DAOs, Democracy and Governance

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* Essay: DAOs, Democracy and Governance. by Ralph C. Merkle. Version 1.9, May 31st 2016. Cryonics Magazine, July- August, Vol 37:4, pp 28-40; Alcor, www.alcor.org

URL = http://merkle.com/papers/DAOdemocracyDraft.pdf


"Democracies are typically seen as governments which call upon the governed to make the major decisions of government: who shall lead, what policies to follow, what laws to enact. In all these matters democracies call upon ordinary citizens to make complex decisions with eventful consequences.

We do not call upon ordinary untrained citizens to perform surgery, fly airplanes, design computers, or carry out the other myriad tasks needed to keep society functioning, what makes governance different?

The problem is readily understood: if we give governance to “experts” they will make decisions in their own best interests, not in the best interests of us all. As we have seen too often in the past, this leads to enrichment of a small elite and the enslavement or worse of the vast majority. Can we take advantage of the expertise of the best and brightest, while insulating the system from attempts they might make to gain control?

Modern research into “the wisdom of crowds” provides new insights into how to combine the expertise of all participants without handing over control to “experts”. Combined with research on Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), this allows us to design a new form of democracy which is more stable, less prone to erratic behavior, better able to meet the needs of its citizens, and which better uses the expertise of all its citizens to make high-quality decisions.

We call this new form of democracy a DAO Democracy."