Rebooting Democracy

My ideal governmental structure has the balance and flexibility provided by three branches, the administrative, council and judicial. However the current forms have been so compromised that we need to reboot the system. For familiarity I suggest an accommodation of using those forms modified by enlightened intent.

I propose a multi-layer structure roughly akin to that with which I’m familiar but with some profound differences. The first level of government would be local. They would oversee physical centers of commerce and communication and the areas around those. Think of them as counties. The next level up would be collections of local governments with common geographical similarities roughly analogous to states. The hierarchical organization just below world government would be the equivalent of our contemporary nations.

That is basically what we have presently in my home in the US. Here’s the departure. It has to do with the funding and purpose of governments. Each level of government will deal with issues vital and unique to the scope of their overview of society. Health, education, land use, conservation, small disaster relief and local communications will probably be the foci of local governments. Higher levels of government will coordinate those tasks that uniquely require organization and communication among their representatives. Even that sounds pretty normal. However things start changing once we factor in the idea that government can’t go into debt and that individual citizens have a real influence over their government’s programs by voting with their tax dollars.

Local council members would be elected by popular vote. They would be people known to have both a clear vision of the needs of their corner of civilization and skilled administrative capacities. The local administration and the representatives to the next level of government would then be elected from among that council by membership vote. People who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses from working together are best judges of talent.

The council’s job will include presenting a budget to the electorate for the following year’s anticipated expenses for needed programs. There are two huge elements of this plan that I’ll address more fully in other posts. First, stewardship replaces ownership in social values. Second, every family unit has the right to a non-taxable home site. That means that anyone is free to retire from the larger society and create his or her own version of reality in microcosm. This provides the opportunity for very tiny social experiments. They will be the hotbeds of unanticipated creations required in a dynamic society and a practical guarantee of personal liberty.

When we opt to use the social convenience of money in our exchanges things change. Every time money changes hands a 10% tax is owed to the local government. To ensure participatory direction of government by its members the taxpayer would vote on the proposed budget by putting 90% their tax money into the specific budgetary allocations of their choice. Once a program is funded it is closed for that fiscal year. In that way budgets need to be simple enough that people understand them and endorse the parts they like with their tax monies. The remaining 10% of the local taxpayer’s annual payment is taken by the council elected representatives to the next level of government where they will act on behalf of their voter/taxpayers.

So the hierarchy is this. Local inhabitants vote for their councils who propose courses of action that affect them (budgets). The results are administered by the best of those elected representatives. Citizens directly ratify the guidance of their local representatives by paying for them in taxes. The local level officials choose representatives and send them with their 10% tithe of the local taxes to the state level and so on to the world level. It is a trickle up theory of government.

Government is not designed in this vision to make laws as much as to support the structure of civilization by creation of valuable social programs and alleviating stresses before they become overwhelming. The amount of Love in a society is inversely proportional to the number of Laws. There won’t need to be many. In a world where the Golden Rule is a practiced some judicial system will still be needed to help resolve disputes. It has to be simple enough that the average person can comprehend it and use it when necessary. It has to be flexible enough to accommodate the unique differences in each case and arrive at a consensus of truth and fairness.

Then there is one last crucial element. Total transparency at any level of government is vital. No secrets will be allowed in matters of public trust.

I should like to add that this concept is not intended for the world at present although it may be valuable sooner that you might imagine. To succeed it will require open hearts and sovereign human beings.