VicinoMeritoDemocracy Word origin and meaning:
- Vicino (/ vitʃiːno /) - (lat.) Neighbourhood
- Merito - (lat. Meritum) the merit, see also meritocracy
- Democracy - rule of the people
Q: What is that supposed to be?
A: This political idea of VicinoMeritoDemocracy has the potential to solve all political problems (including failed states, revolts, civil wars, ethnic conflicts, cultural clashes), because it would change the political dynamics in such a way that solutions and their application come into focus automatically.
- 1 Basic idea
- 2 Proposed meritocratic election system change
- 3 Final remarks and FAQ
- 4 List of sovereign / autonomous political units with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants
- 5 Footnotes
The idea is to apply Switzerland's political system (with a little twist) to other and larger political entities. For the implementation of this meta-system called VicinoMeritoDemocracy no preconditions are necessary. Only the way in which political representatives are elected in the nation states has to be slightly changed. That's all that's needed to change the political momentum so that solutions are in the foreground and can be implemented faster than they are today.
Swiss Cantons are autonomous political units and derivative subjects of international law, which have a size of approximately 16'000 - 1.5 million inhabitants, and which in turn grant autonomy to their respective municipalities. A similar system was successfully copied into Bosnia-Herzegovina with the Dayton Agreement to end the civil war with an extremely complicated and confused situation. Switzerland was the last time in 1847 involved in a war (Sonderbundskrieg). This shows that conflicts can be successfully resolved with the establishment of small sovereign subjects of international law. However, it goes without saying that this municipal and cantonal autonomy is limited by real practical reasons. Even the autonomy of nation states is limited by treaties and mutual economic dependencies.
Proposed meritocratic election system change
This is basically a minor change to the existing system. The number of parliamentarians is a bit smaller than is the case today (no lower house (House of Representatives), smaller upper house (Senate) as the only national parliament, smaller federated state parliaments, while city district and county assemblies and district advisory boards remain the same size).
This can be adopted relatively easy with little reform effort, as soon as this idea has found widespread dissemination: In a direct way, only the deputies in the lowest 1st level (= neighborhood / city borough / base community) are elected. The representatives of the levels above are elected indirectly by the respective responsible parliament because this will make the system meritocratic automatically. In order to be able to express the respective local preference as accurately as possible in the elected representative, a base community should not be too large. And as a corrective, there must be a way for grassroots communities to apply their own ideas locally. Of course, this grassroots sovereignty moves within a certain framework, because grassroots communities do not have enough competence to completely change their legal systems - and therefore no one wants that in their right mind. The Pacific island Niue e.g. has voluntarily transferred much of its responsibilities to New Zealand, even though this agreement could theoretically be terminated.
2nd level: 30 base communities form a county. Each grassroots parliament elects one person to represent the grassroots community at district or cantonal level. Thus, the district parliament has just as many members as the district base communities has.
3rd level: 30 counties (cantons, large city districts) form a federated state or a small nation state. Each district parliament selects a person to represent the county in the federated state / large city district / small nation state. Thus, the state parliament has just as many members as the country has counties.
With these first three levels, the system of Switzerland has already been reached (and also about the same size by number of inhabitants). Not only territorial states, but also megacities can be organized very democratically and stably in this way. Experience shows that living conditions improve significantly when neighborhoods have autonomy over their affairs. Of course, this neighborhood sovereignty is within a certain framework, as neighborhoods may not have enough competence to completely change their legal system - and so nobody in their right mind would want to. As mentioned above, the Pacific island Niue has voluntarily transferred much of its responsibilities to New Zealand, even though this agreement could theoretically be terminated.
Let's see how it goes on:
4th level: 30 federal states form a medium-sized nation state. The parliament of each federated state selects a person to represent their state at the nation state level. The national state parliament has exactly as many members as the national state has federal states. In the context of this model it would mean that the Upper House (Senate) either is the nation state government or would choose the nation state government.
With level 4 we come in the range of states such as Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain or Poland.
The Catalonia crisis could be solved easily and quickly to the satisfaction of all with the system presented here.
But that's not the end, following the same principles we could go two levels further:
5th level: 30 nation states form a supranational union. The parliament of each nation state selects a person to represent the nation state in the supranational union.
6th level: The supranational unions (or superpowers) send one representative to the world government. If it is done in a way that nation states and lower levels keep their sovereignty (and division of responsibilities), then a world government can be a very valuable tool against unchecked corporate power and for conflict prevention and environmental protection.
Final remarks and FAQ
This is an idealized condition. Just like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is important to get closer and closer to the ideal as far as practicable. Each of these 6 levels is responsible for their particular area. 
It applies the principle: Neighborhood law has priority over County law has priority over Federated state law has priority over National law has priority over Supranational union law has priority over World law .
A government is an administrative organization that manages the common assets as a trustee and, in accordance with the generally accepted rules of the community, carries out its duties for the purposes of the community. This office also includes decision making for the best (state of the art) results-oriented rules and laws. The members of the community entrust this function to people who are competent and of good character, and trust that these tasks will be carried out in the best possible way. A trustee or administrator performs his duties according to the client's wishes.
- The contracting authorities of the world government are the supranational confederations and superpowers.
- The contracting authorities of the supranational unions are the nation states.
- The contracting authorities of the nation states are the federated states and megacities.
- The contracting authorities of the federated states and megacities are the counties and boroughs.
- The contracting authorities of the counties and boroughs are the quarters and neighbourhoods as last instance and sovereign.
Rules and laws from the upper levels become automatically valid in the lower ones. However, if the local preference is different and there is enough political will and a local majority, the law can be changed locally (thereby opting out, either by referendum or by a vote of the neighbourhood parliament). The reason for that is because self-rule prevents revolts and terrorism, preserves diversity and allows field trials / experiments without major damage. You have to abide by the laws of the upper levels until you have changed the law for your own jurisdiction in a proper legal process (parliamentary vote or referendum). It goes without saying that this takes a while and requires a clear political will from the majority of the grassroots community. Only then it can be changed. By applying this method uniform law will become more and more valid everywhere (where there is either consensus or people do not care) while at the same time preserving local sovereignty.
FAQ and real world
Q: But I would like to vote directly for representatives at all levels (county, state, congress, president). Why should I give up a right to vote directly?
A: The more millions of people choose among different candidates, the more senseless such a choice becomes. The more voters, the more uninformed voters are, and the less a single vote counts. The inhabitants of Liechtenstein and San Marino or even New Zealand have more sovereignty, precisely because they are not eligible to vote in Switzerland, Italy or Australia.
Q: But is it not sometimes necessary to enforce things against regional sensitivities in the interests of the common good?
A: The system must be designed in such a way as to strike a balance between local interests and overarching interests, which is already often the case due to centuries of development. But in underdeveloped countries, where this is not yet the case, the principle of local sovereignty can prevent majorities or strong players from suppressing and overriding minorities. Even with contrasting political movements within a country such as Venezuela or Libya, Syria, Yemen and Egypt, such a division of powers can achieve lasting peace, as has already been seen with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Q: But is that even a government or a mere "suggestion organization", if lower units do not have to stick to it?
A: This is similar to Liechtenstein, Andorra or San Marino. Sovereign states that do not have their own currency and are in fact merged with their neighboring country. Due to mutual economic dependencies, contracts and practicality considerations, the laws hardly differ in comparison to the neighbors.
List of sovereign / autonomous political units with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants
First as comparison today's usual proportions of political units and levels:
1 - Neighbourhood / base community (about 1,000 - 40,000 inhabitants)
2 - County / canton / city district (about 50,000 - 600,000 inhabitants)
3 - Federated state / small nation state / megacity (about 1 - 20 million inhabitants)
4 - Nation state (about 10 - 300 million inhabitants)
5 - Supranational union or superpower (about 100 million - 2 billion inhabitants)
6 - World government
Here is the list of currently existing sovereign or autonomous political units with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants sorted by number of inhabitants, see e.g. Cantons of Switzerland, Cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and List_of_countries_by_population_(United_Nations).
Switzerland and former Yugoslavia
- Canton of Schaffhausen (Switzerland, 80'769)
- Canton of Jura (Switzerland, 73'122)
- Appenzell Outer Rhodes (Switzerland, 54'954)
- Canton of Nidwalden (Switzerland, 42'556)
- Canton of Glarus (Switzerland, 40'147)
- Canton of Obwalden (Switzerland, 37'460)
- Canton of Uri (Switzerland, 36'145)
- Appenzell Inner Rhodes (Switzerland, 16'003)
- West Herzegovina Canton (Zapadno-hercegovački canton / Zapadno-hercegovačka županija) (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 94'898)
- Canton 10 (Hercegbosanska županija / Livanjski canton / Zapadnobosanski canton) (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 84'127)
- Posavina Canton (Posavski kanton / Posavska županija) (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 43'453)
- Bosnian Podrinje Canton (Bosansko-podrinjski canton) (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 23'734)
- Andorra (Western Europe, 77'281)
- South Ossetia (Caucasus, 53,532)
- Monaco (Europe, 38'499)
- Liechtenstein (Europe, 37'666)
- Gibraltar (Southern Europe, 34'408)
- San Marino (Southern Europe, 33'400)
- Athos (Southern Europe, 3'000)
- Vatican (Holy See) (Southern Europe, 800)
Islands and archipelagos
- Isle of Man (Western Europe, 83'737)
- [Guernsey] (Western Europe, 63,026)
- Faroe Islands (Northern Europe, 49'117)
- Åland (Northern Europe, 29'093)
- Seychelles (East Africa, 94'228)
- Dominica (Caribbean, 73'543)
- Bermuda (North America, 61'666)
- Cayman Islands (Caribbean, 60'765)
- Greenland (North America, 56'412)
- American Samoa (Oceania, 55,599)
- Saint Kitts and Nevis (Caribbean, 54'821)
- Northern Mariana Islands (Oceania, 55,023)
- Marshall Islands (Oceania, 53'066)
- Sint Maarten (Caribbean, 39'537)
- Turks and Caicos Islands (Caribbean, 34,900)
- British Virgin Islands (Caribbean, 31'196)
- Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius (Caribbean Netherlands) (Caribbean, 18'000, 1'947 and 3'200)
- Palau (Oceania, 21'729)
- Cook Islands (Oceania, 17'380)
- Anguilla (Caribbean, 14'909)
- Wallis and Futuna (Oceania, 11'773)
- Nauru (Oceania, 11'359)
- Tuvalu (Oceania, 11'192)
- Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (North America, 6,320)
- Montserrat (Caribbean, 5'177)
- Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (West Africa, 4'049)
- Falkland Islands (South America, 2,910)
- Niue (Oceania, 1'618)
- Tokelau (Oceania, 1'300)
- see also http://www.gfbv.it/3dossier/eu-min/autonomy.html Territorial autonomy as a means of minority protection and conflict solution in the European experience - An overview and schematic comparison (site visited on 15th July 2018)
- VicinoMeritoDemocracy = system of Switzerland with improved suffrage
- One should also consider introducing a term limitation (for example, 3 times elected to office and then can not run for the same office again). In most cases, it does not produce good results if a person occupies the same office for more than 12 years (= 3x for 4 years).
- Inasmuch as the 30 people of the elected responsible parliament look closely at the qualifications of the candidates, it is very likely that people who are competent and of good character come into responsible positions.
- Experience shows that voters are less well informed when a political unit is too large. The actual preference of the voters is the worse represented in the representative the greater the political unity. The smaller a political unit is, the better informed the voters, and the actual preference better reflected in the elected persons. If a grassroots community has grown too large, the grassroots community can easily split into 2 or 3 new grassroots communities.
- 30 +/- 20, so 10 to 50, depending on how it is locally found to be meaningful or as grown historically
- 4 +/- 2, 2 to 6 years seems a reasonable length for an office term
- only about 30 deputies, today's parliaments are much too large
- like e.g. the EU Commission, but then the representatives are elected by the national state parliaments according to meritocratic criteria, not as is usual nowadays
- selected by the respective supranational union parliament
- something similar exists now as G20 or WEF Davos, but would then be an officially charged and responsible institution
- but it must be meritocratic, with people who not only know what they are doing, but also who they are responsible for
- however, sovereignty and the principled - but limited by the real world (mutual economic dependencies, treaties, practicality considerations) - right to change the top-down guidelines and laws lies with the base communities
- roughly estimated
- 8 out of 26 cantons with fewer than 100'000 inhabitants
- 4 out of 10 cantons with fewer than 100'000 inhabitants
- It can be seen here that it is possible and works well when small units are on one hand sovereign while on the other hand embedded in larger structures and contractual relationships.