war. The diaspora finances the war. They are also likely to cause a flare up of the civil war, as the diaspora would often be nursing a grievance. (I had pointed out the possibility of giving the diaspora an explicit vote and say in my article on participatory-style Palestinian-Israeli Peace settlement.)
  16. If there is a ethnic group which has a majority with minority ethnic groups, then there is more chance of a civil war as the minority might feel oppressed.

James Fearon argues that power sharing requires that both sides be cohesive and that there is a group or set of leaders which truly speak for the side, rather than there being a group of militias or war lords.

The purpose of Mr. Fearon's article is to discuss Iraq situation in particular. But the wonderful statistics on the civil war phenomena and tragedy are why I am reviewing it here. Some of the data comes from the Wikipedia article.

Several weeks ago, I proposed a Constitution Construction Kit. The ratification procedure takes into account ethnic identity, so each group is and feels protected. Votes can use a similar principle--to pass legislation, one needs a certain percentage of the votes from each ethnic group. Or where there are several choices, the winner will be the choice that has the largest minima over all ethnic groups. Fact Sixteen shows this is sometimes a problem, but by no means the dominant factor in predicting ethnic conflicts. Forming a world government has much of the same problem as the world certainly has point-source resources unequally distributed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Israel Palestinian Peace Talk Participatory Style

Let's not rely on negotiations between one pair of leaders or negotiating teams. Different pairs of people, groups of both Israeli and Palestinians randomly selected, sets of academics all make proposals. And then both Palestinians and Israelis vote on which proposal they like the most. The one that gets the max of the minima of the Israeli votes and the vote. Of course, if no proposal gets 50% of the votes from both the Israelis and the Palestinians, then nothing happens. (A null proposal also can be added to explicitly see if either side just prefers to do nothing. )

proposalIsraeli approval percentagePalestinian Approval percentqage
Here proposal a win's. It's minimum is 54 and that is more than the minima of b, c, d respectively (51, 52 and 53) respectively.

Following in the spirit of the X-Prize, the individuals making the proposal that wins, gets a few million dollars.

Of course, there are questions should there be three separate votes, the Gaza groups, the West bank and the Israeli's. Do those Palestinians who fled in 1949 and who are now living far away get to vote? If then, perhaps Israelis might say the Jewish diaspora, including those who may be several-generations American-citizens and residents, get to vote. There is certainly no reason that one could not do this with five or more groups.

proposalIsraeli Approval Percentage Gaza Approval percentageWest Bank Approval PercentageJewish DiasporaPalestinian Diaspora
a, c and d could not win since they have one percentage below fifty percent. Thsat leave c with a min of 52% and e with a minima of 51. So c wins!

The proposals would include of course several two-state solutions as well as one-state solutions. The Constitution Construction Kit would be used to allow the Palestinian voters and the Jewish voters to construct and try to see if they could live as one country.

Simulated Annealing or Hill Climbing

We can assume that there might be several proposals that might attract close to 50%, or better, of each group. Can we tweak them to get a better proposal. We can allow slight variations in a few items, for example, swapping a little bit of land here for a little bit of land there. And see if the amended proposal does better than the proposal. In the spirit of simulated annealing, big changes, and new proposals are allowed at first. Those proposals that have good agreement from parties, get tweaked. Then, these get tweaked by a lesser amount. We only take the tweaks that give a better min max than the base proposal.

The X-Prize Approach

Of course, simulated annealing conflicts with the X-Prize approach. Does a a party making a proposal that gets tweaked quite a bit entitled to the prize? A participatory democracy approach would be that the Quartet would put $25,000,000 in escrow. If and when a proposal passes, the people would then have another election to decide who gets the prize. In the spirit of Wait 'til we really know what you are worth, the first partition would be for two million of the $25,000,000.00. The remainder should be awarded twenty years later when we see that the peace really was stable!

The Literature on Civil Wars

The literature on civil wars shows that sometimes or often both sides have to exhaust each other more before one or both sides is willing to concede... (Foreign Affairs, 2007, Volume 86, Issue Two, Page Two, James D. Fearon, "Iraq's Civil War"--which has some great statistics information on civil wars in general and I will make a Thoughtful Thursday.)

A closing note based on a wonderful NPR Story

A conventionally-negotiated peace deal requires on the leaders having the courage to "take it back to their people and see if they can sell it." The participatory-democracy approach means that there are many proposals and the people can vote on the ones they want. Mr. Miller, who was at the Camp David talks, says don't go to a high level summit if both sides are not ready.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wally Smith on Range Voting, Thoughtful Thursday

Range Votting by Warren D. Smith (2004)

Dr Smith identified a class of voting systems where each voter is asked to send back a vector (one number per candidate). The vectors are summed. The candidate whose corresponding number is largest wins.

Many of the voting systems others have discussed are of this category. They each restrict what kind of vector get sent back. Assume, there are three candidates, B, N and G

In conventional voting, each voter simply sends back a one for a single candidate. That is each person has to vote for either B, N and G. thus, we may have the votes

Here the winner is B with three votes. Conventional voting allows a vote to be split. There have been several elections where write-in candidates won or split the vote, not just the recent Alaska Senatorial election. IN 1836, the Whigs ran two candidates including Benjamin Harrison for President in a bald-faced but unsuccessful attempt to split the vote. Of course Benjamin Harrison was elected President in 1840 but was to die shortly thereafter.

Then, there is approval voting. Here, each vector is still limited to zeros and ones. However, we allow the voter to enter as many one's as they care to. In the above election, we might have.

Here N might have been the second choice of many voters. The approval voting system seems to give a better result. There was a book on approval voting by Dr. Steven Brams and Peter Fishburn, which I will review in a later Thoughtful Thursday.

Then, there is the Borda voting, where each person gives a rank ordering. And we count a first place as one more than a second-place vote. In a three-way election, we will have the numbers zero, one and two with two going to our first choice.;

Here, G wins, even though N is practically everybody's second choice.

Range voting gives everybody the most expressiveness. Everyone can put any number between zero and one. (Actually, one can set up range voting with any defined range, say zero to ten like in the Olympics.) Question for the reader--why don't we allow to the voter to put any number without restricting them to a range.

There are other voting systems that one can use. However, they have the disadvantage as the algorithm has to store all the votes. The above types of systems which Dr. Smith calls COAF total, can just work with the totals. I wrote about some of them earlier. Some of them take exponential computer time just to find out who won. Also, each voting machine has to send all the votes to the main office so it can find out the winner. COAF systems are better, the voting machine can send the totals for each candidate to the central machine. That would add the subtotals to find out who won.

Range voting gets out of a lot of the paradoxes and problems in voting theorems. Both Arrow and Gibbard assumed that voters have to give a ranking. In range-voting, each voter provides real numbers.

I have seen several descriptions of Arrow's famous impossibility theorem. I like Dr. Smith's explanation the best (which he attributes to Dr. Fishburn). Each voter gives a ranking of all the voters. My job as a programmer is to write a program that takes the set of ranks and generates a ranking of the candidates. (Of course, in an election for a single senator or governor, we only need to know who won, we don't need to know who the first loser is.) I can write the program anyway I want, but I have to obey the following rules. Arrow also assumed that I have a finite number of voters. (Of course, I question whether the thing might go away with a huge number of voters and) where the probability of a manipulation goes down with the cube of the number of voters.)

In any event, I cannot write an algorithm that fulfills all of these conditions.

  1. There is a finite number of voters--obviously. in an election with three (or more) candidates.
  2. If all voters agree than one candidate is better than the other will that candidate come out ahead
  3. Let there be two sets of V voters each and we run the algorithm in (two parallel universities). Only one voter differs between the two universes. However, they both rank candidates B more than G but rearrange their choices for other candiates. The algorithm should both rank B more than G (or the other way around). This is that the final result should not be affected by how voters behave on irrelevant alternatives. Thus if B wins, if everyone rearranged their choices ranked beledow B, it shouldn't change the fact that B has won. (I have seen some argue that this is not an important criteria.)
  4. We also don't allow me to write a dictator solution. That is, I can't just copy one person's choices and ignore everyone else's choices.

Dr. Smith programmed what I would consider the obvious simulation. Some voters are honest. That is they simply send in their utility. Others try to game the system. Dr. Smith calls them rational. They are simply the people who will vote the lesser of two evils. That is those who would prefer N to win but who look at the polls would vote for B or G.

He generated random sets of preferences for candidates. Then he simulates each of them and see how preferred the candidates for each voting system. The honest voters vote their preference. The dishonest (or "rational") voters look at the polling data and vote the way that they think will give them the best possible candidate. (Dr. Smith also includes some nice results for the probability that one's vote will affect the outcome for various models.)

Dr. Smith tried 144 scenarios and in all of them range voting was the one that selected a candidate that made people, on average, the happiest. (I should add that Dr. Smith's papers on voting system are full of wonderful details and arguments and are a joy to read. I urge all to go to his home page and read his political science papers--he also writes papers on a wide variety of topics unrelated to politics.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

State Clawbacks; dealing with high pensions and salaries

New York State is suffering from a ten-billion budget short fall out of 130 billion total budget. Yet its retirement funds are bleeding money to those most New Yorkers would consider unworthy of their pension. On the top of that list are corrupt officials (*):
  1. The Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi bringing home $105,221
  2. Joseph Bruno, $96,085.00, convicted of eight counts of corruption. He was New York Sate Senate majority leader.
  3. Guy Velella, $75,012, pleaded guilty of bribery, indicted for twenty-five counts. He was a state repres. and state senator to over thirty years.
But there are many others who earn outrageous pensions.

a firefighter receives $74,624 in disability pension money and is a fighter in martial arts championshps. 84% of New York city firefighters who retire do so as a disability. One problem is that any firefighter who worked at the 9/11 sight and who has a heart or lung problem is legally presumed related. (I have observed many disabled, whether a military disability, mental illnesses, an individual who worked as an executive chef who contracted emphesema . We have had interesting political discussions. Certainly, even if a firefighter might no longer be able to go into burning buildings, he could work in a participatory democracy sortition jury to help supervise firefighters.)

In New York City, eight thousand employees of the transit system earn over one hundred thousand dollarz per year. Twenty Five percent of the The Long Island RailRoad and the Metro North that serves the Northern suburbs of New York earn six figures. Another problem is the payout of unused sick leave upon retirement. The State of Illinois eliminated this give back but the the faculty and other employees who started last century still have a payout, sometimes hefty, coming to them. Sixty percent of the transportation expenditures are payroll as compared to the eighty percent in the social service and education fields.

Our Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said that he would handle the budget crisis by freezing salaries--the alternative being lay offs. At my University, the Union agreed to a salary freeze and many other cities. So far, fortunately, there has not been one lay off. But the New York City teachers, and I believe our faculty, will still get promotion raises and other uch raises as specified in the contract. In New York City, that is still 3.3 increase in salaries.

Chicago's Commuter Railroad, Metra, has G. Richard Tidwell earning 1.25 million in salary, bonus and benefits, a deputy executive director. And 18.4 percent of the work force made more than $100,000 dollars last year. Note that in New York City, the average pension for police and fire fighters is $62,208 and the average for all others is $25,947.00.

But these are contractual agreements--is there anything that can be done? More importantly we should not pick on government workers. I think most would agree that some teachers, transit workers, and government employees of all stripes have been hard working and definitely deserve every dollar of their pension. And there are political issues in attacking government workers who quite reasonably have strong lobbies and political action groups (both capital and lower case letters).

But we all realize there are lazy doctors, financial advisors who earned a lot of money and did not achieve much of substance. They are retired well whether from savings or pensions without earning that retirement.

Similar to handling executives and financial entrepreneurs, the answer is a clawback. The State go after those who arned over a million dollars total or who worked for the State's citizens for over thirty years. This could be those who worked for the State, a government agencies, or who worked in a position where there primary responsibility was serving those living in the State. A State does not want to go after executives who live or work in the state but primarily serve others. Thus, New York State does not want to tax Wall Street Investment Bankers--they would just leave, and the money to pay their salaries comes mostly from outside the State, and it would put New York's financial sector at a competitive disadvantage.. However, there is no reason not to tax the New York City area Distribution Manager for the beer company.

A person who purposefully does business in a State like working there or having a position such as head of distribution for that State for many years has met the "minimum contacts test" as required by the Constitution. (International Shoe Co. vs. Washington 326 U. S. 310 (1945))

States cannot reduce pensions as these are a contract and cutting them would involve the Contracts clause in the Constitution. However, that can be avoided by the tax proposed.

  1. Michael M. Grynbaum, "239,00 conductor Among M.T.A's 8000 Six figure Workers" The New York Times page A 30, June Third 2010
  2. Jennifer Medina, "Mayor to Cancel Teacher's Raises, Averting Layoffs" The New York Times June Third 2010,CLIX No 55,060, Page A1 and A30.
  3. (*) AM New York June 17th 2010, Page Four
  4. "finally cracking down" New York Post Page 20, august 7 2010, (editorial)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A concern is who drafts the law, whether in a conventional democracy or a particpatory one. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEc), has corporations and state legislators as members. The corporations pay a total of six million dollars a year. They hold three annual conferences wehre companies present 'model bills' to the legilators. ALEC gives "scholarships" to the legislators to attend. The recent Arizona Immigration law was put together by corporations including Correction Corporation of America. NPR questioned whether ALEC should be treated as non-profit or a lobbying organization. Wikipedia, as usual, has a good article on ALEC. However, one should compare organizations such aas the National Conference of Commisions on Uniform State Laws that among other things is responsible for the Uniform Commercial Code, passed in all fifty states.

California Proposition 23 would suspend its greenhouse gas emissions law until the jobless rate falls to 5.5 per cen Valero Oil and owns several refineries in California and has contriubted five million dollars. Tesoro Energy is also contributing. However, in spite of the business money going to support the measure, Polls say that the greenhouse law will remain and the proposition to delay it will not pass. Of course, we know that the solution to the problem is a consumption and sortition based tax. They don't form pollution havens where all businesses relocate to the country with the least environmental restrictions.

In Brazil, voters can vote at age sixteen, a rarity. Fewer than half now choose to vote--when the youth first got the vote early, they were very excited.. On the subject of Brazil, Planet Money had a wonderful piece on how they solved their inflation of eighty per cent. Four College students were called in by the Minister of Finance to help control Inflation. They developed a "Unit of Real Value" It was parallel with the prices in the currency that was inflating. So everyone saw that each day widget was one URV. What changed was that one day a URL was ten cruzeiro's, the next twenty. Eventually, the government just declared that the URV was the real currency. A psychological trick, that worked and enabled the many accomplishemnts of which Brazil can be most proud.

Of course, could one get the same psychological affect by freezing and numbering the money supply.

We talked about Brazil and some other countrie's programs of participatory budgeting where the voters get to choose how some of the money is spent. My home state Illinois has a candidate for Governor on the "Independent" party. He is calling for particpatory democracy for part of the State budget.

My Chinese teacher was giving us the word for finance. (I have just started taking Chinese.) It contains the character for "bug" or "worm." I have blogged extensively about the financial system and whether we need one.

An educational toy and products company is having problems with its rock collection. Some of the minerals contain some lead. He is part of the set of business owners that are turning against the democrats--and an example of the complaints against stupid regulations. One of the ones I heard was about the requirements for having accessible drinking fountains. The plumbing code has rules about this. One might say these are too detailed. And they are ambiguous. And eHow has a somewhat different set. If one should inadvertently install a drinking fountain a little too high or a little too low, should one have to reinstall it? Oh and New York City Council voted to require all water fountains to be set up to fill up a water bottle; this is to give less money to the bottled water industry. I recall somebody complained that he inadvertently made his water fountains one inch too low for the Americans Disabilities Act regulations. He had to pay to have them all raised one inch. I wasn't able to find it by searching for it.
(Wall Street Journal October 12th 2010, CCLVII, NO 87., Elizabeth Williamson, "Business Backlash Grows"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peter Elkan, Adjustment of Sectors to stop pay-cost inflation, thoughtful thursday

The New Model Economy: Economic Inventions for the Rest of the Century, by Peter G. Elkan, pergamon Press, Oxford, New York, etc. 1982, HD82 E485 1982

(I promised a review of this when I wrote up Kenneth Boulding's review of this book.)

To prevent pay-cost inflation, the salaries negotiated by unions and management and individuals and management should be adjusted. They would be adjusted to equal the amount agreed upon. Thus, each union would negotiate a pay increase in the normal manner. The total pay would be added up and compared with the target figure. Then, each pay would be adjusted to the following. This can be done by the total pay, which means that some people might receive a decrease in total pay.

And it can be done by the increase, which Dr. Elkan suggests is more politically feasible. Here is a simple example. Society agrees that the average pay increase is two per cent. Half of the population (group A) negotiates a 2.5 percent increase.. Other half of the population (group B) negotiates a 3.0 increase. The adjustment factor is 4/5.5. Group A gets an increase of 1.81% and group B gets an increase of 2.11.

In the United States and Britain, union agreements are made throughout the year. Dr. Elkan is concerned that unions should not wait until the end of the year to find out what increase they would get with thei ncrease delayed-- int he same manner that a worker with high deductions on their income tax would have to wait until the following April for their tax refund. Thus, he proposes that all pay go through a central computer and the adjustment made on a running basis. (That might not have been practical in 1980 when he proposed it but it is with modern computers.)

He was concerned about pay-cost inflation, when each union tries to leapfrog other unions in negotiating a salary. And trade unions are so used to insisting upon regular increases, that they do so past the point of productivity growth. When this causes inflation, the unions try to leapfrog the inflation by asking for a cost of living increase that includes what they fear will be a runup in prices. (NPR Planet Money talked on another approach to dealing with the psychological factor in inflation on the price side that worked in Brazil which I will cover in another blog post.) And of course, there is the Share Economy solution--on the pay side, suggested by Dr. Weitzman and expanded by myself.

Certainly, one could organize an economy and political system where the voters vote on the amount transferred frmo each major sector to another, corporations to investors, corporations to labor, etc.

However, the same thing can be effected by tax policies. The increases that Dr. Elkan is trying to control are less than the tax bill. The people could vote ont he amount of taxes paid by each sector. This could be adjusted, at least in part, by the increase of that sector relative to desires. There is an empirical question. Would the voters best think about the magnitude of each flow in the macr economy. In my Intermediate macroeconomics course, we started with a circulation model showing the flows from economy part to economy part. Or, would the voters just say this sector is too big, this sector is too small, adjust the taxes higher in the big sectors, adjust the taxes lower in the smaller sectors. (If needed, one could have modify the reverse flow, payments to corporations that provide services to the federal government, if it was desired to send more money to the corporations.) Dr. Elkan cited Sir Roy Harrod in 1965 for using the taxes to adjust the distribution to sectors.

And whether we structure the adjustment by the sector-to-sector flow or by taxes, the demos can vote using median voting for the adjustment. That is everyone would say that the total amount payed out by corporations to their investors should be x1, x2, x3, etc. And the median is the amount that would be used.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Constitution Construction Kit, Harel State Chart, Yunker Federal World Government, Thoughtful Thursday

Fairly frequently, countries try to change their constitution. A committee drafts a constitution and the people have two choices, to ratify it or not.

Examples include:

  1. Italy presented to its voters a complicated constitution that was rejected.
  2. The European Union presented a new constitution that would increase the Union but it was rejected by the voters in Denmark.
  3. The Iraqi's voted on a Constitution in 2005. But again, it was a take-it or leave-it proposition. Thus, many Iraqi voters felt that they really did not like the one offered, but voted on it because it was better than not having any Constitution.
  4. And more recently, Turkey and Kenya had Constitutional referenda.

And there have been proposals for unions, all that would require a Constitution:

  1. a United States of East Africa as reported very ably by the Economist.
  2. And a board game entrepreneur promoting a vision of a United States of Africa.
  3. And lastly, uniting the entire world.

I proposed a Constitution Construction Kit, more later, which brings in the idea of workflows, nesting workflows. Lastly, the ontology for legal affairs, or computer representations of legal knowledge, help a constitutional court or a Supreme Court deciding whether an act obeys the Constitution. And it helps us simulate.


An insurance company claim system exemplifies a business work flow. The insurance company decides that a claim under $1000.00 is handled and decided by a type A employee. Those above that amount are preprocessed by the type B employee. But a committee of seven makes the final decision and five out of the seven of these employees are needed to approve the claim. In either case, the claim is escallated to the president in three days if a decision is not made.

The workflow diagram is shown below.

The workflow starts when someone submits a form. In the example, the policy holder submits a claim. And one might have a workflow starting at a certain time, ensuring that a person execute a backup and that someone verify the backup was successful. Different individuals might fill out forms in a certain order. That is the electrical engineer reviews the plan and then the mechanical engineer reviews the form containing the plan. And in business, small groups might approve or vote on an activity. For example, an investment committee might have to approve a major capital project. Thus, the work flow system would have to count the number of positive and negative votes. And as we see above, based upon the results at each step, or the contents of a form, the system wil determine which new state go into. Thus, whether we go into State A or State B is determined by the amount of the claim. Whether a commitee votes in one way or another determines what happens to the large claim. And time passing will cause us to go into an "escalation" state.

Some workflows, based on a Petri net model allow parallel activities. Thus, the Electrical Engineer and the mechanical Engineer can review the document at the same time. When both give their approval, it goes on to the next state

The workflow system will have things happen as we transition from state to state. An email might go out, a credit card might be charged, or a letter might be printed and sent via conventional postal mail. It is not difficult to conceive of a workflow system activating a solenoid controlling a valve in our chemical plant at a certain state.

There are commercial workflow systems, where a computer professional enters the equivalent of the dataflow in some language or in XML, perhaps to be discussed in a future thoughtful Thursday.

Political Work Flows

The passing of a bill shows how workflows can model something in a Constitution. At the risk of being chauvanistic, I will use the United States Constitution, specifically the passing of a money bill, which our Constitution specifies must start with the House of Representatives.

We start with the House, which from the Constitution itself, simply emits the bill with no explanation or specification of how (more about that later). From there, as many readers will know the bill has to approved by the Senate and then on to the President, who may sign, vetoe or do neither.

  1. Awaiting Senate Approval, after the House approves the bill
  2. Awaiting the President's Signature, after the Senate approves the Bill
  3. Depending upon what the president does, it may go to a termination state. One of these is obviously Law Passed. If the President does nothing, in ten days, and Congress is in Session, the bill is considered passed. (I recall reading that Cypress Semiconductor set up work flows where if someone who was supposed to approve something simply failed to do something about, it went on as if they did approval. This prevented someone from having to go chase a document that was on a procrastinator's desk.)

    However, should Congress ahve adjourned, then the bill is considered failed-- a pocket vetoe.

  4. The rest of the flow is an override steps, going back to the House of Representatives, where the bill originated and then to the Senate if 2/3 override.

Nested workflows and Harel's State Charts

Simply, at any transition, there can be a whole workflow embedded. The Constitution has a simple transition from the start of a bill to it passing the house and awaiting the Senate to approve it. But that is a whole workflow of a Representative bsumbmitting the bill and being assigned to a Committee and being scheduled for debate and being ammended and finally have a vote of the full house.

At any point in that time, the House could adjourn to be reelected in its two year cycle, in which case the bill would fail. At any point in the process of the Senate reviewing and voting for a a Bill, the Congress could adjourn for a new session after new elections.

An additional feature is that one can model a flow from the superstate. Thus, when the HOUSE or SENATE adjourns that kills any bills in process. We can show that as a single arrow. The alternative would be draw an arrow from every substate of the HOUSE or SENATE to the dead state for adjournment as below.

One could also think of the boxes as a dataflow diagram--and I will have to consider this later in the discussion of the Constitutional Construction Kit, below.

State charts add to a simple state diagram, the ability to group states into logical superstates. Sometimes these are called HIGRAPH's for Hierarchical Graphs. State tables are often used in modelling computer software embedded in device. In avionics software, "in all airborne states, when yellow handle is pulled, seat will be ejected." And these need to handle several things going on at the same times. In a modern electronic wristwatch, the stopwatch might be in a state, the date setting might be in another state, and the normal watch itself is in a state. If one is in the process of setting the stopwatch or using the stopwatch, one might hit the button to go to the regular display state. When the owner then clicks a button to go back to the stopwatch, we may want to leave them wherever they were, perhaps in the process of setting the stop watch or the stopwatch is clicking off times, rather than going back to a start state. Dr. Harel did a masterful writing in his article using his own Citizen's electronic wristwatch as the example.

These features are not as relevant in political state tables. However, I can think of one example. In some states in some circumstances, one can appeal an order in the lower court to the upper court, even if the lower court has not finished with the case. Let's say one is getting ready to try one's case. The Judge rules that your star witness cannot testify because you made a spelling error in sending his name in. You could then request the appeals court to review that decision and if whatever happened, the case would go back to the lower court in same place as it was left off, perhaps with allowing that person to testify.

The Constitutional Construction Kit (CCK)

Every couple of decades, the United States engages in Regime Change with the nation somehow selecting a new Constitution. We saw it in Philipines in the 1900's, Roosevelt writing a new Constitution for Haiti new Constitutions for Germany and Japan after World War II, and of course much later, a new Constitution for IRAQ. Whether the United States will do this again is a subject ripe for speculation, but not in this blog.

In simulating a Constitution, unlike working with a business, one has to allow the particpatnts or members of a body to create a new workflow.

In the United States Constitution, Article One, Section Five, "Each House may determine the Rule of its Proceedings." We also have to allow various ways for individuals to be come members of bodies. That is we have to provide for elections appointments and random selections. The latter is only used today for juries., It is a very viable way of doing participatory democracy, sortion. Thus, if one were modelling the United States Constitution, we would see a workflow from each of the House and Senate to create or modify the workflow for creating and passing bills.

This concept is in other countrie's constitutions. For example, the Iraqi Constitution has the Council of Representatives cratings its bylaw for its rule. And article 93 designates that the Council chooses how the courts will be run and how judges and other officials are selected. Bahama Constitution Article 55, provides that each House of its legislature can regulates its procedure and make rules of procedures. in the Iranian Constitution, Article 62(2) specifies that the law will set how their legislature is elected. And like the United States, in Iraq and the Bahamas, the legislatures determines their own procedure.

And if there is an election, we need to provide for the rules of that election. And who resolves disputes. And in Secton Four, both State Legislatures and Congress can change the Workflow for the election of representatives.

A workflow has roles. For example, one specifies that an Insurance Adjustor of Rank Two or Higher can prepare a claim of over $1000.00 for Committee Decision. And we have a role called Member of Claim Approval Process. In a business workflow, one generally assumes this process is outside the workflow diagram. That is, one does not have a workflow to hire or promote a person to Insurance Adjustor Rank Two. And we certainly don't have the computer program handle those people authorized to change that procedure approving the decision to change it. (The appropriate manager would simply tell the computer professional to go change it ....) But in a Constitution Construction Kit we need all these roles. The people who elected to the House or Senate can change these workflows, as can the State legislatures. And our CCK must model these.

Approval Process

Our Constitution Construction Kit (CCK) will allow multiple parametric Constitutions to be prepared, and a vote to be conducted. Thus before the process starts, there has to be an optimized funcction. This will be a natural generalization of the requirement for ratification. For example, our constitution required nine out of thirteen states to vote. The Iraqi Constitution required n-2 out of the n provinces to approve by a majority vote. There are two obvious extensions. One can find the constitution that can get the majority vote in the most states or provinces. Or one can find the constitution that maximizes the vote in the province or state that gave the nth lowest approval percentage. Thus, if constitution A got votes in provinces:

33, 45 , 47, 49, 57, 58, 62

and constitution B got these votes:

22, 43, 49, 60, 62, 68, 70

If n were three, Constitution B would win as its third lowest vote were 49. But if n were only two, Constitution A would win. (Thus, one can see the importance of specifying the ratification procedure in advance.)

And if we had chosen in advance to look for the Constitution that had the most provinces with a majority in favor, Constitution Two would win as four states had a majority.

An ontology for constitutions

An ontology is a way of organizing knowledge, where there are links between various concepts. Several groups, notably in the Netherlands, are developing ontologies for legal concepts. One of these is the LKIF-Core Ontology, funded by the European Union.

Organizations, Artifacts, and the Purposes they serve. More specific to law, might be Statement, Declarations and Assertions and Document, as a bearer of Statements. The LKIF also has NORMATIVE statements such as prohibitions. They include obligations, allowance, obligations. Thus, a penal code might be defined as a Document containing prohibitions. Our group will also include classifications, so we can say that all persons who meet a condition are permitted to or required to do.

Thus the United States First Amendment giving freedom of speech would state that a particular ORGANIZATION (congress), could not contain a PROHIBITION of a particular SPEECH ACT. (The capitalized things are core concepts in the LKIF).

An ontology for constitutions would allow the parties to propose and vote on the following:

  1. How are people chosen for officer positions or to be a member of a named ORGANIZATION? I identified three of these: election, appointment and sortition.

    I deal with elections first; these are so much in the mind of the average person about the purpose of the typical constitution. Which ORGANIZATION if any can provide further clarification? Are there conditional rules if the above fail or have controversy? The United States Constitution specifies these three of these in its Article Two on choosing the President. We see that the legislature sets the rules for appointing electors. It provides that a majority vote is selecting. It also provides for a default ROLE for the House of Representatives and Senate if there is a controversy over the election of a member.

  2. The classifications of permissible persons must be specified for both those doing the voting or electing. Usually a constitution will state the CLASSIFICATION. For example, the United States Constitution specifies the familiar (to Americans) requirement that president be thirty five years old and a natural-born citizen. It also specifies requirements for the "Electors:" they are not a Senator, Representative or a person holding"an office of trust or profit under the United States."

    Or it may delegate it as in Article 47, Third section of the Iraq Constitution It states, "A law shall regulate the requirement for the candidate [for Council of Representatives, the voter and all that is connected with elections."

    As mentioned earlier, representatives can be specify that other organizations are chosen randomly from certain groups. The only example of this in the United States Constitution is juries, and even here the choosing process is not specified. However, many have written about Sortition. Ernest Callenbach and Michael Phillips proposed that the United States House of Representatives be chosen randomly from the people. Brian Martin proposes a network of decision making groups, which he terms demarchy. He does not propose a specific "constitution" for this network or a method of developing one, mentioning "second order" bodies to "adjudicate on how demarchy is supposed to be work." Paul Woodruff discusses how the Greeks implemented this idea. They had several mechanisms include a "Council of 500," "judges" and the election of experts for particular purposes.

    Most constitutions also provide procedure for the appointment of specific officers. (See Section Two, Clause Two of the United States Constitution which provides for the appointment of officials such as ambassadors, judges and others with "advice and consent" of two thirds of the Senate.)

  3. prohibitions or grants of specific powers. E. G. Congress can pass a law on any of the following subjects, as given in Section Eight of Article One.
  4. Certain acts require certain percentages or other functions of one or more groups. An example from the United States Constitution are that 66% of the ORGANIZATION, Senate, must approve a treaty, a type of DOCUMENT.
  5. Obviously, one needs the mechanics for A Constitutional PROHIBITION. The Constitutional Court could be a workflow as a step on a law before it is approved. Or it could be as part of a workflow for resolving "CASES AND CONTROVERSIE's."
  6. I note that the Estrella project has put its ontology onto the World Wide Web under the GNU Open Source license. Thus, I will be able to build upon it.


  1. Boer, A. Winkels, R., Hoekstra, R and Van Engles, “Knowledge management for Legislative Drafting in an International Setting” In Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. Jurix 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Conference (Amsterdam) IOS Press 91-100
  2. Boer, A., Di Bello, M., van den Berg, K., Estrella, European Project for Standardised Transparent Representations in order to Extend Legal Accessability, Deliverable 1.1, Specificfication of the Legal Knowledge Interchange Format, IST 2004 027655
  3. Harel, David, "StateCharts: A Visual Formalism for Complex Systems" Science of Computer Programming Volume Eight, 1987, 231 to 274. See
  4. Sanminiatelli, M. \fIItalians Vote in Massive Reform Referendum\fR Yahoo News, Associated Press can be found at
  5. Yunker, James, A New Vision of Federal World Government, University Press of America, 2007