The New Democracy
by Mike Meyer
If I say that the old designations of left versus right in politics are no longer relevant, what does that mean? No one seems to know. That needs to be corrected while there is still hope for something positive to come from the incredible disaster of Trumpified and Russianized America.
To clear away wreckage we have a corrupt neo-fascist party under Russian influence on one side and an outmoded neoliberal/capitalist party on the other. One is in flames and may take down the entire country while the other is holding the bag for the great capitalist robbery.
Neofeudal, great man systems die in flames or long suffering until the great man dies. There is never a working succession.
Capitalism works great for creation of wealth in a new or endless world. Over time it consolidates into monopolies and then begins to draw all value in to the system for the smallest number of holders possible. Everyone else is forever frozen out.
One slight exception may be the movement to make the Democratic Party something like a 20th century Democratic Socialist party, but that is retrograde and means moving toward the aging status quo for the rest of the planet. And that is impaled on the horns of greed and endless exploitation that must be eliminated before we lose our planet to a changed climate.
What we need to look at has very little to do with these old labels and outmoded ideas. If we get rid of those and look at what is now possible, things look very different.
The ideal for democracy had its origin in classical Athens. That was a direct democracy with major decisions made by a meeting of all citizens to debate and decide. This included public positions held by citizens as an obligation with no pay. This translated for America into the New England Town Hall meetings with elected officials but periodic Town Halls that allowed all to debate and vote in the meeting. That, of course, had to be abandoned as it could not work in anything but a small town or township.
The entire Western European political tradition was based on citizens with a say in government but that could only be orchestrated at great expense due to the need to bring representatives of each township or shire or manor together until everything could be discussed and periodically worked out. This gave rise to the parliaments that eventually became full time representative bodies. The problem is the representatives. That is an open door to corruption and manipulation. Who do these people actually represent? We now know our representatives don’t represent us and haven’t for a long time.
On top of this was an executive, in the modern terminology, who held day to day responsibility for operations and all decisions except taxes and spending. Those things had to be done in conjunction with the representatives.
Why do we have this structure that is rife with corruption and manipulation? Because you can’t ask the people directly because they aren’t reachable or available. But what if they were? We are all now reachable and available.
What if important issues were presented for discussion and voting by all citizens? Impossible, you say. People don’t have time and mostly have no interest. That’s why we have professional representatives that do the work for the people. Which we know does not work. But how can we eliminate the representatives, which, incidentally, is a major leverage point of neofeudalists who want a powerful guy in charge to do directly what the representatives are supposed to do but prefer to work on filling their pockets.
Needless to say the powerful guy acts as a fascist ruler and makes all decisions for the benefit of his own family and associates. He primarily fills his pockets with our tax money.
But how do we make this work? Let’s look at extreme, predatory capitalism. All personal information is open to be used by companies trying to sell you things you don’t need. Everything you do publically and privately may be captured and processed by AI systems to determine you patterns, preferences, goals, and problems. The end result is the constant presentation of things that you just looked at online and suggestions based on all purchases and interest that have been captured and processed.
What if we did that for you as a citizen? Open surveys would be used but all of your activities, purchases, choices in leisure and business would be made private but would be used to model your desires as a citizen. Using our growing skills with AI and big data we build a functioning, dynamic algorithm of everyone in your community. That would be turned into an array of model citizens extending across the interest range of the actual population. This would be able to provide a suggested position on every management issue at all levels of government. You don’t have to become knowledgeable or do anything.
But, unlike predatory capitalism these models and their decisions would be transparent and open. A proposal from your city government on building a new park at a certain location would be processed with all citizen algorithms presenting your estimated response to that and their likelihood of using the new park. This would be visible to you privately at the initial stage.
If you were fine with the your model decision you could simply leave it as the default, add your identity marker to make that position stronger, or change it if your model’s decision was wrong or you thought there are other issues that were not considered. Your position would become public at that point for all other citizens to see. This would be a virtual open, citizen debate with constant voting as the process continued. As other citizens confirmed their model decision or substituted another response with information on why they made the change other positions may change until a final date that changes could be made and the decision marked as completed.
But what about security? This is a classic implementation of blockchain ledgers as an official record of the entire process. A blockchain ledger is completely transparent and cannot be changed after an action has been posted. An audit could take each citizens’ recorded position and confirm it as it is part of the blockchain ledger for each democratic action.
We no longer need representatives who can be purchased or simply act on their own behalf without regard for the people they supposedly represent. This is an actual democratic governmental system handling as many levels of management as were deemed important enough for a direct decision. This is direct decision democracy.
Each level of government could make an annual or emergency decision on how fine a level of democracy was needed. Some would be able to spend a great deal of time acting directly on their own behalf while most would usually, we can assume, check their model’s position and choose to confirm that.
All representatives would be eliminated and all decisions would be taken from or made by citizens or residents however it is decided. But who would manage the operational details?
My preference would be career civil servants, as they already exist and are the actual operating managers of our government, increasingly supported by AI/ML systems with all decision posted to blockchain ledgers. I would expect a steady transition to full automation with the career civil servants providing human audit and complex ethical decisions while also mediating the anticipated disputes.
There are no politicians other than the population and all decision are fully transparent. Eliminate the problem and maximize efficiency without the idiocy of fascists and authoritarians.