a) everyone wants something different;
b) the modes in Cycle-1 provide all the necessary mechanisms for identifying and pursuing purposes in society:
Of course, these institutions will favour those with power, but that is to be expected. conventional standards for politicians and government that can reduce abuse of their power.referenda can only give people the opportunity to set certain
It is not realistic to assume that the citizenry en masse are suddenly going to understand exactly how they have been exploited by those in power. Nor will they cease responding to flattery or mud-slinging, or be able to ignore propaganda and slogans devoid of meaning.
Democracy means that the majority will still be in charge: most likely preferring illusions to truth in regard to their aspirations and suffering. If many current politicians are discredited, which is possible, the new leaders would be those who:
supply illusions suiting the newenvironment,
The right leaders will recognize this, and draw on a nation’s culture and traditions in a highly conservative way while appearing to offer radical change: and then doing rather little (or perhaps more harm than good).
Consensus is required on items that emerge from the self-mobilization of civil society. Communal leaders must initially orient these to standards of behaviour. But it will become evident that many issues of apparent or hoped for consensus are not useful. For example:
Consensus on policy or projects, domestic or foreign, may be an aspiration. However, such issues are usually too complicated for the populace to grasp. Simplifications become meaningless; and votes can be sabotaged and/or distorted by both politicians and the bureaucracy. However, as policy guidance or specific demands subject to criteria to be developed.
At the outset, suitable issues for consensus will need to be simple in the extreme. Referendum items must be devoid of subtle judgement, deep learning, complex analysis or logical reasoning. Such «popular extremism» appears feasible.
Those in senior positions within civic associations understand political dysfunction very clearly. They can see how the system is abused from personal observation and the tangle of regulations. Being unable to finance lobbying and campaign contributions like wealthy vested interests, they find the experience of dealing with government and politicians frustrating.
Using the strategy suggested, communal leaders could certainly propose, explain and support referenda on issues like:
Should Government be held to accounting standards required of the private sector?
Why is this extreme? Governments typically fiddle expenses, hide costs, fudge future projections and manipulate statistics: activities that would land private individuals in jail. Providing accurate figures would be hated by politicians, but it would help prevent waste and possibly even economic crises.
Click here for more details and speculative examples of serious issues that the general public is capable of understanding, and which the current political classes have shown themselves to be unwilling to address.
Limit the number of terms that any politician can serve to just one (or two at a maximum subject to various criteria).
Use sortition (lottery) rather than voting as the method of selecting representatives.
Immediately dismantle any firm that is judged «too big to fail» or «too inter-connected to fail».
Make individual senior regulators accountable for immediate costs to the taxpayer (i.e. bankrupt them) if they fail to identify such organizations in the future.
Require government finances to be audited to business standards i.e. no cash accounting, no off-balance sheet vehicles.
Ensure failure of accounts to pass independent auditing leads to automatic suspension without pay of pre-identified officials.
Place a sensible limit on debt levels with automatic dissolution of the government and fresh elections as soon as they are exceeded.
Require possible effects on the next generation to be specified in all policies and be summarized in one page.
Require relevant knee-jerk policies to project likely consequences over a 1-year, 5-year and 10-year period, and update them half-yearly until no longer relevant.
Deny the current right to kidnap i.e. detain a citizen without warning for indefinite detention away from family and lawyers.
Deny the current right to politicians to use inside information to benefit financially from investments.
You probably know that the tax system is used to support vested interests and inefficiently subsidize numerous other sectors. The most harmful effect is to rig or otherwise subvert markets. This nonsense also creates dependency on government, vast fees for an army of accountants and lawyers, unproductive diversion of business energy, and an intrusive and aggressive tax collection agency. Current systems generally benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Tear up the existing code (which must currently run to tens of thousands of pages) and limit the new tax code to a total of (say) 200 pages.
Limit annual changes to (say) 20 pages: instead of hundreds or in some places more than a thousand pages of new regulations annually.
Ownership of Central Banks: Central banks are creatures of their governments. The US Federal Reserve is a consortium of private banks created to serve those banks, but is wholly integrated into the US Government apparatus. The Swiss National Bank is listed on the stock exchange! However, it is majority owned by the Cantonal banks and integrated into government policy-making.
Allow free banking.
Abolish the Central Bank.
Mandate zero inflation.
Make it illegal to loan money that you (person or organization) do not have.
Set a target and start systematically to reduce the size and number of bureaucracies.
Set a target and start systematically to increase subsidiarity (i.e. increasing or returning powers to Regional and Municipal governments).
Note that none of these items deal with the purposes or policies of governments; and none favour any particular organized interest group, vested or not. Rather they put constraints on the pursuit of purposes in regard to any issue of interest. It is not proposed that these are the best issues to deal with. My goal here is simply to show:
Existing politicians and bureaucrats will hate such popular votes: but that is the point. If theis indeed emerging, I predict that the acceptance of public consensus will come to characterize governance, like it or not.
Originally posted: 1-Nov-2013. Last updated: 11-Apr-2014.