Modest Proposal Lite

If living without any kind of authority is too radical, here’s a compromise.

We can dump representative democracy today

  1. Between smart phones, smart TVs and computers, we are online pretty much 24/7.

  2. Marrying government servers to online rating systems like polls, Digg or Reddit is a matter of a couple of months.

  3. After which anyone can submit a proposal and vote on any proposal by others. Directly.

The most marvelous thing is that infrastructure is already in place. There are neither billions to invest nor years to wait. If “Occupy [something]” guys or Ron Paul ever mentioned this, that would be the breaking news of the millennium.

Critique welcome, as usual.

6 comments to Modest Proposal Lite

  • twisted titan

    Those who vote decide nothing

    Those who count the votes decide everything

  • Prudentis

    Mustafa you have some good ideas. I hate to only critisize you sice it is kind of stupid of me, because I don’t have real alternatives yet.
    Though direct democracy sounds better than representative democracy, it is not the voting I have a problem with the most. It is WHAT can be voted upon.
    After all, a bar brawl is also resolved democratically, since the majority wins :)
    OK, the means are violence and this is the first thing we need to address.
    There are other things and they form a framework. Your constitution was a really good basis. (as YOUR american constitution because I come from germany)
    You need a framework of easily agreeable rules for a sociaty to work.
    Nonviolence, private property, inviolability of human dignity are some of the core things without which no modern sociaty can work. And sadly, your (and Stefan Molyneux’) anarchistic proposals, although being very good in their core, don’t address the problem of enforcing those basic framework. It all sounds like wishing very strongly and hoping it would work. In that case, Marx was the same. Socializm is per e not a bad idea. It just has no chance of working in practice.
    After all there will always be forces willing to sacrifice the individual rights of others to gain a significant benefit for themselves. Individuals willing to accept others’ individual rights are the ones who must be protected.
    It doesn’t help if teh MAJORITY is willing to submit freely to a certain standard. It is the MINORITIES who gain significant power through subversiv and malicious work inside the given system, who destroy it from within. Kommunism, Socialism just seem to be two of the worst systems in regard to malicious individuals might to abuse them. Capitalism and democracy are a bit more resistant and direct democracy (see Switzerland) is yet a step further in the right direction. So yes, I agree with you here but on the other hand you need to think about your stance on removing the legislative, judiciary and executive forces as a whole without proposing some working alternative.

    Please keep up the work. Humanity needs outside-of-the box thinkers but don’t let yourself be caught up in the same trap Marx found himself in having had a seamingly great alternative but not recognizing the weak points in it.

  • Prudentis

    But in short … I would support an idea of open, internet voting very strongly.
    We would have to address the problems of security and falsifying the results … But, yea, I am sold!

  • Lucid

    Could such a system be prevented from its own version of spam? This would just return us to the problem of those in the know knowing how to impliment their own agendas. Vote rigging already can occur and the ballot system is supposed to be infinitely more reliable than the internet.
    The core of the idea is sound but the details are not going to comply.

  • Citizen Doctor

    I like your ideas, Mustafa. I’ve been thinking along the same lines for years except without government in the loop. There is much that could be accomplished using a decentralized network that facilitates direct action.

    On such a network, anyone could initiate a proposed action and send it to all of their contacts. Each contact would then decide whether to endorse the action by forwarding it on to their own contacts. Actions could be anything from boycotting a corporation, voting for a political candidate, donating money to a cause, meeting somewhere for any purpose, etc. There would be a mechanism to gauge the popularity of proposed actions, so that only the ones with strong support would gain global visibility and further support. An automatic time decay would filter out actions that fail to win widespread support quickly, thus minimizing spam. I started working on this project several years ago, but couldn’t find anyone interested in helping me develop and test it.

    Last year, I noticed that Max Keiser had realized the tremendous potential of (voluntary) collective action and had done all the work to identify the best target of a corporate boycott, namely the Coca Cola Corp. They perpetrate abuses overseas and their product is damaging to health. They are especially vulnerable to a boycott, and success would be easily measurable by a falling stock price. Success with Coke would be most important as a demonstration of the effectiveness of collective action. There is no way to stop it. It is not illegal. A message would be sent to all corporations that “consumers” are people with collective power.

    But the sad fact is that people just don’t care enough to even to give up a particular soft drink. Not only would it not cost them anything, or put them at any risk, but it might actually improve their health. If they can’t do without a soft drink, they could just switch to Pepsi, but they aren’t even willing to do that. Not enough of them.

    How hard would it be to send a message to the banks by closing all accounts with one of them, say Bank of America? This is the only language that the corporate predators and parasites understand. Shouting in the street does little more than entertain them.

    In the end, no clever strategy and no enabling technology matters if the people are so dumbed down and complacent that they will fail to make even a small gesture on their own behalf, even when the opportunity to do so is presented to them on a silver platter — referring to the campaign to buy physical silver to break the banksters’ control over precious metals and by extension the entire monetary system and hence all of society. This initiative of Max Keiser’s grew out of the ineffective Coke boycott campaign, and seemed to have much greater potential. But almost a year later, although many of us have been stacking, our combined impact has not yet made much of a dent in the fraudulent futures markets. There just aren’t enough of us yet.

    Maybe now that more people are losing their jobs and homes, they will be more open to the power of decentralized voluntary collective action.

  • […] Proposal Lite, v.2.0 By Mustafa Cohen, on October 11th, 2011 The first comment by Twisted Titan to the first version of Modest Proposal was the last nail in the coffin of that […]

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