[Republished – 1st edit – from original article April 2015]
As part of a transition strategy from the status quo (ie – the property/trade/currency-based capitalist economic paradigm), to a future system that is wholly (yet anarchically) “governed” by the principles of Open Empire, and by the informed choices of well educated free people … we need a strategy to deal with preventing our existing political system (so long as it exists) from corruptly and disingenuously manipulating every issue, as a political football for their own personal gain – instead of just fixing real problems for the common good.
If political “solutions” are based on lies, deception and the manipulation of data, that only solve perceived or invented problems; if every time you have an election, the parties simply spin the same lies in different ways … and if any time someone tries to do something good, some other party comes along at the next election and undoes it … you’re just going to end up in an increasingly insane society.
So the following is a modification of some of the principles of Open Empire, which can be used within the status quo to restrain its self-corrupting influences and activities.
The General Principle:
So in Open Empire we look at quantifying consequences in ecological and social terms, but in the status quo there’s no mechanism for doing this, and even if you invent one, it is immediately and consistently undermined by the flaws in other systems.
The way around this within a currency-based economic paradigm – though imperfect – is to constitutionally protect spending algorithms.
A spending algorithm is a mathematical function which uses variables of social demographics, current events, conditions, and costs of goods and services, to come up with a predicted cost required to deliver a particular social service.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you wanted to derive an algorithm to predict required spending for education over the following year (ie – budget forecasts), you would have to gather data such as:
- Age demographic population trends;
- Minimum acceptable teacher to student ratio;
- Travel time to schools and transport accessibility;
- Geographical distribution of schools required;
- Curriculum to be taught and the resultant knowledge-base and teaching skills required by staff;
- Teaching, recreational and other school facilities and services required;
… you get the idea.
Plugging this data into a function – which has a fault tolerance of perhaps +/- 10% to allow for unexpected circumstances etc., would allow you to predict the required spending for the following financial year.
NOW … What this allows you the community to do, is to set the bare minimum acceptable standard for public education, such that no political party can interfere with such spending … they can add to it, but they cannot reduce it.
The algorithm is then voted on in a referendum – with plenty of non-technical explanations given for those who cannot do the math – so that once constitutionally protected, a political party in power can only affect that spending in one of two ways:
- Propose additional spending in their election campaign with the aim of further improving education;
- Propose an improvement to the algorithm, and make the case for another referendum to update the algorithm.
So imagine a political party wants to change the algorithm … they’re going to have every academic criticising their maths, and since maths cannot be lied about at the level of equations because it follows strict rules, they can only lie about the consequences but not about the actual equation itself … and even their arguement regarding the consequences of such changes won’t bear much in the way of rigorous scrutiny if it is bullshit.
So the best way to prove an algorithm prior to an election, is to develop it, win an election, use it to determine how much additional spending to add on to the results of the existing algorithm, and then spend that money wisely to actually improve education.
So you see, by doing this, it’s very hard to argue the case for reduced spending … because if you think you can do more with less, well there’s nothing stopping you doing it without changing the algorithm so long as you deliver the minimum standard that you’re constitutionally required to deliver, and if you have what you claim is more than enough funding to do so, then prove it … and then you will have extra money at the end to justify your case for changing the algorithm IF the manner in which you achieved it, was actually the result of a different algorithm … BUT … if conversely all you did was union bash, cut teacher’s salaries and utterly trash the system, then you’ve committed a constitutional crime, and you’re deluded if you think that is evidence.
Clearly there needs to be an attached parliamentary process to ensure political parties obey this directive … but that aside, it’s a better system than what we presently have.
To enact any political agenda, politicians will have to convince the public of any additional taxes required, and since such taxes would affect people’s personal & professional lives, they’re going to be very concerned about what is being proposed, and thus pay closer attention.
Service providers such as schools will now have greater certainty about funding levels & regularity of payments, which in turn allows them to budget without the unforseen consequences of political game playing.