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Future political system

  1. Jun 9, 2015 #1
    Purpose: RPG game set in moderately futuristic setting, post apocalyptic, but already world under reconstruction

    Setting: far away planet (don't ask about transport, soft SF), small population (less than 10 mln). Used schizo tech, no technology would put a person from early XXIst century in special awe, the best technology is presumably mass used AI that is able to drive a vehicle. High level of surveillance, low crime (including low corruption), mixed economy, only electronic currency.

    I clearly look down on any future return to medieval. ;) Desired political system would make reasonable decisions, provide high level of accountability and if possible at least make citizens feel enfranchised (just make feel is enough, it's not utopia ;) ). The desired system is effective, somewhat ruthless, but makes citizens rather content.

    Possible ideas (feel free to add some more):
    1) Republic as we know it, just a few more minor adjustments. (Using EU Reforming Treaty as ancient, sacred constitution ;) ) More seriously, from constitutional adjustment that I thought about was forbidding making unfinanced retirement promises (either raise taxes or stop promising), not balancing budget in medium run, mending with voting districts/algorithm in less than 5 years before election. Generally speaking nothing revolutionary. (any cool idea what to tune in modern republics?) - I'd rather avoid just taking modern republic as too simple and uninteresting.

    2) Direct internet democracy
    Sounds cool, already hear about implementing that idea in RL. Just honestly speaking I can't imagine even myself making informed decisions concerning a few laws per day. The only idea to make it work is to have a possibility is to pick up someone informed that my voting system would follow, so in consequence a system in which I can drop any second my politician. Permanent elections... not good... Maybe I think about it in a wrong way?
    (I just use it for some minor infrastructure projects that are for fun of citizens and not too often, with possibility to increase your individual financing for getting more voting power)

    3) Different separation of power. Mostly drop division between local and cetral gov, especially that in this case country is too small and has too much concentrated population for a federation. Splitting gov in to a few separate areas, like healthcare, education, infrastructure, security. Each of them is separately accountable and each can raise the rate of the main tax (I thought about using progressive consumption tax).

    4) Use transferable vote, in case of any form of democratic or semi democratic system, as it reduces the amount of strategical voting and allows to vote for your favourite candidate. (yes, such boosting enfranchise feeling for free)

    5) Total franchise vs. meritocracy. Yes, a challenge because there is a dilemma of uniformed voters vs. very well informed clique that is especially preoccupied with its own well being. Ways of dealing with problem:
    -making through public schooling system in which each citizen is educated, while disfranchise those who failed exam
    -make any potential politician pass a course in state governance (still keeps diverse range of opinion, but requires at least rudimentary level of professionalism)
    -I have a mixed feeling about requiring potential politicians to have at least basic experience in governance (as whatever - civil servants, business people, corporate raiders ;), bosses in some NGOs, etc.), but afraid that such rule would cause too many politicians from higher class.

    6) Sortition / deliberative democracy - select a random sample of citizens, give them data, and finally ask question. Seems very good because shows that all members of society are appreciated as responsible for governance while in the same time their decision is more informed than in usual voting.

    7) Ban any political contributions, expensive campaign, political ads, whatever. Not so bad salary plus some money for small office, but not much more. As main source of news, BBC like info agency with constitutionally guaranteed independence.

    8) Unequal votes. Quite easy in times of electronic voting, to have 1.27 vote. Especially useful for politicians if they represent a different number of constituents. But also a bit useful to reward citizens that contribute more to society / are better informed, but I still think how to make the system abuse resistant. Presumably mostly bind it with higher tax.

    9) Different way of disfranchising foreigners (mostly from other groups that were less successful at preserving technology) - instead of lack of citizenship, disqualify them for not having passed test that each citizen passed (which they are encouraged to take, good luck with that). Allows open door policy, but in the same time does not risk being hijacked by unintegrated foreigners.

    Ideas? Suggestions? (If someone has an interesting idea that would require some adjustment of setting also please feel free)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2015 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    What about a media-ocracy? - something like a direct internet democracy but with political parties having their own media channels. Instead of charity telethons, there could be telethons pleading with voters. Instead of a dramatic display of contributions and time-remaining, there could be a display of vote counts.
  4. Jun 10, 2015 #3
    I think its a distopy. (I thought to Berlusconi)

    IMHO return to a medieval or ancient style of government is far from unjustificable, but do the hard way, form a good republic somewhat different from us.

    7. I clearly think that is a good idea. Only inform people about public forums, personal websites etc.

    8. Was an idea in my country (more votes to families having small kids) It was unsupperted, but IMHO such an idea makes sense, for example if there is a question whether there should be a new nuclear power plant or not, those who understand nuclear power should definitally weigh more than four elemantary ones.

    I think ministers should come from an area they already know, so a minister of healthcare should have runned a hospital (and not became a politican after he fired...) the minister of social things should have been a social worker, minister of education a reknowned teacher, not someone who was hated and did a bad job. (like our minister...)

    All donations to parties, all expenses of politicans should be made public. Head of justice, anti corruption agencies shouldnt be named by the government, but rather elected directly.

    IMHO people should rather vote to people than parties, no punishment for a party member for voting differently. (But maybe he could be recalled for doing against his promises.)

    It would be also quite futuristic, if an AI announced everything, and no one knew who are the real human decision makers (there could be an algorithm that selects them based on expertise and randomness, possibly some kind of activism could help)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  5. Jun 10, 2015 #4
    Very interesting idea, thanks. I'd use it when I'd have to make a fully democratic dystopia.
    As making some general test and weight the answer accordingly - also toyed with such idea.

    Here starts a problem... of a good a self governing body that is very good at improving the conditions of its members. If a teacher who's all friends and family are teachers says you that all education problems would be solve by hiring more teachers and making them better paid? (regardless whether he is right, there is a conflict of interests)

    Public, sure. Who said that donations should be allowed? ;)
    How to make them belong to a different party than the mainstream?

    I toyed with this idea (especially transferable vote made an alternative system possible), however I faced a few problems:
    -if I'm as voter going to punish a whole party for a misbehaviour of one its members, then they would think about keeping order within their own ranks for their own sake. (additional safety mechanism)
    -what if a politicians A, B, C, D, E won a seats by promising different programs and uncompromising stance? The only way in which can delivered what promised is by sabotaging each other efforts. If there was a party discipline, then they would have to keep common program (presumably a disliked compromise) and be expected to deliver that, and answer "I stick to my guns, voted as expected, but those #### spoiled everything".
    -the case when party discipline is especially used are unpopular topics of austerity. Actually in such case I'd think that it would be better done...
    -single celebrities vs. boring team players and administrators. Who would you like to have? ;)

    Not that high tech in setting.
  6. Jun 10, 2015 #5


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    You have to ask yourself, what are the natural developments given the population, challenges, resource levels, and technology. Since you specified a small population, there is not likely to be a lot of bureaucracy. Is it a colony in an unforgiving land (which will push people toward an authoritarian, military structure), or is it a more mature society or group of societies? If there is significant diaspora, then there will be a lot of freedom, with a lot of decentralized decision making. We already have self-driving vehicles, but is AI smart enough to contribute to decision making?

    It seems today, we have a lot of corporate information gathering about personal spending habits. In the future big data will probably be able to accurately predict the stances of individuals on a variety of political questions through scouring of social media, etc. On the other hand, social media moguls will have significant control of public opinion.
  7. Jun 10, 2015 #6
    Czibor: Good questions, I'm still thinking on answers.

    Good point. I have two futuristic challenges.
    A : high level of automation, lots of people can become unemployed, total surveillance is easy to achieve, tycoons can become overpowered

    B: genetic modification like in Gattaca
  8. Jun 10, 2015 #7
    If you need another hard question - how to make an independent entity (ex. BBC-like media), that you can discipline for spending few times more money for doing the same job as private business.
    (BBC is good example - out of British media I value more objectivity and insight of The Economist. Curious which total cost are lower... ;) )

    Not that high level. I mean here the extra challenge is low population which makes most of jobs.
    Its not a "strong corporation" but a "strong state" setting. It started as dictatorship (officially - emergency powers, which even were justified), while when the power was handed back, the strong state remained.
    High level of meritocracy in gov, semi-religious belief in exam efficiency - leads to rather competent gov, and moreover smashes most cliques.
    No other place to escape with income, high progressive property tax - can confiscate fortunes of idle rich in long run, an entrepreneur rich would see how he is slowly accumulating capital, while being mostly a cash cow for gov.
    There is a chance to get a bit too good gov contract though... (and there are scandals from time to time)

    Harsh anti monopoly laws, public education for all from kindergarten - that's not the best place for an oligarchic elite.

    Of course strong state can have its own disadvantages...

    First I thought about it. There are some good story arguments for eugenic policies - the survivors were genetically screened and could have get used to such approach (nothing personal, just there was more candidates that people that could have been evacuated, so some rational criteria have to be used). However, when I tried to make any reconstruction timeline - starting producing genetic tests - low priority, plenty of prerequisite, done quite late. So mass genetic test are within story a new social phenomena.

    There is a different issue. Low population (less than 10 mln for a planet) and a pressure to produce more babies. So in the moment of a story there is a 4-children policy. Secular, modern, hedonistic society... So to make the system work there is mixture of cash handouts, subsidised housing for young couples, punitive taxes for childless (officially called retirement contributions), and a delightful gov financed childcare/mass education. (yes, taxes are high) It ends up with gov that actually encouraging top students to have children, while continuing secondary education.

    As one of genetic policy gov is giving a cash handouts for girls that want to have artificial insemination with someone of top genetic features.

    If they finally were able to make genetic modifications, it would be financed by public healthcare ;)
  9. Jun 10, 2015 #8
    I thought about the environmental determinism - centralized society (90% of population in the capitol and its suburbs); land - good enough, except no good fossil source of carbohydrates; mature, well educated society.

    I assumed that's good enough for surveillance network to search through the recording for some more suspicious behaviour and hand that to human operator with high error rate.

    I thought about gov big data match making services. (yes, this date was provided by your gov...)
    I also wondered about some gov manipulation of memes in society, but not sure how to do it with freeish speech and or highly transparent gov. (on example of US society - how to eliminate gangsta rap, creationism and anti-vaccine movement in a way that society would not think that is being ordered what to think)
  10. Jun 11, 2015 #9
    If i were in position in that futuristic strong state society, i would bring a law, that you are responsible for what you write.
    You write vaccination is bad, great, have a nice trip to an african swamp, prove your point.
    You make profit from hurting other cultures, fine, lets tell them theese things personally.
    You write that men are vile oppressors, you have your own territory, free from oppression, but dont cry for men's help if you cant build a house.

    A few precedents would pretty much silence theese people.
    I dont think that a government dating agency is so good idea, maybe there can be a database that could tell potential genetic risks of a couple.

    Maybe there could be two main, competing media agency.

    No other place to escape with income, high progressive property tax, maybe i could add high inheritance tax, like in Japan.
  11. Jun 12, 2015 #10
    Not so easy. A person said that a vaccine causes autism, so may point out that dying on malaria does not rebut such claim. Also advertising some political utopias can be hard to debunk, you would not hand someone whole country to show that his promise ends up in a disaster within a year.

    As seemingly innocent idea, I toyed with giving a chance for idiot who followed such dumbest advice to sue the author for redress. For practical reasons I thought about:
    -not putting in constitution "freedom of speech", but "right to high quality information" - sorry, lying to public is not protected, actually its infringement of constitutional rights of others
    -investing heavily in education
    -in google like search engine the reasonable pages first
    Genetic risk + tones of metadata showing whether people have similar interests

    Plus the beauty of people using it by default, if they don't put all effort to opt-out. ;)

    Maybe even more tiny one, and better educated citizen vote which one was better. (to make media passing tastes of upper strata of society)

    Wouldn't top rate of property tax of 4% not high enough? (the game is to squeeze the most money, while still leaving an incentive for hard work)
    (I planned just using a conditional inheritance tax as disciplining parents not to give the money to kid behaving like Paris Hilton, but to some more reasonable relative)
  12. Jun 14, 2015 #11
    On one hand, talk about potential risks of vaccination (whether they could possibly cause autism or not) isnt a sin, its never hurt to make additional research to minimise side effects. On the other hand, i can agree if someone writes that you shouldnt use vaccination and the kid becomes sick because of that, then sue/punish the first one for that.
    I wonder whether high-quality information can be clearly defined (in the age of Galilei, his conclusions wasnt that high quality, telescopes had problems, no direct detection that Earth rotates ) But one should be responsible for what he writes, not just in case of hate speech against some minority.

    I still dont think the government dating agency would be any better than dating sites that already exists. Maybe they could get some government founds, to decrease costs, but a government dating site could spread rumors, that they want to control dating...

    Act as Paris Hilton, how would you define that in the law?
  13. Jun 14, 2015 #12
    What would the government do about girls who want to have natural insemination with someone of top genetic features?

    Should subsidized housing be available for young but childless couples?
    For single mothers with children?

    What should be the distinction between top students who have children and non-top students who have children? Or top students who have natural insemination with someone of top genetic features vs. someone of non-top genetic features?
  14. Jun 14, 2015 #13


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    With good enough electronic voting systems you could create a liquid democracy. The video in the link explains it well but for a short summary it's a hypothetical mix of representative and direct democracy. The way it works is that everyone can vote on every issue, like direct democracy. But obviously the majority of people don't have time to become informed about every single issue. To get around that people can give their vote to someone else, for as long as they want. So if you yourself weren't interested or capable of following politics but you knew your friend was and had ideals you agree with you can sign over your vote to them. You can take it back at any time but until then they have two votes to cast. It works beyond that too, say your friend decided that third person is more informed but with the same ideals they can transfer both of your votes to that third person.

    There's a few things not mentioned in there that you could use like having a grace period for voting. What this means is that when someone else casts your vote you get a notification (on your phone, computer, brain implant or whatever) of how the vote was used and any recordings of speeches/arguments the person who holds your vote used in any debates. You then have 24 hours to cancel it if you so wish. Another thing you could have is that the few hundred people holding the most votes are the only ones that get to propose new laws/policies.

    I'm not convinced it can work in real life but it would create an interesting and different system to explore in your setting.
  15. Jun 14, 2015 #14
    I thought about heavy use of PPP. So in this case gov:
    -gov provides some funding;
    -gov provides minimum expectations;
    -gov offer to provide ability to make searches through gov owned databases (to ex. match people who love Star Wars, but hate Startrek :D );
    -gov de facto allow those companies to assume that someone is interested, unless he opted out. (and even provide all the data, so no one has to create any special account)
    -gov can be trusted with genetic data... OK... gov just has genetic data and may let them this time be used for citizen benefit...

    Of course contracts goes to a few competing companies.

    In RL there is a conflict of interests - a dating sites makes its money by offering you searching, when you found someone they lose you ;) Argument for centralization - network effect.

    High financial threshold below which gov don't care.
    Heir who don't have basic financial literacy, which could be checked by some standard tests offered, in case of younger kids - they just asses grades from standardized result, if are clearly awful (ex. 2 standard deviation below average), that not allowed to inherit more than the threshold.
  16. Jun 14, 2015 #15
    Under systems that are right when gov offers some handouts for people with children, it ends up with that same for all especially strong incentive those on the bottom of society. Undesired. Instead I thought about system where govs handouts are related to grades that kid get on standardized tests. Parents of kids too young to be tested in meaningful way would be paid according to expected result based on genetics.

    In order to avoid a situation that it would lead in to roughly counting rewarding middle class, there would be an offer of free/heavy subsidized artificial insemination / in vitro, so a person of poor genes could also raise a child qualifying for higher bonus.
    (yes rewarding middle class - if good education for all would eliminate mostly social differences, then the role of genes would actually go up...)

    No distinction between single mother / couples, except that for couples gov would provide bigger flat.

    Do you think that by logic of such system it should evolve/devolve to gov ending up organizing one night stands with people with top genetic features? I toyed with such idea but haven't though creative enough social institution around it.

    It seems that I figured out such idea (under point 2), just did not know that's called liquid democracy.
  17. Jun 14, 2015 #16
    I really like these ideas. I would add that the vote transfer "proxy" expire periodically requiring an active reset of the transfer.
  18. Jun 14, 2015 #17
    How about giving handouts according to the income of the parents? Like, a mother gets paid maternity leave of fixed length with her previous salary, poor mothers get very little, while well-earning mothers get a lot?
    Again, how about a heavily subsidized in vivo?
    Child support does now often depend on the actual or imputed income of the father.
    So how about assuring free child support for men and boys with top genetic features, or top grades at school? Especially, advertising them with proof that the government is serious about the promise?
    Pregnancy by a rich man is now seen as a meal ticket by many women, but the men and boys are rightly cautious about being on the hook for child support. But if there are boys around who can hand out meal tickets at no cost to himself, who´d take that option?
    I suspect that girls of poor genes, who have little prospect of either a rewarding job or getting exclusive marriage with a good boy would be willing to bear a child who´s assured meal ticket.
  19. Jun 14, 2015 #18
    I like the idea of a meritocracy.
    The problem is, what is it that defines merit?
  20. Jun 15, 2015 #19
    A bit tricky with income when you include some self employed and hordes of students. (In RL in my country maternity leave is based on salary, so gov encourages woman not to just have a kid after ending education, but to find a job first to get there maternity leave (only way in which gov would hand out money), often for many years. Let's say that those employers are not delighted :D )

    in vivo :D :D :D

    I wonder about social institution to accommodate that. Especially that high rank women would have a say about it, and would be somewhat unhappy. Also there is some stabilization role of marriages for society (calming down single males).

    I though about separating (for social purposes) two issues:
    -AI, just medical procedure, no emotional relation, no unfaithfulness, no inheritance, no parental rights
    -in vivo...

    Or you think it should be organized differently? (I see here tiny gain, compared to moderate amount of mess)

    Do you have an impression that such country would turn anyway in to one big (patchwork) family? ;)

    I haven't thought about it but I think that in such system there is no need for alimony money. Gov provides education, helthcare, handouts - so no need for some special system. If anything gov would rather enforce that father would provide some emotional support, but I have no idea how to codify that.

    Reproduction capabilities of such women would be better utilized as surrogate mothers for infertile people / gay couples.

    Farther income would not be a good proxy. A highly valued person may choose a fascinating research project that does not pay extraordinary well.
  21. Jun 15, 2015 #20
    So, how about some benefits for mothers who return to workforce?
    High rank women would be jealous of their husbands, yes. But they´d enjoy maternity benefits. Also, while a woman does not benefit from her husband being a playboy, she does benefits from her sons being playboys. That´s the fastest way to produce grandchildren.
    True. Yet then you give up the option to promote preferred genes.
    If children are 100 % paid for for both poor and rich then both poor and rich will produce as many as they have time for. So how to pick who the government would prefer to breed?
    What do the women get for that?
    If the government chooses not to pay fascinating research project extraordinarily well, how does the government decide that the person and his genes are nevertheless highly valued?

    Also: a boy has the same genes at 13 as he would have at 33. Actually better ones, because they only go worse by lifetime of mutation accumulation.
    How to pick boys who should be encouraged to become fathers and remain at school? Results of studies, or results of ability tests?
    You are going to deal with people who have good genes and great natural abilities but who are lazy and use their abilities in nonuseful ways. On one hand, acting like Paris Hilton should not be encouraged - but on the other hand, you should not waste her genes either.
  22. Jun 15, 2015 #21


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    The poorer and less fit, of course, will not be happy with such an arrangement, so they will have to ether be squashed under the boot of an overpowering government or some more creative solution will have to be found.
  23. Jun 15, 2015 #22
    Indeed. It's a problem of achieving multiple aims in the same time. The most important here is just producing more citizens of reasonable quality to settle empty planet, long term eugenic aims are nice, but not the primary motivator.

    Make a long list and reward with points:
    -known desired genes / known genetic defects
    -results of school tests
    -health condition
    -longevity of relatives
    -ability to function in society
    Combine that to get a reasonable proxy indicator.

    Surogate mother would be just a part time job. And gov would brag about eliminating unemployment...

    Don't look at it in so... American way ;)

    Or just froze gametes. Through public healthcare.

    At least in theory there would be equality in front of law. And a person on the bottom (except total bottom there it would be less voluntary) would be offered to use genetic material of someone more desired. If refused, then would just get lower child benefit.
    There are a few more issues of contention like tax system.
    From the good side:
    -effectively forbidden advertisement (so would not feel so unhappy without newest toys);
    -legal marijuana, LSD, mescaline, MDMA sold through state monopoly (tobacco or strong alcohol illegal as too harmful);
    -no shark loans, limited ability to go in to debt trap;
    -no gambling on big amounts;
    -reasonable safety net, education;
    -effective mass transit for all;
    -cheap housing in big buildings for all;
    -low corruption;
    -mass sport events open to all citizen;
    -a bit crazy culture, which value irony and sense of humour;
    -gov trying to provide educational entertainment for citizens like educating on the metro about ex. ancient Roman legions or aircraft design; (distraction)
    -a competitive political system (just one have to earn enough points to vote).

    From not so nice side:
    -state media (which would express different views of medium and higher class... just to promote good tastes and avoid populism...);
    -ultra high surveillance;
    -tomato day in which is allowed to throw tomatoes at all top gov (yep, circuses);
    -effectively streaming people through education system to good, hard working citizens in stable relationship (and moving through education/mental health those who seem not fit to society)
    -political system that evolved locally, people got used to it and consider as 100% natural and legitimate.
  24. Jun 15, 2015 #23
    Majority of all human societies recognizes polygynous marriages. Though among the affluent states, only Islamic ones do.
    Yes - the poorer and the less fit are not happy with these arrangements. Yet most societies do not have "overpowering government" - the rich harem-keeping men manage to protect their harems. Not completely, mind you. If a lot of women are locked up in rich men´s harems then a lot of poor young men are left alone looking to fight for their fortune, and buy, kidnap or seduce women. And harem inmates feeling neglected and jealous of each other may look for lovers, and find plenty of willing young men around.

    Despite these problems, a lot of formally polygynous societies exist.

    And there are a lot of societies which have monogamous marriages but tolerate a lot of polygynous mating.

    Are housewives counted as unemployed?
    Women on the bottom would like to bear children who have her half of genes as well, and rear children who the mother can be proud of.
  25. Jun 16, 2015 #24
    Yes, I know. But just not worth it and produces too much social tension. Social peace and leaving each citizen with big enough stake in society is also very valuable goal.

    The advantage of polygynous marriages that I see is that it combats inequality... Yes, think how many heirs :D

    So something like this. I think that actual marriages of multiple people of any gender would be tolerated (see how progressive... ;) ), just like homosexual marriages in real world - after all big quarrels, not specially popular.

    Anyway, think about wedding cake with figures of 2 men and 3 women :D

    For practical purposes I think that the main, encouraged system would be high quality childcare, as one woman could care for more babies in the same time.

    I thought that in real life women on the bottom try to hedge genetic risks by having kids with possibly high number of partners ;)

    I think that we become here too preoccupied with one, very narrow aspect of society.
  26. Jun 22, 2015 #25
    Liquid democracy is interesting, altough i wonder, how could they get people to accept a tax raise for example?

    Sorry, just one more thought about the dating and family stuff, since i have analogies of ancient Egypt in my mind for my queendom, i also though that poligamy is accepted, on the other hand, it wouldnt be good, if poor guys couldnt get women, the leadership wants most people to live in stabile families (i can barely imagine 3 men and one woman to be stabile...) and make kids.
    So poligamy should be only affordable to really rich (multiple mates divorce, that can ruin empty the purse) and adultery should be also fought - i had the following idea, the cheater automatically lose everything common with his/her partner, they file the stigma of being an unthrustworthy contract breaker, but s/he can claim wealth from the seducer as if they were married.
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