This is the 2nd version of Libracracy: a utopian manifesto that pays people to learn and decide in the future.
By Daniel J. Neumann
I believe we can create a virtual currency, continuously adjusted for inflation and deflation, based on alternative, unlimited energy sources such as the sun, wind, water, and the Earth’s core. We can have a direct-democracy of educated citizenry. Students would be paid to learn, and later paid to vote on issues in their field of expertise. This form of government would provide the best education as a positive human right. I juxtaposed “libra-” and “-cracy” together because the former means library in Latin and the latter denotes a form of governance. “Libracracy” also intentionally sounds like “liberal” or “libertarian,” as this true democracy would decentralize all power to the educated citizens, as each individual would be a state, with personal legal codes.
The world conflicts due to patronage—the modernist thought that we are better than them. The world used up the resources of colonialism, though we cling to sweat shops. A lot of the world thinks it has democracy, when it does not in the greatest sense. Libertarians hate socialism because it normally entails big (and, thus, corruptible) government. Socialists want the government to regulate big industry’s abuses. The world isn’t fair, and maybe it isn’t meant to be. But let’s try something better:
Karl Marx cursed the symptoms of the problem: money, religion, or governments themselves.
We need money to make trade possible. How many oranges equate to a cow?
We crave spirituality. Burn down every church. See what happens. A new religion will breed out of hate instead of love.
We necessitate regulatory entities. Start a total anarchy. You will certainly cry alone with your possessions stolen, your child raped, your humanity humiliated and discarded. Pure lawlessness is chaos.
Lord John Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” The idea of power shames us into this madly suicidal creature which fails to slit a vital artery at every attempt (instead bruising the mass of capillaries) with indifferent fingertips and a mind that fancies itself a winner. The human race has such a low self-esteem that it commits self-injury! The mass of mankind, pitifully poor, indebt themselves to the handful of super-rich because they assume there is no alternative.
To become a citizen, you must pass a citizenship examination. The free-education system would prepare each student in all affairs of politics, science, math, and art. At the conclusion of the education process, students must satisfactorily prove their knowledge, elect which field of interests they will vote on, and will be asked to detail the rationale behind their law code.
1st generation, negative, or Libertarian human rights are life, liberty, and happiness (like the American Declaration of Independence). These are the most prioritized, most protected rights. 2nd generation, positive, or Marxist human rights are education, health, and justice. Least important of all are 3rd generation, ethnic, or group human rights (preserving dialects, art, and sovereignty of cultures). 3rd generation rights protect minorities from oppression by the majority (as long as the minority isn’t disrupting 1st or 2nd generation human rights). The courts and the majority of citizens interpret a proper balance of these rights.
Each citizen (an American who passed the test, regardless of age) writes (and may manipulate at any time) their own legal code to be referenced in the case of a suit against another individual. John A.C. Cooley, in Dear Madman, wrote a gripping narrative with libertarian law. For example, George may write in his legal code that murder is not a crime. Frederick may disagree with George, writing in his law code that murder is punishable by death. If George kills Frederick, then George dies by lethal injection. If Frederick kills George, then Frederick goes scot-free. The individual assigns value to his(/her) possessions, including his body. If Harold believes anyone who steals more than $500.00 from him should have their arm amputated, on the other hand, his legal code thesis must be explained at the conclusion of his examination. The Examination Results Analyst (a human mentor/career-teacher, or elected) would most likely reject the reasonability of Harold’s law code, sending him back to school. The government posts all successful law codes on a website.
What if the government became judicial, with three courts: Legal, Industrial, and Intra-judicial? Citizens elect each judge after two years of service. A petition, raised by any citizen, may expedite this process.
Legal Courts would merge criminal and civil cases together, as individuals would sue any other who infringed one of their human rights, which are the right to life, liberty, happiness, education, health, and justice in the manner laid out in individual legal codes. The idea of libertarian law destroys drug offense, espionage, or any other crimes against the state. In a sense, each person becomes a part of a confederacy, with a constitution that protects 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation human rights.
The Industrial Court would ensure the maintenance of laizefare competition by enacting Anti-Trust investigations. A set of rules would break up monopoly and oligopoly ownership. It could also form conglomerates under emergency situations, as long as every two years the people vote to approve its necessity (such as building an Orbital Solar Gatherer may require a temporary coalition of companies).
Intra-judicial Courts oversee the Industrial and Legal court systems, guaranteeing no corruption, private coercion, or misinterpretation of the New Constitution. It also has petition power to raise an election over socio-economic justice or cultural sovereignty.
The media—if the Industrial Court does its job—could serve as redundant oversight, as well as supervision of the Intra-judicial courts. Mostly, though, the media acts as redundant education in the event that the free-education program omits any newsworthy material.
We are the most highly educated, but grossly misinformed, generation to ever exist (because there’s so many of us). Technology allows for a majority Plato never imagined—where Horticulture Majors vote on agriculture issues and Political Science Majors vote on foreign policy. We could skip the middle-man, the broker, the “representatives” of decision-making. Imagine your blackberry ringing, asking you to decide whether or not we should approve the Stimulus Plan.
The reason for our anguish, contempt, and yet apathy for this system we accept stares us in the face every day, making us swallow the fear out of reality: The government has the tools of destruction. They write your laws, saying what you can or cannot do. If you do not play by their rules, they can kill you. They have the military and the police. Meanwhile, those who care for you (privatized health care) only care about the bottom line. The government, for example, stole from our social security funds to finance a war that the majority of America did not agree with. Insurance companies, for example, used lobbyists (and Article-527 loopholes) to convince Congress to pass laws condensing coverage for mental health. No wonder we’re so ass-backwards! Our plutocratic, illusionary system compares to the proverbial lead in Roman water. Money votes in our world.
If we had a true, living democracy, the government could change at the speed of light—much like Game Theory with a majority consensus. Referendum petitions, human rights, and citizenship cannot ever be taken away (making a negative republic, as certain laws cannot be changed). If the public believes in socialism or capitalism, let them have it until it no longer works. Is the country in debt? Allow the people to decide whether to increase net tax (and I’m sure they would tax consumption or wealth versus income) or decrease net spending (on Industrial Court expenditures first, surely). Does the country have a surplus? Allow the people to decide whether they should be granted a bonus (like a middle-class stimulus) or to increase spending (like on infrastructure). Do we have a booming labor force that does not have the time to vote? Allow them to defer responsibility to the rest of Libracracy that chooses to earn political credit.
I propose the public education system (including higher education) be made free as a human right. Furthermore, I believe students should be paid for learning. After all, isn’t school hard work? Aren’t students learning to better society (especially in a true democracy, where they vote on issues)? Automation and out-sourcing of labor bleeds our economy. How will people make money in the future? Private education may opt out of this education credit, and, if they’re worth it, will make up for this by providing a better service (perhaps as specialty, technical or physical-service schools). If the private sector cannot compete with the government’s free-education (which pays you for achieving high grades), then they must go extinct (as in Darwinism).
Recall that once students pass their citizenship examinations, they choose which fields of expertise to vote on. Tax money may compensate for this service (just as our senators, representatives, and executives are). Political credit and education credit complement each other. You would earn income by learning, until you earn citizenship, where you’ll use that knowledge to vote, earning more income. Libracracy reimburses each citizen for their political credit and education credit with trade credit at a feasible exchange rate. This system incentivizes intelligent, political involvement, creating intellectual labor.
Where will all this money come from? On one hand, we can wait until the world economy falls apart. As currency isn’t backed on anything but credit (Nixon ditched the Gold Standard), the majority of nations can agree to start over. If some countries have all the wealth by then (such as China, for example), they would want a deal reflecting their advantage. We could ignore this wealthy minority, with a blank-slate mentality and isolate them—but that could easily provoke a war. On the other hand, we may hyper-inflate the dollar by paying off our debt and then create an energy-backed currency. Andrew Pulaski, a close friend of mine, inspired this idea. If nations anchored their new credit system to match kilowatt-hours (or kilojoules) production, then I suspect both the wealthiest and poorest nations would opt in. As fossil fuels destroy the environment and cannot last forever, I intend for alternative energy sources like solar, geo-thermal, hydro, and wind to generate this electricity—which opens the floodgate to endless money, since the sun never sleeps. The United States (or United Nations) must then distribute technological aid to developing countries to elevate their economies, while also avoiding greenhouse gas emissions to aid the global system. The abundance of wealth would transform money into something liberating, a medium which allows the individual to choose resources. Endless money would flow to the majority. It would be adjusted like capitalism’s supply and demand through a comptroller. In World War II, the country activated a resource-based economy because they didn’t have the funds to finance the war. Our monetary-system artificially magnifies scarcity. Jacque Fresco, in his Venus Project, intended to do away with money and distribute resources evenly. Money allows people to choose between resources, instead of the state standardizing rations. No longer would people borrow money on interest, but earn it through education, activism, labor, or simply given through welfare. Common interest can redefine self-interest in a spectacular way.
Pure capitalism is basically financial anarchy. Everybody competes. But, like in history, power tends to consolidate, centralize, and pacify competition, like in Feudalism. Corporations and governments are like the nobility and kings—everyone else is a peasant. The Industrial Court may break up ownership into competing parts. Freedom and regulation seem mutually exclusive, but they complement each other in the correct, decentralized proportions. Think about tying your shoes. You pull your laces taught to tighten your shoe’s fit, right? You also pull your laces taught to get enough string to tie a secure knot. One effect reinforces the other—like capitalism and socialism. Contradictory ideas merge when we cease to see paradoxes as unsolvable puzzles but challenges of compatibility.
When Germany’s economy hyper-inflated (after World War I), they democratically voted Hitler into power. Let’s not make the same mistake twice. We can fracture power into even parts, making it relatively mutual. Eric Leonard, a professor at Shippensburg University, taught me social constructivism. It means we create this world, and it constantly changes. Let’s choose to make a better world. Isn’t that what the founding fathers of the U.S. Constitution wanted? I’m sure they didn’t dream of our technologic capabilities.
All three credit systems (trade, education, and political) will be universal, virtual, and immune to inflation. Digits on a screen do not devalue—and even if they did, it would merely be adding zeros, which can be fixed by an adjustment at intervals or scientific notation. Digits go across borders. Digits cannot be embezzled (solving terrorist financing), as all transactions would be recorded on a centralized grid. Oversight of such a system will be a challenge to Libracracy, as the temptation for corruption overwhelms the imagination. I’d suggest a super-computer, an elected (rapid term) team of officials, and/or a direct-democratic process adjusts and monitors money. Even if we didn’t base electronic currency on energy production, digital credit could still cure a large portion of our Global Recession—defeating currency exchange rates, counterfeiting, printing/transportation costs, and the need for entities like the World Trade Organization.
We could sell our gold to China and India. Let them base their currency on bullion. Adopt a flat wealth or fair consumption tax, consolidate redundant agencies like Homeland Security, decrease all but essential government spending, sell debt bonds, withdraw from the Middle East, tax hemp (it would half the prison population, add a new source of revenue, and create a paper and ethanol industry), build alternative energy plants (to decrease energy bills and global warming’s impact), and the list goes on. With our debt, we’ll still need to hyper-inflate the economy to pay it back. But America will not stand for an endless debt. We will not become the slaves of Banks, China, or Japan.
This idea may start with Libracratic schools. Citizens could activate the Judicial Courts after an American majority forms, and that is when they could initiate the three-tier digital credit-system based on energy. This would take generations of hard work, but Libracratic activists may act as a third party in America: for small government and small business, for job creation and ending prohibition, for consumption or wealth tax.
While Libracracy may choose whatever avenue seems most practical, here are some possibilities that make sense: Privatize law enforcement and the postal service. Nationalize health care and education. Keep a Provisional Government (PG), with their law enforcement and military force, to secure non-citizen Americans. Annually, citizens vote to continue funding the PG of non-citizens, manipulate their laws, and adjust their taxation, unless the PG supports itself. Eventually, the privatized police companies will better protect us, improve incarceration, and, (if we vote them to), temporarily merge forces for national security.
Elections will happen every day. They are text-messaged or e-mailed to you. Whenever a question needs to be answered, the inquiry goes to an “expertise committee,” comprised of all citizens who majored in that field (or are affected by it). As a Journalism Major/biology minor, Frank may check mark the box that reads, “Press,” “Science Ethics,” and “Economy.” Although Frank seems justified with his first two specialties to vote on, “Economy” seems far-fetched to the Examination Results Analyst (ERA), so the ERA asks Frank to complete another exam based solely on economics. If Frank passes that test as well, he may vote on these issues. ERAs could be life-long human teachers/mentors, or appointed by an election.
All citizens elect Judges and Spokespeople. They volunteer through a petition process (like Facebook). Spokespeople act as leaders or ambassadors, but hold no enforceable power. The economic spokesperson may suggest his constituency to vote in one way, but his sway depends on his powers of persuasion. The foreign relations spokesperson acts as a diplomat, holding no more power than the words that citizens vote on. They could be compensated with a reasonable wage (citizens would vote on that too).
So the government will still tax you, but you get to decide how much. The government will educate you, but so will the media. Capitalism accepted poverty, but Libracracy will institute as much welfare as we want it to. Before the advent of technology, we used governments to maintain order in a civilization. Governments used violence to protect us from others, but corruption perverted this privilege into oppression. Wars generated money, but who got rich and who got shot?
With instant communication, infinite capacity, and universal accessibility to the internet, we could produce an intelligent coalition of decision-makers. We could prove Plato wrong. True macro-democracy may materialize in a technologically advanced society, utilizing the best of socialism (healthcare, justice, and education) and capitalism (competition benefiting the consumer), yet erasing military, legislative, and executive branches on demand.