Society 2 (by )

  • A statutory corporation known as Parliament exists in order to do whatever is required to uphold the Constitution. This section is its charter.
  • Parliament consists of a number of people who are Members of Parliament. Membership of Parliament is granted through a number of licences.
  • There are one hundred elected regional members of parliament, each covering roughly the same fraction of the population. Periodically, electoral boundaries are re-computed by some published algorithm that takes population density per square kilometer across the entire territory, and finds a set of one hundred points such that a Voroni diagram made from those points has approximately equal population in each region; those regions are then the electoral wards. There are no fixed election dates; every citizen gets to vote whenever they want, overwriting their previous vote. The standing candidate with the most votes from citizens living in each ward is currently the representative for that ward. If you've never voted before, or your vote is for somebody who's not currently a standing candidate, then your vote doesn't count. To avoid "flapping" when the vote is close, some measure of hysterisis is needed; if you've just become the representative, then you're immune from ousting for a month.
  • There are also one hundred ordinary citizens, picked at random, for six-month terms. They are paid by Parliament twice what they were being paid when selected, or the average national income if that's more. It's possible to refuse your selection if you can't be spared, either professionally or for a personal commitment (caring for dependents, etc); in case of dispute, this can be examined in court. They are chosen at random from the entire population, with each seat assigned its own date of changeover, staggered through the year. A seat may be made vacant if the holder dies/becomes ill/pleads for leave for personal reasons, at which point a new holder is given the seat; normally one is picked a year in advance of the need for a holder being anticipated so there are a hundred "in the queue", but the person at the head of the queue may be given their seat early if a seat is vacated unexpectedly.
  • There are up to one hundred advisory members of parliament, appointed by Parliament. Advisors remain so for life, unless they die or their licence is revoked by Parliament.
  • Parliament's function is to decide upon actions to be performed. Parliament maintains a public register of Acts.
  • An Act is either a modification to the law, a modification to the constitution, an instruction to a statutory corporation, a decision to use Parliamentary property, or the appointment/firing of an advisory member of Parliament.
  • An Act is either Proposed, Rejected, or Approved. Every Act carries with it a document explaining the rationale for its proposal, as well as a timestamped history of changes to the Act, each with a recording of the discussion that led to that change.
  • An Act of modification to the Law is represented by a set of textual changes to the Law document itself, in the form of paragraphs to remove, add, or modify. If approved, those changes are made to the Law.
  • An Act of modification to the constitution is the same as a modification to the Law, except that the document modified is the Constitution; but if it is accepted by Parliament, then the changes are not made immediately, but `instead Parliament must organise a referendum (a secret ballot of all citizens). Only if a two-thirds majority approve the change is it actually made to the Constitution.
  • An Act of instruction is represented by the name of the statutory corporation to issue the instruction to, and the text of the instruction. Each statutory corporation's charter lists a number of Parliamentary Instructions it accepts and how it reacts to them. If the Act is approved, that instruction is sent to that corporation.
  • An Act of Property is represented as a description of property (for example, an amount of money) owned by Parliament, and the use to which the property should be put (generally, to purchase something). If the Act is approved, then Parliament as an entity uses the property in the specified manner.
  • And Act of appointment or firing of an advisor names the person to appoint or fire. If an Act of Appointment is accepted and the person agrees, then they are licenced as an Advisory Member of Parliament. If an Act of Firing is accepted, then their licence is revoked.
  • Members of Parliament may submit new Proposed Acts to the register for consideration.
  • Parliament must provide a means for Members to meet, communicate, and vote.
  • Parliament must provide a means for the secure storage of the register of Acts, making it visible to all entities who wish to see it, providing Members with the means to submit new proposed Acts, and for Parliament to update the Acts in the register when they are accepted or rejected.
  • Parliament is in session for specified days of the year (DETAIL: Come up with some schedule).
  • In session, Parliament discusses to decide which Proposed Act to consider next. There is then discussion about that Proposed Act. This continues until a member declares a vote to accept it. Each member present can then vote to accept, reject, or defer. If the majority vote is to defer, then the Act remains Proposed and a new Proposed Act is chosen for discussion (which might be the same one again). If the Act is accepted, then the necessary action is taken immediately, and a new Proposed Act chosen for discussion. If the Act is rejected, then a new Proposed Act is chosen for discussion.
  • When the session day ends, the currently-discussed Act, if there is one, is automatically deferred.
  • Parliament must support all statutory corporations, ensuring they have the resources necessary to fulfill their charters.
  • Parliament may obtain property through taxing persons and regular corporations. The means of doing this are to be specified in the Law.
  • Parliament may obtain property through selling bonds to entities. A bond has a description of the property paid for it, a yield timestamp, and a description of a bonus property. A bond is property that may be traded between entities. At or after the time specified in the yield timestamp, the currently owning entity may return the bond to Parliament, receiving the described payment property and the bonus property in return. Parliament may not sell bonds when the total value of purchase and bonus properties of unreturned bonds exceeds the amount of property expected to be received through taxation within the next month.

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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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