Authority hysteresis

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Authority hysteresis is the degree to which a governance structure enforces the continuance of authority in the absence of legitimate support.


Elected offices have authority hysteresis in that elected officials can complete their appointed term in office (typically measured in years), even after taking extremely unpopular actions, unless a recall vote is both legal and successful. Recall votes typically require a great deal more organization and antipathy than would have been required to defeat the candidate in the original election, and may not be legal in many cases.


We need governance structures that minimize authority hysteresis and therefore do not create concentrations of unaccountable power – while still awarding decisionmaking influence to those who demonstrate good decisionmaking ability.?


The first known use of this phrase is in a Google+ comment on 2012-11-18, which was also the basis of the P2P Foundation article on this topic.