Where Is Common Good Democracy Used?

The combination of systems recommended by Common Good for decision-making in Common Good Communities is very close to what people do informally within families and groups of close friends -- people we care about and share common interests with. If you're going on an outing, for example, and want to decide where to go, here's what you do: you talk about it, you take everyone's preferences into account (whether they are present or not), and you generally don't go where someone just won't go. That's what the recommended Common Good decision system aims to do.

By combining the best of each of the systems listed here, Common Good Democracy will nudge society toward a more participatory, compassionate and effective self-rule. (See "How Is It Better" for an analysis of why this hybrid system is better than any of its component parts.) Every individual component of the recommended system has been used successfully elsewhere:

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C Proxy voting corporations
G Direct representation attorneys
Line-item veto governors
D Instant Runoff Voting Ireland
E Grading schools
M Internet voting many organizations
O Condorcet high tech orgs
C Direct vote town meetings
R Penny vote public policy polls
A Approval voting scheduling
C Threshing sessions hearings
Y Consensus Iroquois / Quakers
Friendly decisions families
  • Proxy voting is the standard system used by corporations.
  • Direct vote is used in public referenda and New England town meetings.
  • Direct representation is used in corporate proxy votes and legal representation by an attorney or legal guardian.
  • Approval voting is the usual method used within organizations, for scheduling meetings ("Which days are you available?").
  • Condorcet (pair-wise) voting requires complex data-processing. It is currently used mostly by high-tech environments, including Software In the Public Interest, Inc., Gentoo Foundation, all Debian user groups (Debian is a popular Linux operating system), and a dozen other organizations.
  • Penny vote is used by activist organization to poll the public on public policy issues. For example, Peace Action Coalition polls taxpayers every year on Tax Day to see how they would like their tax dollars to be spent.
  • Line-item veto is used by state governors in all but seven states in the United States of America.
  • Advisory veto / Consensus was used by the Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council as early as 1142 and by Quakers since the late 1600s.
  • Threshing sessions happen whenever people gather to discuss something, without trying to decide anything. This includes public hearings by corporations and government agencies and discussions in New England town meetings in which a new proposal evolves.
  • Internet voting has been used by France, the Netherland, Estonia, and Ontario, Canada. Some corporations, universities and other organizations also now use internet voting.
  • Instant Runoff Voting is used in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, San Francisco, CA, Burlington, VT, Cambridge, MA and many other municipalities.
  • Grading is used in schools and for everything from movies to maple syrup. Slightly different grading systems are common in different countries and the Common Good Democracy voting system can be adjusted accordingly. The A B C D E system described on this website is intended for use in the United States and other countries where such letter grades are common.