Demoracy and Constitutionalism
The concept of democracy is derived from the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule), and thus means parliamentary rule (Held 2006: 1). This implies that political power is placed with all the people in a democracy, unlike the other two classical rulings monarchy (arbitration) and aristocracy, where power is placed by one person or few, respectively (Hansen 2017: 32). Since ancient Greece there have been many perceptions of what the people’s government actually implies, with different interpretations of, among other things, how the people should rule what the people are going to rule and who is the people (Held 2006: 1f).
The Representative Democracy is commonly closely linked to the concept of constitutionalism, which implies that a written constitution or constitution guarded by the courts can counter hasty democratic decisions that either violate individual freedoms or result in rapid and perhaps unthinkable radical changes in legislation ( Hansen 2010: 59f). The essence of constitutionalism is therefore described by economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek as:
"... a limitation of the means available to a temporary majority for the achievement of particular objectives by general
principles laid down by another majority for a long period in advance" (Hayek 1960: 180).
Origin and evolvement
The basic idea of the Liquid Democract can be traced back to 1884, where Charles Dodgson published the book Principles of Parliamentary Representation, which included proposed a more dynamic form of Representative Democracy, where it was possible to delegate its voices to several different representatives (Ramos 2015: 179). 85 years later, Miller (1969) took up the idea of his article A Program for Direct and Proxy Voting in the Legislative Process, which, in the light of recent technological advances, predicted a near future where it is possible for the population to vote from their own home computer, and therefore should be able to vote directly in political questions or delegate their voice further (Miller 1969: 107). Only 30 years later, however, there is an interest in these new democratic governance. It starts on the internet, where two blog posts from Sayke (2002) and Ford (2002), receive great attention. Ford develops a coherent democracy model, which he calls for delegative democracy, and describes his vision of an electronic delegation democracy that allows for area-specific delegation, but the concept of delegative democracy never really hits.
Four Basic Rights
The core of the Liquid Democracy is a new democratic voting model, consisting of 4 basic elements, or perhaps more precisely 4 rights to all voting citizens within a democratic state or regional political entity. The four basic elements are:
1. Direct democracy, which means that all voters have the opportunity to vote directly in all political issues if they so wish.
2. Flexible delegation means that you can also choose to delegate your vote to a delegate who votes on either one of a single political question, or (2) all political issues within one or more policy areas, or (3) within all political issues within all policy areas.
3. Meta delegation allows delegates who have received one or more delegated votes to elect to reshare these votes to a whole third delegate. There is no ceiling for how many times a voice may be delegated.
4. Immediate revocation means that you can revoke any vote you have delegated to a delegate at any time and then either use your voice yourself by voting directly or delegating it to a new delegate (Blum and Zuber 2015: 165F).
Actors and Incentives
In an FD, the population itself decides to what extent they will be represented by delegates, thus rendering the classical representative system in which a fixed number of politicians will be elected to the legislature for a fixed period of time and with each one voice available in all polls (Map & Fields 2014: 106). Instead, there is a system where delegates are constantly fighting for support for their various political affairs, and where their political power constantly changes, depending on how many delegated votes each delegate is able to achieve (Zuber & Blum 2016: 177). Most delegates will probably only work within one or two policy areas with which they have particular interest and knowledge. However, there is nothing to prevent a delegate from spreading beyond many or all policy areas, and with the possibility that they can meta-delegate their voices within selected policy areas, they do not have to decide on all issues themselves (Lönnfelt & Sigvald 2014: 106f).
The option of immediate revocation by the voters will probably be a natural limitation on the extent of fluctuations that will be seen by each delegate as this may result in the delegate losing most of his delegated votes (Ibid: 178f). In a FD, Green-Armytage delegates also need financial compensation if they receive many delegated votes so that they can serve as a form of half-time or full-time politicians. This can ensure the quality of the political work and prevent the FD from being dominated by economically strong special interests (Green-Armytage 2015: 203f). However, the concrete design of a compensation system is a practical challenge, as it may create some inappropriate incentives for delegates, for example, losing financial resources when using the opportunity for meta-delegation (Map & Fields: 109f).
Parties & Organisations
In an FD, voters should also be allowed to delegate their vote to either a party or an organization, if they so wish. However, it is unclear how the parties’ role will be in an FD because they lose their monopoly-like status when the structural barriers to political influence are removed and voters can either directly or delegate their vote to an interest organization or neighbor instead of a party. They therefore get a great job of making themselves attractive to the voters, but according to Lönnfält and Sigvald, they could have a stabilizing effect on the political decision making process if successful (Lönnfält & Sigvald 2014: 106).
Seperation of power
The power of division of power must be maintained in the FD, but the balance of power between legislative and executive power is changed (Green-Armytage 2015: 209, Blum & Zuber 2016, Map & Fields 2014). In the FD, delegates and voters get the sovereign power over the legislative process. However, the option of flexible delegation by the electorate could lead to lack of consistency in the political majority across policy areas. Therefore, it will still be necessary to have a government that can lead implementation of legislation, including ensuring co-ordination and coherence between legislation across different policy areas, as also shown in the Output Legitimacy Analysis. The ministers thus stand out of a classic political role, and can be more clearly understood as a form of democratically elected officials. In order to ensure some stability, the government should not be subject to the mechanisms of the FD, but instead be chosen democratically for a fixed period of time (Blum & Zuber 2015: 181, Map & Fields 2014: 137ff). On the other hand, the judging power will have a largely unchanged role in the FD (Map & Field of Languages 2014: 131).
On the other hand, one must be able to make complex collective decisions, and therefore both Lönnfelt and Sigvald (2014: 113ff) and Green-Armytage (2015: 204f) propose that new voting methods be developed for the FD, which is both practical and democratic. At the same time, there will be a number of general rules and procedures that reduce the possibility of so-called strategic voting and other conscious use of the electoral system. Therefore, Behrens Mfl. And Green-Armytage (2015: 204f) suggest using preference polls when voters should relate to more than two alternatives because strategic voting will otherwise determine the final poll results.
Behrens et al., As mentioned, denotes secret and time-limited polls in the FD, but as Lönnfelt and Sigvald point out, there may be several advantages for more flexible and open voting procedures. For example, they believe that voters should be able to see what their delegates are voting so that they can avail themselves of the immediate revocation if they disagree with them (Map & Fields 2014: 113).
At the same time, there is a great democratic potential in the so-called continuous polls, where polls within selected policy areas are public and run without time limit because, as Green-Armytage (2015: 207f) formulates, it provides: “information in real time about which policy issues are in need of being revisited “. However, when a new majority occurs, the legislation does not change immediately. Instead, time is allocated for the political issue to be debated in public so that voters have the opportunity to rethink their position before the new law enters into force (Green-Armytage 2015: 207f, Map & Fields 2014: 118).
If political issues where a nominal value, such as a tax rate or a speed limitation on the roads, must be decided collectively and democratically, it also requires a new voting method. Here, Lönnfält and Sigvald imagine that you can use median polls, where voters and delegates vote by pointing at, for example, a preferred level of VAT. The result of the vote will be the value that the media voter has voted as it effectively prevents the possibility of making strategic voting (Green-Armytage 2015: 205, Map & Fields 2014: 122f). Median polls will at the same time be the most democratic way of deciding different economic allocation issues in the state where the adoption of the state budget is of course the most important issue (Lönnfelt & Sigvald 2014: 123). In this regard, Lönnfält and Sigvald appear with a convincing argument that the state budget must be adopted through an open and continuous distribution poll, which runs until the date on which the budget is fixed and adopted. It can ensure that voters and delegates have the opportunity to discuss what the social consequences would be if the split vote had ended and thus ensure that a very crucial political issue like the state budget is being taken on a enlightened and thoroughly debated beforehand (Ibid: 123).