Psephology

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

Our current system of voting for decision-making has many flaws. Here are some thoughts on what those flaws are and what we can do about them.

Voting was a mechanism created where groups can speak up. When people vote, most of us do not necessarily want to own the outcome. What most people want are stability and dignity. We want dignity so we know that we can speak up about things that we care about.

We also want the stability that comes from living in a world that is predictable, where we can plan our lives. Many have proposed changes to the voting system, and those changes can be disruptive. That is one of the many reasons why the way we vote has not changed for a long time.

The current system is also broken in a couple of ways. The first reason is that candidates have figured out that the more extreme they are, it increases his odds at winning the election. By taking an extreme position, it is easier to get voters’ attention and to get the people on the other side not to vote.

Another reason why we have a broken system is the media. The special interests in the media have an incentive to make a loud noise because it sells papers and advances their interests. As a result, the amplification of the noise and the hatred for the other side over and over cannot help but divide us.

So can we improve the system to make the voting model more effective? Should we consider voting for a pool of candidates on a sliding scale? We give a nine to candidate #1 and 5 to candidate #2, and so on. The candidate that accumulate the most “likes” wins the election.

Should we consider giving different groups of people different weight when voting on an issue? Do all voters have an identical feeling or stake towards a certain issue? The following is my example (not Seth’s). If we were to vote on the issue of women’s reproductive rights, should we give more weight to women’s votes, or should we even consider letting women only to vote on that issue?

Should we consider revising our voting approach based on how we make decisions in a business setting? In a business setting, different issues get decided or voted on by different people, different groups of interest or authority. We also do not practice anonymous voting in a business setting, and we seem to be OK with all those arrangements.

The Internet is the biggest voting machine we ever built. We vote on many things with our like’s and opinions all the time. The technologies we use for social media can help facilitate different voting approaches if we can apply the technologies correctly. When we are trying to spread an idea, we should seriously consider how best to leverage the technologies to help us make more impact on the people that you seek to serve.