[LINK] Direct-Technocratic Party

Karl Auer kauer at biplane.com.au
Tue Aug 31 13:34:28 AEST 2010

On Tue, 2010-08-31 at 12:42 +1000, Stilgherrian wrote:
> On 31/08/2010, at 12:22 PM, David Boxall wrote:
> > Who was it who said that the best argument against democracy is a five 
> > minute conversation with the average voter?

In Switzerland, 100,000 voters signing a petition can force any[1] new
issue to a referendum. 50,000 voters signing a petition are enough to
force an existing issue to referendum.

The result is extraordinarily stable government, with a tendency to take
two steps forward and one back. Issues, once decided, tend to stay
decided - there is very little of the wasteful setup/teardown that our
system promotes. Government doesn't bother doing stuff that doesn't have
the population behind it, because it will be undone by referendum. 

Elections, though hard fought, rarely descend into the pointless
money-and-time-wasting slanging matches that we see here (although
sometimes the loony right does let itself go).

The Swiss system works well. Its main disadvantage is that progress on
contentious issues (abortion, maternity leave, the rights of women
generally, the rights of minorities, welfare and so on) is slower than
in most comparable western democracies. Any attempt by a progressive
Government to be too leading edge will be slapped down by referendum.

It also means that Switzerland has a low rate of direct taxation - about

Regards, K.

[1] There is an expert panel that checks such petitions. Those that are
unconstitutional or fail a few other tests are discarded.
Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au)                   +61-2-64957160 (h)
http://www.biplane.com.au/kauer/                   +61-428-957160 (mob)

GPG fingerprint: B386 7819 B227 2961 8301 C5A9 2EBC 754B CD97 0156
Old fingerprint: 07F3 1DF9 9D45 8BCD 7DD5 00CE 4A44 6A03 F43A 7DEF

More information about the Link mailing list