Democratic Districts

Public administration is an immense task, and it makes sense to divide areas into different administrative districts to simplify and delegate responsibility. They also allow different areas to set different administrative parameters, since different areas have different concerns. Polities in deserts must treat water rights and access much more cautiously than those in rainforests, and dense cities with developed transit systems are much better suited for high fuel taxes than remote rural areas.

However borders of administrative districts are often extremely arbitrary and inefficient, almost always decided by far-off officials with little understanding of the areas in question, or during a historical period with completely different social and economic realities.

Description

We can once again use persistent documents to solve this problem. The highest level of administration would have one document specifying sub-district borders, and each of those resulting sub-districts would fractally have their own documents specifying sub-districts.

Most countries have some fixed set of district levels, for example the United States has Country > State > County > Municipality. We don't really need to be concerned with that kind of control, and can allow each district to subdivide itself in whatever way seems optimal to them, including allowing no subdivision at all.

Importantly, districts can't have incompatible definitions of rights, justice, and legislative codes without actually becoming different countries. Districts should only allow administrative differences such as precise tax rates and descriptions of public agencies and their officials. All rights, justice, and legislative documents must be shared at the highest possible level. I'll discuss this topic more in the future.

Notably, the existing problem of gerrymandering is completely unrelated to this districting system. Persistent democracy makes almost all legislative representatives unnecessary, so the concept of districts to elect representatives is largely irrelevant. Even when district boundaries do effect what kinds of decisions are made, choosing districts democratically is arguably the best possible way to do so.

Benefits

  • Democratic districts would no longer require groups with dramatically different administrative needs to awkwardly share inefficient and arbitrary containers. Conflict over these purely administrative questions would decrease substantially, and might make cooperation in other spheres less difficult.
  • Would allow regional differences such as those described in the 11 Nations of America theory to be respected.
  • This system would be sufficient to set aside permanently protected conservation areas.

Potential Objections

  • Could lead to decreased unity, since different people no longer have to work together as much. I don't think this would be a great issue, since as alluded to in the last point, they still must cooperate to define rights, justice systems, and legislation. Also, even very culturally distinct areas aren't monolithic.
  • Could lead to confusing complexity. I have two thoughts on this:
    • This is actually unlikely since democratic documents encourage acceptable consensus and gradual convergence toward better options.
    • Even if it does end up being confusingly complex in some situations, since it was democratically selected it is likely that complexity reflects real concerns of the citizenry and improves their quality of life.

Open Questions

It might be possible to make district decisions in a more fluid and "bottom-up" way with a more complex system. One alternative I toyed with was using democratic weights to define "enclosing perimeters" around areas that some group wished to exercise some administrative control over, and using concepts like distance from centroid to change how the weights of different people affected their vote on such a perimeter. As technically interesting as such ideas are, they're likely too complex even if I could prove their efficiency. I might revisit such concepts in the future, but it seems more likely to be a fun exercise than to provide any real use.


Table of Contents

Introduction
In Defense of Pure Logic
Persistent Voting
Quadratic Range Voting
Persistent Documents
Persistent Prioritization
Persistent Endorsement
Persistent Commitments
Persistent Funding
A Theory of Minimum Necessary Rights
Markets and Rights
Common Resource Taxes
The Crowdsell Mechanism and Intellectual Property
Democratic Districts
Free Borders
Persistent Logistics
Democratic Adjudication
Misinformation Trials
Member Cooperatives and Economic Activism
Coda
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