Thursday 8 December 2016

Stephen Kinsella: Hearings show how democracy works, so let's have more of it

Published 15/01/2013 | 17:00

The process of selecting officials in ancient Greece was called sortition. All citizens – men of course – were eligible for elected office. Effectively, the citizens drew lots for ministries (the one with the shortest straw probably became minister for health).

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This 6th Century lottery-style choice of government meant that although tribes did exist in Athens, no parties could form, no 'insider' deals could be done, and no one could become a professional politician.

Lasting influence came either from military victories – meaning you put your life on the line as a soldier – or vast wealth, which was useless in helping to attain power but helped you gain influence elsewhere.

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