Author Topic: making the pie higher: A Bad Idea that Will Fail  (Read 1268 times)

tyrannosaurus vex

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making the pie higher: A Bad Idea that Will Fail
« on: February 09, 2017, 01:28:58 am »
First, I'll just state that I realize what follows is an unlikely solution for a number of reasons, most of which relate to widespread cynicism, incompatibilities between worldviews, miscalculating the demand for such ideas, and general disorganization. So when you hit something that would get caught on one of those snags just be aware that I'm intentionally not accounting for them since I think those problems are possible to overcome through methods outside the scope of this particular post.

Now, this post will probably end up being a big wall of text, so let me summarize before I start free-writing my brains out. I propose that our current system of government (talking about the US here, but probably other places too) is archaic, obsolete, untenable, and so hopelessly mired in corruption and bad habits that it is futile to try and fix it. So I think rather than spend much more energy fighting to overpower or reform this institution, we should simply abandon it.

That seems preposterous, right? A whole country full of people can't just "walk away" from government. It has the guns and it collects the taxes and it passes the laws, after all. But this way of thinking about the government is just... incorrect. We tend to think of it as a man-made God; a "higher power" which is more or less omnipotent and omnipresent; able to rain justice (or injustice) down from the heavens. And yes, the government is a powerful organization. But it is still only an organization. It isn't really omnipotent or omniscient or omnipresent. It's just a big organization made up of a bunch of other big organizations, that provides services, and it all runs on money. Just like any corporation or American Legion outpost or Shriner's hospital. And all it would take to abandon it, is to provide the services it provides some other way.

The question here is a simple one. Aside from the fact that we may not want to because we don't think it would work, what exactly would stop us from organizing an "alternative" government, without "revolution", without even direct confrontation, that simply accepts donations and organizes and provides the services that government provides? It could be simple services at first -- say, legal advice, or general information, or health clinics -- but gradually adding more complex services like public transportation and healthcare. Given the fact that many countries are able to provide services like these with per capita expenses well within what would be affordable for large sections of people, it doesn't seem that money would be the biggest obstacle.

With the Internet, one advantage to such an "alternative government" could be the erasure of geographical and even lingual boundaries. All one would need for citizenship in such a state would be access to the Internet and possibly a mailing address. The process of legislation itself could be carried out with technologies used by distributed software development teams and organized according to open source principles, allowing for true direct democratic collaboration on policy. The movement could be organized in any number of ways, including a non-hierarchical network of individuals that can't just be rounded up and imprisoned in the event that the old government realizes that a critical mass of citizens are ready to jump ship. Given widespread-enough membership, goods and services could form the basis of an economy unaffected by the whims of financial elites, and eventually the organization could even support various methods of providing physical security for citizens around the world. It could do these things without coercion, and without the need (and thus could be designed to explicitly exclude the ability) to forcibly homogenize language, beliefs, ancestry, or culture. And as time passes, the current forms of government would just wither and fall away like dead leaves.

This idea is not new, of course. It isn't unique. It has been tried before, and it has failed (damn Hippies). But with access to modern communication and manufacturing technologies, the idea has a chance of succeeding if only there were some way to drive genuine interest in it. The only reason such a system cannot exist, would be because we believe it is impossible, or ridiculous. So I'm not saying this can be done, only that it could be done if humans weren't quite so unimaginative in large groups.
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