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I Thought About Democracy as an Experiment of the Political System

There’s only a little time left before the U.S. Presidential election.

The vote counting hasn’t even begun, Trump is thinking of a come-from-behind victory by having the Republican Supreme Court resolve without declaring defeat, making the result of the mail ballot unconstitutional, or causing armed radical supporters to block the vote of the opposition. The people will be tired of just swearing at each other’s candidates.

However, this is gossip news on the opposite shore.

1. What Exactly is a Democracy We Believe In?

Is this really a system that reflects the fair and correct public opinion? I watched and thought about the Netflix documentary, “Whose Vote Counts, Explained.”
https://www.netflix.com/title/81304760

Democracy is just the political system that began in the United States in 1776, 244 years ago. At that time, there was no mass media or SNS, and it was very experimental. Even though they say equality before the law, there is no suffrage for blacks and women, and voting rules still differ from state to state.

Even in the modern era 2020, American’s have to register to vote, and depending on the state, some can’t register until the day of the election. From registration to voting, you have to be in line for hours, and voter turnout is sluggish (In Japan, it’s very easy to vote, and the bad voter percentage in the states could be said to be due to a danger of collapse in democracy).
According to the “Democracy Index 2018” (Democracy Index), which evaluates the level of democracy in 167 countries and regions around the world, the British economic magazine “Economist” (EIU division) shows that the proportion of democracy in the world is 48. %, The current situation is that the total of the dictatorship and mixed political systems is already less than half.

◆Reference
World Democracy Rating Japan a Democracy? Dictatorship? (Japanese)
https://mieluka.com/144/

Japan is ranked at 22 (7.99 points) in the world and has been evaluated as a “defective democracy”.
The EIU Democracy Index has five categories, 0-10 each, in five categories: election process and multiplicity, government function, political participation, political culture, and human rights protection (in short, voting, turnout, and freedom of the press). Scored by points, the overall average score is used as a comprehensive evaluation. Japan was also evaluated as a complete democracy until 2014.
In Tokyo and other prefectures, the one-vote gap is doubled, and although it has already violated the Constitution, it cannot be corrected at all. In other words, it is necessary to understand that the system of democracy itself is experimental and requires an update of the times.

◆Reference
Apportionment of 1 Vote, Up to 2.016 Times in the House of Representatives, 6 Constituencies Over 2 Times (Japanese)
https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXMZO62328430V00C20A8PP8000/

Even so, democracy has a history of sometimes listening to the “voices” of city officials, and after a lot of debate, recognizing the rights of minorities. Dictatorship avoids unreasonable imprisonment and going out of the country to become refugees.

 

2. Democracy at Stake in the Net Media

Do you remember the “Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal” that was discovered in the last US presidential election in 2016? It’s a scandal that the political consulting firm of the same name took a huge personal profile on Facebook and used it for political advertising in favor of Brexit and Donald Trump.

There are several other countries that appear to be participating in games that manipulate American public opinion. Before voting, the people are already brainwashed through the filter bubble function of SNS (a mechanism that guides them to convenient information without permission). People become obese when three of their friends are obese.

◆References
Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Sandal Parties Talk How to “Hack the Democracy” (Japanese)
https://note.com/tuttlemori/n/nca7d25f51a9c

Netflix “The Great Hack”
https://www.netflix.com/title/80117542

If the U.S. Department of State provides information to identify and locate foreigners involved in election intervention through cyberattacks in preparation for hacking from Russia and Iran in this presidential election, a bounty of up to $10 million USD was called.

There are 3 main methods.

・Acquisition of inside information by phishing to related parties
・Fake news used by SNS or mass dissemination of information that provokes emotional responses
・Cyber attacks on election-related infrastructure, etc.

◆References
Political Intervention-Type Cyber Activities by Russia-Methods and Intentions of 2016 US Presidential Election Intervention- (Japanese)
https://www.spf.org/iina/articles/kawaguchi_01.html

US Presidential Election: Can “Russian Intervention”  Really Be Avoided?   Some States Spend Their Security Budget on Corona Measures (Japanese)
https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/372012

 

3. Democracy from Now
The democracy that was made 244 years before must change to the right method of the 21st century internet world.

Associate Professor, Yusuke Narita’s column is interesting.
He says that democracy must change and accommodate to the era’s societal changes and technology to move forward. If not, in the near future, like the U.S., SNS will also be able to build and manipulate public opinion.

3 proposals have been made.

・Liquid Democracy
A thorough DX era of voting aggregates entirely via online voting.  Not only voting on politicians and political parties, but voting on interests or concerns on childcare, pension, work styles and other individual issues.

Rather than people-oriented, it becomes policy-oriented, so rather than the ruling and opposition, at the very least, it is a way to solve diverse issues.

・Data Democracy
This stops the election. An election implants a person with a mental structure close to a festival, so it’s easy to sway a stranger’s thoughts. Therefore, it collects data on the unconscious desires of voters and people.

The method to collect data is from past voting activities of individuals, SNS, surveillance cameras installed on the streets, collecting peoples behavior and remarks as data. It listens to what kind of voice and thought the people on the street express. From that, a hidden voice is found.

・Detour Democracy

This allows some “strong people” to make significant decisions and changes without going through democratic procedures as much as possible. The idea that innovation is hindered by deciding policies based only on the greatest common divisor of democracy.

The system of democracy, which gives everyone equal rights, is a system that prevents people with unique talents and experiences from opening up frontiers and creating values ​​and differences. The way of thought it to make that democratic process as diverse as possible.

◆Reference Yale University: Associate Professor, Yusuke Narita “Is an Election and Politicians Really Necessary?” (Japanese)
https://globe.asahi.com/article/13857057

 

4. Summary
Now, do you understand that the “democracy” we think of does not fit with the infrastructure of the 21st century?
People’s inequality that has been resolved by democracy should be changed to democracy that is in tune with the times in order to continue to advance. For that, I believe some policies are needed.

・DX(Digital Transformation)by Nation
Correcting the digital divide by reducing smartphone usage fees
Eliminate waste by rationalizing documents, stamps, and notification work to government offices
Create an infrastructure and society that enables online voting.

・ICT as the Base for New Globalization
In partnership with other nations where DX has advanced, digital power will promote globalization that has receded due to coronavirus.
Sharing of vaccine development, flexibility of movement of people, capture excellent foreign brains like Estonians, etc. With the declining birthrate and aging population as in Japan, we will boldly utilize not only the young labor force overseas, but also the brains through the Internet for policy implementation.

・Political Execution Utilizing Diversity
Will not only implement policies by unilateral and centralized budget allocation, but also create an internet infrastructure that can execute budgets ubiquitously (unevenly).
Alliance through private sector (technology), creation of a mechanism that can implement minor policies utilizing crowdfunding, early problem solving by constructive journalism, etc.

◆Reference
What is Denmark’s First “Constructive Journalism”?
http://spdy.jp/news/s5775/

Lastly, Here is a translated quote from director of IPS Cell Research and Application and professor at the Institute of Frontier Medical Sciences at Kyoto University, Shinya Yamanaka.

“Darwin said that it is not the strongest or the smartest, but the most adaptable, who survive in evolution.
Adaptability depends on how diverse you can be. However, human beings are now denying that diversity. At our discretion, I feel that we are recreating living things in the direction we like.

As biodiversity becomes less diverse and more uniform, it quickly reveals its weaknesses when the environment changes a bit. I think that the modern society, where technology is advancing day by day, is in serious danger.”