Political Parties, The Road from Brick to Smartphone


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DO WE NEED POLITICAL PARTIES? A business approach to this matter..

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Political Parties, The Road from Brick to Smartphone

  1. 1. Political Parties: The Road from Brick to Smartphone
  3. 3. • Political parties have NEVER been especially “popular” among the citizenry.
  4. 4. The Point of Political Parties • Political parties are good to weight and evaluate the demands of a given society and its different sectors; this way, proposals and political programs can be devised to properly address these needs or wishes. • They compete for leadership before their potential voters so as to be able to implement their own program, which is based according to their voters’ demands. • Thus, “political rivalry” among several political parties guarantees the existence of democratic and free elections; in the end, an efficient and responsible government will be established and controlled by those opposing groups that did not “win.”
  5. 5. Political parties represent the most interface important between a given free civil society and its efficient and responsible government in our democracy.
  6. 6. Drawing an analogy… Communication interface and reach evolves: PD: Our voice and our sense of hearing are interfaces as well.
  7. 7. What’s evolving? • Scientific and technological advances may create more effective, efficient, and trustworthy interfaces to overcome the barriers of communication and information transfer. But...
  8. 8. Will we be able to make the interface disappear some day?
  9. 9. The Listener is a Canadian TV series taking place in Toronto about Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik), a young paramedic who can hear other people’s thoughts.
  10. 10. Charles Francis Xavier1 (also known as Professor X) is a fictional character from the Marvel Universe. He is one of the most powerful mutants in the world and he is the founder and leader of the X-Men. As telepathist, Xavier can read and control the human mind. His scientific genious has allowed him to become a major authority in the fields of genetics, mutation, and psychic powers.
  11. 11. Just one more step in our genetic evolution would allow us to question the importance of having an interface for the sake of communication. • Telepathy is often dealt with by ufology, novels, and fictional films. • Its existence is not accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community. • If it was possible, they would not accept that this process could ever get to take place with no technological mediation. Telekinesis (from Greek τήλε, tēle, «far» y κίνησις, kínēsis, «movement»), within the framework of parapsychology and other pseudo-sciences connected with the study of paranormal activities, stands for that phenomenom consisting in moving objects from the distance with no known physical medium. Despite the fact that many scholars hold that many experiments on telekinesis have been carried out, its existence is not accepted by the scientific community.
  12. 12. What to do while we wait for this?
  13. 13. We may “EVOLVE” the model http://www.activatingdemocracy.com
  14. 14. There does not seem to be any technological or scienfic obstacle We have all the elements required, we only need to re-organize them Technology could be our ally http://www.activatingdemocracy.com
  15. 15. Pero... http://www.activatingdemocracy.com
  16. 16. It appears we are creating a new “class” “Brick” political parties resist change. Our rulers think we have the capacity to elect them every so often, but, according to them, we seem to lack the capacity to actively foresee or decide about our own future.
  17. 17. The current political market can only offer “bricks”, while citizens are already starting to demand “smartphones.” http://toyoutome.es/blog/la-evolucion-de-los-telefonos-moviles/5649 Pero…
  18. 18. Be them polical parties, bricks, smartphones, or “X,” any modern democratic model (or similar) seems to require the existence of an interface bringing together governments and citizens. If these political parties (“X”) did not exist, we would only have to invent them. Vote Consult Propose Revoke Dismiss Resign
  19. 19. Lagged political market
  20. 20. Our demands are listened to. Even without asking for it, companies compete to offer us new functions that may enable them to get more users. Advancements allow us to be more competitive, to be faster when taking desicions, and to enhance society as such. Companies and entrepreneurs actively listen to their potential users. New functions, requirements, and interfaces are generated accordingly. It they do not evolve, other companies will take their place. Socio-economical model
  21. 21. Traditional political parties won’t evolve, «newly shaped political parties» begin to appear to appeal to those outraged citizens wanting something new. Traditional political parties do no listen to our demands. Neither do they propose any change or function that may appeal to us in an effective fashion. Democratic model
  22. 22. We could say that our democratic model includes scientific and technological advances more slowly than our socio-economical model does. Technological advances Socio-economical model Modelo Democrático
  23. 23. We’ve moved from faction parties • Groups centered around an idea or following a especific leader with the sole target of obtaining power for the sake of self-benefit. To parliamentary parties • Groups formed in representative assemblies in accordance to common ideas that do not intend to increase in number, but they seek to gather within their bounds an exclusive social elite. And nowadays we move around…
  24. 24. «Election parties» • • • • • • Reduced number of politically active members Less partisan activity between elections Increased importance of electoral campaigns Greater importance ascribed to the personal traits of the party leader than the ideological aspects of the whole party Ideologically speaking, parties tend to be located around the center, which brings about less ideological conflict among them Highly relevant role played by social media, especially TV during electoral campaigns Political parties are electoral machines
  25. 25. All in all… • Political parties need a faster, more manageable, and more adaptable new interface. • Maybe they should «remove some buttons», redesign its hardware, rewrite its software, etc., they should even «pivot» around its business model. • In conclusion, they should «connect» with citizens again.
  27. 27. This is the process of removing buttons, redesigning hardware, and rewriting software, it’s all about reinventing a brick to give birth to a smartphone. • • • • • Primary elections open for citizens over 16 years old, unlocked lists, immigrants could be given the right to vote in local elections, etc. All those holding public and organic office will leave their post in case they get tried. Banning donations to political parties coming from private companies. Redifining the role of the supporter, s/he will be able to vote in the open primary elections and will be asked to show a certain degree of commitment. Setting up a transparency portal.
  28. 28. They would be here «pivoting» (that is, looking for a program that can actually connect with citizens) to “execute it” and obtain more benefit (that is, winning more elections) Let us picture an App Store, in which parties (smartphones) share their “apps” (proposals and program), competing for users to download them and use them (voters). • • • • Tax reform for those earning less than 16000 Euros Right to access water and power to any citizen Austerity, transparency and exemplary nature exercised by the Royal Family Religión should be taught only outside schools and the government should stop funding the Church. • No reprive for those committing corruption offenses • Banning “ultra” politics • Constitutional right to healt care We get to… Smartphone parties , parties as platforms. But…
  29. 29. There’s still a tough road ahead of them
  30. 30. There’s still a tough road ahead of them
  32. 32. Spotting demands and covering them cost money Nokia invests in R&D almost five times more than Apple does Pero…
  33. 33. «Functionality» of TRANSPARENCY is under demand
  34. 34. «Functionality» of TRANSPARENCY is under demand http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/02/09/actualidad/1360440712_828853.html
  35. 35. The alternatives: A.- Force them to detailfully reveal their books by law. B.- Wait for all those not adding the transparency functionality to get cast out of the political scene naturally. We users (voters) will be the ones kicking them out if we deem such an atribute as essential in order for us to trust and vote any given political party (that is, if the political market demands it). I don’t want it unless it features a touchscreen!
  36. 36. Some others create their own “functionalities” even before they are demanded.
  37. 37. They take the risk to… …attract and connect with voters in the “political market”
  38. 38. If it succeeds, competitors will come after you They will mimic the leader of the “political market” so they can compete and stay in the market.
  39. 39. You cannot buy/copy innovation and expect it to work out. Investing more does not necessarily mean that you will «connect» more with «users».
  41. 41. There are many funding models for political parties throughout the world. In the course of History, none of them has been completely free of suspicion when it comes to illegal funding or corruption!
  42. 42. Any political party But…
  43. 43. Political parties as public utilities, 2004 Ingrid van Biezen There seems to be no flawless formula
  44. 44. Political parties as public utilities, 2004 Ingrid van Biezen
  45. 45. We can also see cases such as Switzerland’s, where political parties do not get any public funds or where there are no checking rules. Finland and Sweeden lack the same checking rules, which forces political parties to rely on voluntary agreements instead of on their national legislative system
  46. 46. There seems to be no relation between the financial power of political parties and democracy and corruption perception indexes.
  47. 47. Democracy Index http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Dndice_de_democracia
  48. 48. Corruption Perceptions Index http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Dndice_de_Percepci%C 3%B3n_de_Corrupci%C3%B3n
  49. 49. Then, why should we regulate funding? There is a two-fold historic demand: 1.- To keep parties (and their elected representatives) protected, as much as possible, from the corporate lobbying that derives from depending economically on other centers of power. 2.- To guarantee the principle of equal opportunities for all political parties on their electoral competition, which would then imply the democratic structuring of the representative bodies for the public will (political pluralism).
  50. 50. What are their sources of income, anyway? 1.- Public funding, be it direct or indirect. 2.- Self-funding, which may come from membership fees, from their own revenues, from publications and other activities, or from donors such as public officials or candidates. 3.- Private funding, which comes from credits and loans, business activities, and even from opaque revenues.
  51. 51. * These figures do not include items such as subventions after electoral spendings or after representations in local, regional or European elections. http://www.extraconfidencial.com/articulos.asp?idarticulo=11681 How much money do they receive?
  52. 52. Are they on their way to become a Smartphone political party?
  53. 53. Are they on their way to become a Smartphone political party? According to the Court of Auditors, in 2011, 17 political parties were found in a state of negative equity, that is, in a state of technical bankruptcy. Unió Democràtica de Catalunya. 11.288.910 euros. Convergencia i Unió. 10.184.954 euros. Izquierda Unida. 8.520.508 euros. BNG. 3.471.348 euros. Izquierda Unida Convocatoria por Andalucía. 3.233.938 euros. Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds. 3.166.813 euros. Izquierda Unida de la Comunidad de Madrid. 1.805.312 euros. Bloc Nacionalista Valencià]]. 1.167.319 euros. Chunta Aragonesista. 614.400 euros. Unión, Progreso y Democracia. 581.658 euros. Partido Aragonés. 545.431 euros. Amaiur. 439.279 euros. Esquerra Unida del País Valencià. 304.724 euros. Esquerra Unida i Alternativa. 154.492 euros. Geroa Bai. 135.623 euros. Coalición Canaria. 109.642 euros. Esquerra Unida de les Illes Balears. 59.950 euros. http://wiki.15m.cc/wiki/Financiaci%C3%B3n_de_partidos_pol%C3%ADticos
  55. 55. All proposals aim at: Regulating donations Increasing transparency Getting more Estate funding They won’t even come to an agreement regarding this, since any proposed reform could always be perceived as a disadvantage for the “brick” parties we currently have.
  56. 56. We are now moving onto the stage of utopias, paradigms, and visionaries.
  57. 57. Bruce Ackerman suggests the following: Each year, each citizen could be given a kind of debit card called “patriot card,” the author would rather call it “democratic card.” Each card would contain the same amount of money and it could only be used to fund political parties and their candidates. It sounds like a credit card from an App Store! A candidate accepting funds by means of this system could not accept funds coming from other sources. According to the author, other than encouraging political parties to undermine the institution of private donations, this system would help political parties get rid of the need to find other sources of income. The author advocates for an initial amount of 50$ per citizen. Let us assume all citizens are given 50 euros in their cards, 35,7 elegible voters in Spain would make up a totalling amount of 1.875.000.000 million Euros.
  58. 58. Power Inquiry puts forward something similar Power Inquiry puts forward five-euro worth «vote vouchers» that each citizen can deposit onto the account of the candidate s/he wishes to support. This kind of looks like a groupon to me... «Vote vouchers» can be useful at a given time. The «democratic card» system allows you to credit your candidate’s account at any point of the year.. The democratic card offers more control to voters in the sense that s/he is provided with more time for reflection while it may also increase voter turnout. It is similar to an App Store and to the amount of time you spend analysing and finding new apps before buying and/or installing them.
  59. 59. Citizens’ Assembly in British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly is composed of randomly selected citizens, two from each of the province’s 79 electoral districts (one man and one woman). They debate and reflect about how to enhance the quality of life of those they represent even by reforming the funding system used by political parties. After the selection process, they start a “learning phase” in which they are shown the pros and cons of different electoral systems by experts in the field. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens'_Assembly_on_Electoral_Reform_(British_Columbia)
  60. 60. So? The road from brick to smartphone does not seem like an uncomplicated one
  61. 61. “Utopia is on the horizon. If I take two paces, she walks away two paces and the horizon moves ten paces further. Then, what’s utopia for? Just for that, it makes us walk.” Eduardo Galeano
  63. 63. «A politician that is not after utopia is but a mere idea dealer» Adolfo Suárez Former Prime Minister of Spain
  64. 64. Thank you very much! Pablo Díaz @pablodc