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Random Selection of Citizens for Technological Decision Making

This paper by Lyn Carson and Brian Martin considers citizen participation in technological decision-making through random selection deliberative mechanisms such as citizens’ jury, consensus conference, televote and deliberative poll.

The authors identify the following six points as necessary for random selection deliberative processes:

  • sufficient level of public willingness to participate;
  • random selection according to criteria that reflects the composition of the community;
  • citizens have the capacity to engage meaningfully in technically and socially complex issues;
  • random selection ruduces the likelihood of bias from vested interests in decision making;
  • and deliberative mechanisms are to include group processes that facilitate rational decision making.

Limitations are identified such as the small percentage of citizens involved in the random process, and the need to ensure that other avenues of participation are also available. another is the aversion of governments to delegate decision-making powers. The authors advocate further development of the concept to address these limitations.

Science and Public Policy, 29 (2), 105 – 113 (2002)

Resource Link: www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/02spp.html

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