If you don’t care about some election today all you can do is abstain, but what if you could instead save your vote to have extra votes in a future election? Or what if you could transfer your vote from a topic where you care less, say mayor, to a topic you where care more, say president? Or what if you could trade votes with other people, like your next two cycles of mayor votes for one of their president votes? Or what if you could buy and sell votes for cash on an open market?
Representative democracy is one solution to problems with complexity - have the people elect a representative assembly with some form of proportional representation and then use some more complex system of voting (such as quark-based elections, perhaps with tokens instead of real money) to make decisions in that assembly, which might contain a bewildering assortment of small parties. Having a sophisticated electorate like this might also make it easier to change the voting system frequently without confusing people.
Why stop there? Buy enough votes once to pass a law saying that only people with net worth over $10 Million can vote, then pass a law abolishing quarks!
Yes, but what good will that do? They'll surely make a law that subsidizes rich people right back for the amount they pay for quarks.
Of course! But selling them quarks gives them votes to use to get what they want in return. That is more open than spending the money on campaign donations, lobbying, junkets etc. And at least the money would go into the public coffers.
I propose that a standard voting system such as single transferable vote be used to select a leading and an alternate candidate for senior votes, with a saved vote (or possibly randomized voting system) then used to confirm the leader or reject them in favor of the alternate. The idea would be to dissuade ambitious junior politicians from alienating minorities unnecessarily without handing over too much control.
Don't you think the rich would want something in return for that money? Perhaps something that is not in the best interest of the poor and middle class?
So it's an error in logic rather than sophistry. You say they're equivalent, and while you're not explicit about the respect in which they're equivalent, what you have in mind is that they are equivalent responses to self interest: they equally gratify the voter's self-interest.
But to say that voters should vote their self-interest is not to say that they should follow their self-interest wherever it leads!
Voting according to self-interest is justified as a practice only in terms of its overall consequences. It's a way of summing societal preferences. Whereas voting according to who bribes you sums the preferences of only the bribers.
I'm saying that self-interested voting, without any expectation of a moral obligation to consider the effect on others of the policies one votes for, is equivalent to bribery.
After I read your response, I am still not sure what you're arguing the opposite of. [Perhaps you should write more clearly.]
Do you at least admit that your argument that bribery is a corollary of self-interest voting is either a piece of ridiculous sophistry or a sorry mistake in logic?
What's pathological is relative to the cultural level of a society. The point isn't just that the goals are narrow. What creates a pathology is a gross misjudgment of the personal importance of an issue.
Replaced by another post because of double posting.
[I think you're trying to produce a reductio for voting according to self-interest, but you'll have to justify your hostility to democracy some other way.]
Read more carefully. I'm arguing the opposite.
Most people don't base their politics on maximizing the welfare of Homo sapiens.
Many people prefer to maximize the welfare of their particular nation, religion, or tribe. Others value certain principles above welfare altogether.
Now you can define the above as pathological if you like.
If the governments sells quarks we can have the rich pay increased taxes voluntarily. Quarks for the rich and lottery tickets for the poor!
How might they feel if it were CUBIC?
Mt. Gox will keep track of our quarks for us.