A lot of countries in the world have adopted democracy as their form of government. What many people don't realize is that it should be called a representative democracy instead, or perhaps the term democracy now simply implies 'representative' because the other form of democracy, direct democracy, is not in use anywhere as far as the author knows. While people often reference the Greek democracy as the origin of democracy, the early Greek had a direct democracy while a representative democracy was only adopted because the population got too big to organize voting on every single issue. Obviously, this 'problem' has gotten bigger and bigger because there are far more people in most countries now than there ever were in ancient Greece.
So what is the difference between a 'representative' democracy and a 'direct' democracy? Native English speakers may have immediately understood the distinction but we'll try to explain the difference more clearly.
In a direct democracy, the whole population is involved in the political decision making. Every decision of some importance would require a vote by all, or at least a large subsection of the entire population. This would seem like a daunting task, and who knows, maybe it really is something unattainable.
In a 'representative' democracy, the population periodically votes on groups of like-minded politicians, the so called political parties. In most countries these political parties have a party program and before the elections the population gets to read the party's program and decides which program fits them most. The population then votes for a political party during the elections and the party that gets the majority of the votes gets to govern the country for a period of time. This explanation is intentionally kept very brief because there are many variations. Often the government is kept in bounds by a so called 'Congress' or something similar to prevent a government from having absolute power, but things like that go a little bit outside the scope of this explanation.
The government typically gets to govern for a period of several years and gets to decide on pretty much all the political decisions of any importance.
The author believes that representative democracy is more opium for the population to make them believe they really have some sort of influence on what their respective governments do. Our population size may have grown exponentially and to some it may seem like there is just no way anymore to ever have direct democracy. Well, people who believe that forget what they're looking at. You're looking at the Internet! The internet is a disruptive technology which has very quickly become a major force in the world, overtaking such media as newspapers and the TV by storm.
How, and why, did the internet become so vastly popular so quickly? Well, the internet allows people to interact with what they see and read. It allows people to voice their opinion, and the fact that there is something like democracy indicates that people like their voices to be heard! Sure, people have a need for information but information has for many decades been provided to the population in a one-directional way. There are ofcourse some exceptions, as newspapers sometimes have ways for readers to send in letters, TV shows sometimes interview people on the street etc. But is that true interaction? Can one really voice his opinion, make waves, when suddenly confronted with a camera and a microphone on the street? Can one really interact with the media when writing a letter to a newspaper, knowing full and well it will be previewed by the editors of the newspaper first?
So, we believe that the internet is a medium which' success can mostly be explained by it's interactive nature and also by it's large penetration into our daily lives. And... isn't this exactly what direct democracy is all about? Isn't direct democracy supposed to give us a current reflection of today's population's political opinions?
PolitiCap is a variant on the word 'MarketCap', which is short for Market Capitalization. The Market Capitalization of a security is the current price per share multiplied by the number of shares. Likewise, Political Capitalization would be the 'value' of a certain politician, which ofcourse would go up and down.
Ok, but the Stock Market?
While the medium is there for large, or entire, populations to speak their mind, politics are very frequently considered 'boring' to a lot of people. We're not of the conspiracy theory that politicians keep politics boring intentionally, often politics ARE just plain boring! There's no way to make it appear appealing to the whole population to vote on issues that don't concern them in the least. Ofcourse it's neccesary and important, every person, even every politician will try and convince you of that. But we're already so busy these days, who wants to sit down for an hour or so every single day to voice what he thinks about every political decision that's being made these days? Who wants to dig into legal matters the politicians have to deal with every day? So there IS a perfectly good, non-conspiracy explanation for having the representative democracies that we have these days.
But we also believe that Politics can be wrapped into something more appealing, something much more interesting than dry, boring reading material. The medium is there but the presentation isn't. Well, that's where the stock market comes in. Being a very experienced investor / trader for years on the American stock market, the author has observed that the market is in many ways a perfect democracy. The market regulates itself, and even though there are many examples of manipulation on a large scale, the market always seems to correct itself very dynamically.
On top of that, investing and trading are extremely much FUN. Indeed, the stock market is often compared to a casino, where people gamble and risk their money based on a gut feeling. Irresponsible? Perhaps, but there are also more conservative people who invest in value to offset that casino feeling. But people like playing games, taking some risks, putting their money where their mouth is. Even though it is highly debatable whether the value of some securities really represent the true value of a security, there is very little discussion of whether the value of a security reflects the true value of a security compared to it's peers.
So with a virtual stock market where 'Politicians Stock' is exchanged, we could have a pretty good indicator and a fun activity to speak your mind about politics. While some will feel the rush of their stock going up, that good old 'casino' feeling, others will be more conservative and invest in Politicians long-term vision. We could be on to something here for the presentation of direct democracy, couldn't we? :)
Enjoy your game!
Well, after this long introduction we would like to say that PolitiCap has no intention of being a real political barometer. PolitiCap is more than anything a game where we hope you will enjoy yourself. The stock market is a very complex and intricate web where lots of manipulation, hype, but also common sense prevail. We will try to model PolitiCap after the stock market in the United States. This indicates no political or financial preferences but the reality is that the financial market in the United States is among the biggest and busiest, and certainly is one of the most interesting financial markets in the opinion of the author. So while you may be learning some investment or trading skills on PolitiCap, you should realize that some rules and regulations that apply to PolitiCap are taken from the market in the United States and may not apply to European or Asian or other markets.
Just remember, PolitiCap is a GAME! You will be subject to large scale manipulation, unbelievable regulations, counterfeit shares, news forging, the whole shebang. You will be taken through a world where big-money sharks will eat you alive if you're not carefull! We will have our own SEC, DTCC, Clearing Houses, Brokers and Dealers etc. We hope you will enjoy it!