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I wish I could find something to fault in this cartoon. I can't. As someone on the rational/idealist boundary, it all leaves me feeling rather depressed!

It's a shame; I didn't write this to depress people! One of the suggestions from this cartoon is that it is precisely the Rational and Idealist signals which can tip the balance in politics. If the two signals can be brought into alignment, they can collectively wield significant influence. Political power comes into existence when people find ways and means to work together.

Best wishes!

Your "cartoon" is wrong on too many levels... Let's start with a basic underpining:

"Rather than individual voters, the country expresses different proportions of support for different political factions – in effect, each political party is a particular signal competing with other signals for relevance."

You are extrapolating the "signal strengths" by their results in elections. But less that 50% of the people of voting age, in both U.S. and U.K., voted in the recent elections (compared to, say, Venezuela where 70% voted in the election last year).

Your "cartoon" just unravels under scrutiny...

Suyi: Doesn't this depend upon whether the vote is representative or not? Since the deviations between polls and final voting are minimal, I'm inclined to suspect that even with less than perfect turnout the vote is still a representative sample.

(I'll be focusing on the U.S. because that's what I've done the most reading on, but the U.K. doesn't lag far behind)

Like I said, wrong on too many levels.

First, yes, there were deviations between exit polls and the 'votes' that were tallied. In the U.S. 2004 presidential election the deviance in key states (Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio) was over 2% (2.2, 3.9, 3.7, 6.7 respectively), all skewed for Bush. Obviously, there is something wrong there.

Second, and more importantly, is that over 50% of the population aged 18 and over did not vote - they never made it to the booths and they didn't even bother to register. A conservative might argue that these non voters were satisfied with the status quo. But the people who do not vote (or are disenfranchised) are predominantly the poor and the uneducated. I'm inclined towards the explanation that says none of the signals are appealing (more an indictment of the major parties as those get all the coverage in the dominant media) and that people are cynical about 'their' representation keeping campaign promises.

Your "cartoon" just unravels under scrutiny... [sorry, but I'm not sure how to salvage your analysis]

Suyi: I'm willing to accept your criticism, but I just don't see this as sufficient to unravel the concepts at the core of the cartoon (which, after all, is only an illustrative model). This is effectively a thought experiment designed to encourage some different views of politics; it strikes me that your point is that the key political issue is the failure of political parties to appeal to the electorate. I cheerfully concede this may be an important issue overlooked in this cartoon, but I don't believe it undermines anything in this piece significantly. Perhaps this is just a question of interpretation and relative significance?

Either way, I appreciate the input!

I don't mean to come off as belligerent. When I say I can't salvage your analysis, I mean that I not sure I understand Temperament theory so I can't use it. I prefer demographics to psychographics...

My (first) quibble is with the strengths of the different signals. I do not, for example believe the Guardian (or what I understand that means) "is dominant in approximately 50% of the population." I don't believe those percentages are correct. I assumed that you got them from election results, so that's why I pointed out that voter turnout is relatively low (and if you are serious about fulfilling the potential of the collective in a representative democracy you would do well to take that into account).

Ah right, this is the root of our misunderstanding! The proportions attached to the Temperament data comes from Myers-Briggs typographical data, and thus is entirely independent of the election data. I guess I didn't make this sufficiently clear...

The nature of this piece is to attempt to collide that research data with a simplified model of politics and use that as a thought experiment. Obviously I use that line of research quite a lot in my game research, so this was an attempt at converting that information into another form and see what it could say.

I'm uncertain about this issue of voter turnout... All the data I've seen suggests that when the turnout is higher, the voter proportions remain the same (within a few percent tolerance), so I'm inclined to think that the turnout is a lesser factor. But this of course rests on many assumptions, which could easily be overturned in practice.

I am serious about attempting to fulfil the potential of the collective in representative democracy, but I am uncertain if this requires greater turnout. If it is the case that we get a representative sample in a typical election irrespective of turnout (which is my hypothesis in this regard) then the important thing is finding the points of agreement, not in motivating non-voters to vote. But one can approach these problems from many different angles, of course, and it's certainly not the case that we can know what would happen in, say, a case of perfect turnout.

Political science rapidly becomes metaphysics! :)

Anyway, I wrote this piece because I was chewing over all my Temperament Theory work in order to tie up the play style descriptions. When we move forward into Ethics, I won't be referencing this theory at all. We'll be digging into moral philosophy with little or no recourse to science.

Very much looking forward to your contributions when the Ethics campaign kicks off in about a month or so! I really appreciate the books you've pointed me to as references in connection with other posts.

Best wishes!

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