The traditional “left – right” scheme is not sufficient.
In order to reflect political positions more accurately, I devised a two dimensional scheme. Through many discussions and arguments with friends and colleagues, it matured over time. The results are explained in the following diagram:
Instead of a single dimension from left to right, this scheme uses the two dimensions:
- The balance between needs and abilities
- The balance between state and the individual
With this diagram I want to stimulate a discussion about the placement of different parties or other organisation. I positioned the major German parties based on my intuitive estimate. For reference I included the two leading US parties as well. I do not claim that this is a correct or final expression of the current situation.
I would be very happy to see a healthy discussion around this proposal and if you want to contribute, just write a quick comment. You can also use the editable SVG file (linked below the diagram) to visualise your own ideas.
Updates based on the comments below:
Let me clarify the two original dimensions:
- Needs and abilities is based on the question
“What a person deserves is based on what the person needs. Or: It is based on what the person can achieve with its abilities.”.
- State and individual is based on the question
“Can each person apply its own solution to a subjective issue or does the state collectively define issues and solutions?”
Regarding the reappearing question of additional dimensions: In my first thoughts I included more dimensions, but dropped most of them in favour of making it easier to grasp and printable. In order to accommodate more dimensions on a two dimensional presentation, I added a parallel coordinates plot above which additionally includes the dimensions:
- Balance of centralisation and decentralisation
“Should a solution be implemented on the lowest possible level (subsidiarity) or should a central government implement global solutions?”
- Balance of xenophobia and xenophilia
A xenophile statement would be: “It doesn’t matter where somebody is from as long as he pays his taxes.”. A xenophob statement is: “National workers first!”
- Long term and short term orientation
This is closely related to sustainability; Does a party focus on short term gains or does it take future effects into account? What is the time frame a party uses to evaluate their decisions? Just a few months or a couple of generations?
According to Melly’s comment, I positioned the green party a bit closer to the centre on the needs/abilities axis to reflect the even balance. Based on Nightwolf’s comment, I added the German Pirates Party.
Especially regarding the pirates, there is still a high level of uncertainty, but I guess their future tendency will be more towards the state and the needs. This highlights another aspect, currently neglected by the diagrams: uncertainty distributions. As hardly anything in life is 100% certain, especially not in politics, each rating in each dimension should also define the type and the spread of the uncertainty distribution.
As the information density rises with more dimensions and even uncertainty distributions added, I would welcome creative ideas on how to visualise both in a single diagram.
Wikipedia before you think? 😀 Certainly not!