Hmmm. A team of Italian scientists say democracies would be better off if they chose some of their lawmakers at random.
Researchers at the University of Catania in Sicily say that when some legislators are selected at random, with no allegiance to party or ideology, lawmaking bodies become more efficient because more and better laws would be passed.
Via The Guardian:
The scientists made a simple calculation model that mimics the way modern parliaments work, including the effects of particular political parties or coalitions. In the model, individual legislators can cast particular votes that advance either their own interests (one of which is to gain re-election), or the interests of society as a whole. Party discipline comes into play, affecting the votes of officials who got elected with help from their party.
But when some legislators are selected at random – owing no allegiance to any party – the legislature's overall efficiency improves. That higher efficiency, the scientists explain, comes in "both the number of laws passed and the average social welfare obtained" from those new laws.
Random selection may feel like a mathematician's wild-eyed dream. It's not. The practice was common in ancient Greece, when democracy was young. The study tells how, in Athens, citizens' names were placed into a randomisation device called a kleroterion.