Consensual Presidential Democracy Overview

Currently, there is no ‘off the shelf’ system o democracy that would fulfil the criteria of being fit to successfully protect Humanity against existential risks, especially against the risks posed by Superintelligence.  What else can then be proposed? Based on what has already been said on this website, I propose a new type of democracy – Consensual Presidential Democracy (CPD). The overall assumption underlying CPD is that we can only survive the extremely dangerous transition period to the time when we will coexist with Superintelligence, if we work more closely together, which means a gradual federalization of the whole world. We must act as a swarm of bees protecting the hive, knowing that our safety is in numbers. Only then can we minimize the risk for humans extinction.

I realize it is a philosophical and political minefield. It would thus be fairly easy to dismiss certain proposals, especially if they are discussed in isolation from the entire system that underpins CPD and its overall objective. In the end, it is a question of the level of risk that we accept in any sphere of life. However, this choice affects all other choices because it is a choice between the existence and the extinction of the entire species. There will be no winners here, neither individual people, nor certain states. The only winner could be Humanity as a whole by delivering a benevolent Superintelligence and in this way continue its existence as a biological species at least for some time. The only way we can achieve that is by substantially changing the way we govern ourselves by deeply reforming democracy based on such frameworks like CPD, which is based on these four pillars:

Four Pillars of Consensual Presidential Democracy

The horizontal boxes 1 and 2 in some way correlate with the two top levels of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs – Self actualization and Esteem. Regarding balancing of rights, it addresses the need to restrict our freedom of acting in any way we want, as long as it is legal, because we should show respect to others. The best example is the freedom of speech used to justify the production of such comedies as ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’, which disrespects deep religious feelings. It was felt that the producers had the right to express their freedom of speech in such a way and hence it was not illegal. Regarding responsibilities, a good example here is taking part in elections. It is our right ‘not to vote’ claim some people because it is our free choice. But such right should be balanced with responsibility. I believe one should vote because it should be seen as a duty, almost identical to the duty to serve in a jury. It is a matter of principle here, rather than whether compulsory voting gets people more engaged in politics.

The horizontal boxes 3 and 4 broadly address the two bottom levels of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs – Physiological and Safety Needs, which in developed countries really mean the Quality of Life or Well-being. That is linked in this context to the scope and quality of decision-making that indirectly impacts the effectiveness of the production and distribution of goods and services. At a governance level it means that the most effective decision making should be carried out at the most optimal level of management by those who have the best knowledge about how to do that. Today, they are specialists, engineers, doctors, teachers, or project managers. But most often such decisions are also carried out by political decision makers with scarcely any knowledge on how to deliver the set objectives. Tomorrow, politicians will be supported by AI assistants that will essentially deliver the required know-how to the decision makers at the most appropriate level of governance.

Thus, the Consensual Presidential Democracy is a system of democracy aimed at governing with maximum consensus, where the voice of the ‘losing’ minority is always taken into account. It gives the President exceptionally strong powers against the strongest accountability and recall procedures, to enable him to play a crucial role as a conciliator and moderator between two opposing parties, each represented by one Vice President. This system may further deepen the separation of legislative and executive powers by having a technocratic government. It also has the widest representation of the electorate, where the representatives to the Parliament are elected using a combined First Past the Post and the Two Rounds System of weighted voting and where a half of the second chamber of the parliament is elected based on a Citizens’ Assembly (Sortition) system.

The overall assumption underlying the Consensual Presidential Democracy is that we can only survive the extremely dangerous transition to the Superintelligence period, if we work more closely together, which means a gradual federalization of the whole world. We must be acting as one whole, as Humanity. That is why Consensual Presidential Democracy is built on the following principles:

  1. The political representatives are elected in the way, where they represent most closely the will of the majority but do not at the same time ignore the needs of the minority. The ‘losing’ minority is not being trampled down but always heard and all decisions are taken by consensus rather than being enforced
  2. Politicians are mainly elected to pass the law and oversee the execution of the law of the land but do not play any significant role in the execution of these laws
  3. That leads to a much clearer separation of the legislative and executive powers when the government is run almost entirely by technocrats and specialists, until they themselves will be substituted by AI Government Assistants directly controlled by Ministers
  4. Deeper separation of legislative and executive powers will also insulate law makers from short-term political pressures and deliver better quality law
  5. Any long-term decision, e.g. lasting a generation, like in education, health or infrastructure projects, would be decided by Citizens’ Assemblies and then approved by both Houses of the Parliament
  6. The key role of this new style of democracy is first of all to assist Humanity in passing through the most dangerous period in its existence with minimum harm. It will also prepare Humanity to be governed like a Planetary Civilization, which at some stage will be ready for an eventual coexistence and a possible merger with Superintelligence, irrespective of the form it may take – mind uploading, transhumanism or any other way.
  7. The role of the President is crucial in Consensual Presidential Democracy for two reasons:
    • The President has exceptionally strong powers in order to make very quickly, most important decisions at the time of crisis, such as the emergence of an existential risk
    • The President plays a crucial role as a moderator and a conciliatory force when the majority and the minority parties cannot come to a consensus on their own
  8. Although there is a centralisation of key powers, the range of those powers is kept to an absolute minimum
  9. Therefore, most governing powers rest with the lowest level of decision making
  10. The consensual style of government also covers the redistribution of wealth on a global scale, mainly financed by the future rapid growth in productivity, provided by immense number of intelligent robots delivering to humans the world of affluence never experienced by humanity
  11. The governmental powers are far stronger than in any western democracy right now, to make the government more effective in fighting existential risks that can materialize within hours. However, the range of decisions is adjusted to the lowest possible level
  12. Strong powers of the president and the government are counterbalanced by an unprecedented level of scrutiny, transparency and accountability
  13. The voice of the governed is heard and acted on by those in the government on an on-going basis rather than just during the elections

All those principles of Consensual Presidential Democracy are put forward for consideration to be embedded in the Constitution of the Human Federation, which could become a legal framework for all laws, based on the values accepted by a significant majority of the nations, establisheing a new democratic order.

Such a new style of democracy will have a better chance of supporting the future Human Federation and indeed any other organization, or a state. Key aspect of Consensual Presidential Democracy is a system of governing with maximum consensus, where the voice of the ‘losing’ minority is always taken into account. I describe each of the four CPD pillars in detail in the following sub-sections. You will also find some supporting evidence under Inspirations for democracy sub-section.