Society 2 (by )


The Natural Resources Agency is expected to have a budgetary surplus, due to collecting resource usage fees. After the costs of maintaining natural resources and administration, the surplus of course goes to the Welfare Agency, funding the welfare system. Any surplus from THAT becomes citizen's basic income.

If the welfare agency runs a budget shortfall, then Parliament is responsible for funding it from taxes. Parliament is also subject to the requirement to send any budget surplus to the Welfare Agency, so any excess taxes go back to citizens as well.

There are no police in the constitution, but parliament should probably create a statutory corporation with policing duties. This includes preventative actions to protect the rights of all, emergency response, ensuring that the court process works by restricting the rights of people who might attempt to escape justice (eg, arrest), investigating crimes in order to present court cases, upholding court sanctions (eg, restraining people who need to have their rights to roam restrained in a prison). As trained and vetted investigators of crime, the police agency may also be given the power to licence its officers to violate the rights of others in controlled ways.

Self-aware beings without a Guardian (such as wandering animals) are acceptable, but the law can create statutory corporations with Guardianship licences of whole classes (eg, one responsible for the welfare of wild animals). Abandoned or neglected children are having their rights as self-aware beings not provided, so a Court should be notified, which can then issue a guardianship licence, either to a statutory body created for the purpose of looking after children, or to a foster/adopted parent.

The general framing of crime in terms of impinging upon the rights of others is designed to prevent the creation of "victimless crimes", but perhaps I should be more explicit about that. However, it is my intention that doing reckless things that COULD have caused harm should be a crime, even if everyone was lucky and no harm was done!

To actually build a society around this, a bootstrap procedure must be followed: somebody must perform an election and build a Parliament, which needs to also gain initial funds for its administration and operating expenses until taxes are collected (only some of which can be the sale of bonds, due to the restrictions thereon). An initial set of laws needs to be declared, meeting the requirements of the constitution - contract law, a notion of debt (with the attendant notion of legal tender, which implies a currency), tax law, natural resources need defining, and so on.

Perhaps intellectual property law should all have a "use it or lose it" restriction, similar to UK trademark law; if you have a patent and don't use it in publicly available products for more than a year, you lose the patent. If you hold a copyright and don't licence it for a penny per bit of entropy for more than a year, it's in the public domain. This would mean that when somebody invents a better lossless compression mechanism that can recode existing works smaller than before, the maximum licensing prices for them would all drop! What a delicious idea!

Perhaps sexual consent law could be handled by requiring a licence to engage in sex acts involving other people, on the basis that it might cause emotional or physical damage to others (directly or indirectly, via STDs and pregnancies). To get the licence, you need to attend a sex-education class and have periodic STD tests.

Taxes, as well as raising funds for the government, are also a way to shape the possession and transfer of property. Taxing the giving of large gifts prevents rich people nearing the end of their life (or at death) transferring vast wealth to their children, creating a dynastic class of people who have never had to work (who seem to end up with an inflated self-worth and shortage of wisdom that does not sit well with the large economic power they hold, and which they can maintain just be investing it anything other than recklessly), for instance. Taxing assets makes it less attractive to hold that asset, pushing investment into other assets. And so on. The value of taxation as a mechanism to influence social dynamics is great, but are politicians the people to be making those choices? Ideally, professional economists and sociologists should be delegated this task, with a mandate to maximise happiness.

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  • By Faré, Fri 8th Jan 2016 @ 8:42 am

    The big mistake many engineers make is to believe they as philosophers are somehow outside and above society and government is a magical tool that can mold society whichever way they want, for free.

    The one thing libertarians understand is that, no, nobody is either outside or above society, that government is not the tool of philosophers above, and not the tool of people below, but is a natural phenomenon with laws of its own, derived from its principle of unaccountable violence; and before to dream of what it "could" or "should" do, realize that not only its action isn't free (as in, it has a dear price), its action isn't free either (as in, it's constrained in what it WILL do — if it doesn't propagate its own survival through domination, it doesn't survive and is replaced by a conqueror that will do what it takes).

    See e.g. "The Calculus of Consent" by Buchanan & Tulloch on how democracy does work in practice (though with very favorable hypotheses), or "The Myth of the Rational Voter" by Caplan on how these favorable hypotheses do not even hold.

    Once you understand what government is, a lot of things change as to how you approach social engineering (if at all).

  • By alaric, Fri 8th Jan 2016 @ 12:27 pm

    I'm approaching the design of a government as a collective body to handle collective issues; I do agree that governments which become entities in their own right, whose interests may not align with the interests of the populace, then You Have A Problem.

    I've yet to see a convincing blueprint for how humanity can manage collective issues (dealing with emergencies, managing shared resources, dealing with disputes about stuff, etc) without forming some kind of forum to discuss it and agreeing to go along with the outcome of those agreements even if you don't like them - and making those agreements useful even if some people refuse to go along with them. Perhaps I am being too broad in labeling that as a "government" of sorts, and damning the whole concept by association with stagnant Western democracies...

    No, I'm not convinced my "second society" wouldn't also fall foul to the attractor of a power-hungry government propagating its own existence at all costs; I have merely tried to discourage it from going down paths I can think of that lead to that. It is my best stab at a model for a government in the traditional-nation-state sense; I would really like a few of those to be competing for citizens with each other, along with an ocean full of seasteads evolving their own forms of little micro-nation and competing with each other for citizens, and we get to see what wins out... As long as there's enough overall consensus that people should be very free to move to a different society, it should be hard for any despots to do a North Korea and lock their populace up without anybody noticing and doing something about it...

  • By Faré, Sat 9th Jan 2016 @ 6:16 am

    But that's the thing: the notional "government" that you're talking about has nothing to do with the institution of territorial monopoly of violence usually known as "government". If you define it as whichever "kind of forum to discuss it and agreeing to go along with the outcome of those agreements even if you don't like them" — then the closest common notion is market, not government.

    And yes, competition between "governing" entities via free association is the one and only force capable of preventing the otherwise non-competed entity from turning into tyranny.

    In any case, a lot of criticism against libertarianism boils down to confusion between these opposite notions, whichever names you use to denote them (society, government, market, etc.)

  • By alaric, Mon 11th Jan 2016 @ 10:45 am

    I do worry about how to stop "governing entities" from (a) absorbing each other, not necessarily through traditional military expansionism but maybe even just through all signing treaties with each other that make them interchangeable in the name of "standardising for the benefit of free trade", or through simple cultural hegemony; and (b) going North Korea and inhibiting flight of disaffected citizens!

  • By Faré, Tue 12th Jan 2016 @ 5:04 am

    (a) Indeed the Habsburg gained power through alliances and weddings (and ended up highly inbred for it). As long as citizens and landowners have an "exit" option, it doesn't matter how much the entities merge. If they don't then it's indeed guaranteed eventual doom as empires merge together and/or collapse.

    (b) All governments have already reserved the right to inhibit the flight of disaffected citizens: that's what border controls and passports are for. It's the other bad aspects of North Korea that they happily haven't copied (yet). "Citizen" control is precisely what government monopoly consists in.

    The idea that "governing entities" should NOT have a monopoly on either territory or citizens is what libertarianism is about.

  • By alaric, Wed 11th Oct 2017 @ 7:43 am

    Here's some more interesting insights into the problem of government:

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