From electowiki

Seniomeritocracy is a hypothetical variation of democracy which is posited to effective in less-developed countries and consists of assigning more votes to older people and people who have achieved higher levels of academic certification. This is based on a rationale that older people have more experience and those who have attended formalized institutional training will have a greater amount of knowledge to deal with issues such as economics and politics. The idea is that more educated people are more qualified to obtain better results when managing the common property of society (Economy) and laws (Politics). And with age, older people have "served" more years as part of society, and therefore they deserve more "say" in the common issues of the society.

The word Seniomeritocracy originates from the Latin "Sen" or "Seni" meaning "elder", plus the English word "merit" plus κρατειν meaning "to rule", and the suffix íα; the term therefore means "Rule by the Seniority & Merit."

This system borrows and combines the ideas from both Meritocracy and Gerontocracy. However, as opposed to Gerontocracy which usually refers to a small clique of very old leaders with power, Seniomeritocracy gives an edge to older people when voting, but not full control.

A possible implementation would be one based on age and academic certification. Let us assume that people start to vote at 18 and retire at 65, an 18 year old would get 18 votes and a 65 year old would get 65 votes. A multiplier would apply based on academic certification, a person's vote would be multiplied by one if the person has not gone to school, by 2 if the person had primary education, by 3 if the person had secondary education, by 4 if the person had a college degree and by 5 if the person has a masters degree.

To illustrate, in this example:

  • A 18 year old with no formal education would get a total of 18 votes.
  • A 20 year old with a high school degree would get a total of 60 votes.
  • A 30 year old with a college degree would get a total of 120 votes.
  • A 50 year old with a masters degree would get a total of 250 votes.

Another example would be any association of people. A possible implementation of this voting system would be to assign more weight to the votes of associates that have been more years (or months) in the association and to the votes of associates that have more "rank" in the association.

Possible implementation issues

Academic Excellence

  • Con: It is impossible in this system to gauge academic excellence. The entire rationale is that anyone who has been to school knows better how to run a country. Does the person who graduates top of his class or the person who graduates bottom of his class get more or less votes according to this rationale? How do we judge the difference between different schools or can this only work in a one school country? This could also lead to nepotism, as the current academic elite could promote their relatives to "positions of power" (atleast of greater voting power), and solidify their own status.
  • Pro: This system would not consider differences in academic performance. It would just consider grouping voters by the amount of years of study. Although there might be exceptions, on average it can be said that a group of people that have finished college has more knowledge (in general) than a group of people that have just finished primary school.

Informal education

  • Con: Given a stick and some wild grassland a farmer on the savannah is able to eke out a living for himself and his herd. He defends his herd against depredations by predators and reads the skies for bad weather. Would this be considered education? How much more "educational" would it be to own a hundred sheep versus a thousand sheep and how do we translate this into votes?
  • Pro: Most of the world tends to favor formal education as a way to promote progress in each country. Although a person with "informal" education could be highly knowledgeable, formal education can reasonably be used as a yardstick.

Rule of the older "majority"

  • Con: Certain decisions or laws would be skewed towards better Social Security & Health care for the old. Younger people would probably end up more economically "taxed" to support the older retiring or retired population.
  • Pro: Most older people also have sons & daughters, who would be affected if laws are too tilted against the young.

Seniomeritocracy in Practice

While this concept is largely theoretical, in democracies where voting is optional, senior citizens currently do get more representation by virtue of the fact that they turn out to vote in larger numbers, implying that at least a Seniocracy exists. In addition, if statistics that correlate higher education with greater voter turnouts are correct, then this 'hypothetical' concept actually exists in reality, albeit to a limited and unintentional degree. This form of unintentional seniomeritocracy can easily be defeated, however, in democracies where voting is mandatory, such as Australia and Belgium.

See also