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David Johnston2 01-28-2018 05:02 PM

Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Understand something. These are not supposed to be improvements over anything that really exists or ever existed. Better or worse doesn't matter. What I'm looking for her is different, exotic variations on democracy, oligarchy or whatever to make interesting places to visit even if those places are doomed to fall apart in short order. Please do not waste any time and get the thread locked by saying that these ideas won't work. Anything can survive in the short term and it doesn't much matter to the player characters that a certain approach to governance is doomed within a dozen years if they'll be gone next week. I don't care whether it's a dumb idea. I just want ideas that aren't generic off the rack "every democracy is a western liberal democracy and every monarchy is medieval England". You can however ask for clarification of details. That being said, let's get started.

1. Constitutional Republic in which lawmaking power is invested in an assembly selected by random lot among the citizens, one per district.

2. Legal system in which no third party is allowed to argue in court on behalf of either accuser or respondent. The accused must defend itself. The accuser must have standing to argue that the issue affects them. (Thus family members of murder victims could prosecute the accused given that the victim is unable to) The judges are elected officials. The profession of "lawyer" still exists however to provide the parties with advice on how to proceed. They simply can't speak in court with a personal stake, or as witnesses.

3. Similarly a liberal democracy where it is illegal to identify yourself or anyone else on the ballot or in the media as being part of a political party. Political organizations still exist "unofficially" despite the intent of the law, but are only referred to in the media using circumlocutory code phrases.

4. A system where executive power is vested in the popularly elected Supreme Court with the First Justice assigning the others to head government departments. Meanwhile the planetary legislature consists of legislators who are appointed to their position for fixed terms by the state high courts (who are also popularly elected).

5. A constitutional monarchy where the kings have are appointed for a term of a single year after which they are ritually castrated and join a priesthood.

6. A republic where a single religion is so widespread and powerful that one must be blessed by a priest in order to have a chance of winning a run for office and the religion will deny that blessing to any politician who they consider to be irreligious, of another religion, or lacking in "moral character".

7. An ostensibly stateless society where real authority is vested in extended family groups. The head of the family (chosen as the heir by the previous head of the family) has dictatorial power over all family members that only ends if they marry out, or reject family membership. Rejecting your family when you don't have another to marry into makes you someone anyone can kill with impunity.

8. An ostensibly stateless society where most of the population live in towns owned and administered by their employers.

9. A monarchy, where the official monarch is a ceremonial position and the actual monarch is the head of the bureaucracy who is elected by votes from the nobility. (Including the official monarch but he only gets one vote.)

10. A world which has super powered people of some sort. In the wake of a war between the normals and the witches/supers they gained the right to only be tried and judged by their own "peers"

ericthered 01-28-2018 05:14 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
11. A bicameral legislature where one house votes based on population and the other votes based on taxes paid.

12. The head of state goes on trial at the end of every term (a historical Athenian practice, I believe).

13. The actual power rests in social media: politicians who don't vote in agreement with specific analysis tools are removed from office.

14. The government is run by a class of bureaucrats who take tests to achieve their positions.

15. The King is elected by a specific set of nobles, and rules until he dies. Each election has a lot of wheeling and dealing and concessions made.

16. The oldest descendant of certain family rules, rather than the most direct.

fwcain 01-28-2018 05:40 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Taking a page from Robert Heinlein, this world allows the vote only to those persons who have received an Honorable Discharge from active duty of no less than [x] years (for whatever value of [x] you want). Similarly, all public offices (including the right and obligation to serve on a jury) are likewise restricted to this class of citizenship. All persons (legal residents, that is) enjoy full protection under the law, and are otherwise treated equally.

Franklin

fwcain 01-28-2018 05:51 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
On this world, a landowner is the supreme authority on his or her land. Landowners owning above a certain acreage are members of the world's assembly (Congress; Parliament; or whatever other name you want), with their respective votes proportional to their acreage.

Certain land rights (such as right of transit or right of logging) can be loaned, leased, or outright sold. However, regardless of however pressing the "need" may be, the world's assembly can NOT deprive any landowner of any land rights without his or her agreement. (In other words, there is no "eminent domain" on this world.)

Certain minimal protections have been enacted by the world assembly, to cover all persons on this world legally, regardless of the local landowner's liking (or disliking), limiting the landowners from being complete despots. (But a sufficiently determined and corrupt landowner can always find a way to mess over a hated resident.)

The interstellar authority (by whatever name you have for it) has negotiated the rights of usage and governance for the land used by their starport. However, once beyond the gates of the starport, let the traveler beware...

Franklin

patchwork 01-28-2018 06:10 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Reality-tv-style antielections, in which every year the community member with the most votes (that is, the person the community deems most annoying) is exiled with nothing more than they can carry or killed. Election tallies are public so that people in 2nd and 3rd place are on notice to reform their behavior or leave voluntarily before the next annual election. An ancient Greek thing.

A presidential system similar the USA's but the Supreme Court chooses its own successors (and frequently chooses its own children). Dreamed up originally as the sort of government that could be constructed in a post-collapse Saudi Arabia that the Saudis and their Wahhabi supporters could live with.

Weighted democracy in which a citizen's votes are 1 + mod log (aggregate lifetime taxes paid/arbitrary divisor). Thanks, Nigel Findley. The very wealthy who have 4 to 6 votes are so few in number that they can be safely discounted as insignificant; what actually happens here (assuming the divisor is calibrated correctly) is that some people have 1 vote and some people have 2 votes. An ordinary working class person will get their second vote around retirement age. The nonworking never get a second vote. Engineers, doctors and other highly paid professionals get their second vote around age 30, and perhaps a third vote around retirement age (all assuming tax and economic structures comparable to the modern developed world). No one is without a vote, but the voting is intentionally skewed to both the elderly and the more productive members of society.

Randyman 01-28-2018 06:19 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 2153902)
15. The King is elected by a specific set of nobles, and rules until he dies. Each election has a lot of wheeling and dealing and concessions made.

Sounds a lot like the historic Holy Roman Empire. (Yes, I know. It was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire...)

whswhs 01-28-2018 06:42 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by patchwork (Post 2153918)
Weighted democracy in which a citizen's votes are 1 + mod log (aggregate lifetime taxes paid/arbitrary divisor). Thanks, Nigel Findley. The very wealthy who have 4 to 6 votes are so few in number that they can be safely discounted as insignificant; what actually happens here (assuming the divisor is calibrated correctly) is that some people have 1 vote and some people have 2 votes. An ordinary working class person will get their second vote around retirement age. The nonworking never get a second vote. Engineers, doctors and other highly paid professionals get their second vote around age 30, and perhaps a third vote around retirement age (all assuming tax and economic structures comparable to the modern developed world). No one is without a vote, but the voting is intentionally skewed to both the elderly and the more productive members of society.

Actually, no. In that formula, if aggregate lifetime taxes paid < arbitrary divisor, then the logarithm is a negative number. If, for example, you've earned 1/10 of the arbitrary divisor, then you get -1, and zero votes. And if you've earned literally nothing, ever, then you have 0/AD = 0, and log 0 = negative infinity. So whatever you vote for gets infinite votes against it. I think that would produce some seriously counterintuitive results.

Agemegos 01-28-2018 07:14 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Randyman (Post 2153924)
Sounds a lot like the historic Holy Roman Empire. (Yes, I know. It was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire...)

Also, like the Kingdom of Poland. Also, like the Kingdom of Sweden until 1544, the Kingdom of England until Plantagenet times, and the Kingdom of France until the 13th century. It's common for European monarchies to have been originally elective and gone through a phase in which the king forced the electors to elect a designated heir as co-king before developing into legally hereditary monarchies. The boundaries are often blurry.

ericthered 01-28-2018 09:11 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Agemegos (Post 2153938)
Also, like the Kingdom of Poland. Also, like the Kingdom of Sweden until 1544, the Kingdom of England until Plantagenet times, and the Kingdom of France until the 13th century. It's common for European monarchies to have been originally elective and gone through a phase in which the king forced the electors to elect a designated heir as co-king before developing into legally hereditary monarchies. The boundaries are often blurry.

An awful lot of the first round listed are historical systems:

#2 was another phase athens went through. (the rich hired former lawyers to teach them how to present their own cases).

#6 is representative of modern Iran and of mormon utah. Its also somewhat similar to how single-party systems work at their most function (some have no competition, but some actually allow real races between party members).

#9 describes the prime minister of 1700's england.

#14 is heavily inspired by the mandarins of china.

Continuing to add to the lists:

20: Elections are lotteries, but instead of directly picking citizens, each citizen submits a proxy and one citizen's proxy is chosen at random.

tanksoldier 01-28-2018 09:12 PM

Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems
 
Extrapolated from Go Tell the Spartans and other books of Falkenberg's legion by Jerry Pornelle:

The planet Sparta is a constitutional dual monarchy. The Kings as a practical matter divide responsibilities, but must both agree to any action. Typically one handles internal affairs and the other external affairs. Effectively each can veto the other. Each heir is approved upon their majority by the Senate sitting as a Kingsmoot. The Senate enacts laws for ratification by both kings. Citizens earn their status similar to Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Even natural born residents must earn citizenship to vote.

At the end of the series, upon Earth's destruction, one of the kings is selected by the local remnants of Earth's military, local forces and others to become emperor of a coalition of some of Earth's colonies. They never really explain what sort of interstellar government is created tho some books set farther in the future give hints.

I always envisioned an empire continuing the "two kings" tradition. The emperor is one king of each planet, represented by a viceroy, who handles "external affairs" and the other link is a locally selected planetary ruler... king, president, headman, whatever.... thus giving the illusion of home rule, but with the emperor having the power to intercede if necessary.


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