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

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Tue Sep 21 14:24:31 PDT 2010

On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 4:20 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Ideally, there is no "redistribution of wealth". ...should ... should ...

I wasn't saying there ought to be redistribution of wealth, only that you
can solve some of the problems traditionally associated with it via
technology.  That's true even if it shouldn't be implemented at all.

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.

Crazy is just a matter of perspective ;)  But seriously, I wasn't offering
these suggestions as things we should seriously consider (at least not in
the undeveloped form I posed them), but rather as ideas which could lead to

For instance, generalize it a bit more so that the "kill" switch just causes
a dissolution of government.  Obviously this would require a major change in
the U.S.'s government structure, but I think it could be fairly easily
integrated into the U.K.'s.

Or give every congressperson a collar.

Or make it disable all nuclear weapons.


>  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.

Not sure how it's too delayed--some of the reward takes effect immediately
on the space station.  Of course, these aren't huge levels of rewards, but
when you're cooped up on a space station for 2+ years...

And I think that it's rather less subject to gaming than the current system
is (wherein there is relatively little direct reward/penalty for quality of
rule and there is massive opportunity for immediate or short-term profit).

Jebadiah Moore

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