Government by lottery
Form of government very popular in medium-tech clades and polities that are of a decidedly libertarian bent. In a stochocracy, the number of government positions is kept to an absolute bare minimum needed to ensure that all the necessary functions of government are fulfilled without anyone being overworked. Instead of elections or appointments by those already in power, individuals are selected to fill government posts via lottery system. The "candidate pool" in a stochocracy usually consists of all legally registered citizens of the polity in question, who are of a certain minimum age and/or education level (or toposophic level in some cases), and have never been convicted of a felony (whatever is considered such in the polity in question), and haven't already recently served a government post. A person who meets the above criteria always has eir "number" in the lottery, and could be chosen anytime there is a lottery to hold a government post, having no control over whether ey get picked or not. Pay and benefits are usually such that the person is compensated for the time and effort spent fulfilling eir duties, and rarely is a post so demanding that an individual is forced to abandon eir family or other career.
Terms are generally short (Six months is average, though term length ranges from three months to two years in different polities), to prevent chosen officials from becoming entrenched. And once an individual has served a term in office, eir number is removed from the lottery usually for the equivalent of two to three term lengths (Though this also depends on the polity; It can range from as low as one, to as high as five in some cases; Two to three term lengths is most common). Training chosen candidates for eir posts is generally easy, as the greenhorn politicians usually rely on highly advanced and specialized (and generally non-sophont) expert systems to assist em in day-to-day decisions pertaining to matters of state, plus as previously stated the candidate pool is usually limited to those who meet minimum requirements of age and education level. Plus, it is assumed that an individual will be selected to serve a government post at some time in eir lives (possibly more than once), so education in a polity employing stochocracy as its system of government always includes lessons on what is expected and required of one holding a government post.
While stochocracy does have its opponents (mostly hardline democrats who view representative democracy as the only legitimate form of government), most citizens living under such a system come to view it as eir patriotic duty to carry out the tasks of government assigned em via lottery. Stochocracy represents a compromise between the observation that those who seek power of eir own volition usually do so for all the wrong reasons (personal ambition or misguided idealism), and that some form of government is required nonetheless to maintain a stable society that people can live in.
Text by Mike Parisi
Initially published on 29 January 2003.