Kleroterion Forum

When a lottery is the right way to share, select, decide


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From 2000: how the Kleroterians started:

Posted by kleroterion on Sunday, 20 December 2009

THE FIRST CONTACT: in 2000    From:  Conall Boyle  To Lyn Carson

I’ve just finished your book on Random Selection. [Lyn Carson and Brian Martin, RANDOM SELECTION IN POLITICS…

To:                     l.carson@econ.usyd.edu.au
Subject:                random selection in politics
Date sent:              Sat, 29 Jul 2000 13:04:01 IST

I’ve just finished your book on Random Selection.[ Lyn Carson and Brian Martin, RANDOM SELECTION IN POLITICS
>(Westport, CT, Praeger Publishers, 1999) ISBN 0-275-96702-6.
>PRICE: US$57.95]

Inspiring! I’ve been looking into the idea for some time and like
you encounter the disbelief even contempt for the idea of using
such a ‘bizarre’ technique.

I had the privilege of meeting John Burnheim in Sydney when we were over on holiday in 1996. A
wonderful gent. Great to see that Demarchy is still being studied.

My own endevours in the Lottery field relate to the use of a lottery for decision making (as you explain in Ch 2). In 1998 I published “Organizations selecting people: how the process could be made fairer by the appropriate use of lotteries” in The Statistician, 47, pt2 291-321 (a read paper at the Royal Statistical Society, with Barbara Goodwin proposing the vote of thanks). I can send you a copy if you have difficulty getting hold of this.

I guess you could say that while you advocate randomly selecting the people who make the decisions, I am saying: lay down objective criteria to produce a shortlist, then select by a lottery.

The Dutch medical school entry is a good example. BTW I’ve just found a super reference to this in English by a Prof Drenth of Amsterdam. Look at www.irlgov.ie/educ/commission   [this site is dead. See Ben Wilbrink’s site instead]

It’s research paper 3. That’s the Irish government site, and they consulted prof Drenth. As an
Irishman myself I am pleased to see such imagination being
shown back home.
You allude to the difficulty of getting a citizens jury to be taken seriously, to be trusted with real decision power. Getting the technocrats to add in a random element into their decisions (like in
Holland) would be a lot quicker and easier to achieve, and might
deliver many of the benefits of Demarchy.

Viva Demarchy! Would you like to start a campaign?

Hon Sec Birmingham and District Local Group, Royal Statistical
Society., Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Central
England, Birmingham B42 2SU..

From: “Lyn Carson” <lync@Bullwinkle.econ.usyd.edu.au
Organization: Faculty of Economics, Sydney Uni.
To: B.Martin@uow.edu.au
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 09:26:55 +1000
Subject: (Fwd) random selection in politics
Reply-to: l.carson@econ.usyd.edu.au

A fan letter, Brian!!


28 August 2000 From Brian Martin

Dear Conall,

My co-author Lyn Carson forwarded your message of 29 July. The delay in responding is entirely my own!

Needless to say, I’m very pleased that you enjoyed “Random selection in politics”. The band of people taking random selection seriously is not large so it’s important to keep in contact.

If you have reprints, I’d appreciate a copy of your paper in “The Statistician” — I’m sorry we didn’t know about it before.

I appreciate learning about the web site about Dutch medical school entry. Up to now I’ve had difficulty getting English-language material about it. I’ll talk to Carson about whether it’s worth floating a proposal for something similar in Australia.

Yes, it would be great to start a campaign. If nothing else, it’s the best way to learn about how the current system maintains itself. If you have ideas let me (and Carson) know. I’d be most pleased to help out within the constraints of other ongoing projects.

Soon I’ll be visiting London (13-18 September), Netherlands (19-25 September) and Vienna (27-30 September). If there are individuals or groups dealing with random selection that you think I should contact, do let me know.

Best wishes,

Brian Martin
Science, Technology and Society
University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia


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