[FoRK] Where Obama should be raked over the coals...

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Sep 20 13:20:25 PDT 2010

  On 9/20/10 9:21 AM, Jebadiah Moore wrote:
> ...
> The creations of democracies, where the rulers have to obtain the consent of
> the governed via vote, is another way to handle the problem.  The problem
> with this one is that, once you've got that initial consent, you might wield
> enough power to retain control even without consent.  This is what keeps
> happening in South America and Africa.  It could probably happen in the
> U.S., if a president had sufficient loyalty from the military.  Explicit
> division of power and restrictions on power are useful here, because they
> make it harder for a president (or whoever) to get and retain enough power
> to throw the stuff out.  But this codification is mainly useful in creating
> a mindset of resistance.

The "mindset of resistance" in the US is, so long as the crazy purposefully ignorant underbelly doesn't get too large, aware enough 
of the constitution, general traditions, and recent improvements to wholly refuse and combat any extended, fully unconstitutional 
breach.  Interesting how recent breaches were handled.  And how marshall law, etc., were quickly anticipated.

> One method that seems basically unexplored is the restriction of power via
> technology.  For instance, one problem frequently cited with regards to
> redistribution of wealth is that somebody has to decide on the
> redistribution.  But if we were able to create a sufficiently accurate model

Ideally, there is no "redistribution of wealth".  Existing wealth should be continually marginalized by the creation of new wealth.  
Distribution of new wealth is a function of "costs".  Rather than "somebody" deciding on "redistribution", there should be (mostly) 
distributed computation of costs.  Then those that are at the pointy end of producing wealth also are at the pointy end of paying 
the cost-of-goods/services-sold/made.

Technology could help with more fully tracking and accounting for costs.  A lot of apparent unfairness revolves around people / 
organizations not paying for their incurred costs.

> ...
> Another example is giving the population of a country a kill switch.
>   Require the President (or whoever) to wear a collar containing an injection
> of some fast-acting poison, and rig it up so that if 50% of the population
> presses the kill switch on any given day, the President (or whoever) dies.
>   This doesn't solve the problem of all those other people in power, of
> course, and the collar probably couldn't be made tamper proof, but it'd be
> something.

That's just crazy.  And the exec has little effect most of the time anyway.

> Another interesting example is something like the HHGTTG route.  Make sure
> that the people who make final decisions are detached enough from the people
> they are ruling that they can't exploit them in any meaningful way.  At the
> same time, define some measurement of success that does reward the rulers
> for good rule.  One way you might do this is by saying that 1) the elected
> ruling body must live on a space station for the entirety of their term, 2)
> the quality of the food and entertainment is tied directly to popularity
> polls, 3) after their terms, the rulers come back to earth, but have to live
> in a special area set aside for them, where they are rewarded in proportion
> to their success, and 4) rulers can't make rulings about that special
> area--any rule changes must be approved by direct vote.  You could make this
> even more fun by adding in a kill switch (as above) hooked up to the space
> station's oxygen supply.

Too delayed, subject to all kinds of gaming.


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