Chapter Eleven Government
DICTIONARY.COM DEFINES GOVERNMENT AS:
The political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as:
The act or process of governing; specifically: authoritative direction or control.
All the definitions of government I could find focus on the idea of controlling the people. I could not find any definition of government that said or implied that governments had anything to do with providing common services for the people, making life better for the human race or trying to solve any problems.
Some possible societies are structured in ways that prevent them from operating unless they have bodies that meet the dictionary definition of governments. They have to have administrative systems with the ability to control the people.
Sovereignty-based societies (hundred percent ownability societies), for example, absolutely can’t function without bodies with the ability to use ‘authoritative direction or control’ on the people. Groups of people in these societies claim that they own a part of the world. After they make this claim, the entire rest of the human race is excluded from all rights to the part of the planet they have created. No country or other sovereign entity today includes more than a small minority of the human race, so these systems basically have a small minority of the human race excluding the great bulk of the human race from anything produced or contained by a part of the planet.
This kind of system can’t exist by consent of people of the world because the majority of the people have no reason to consent to renounce all rights to certain beautiful and productive parts of the world when they get nothing in return. They will not simply agree to give up rights to be nice. The people who want to keep them away have to use force against them.
The people who don’t accept the claims may decide to counter force with force. The people who make the claims must have the ability to use superior force. They must have the ability to take revenue somehow from the people inside their area of jurisdiction (perhaps as taxes),and use this revenue to pay people to build truly horrific tools of murder and destruction.
They must do these things, or this particular kind of societies (sovereignty-based societies) can’t exist. If people want these societies to exist, they must have the means to meet the dictionary definition of ‘government’ listed at the beginning of the chapter. They must be able to control people: they must be able to take wealth away from them (to tax), and to organize their societies to make the tools of control available.
Sovereignty-based societies (hundred percent ownability societies) need very extensive structures to force the majority of the people to accept the rules designed to give the minority special rights to the world.
Administration in a Mature socratic leasehold ownership Society
In the Pastland example, it is pretty easy to make decisions because there are only a small number of people. We can make all decisions in binding public elections in which everyone has a vote and every vote counts the same.
How might a larger socratic system work?
Let’s move ahead a little in our description of Pastland to see if we can get some idea.
Say that a long time has passed, and the population has grown to 100 million people. Over the centuries, many people have made requests to allow certain parts of the world to be private property. We have approved many of these requests that we, the members of the human race, thought were in the best interests of the human race.
We had no reason to approve any requests for freehold ownability of any part of the world. We, the people of the world, do not gain from freehold ownability and it locks us into something that we can’t change (freehold ownership is forever).
We allowed people to buy and own rights to use land in exchange for yearly payments set by market forces.
We wanted to make sure that the people who agreed to make these payments always made them, so we required them to essentially post a deposit that was five times the required leasehold payment by paying the ‘price’ of the leasehold. (This is like a deposit because it is returnable; if you buy a leasehold, keep it in good condition and make your payments on time, you can get back the price/deposit by selling the leasehold to someone else.)
Over the centuries, we have sold many millions of leaseholds on real estate all around the world. Every single leasehold brings us, the members of the human race, an income. This income depends entirely on the bounty of the land involved; the more bountiful the land, the more money people are willing to pay as leasehold payments to own rights to it, and the more money the human race gets. We live on a bountiful world, so we get a truly enormous income from the land.
Over the centuries, we have authorized many corporations. The first few years these corporations existed, the cash flows they produced were not free cash flows; they were earned cash flows. But later buyers of corporations were buying truly bountiful properties. They were willing to share this bounty with the human race by making leasehold payments. Again, the amount we got depended on the free cash flows the corporations produced.
You could say that there are massive rivers of wealth pouring forth from the land and corporations of the planet Earth. We have allowed private individuals to direct the course of these flows of wealth in exchange for a portion of the free money. But the great bulk of the free wealth/money flows from the land and corporations into a bank account that is owned by ‘the human race’.
It is not owned by ‘the government of the human race.’ It is not owned by any government at all. We may or may not decide to form governments. If we do, the only way governments can get any of this money is for the voters to agree to give it to them. If we don’t form governments and/or don’t agree to fund governments, there won’t be any governments with any rights to wealth anywhere on the planet.
When Frances first set up the bank account of the human race, she wanted to make sure that no government would ever have any control over this money.
No person can ever withdraw money from this account.
The money in the account can only be transferred to other accounts, and these transfer requests can only be made by the members of the human race, acting together, in general elections.
Here is how Frances set it up:
A computer keeps track of payments made into the account over the year. All people who had registered to vote would receive a certain number of votes based on ‘their share’ of this money. For a simple example, say that there are 100 million voters and a total of $1 trillion is paid into the account in a given year. Each voter will get 10,000 votes, each of which is worth $1.
You are in Pastland and so am I.
We each get 10,000 votes in our voter account, with each vote representing $1. We cannot withdraw money from the account for ourselves. But we can transfer money from this account into one of five different ‘general funds.’
These funds are:
1.The Government Discretionary Fund
2.The Infrastructure Fund
3.The Children’s Fund
4.The General Services Fund
5.The basic income fund
You are a voter. You log on to your voter page and it says you have $10,000 to allocate.
The Government Discretionary Fund
If you want a government to rule your system and want the people in the government to have the authority to allocate money any way they want, you can simply transfer all $10,000 of your share of the bounty of the world to The Government Discretionary Fund. After you do this, you are through. The government (which comes to power through some separate process that has been decided on by the people) has discretion over this money. It can do anything with the money it gets for anything that the governments of sovereign countries in sovereignty based societies (hundred percent ownability societies) can do.
If you give all of your money to The Government Discretionary Fund and all other voters make the exact same decision, all public money goes to the entity called a ‘government.’
Since the government will have all the money, it will obviously have all the power. It will be able to govern or control the people. If the rulers in the government want to use government money to set up programs that benefit themselves, their families, and their political supporters, they can do this. If they want to load planes with billions of dollars in $100 bills (as the Bush-Cheney administration did in 2011), and then fly off the planes to destinations that are unknown only for the money to disappear, they can do this. (For information about this missing money Google ‘Bush Cheney planes with $100 bills.’)
If people protest government activities, the governments can use some of the money the people granted them to build camps to hold the protesters. If too many protest to be put into camps, they can use the money to haul planeloads of people out over the ocean, drug them, and throw them into the water (as the Argentine government did between 1973 and 1983; Google ‘Argentine Dirty War’ for more information).
If you don’t want a powerful government, you can simply not give The Government Discretionary Fund any money. If you don’t give them any, and no one else does, there won’t even be a government.
You, and your fellow voters, decide if a ‘discretionary government’ will even exist. If you do want it to exist, you and your fellow voters decide exactly how much power the government will have each year it exists.
The Infrastructure Fund
If you don’t want a government, but do want infrastructure, you can allocate money to the ‘infrastructure fund.’ After the general election, the computer will show how much money is in the infrastructure fund. There will then be a secondary election where you can, if you want, allocate this money to individual projects that you favor. If you don’t want to bother with this secondary election, you can vote to put this money under the control of an elected official called ‘the administrator of The Infrastructure Fund.’
People who want to run The Infrastructure Fund will campaign on their ideas for the best way to spend infrastructure money. Some will want to prioritize highways and road systems. Some will prioritize solar power plants, power infrastructure, and automated and mechanized recycling facilities that are designed to totally eliminate ‘trash’ by separating all raw discarded materials into their raw materials, which are then sold back to producers. Others will believe that infrastructure money should be used to design and lay out master-planned communities, designed from scratch to meet the needs of the people who will live in them, with leaseholds to the land sold to developers who will actually build the infrastructure.
You don’t have to allocate any money to ‘The Infrastructure Fund’ if you don’t want to do this. If you do, you don’t have to give the elected administrator of the fund any of your share of the bounty of the Earth. If you don’t like the ideas of the current administrator of the fund, you can bypass her and fund the specific projects you want. If you want solar and the administrator wants highways, you can take whatever money you initially voted into the infrastructure fund and allocate it directly to the solar projects you prefer.
Where will the money go?
This depends on the desires of the voters.
We might expect that people running for office of administrator of this fund to do a lot of research into the desires and needs of the people. They know that if the people think they can trust them, the people will give them control of large amounts of money. If the people don’t think they can trust the elected officials, they can totally eliminate their power by totally eliminating their funding.
Over time, we would expect the people who want the job of administrator to get better and better at reading the needs and desires of the people. The better they get, the more people will simply allocate the money to the fund and then stop voting further, putting their money under the control of the administrator.
The Children’s Fund
There will be a voting age. Let’s say it is 18 years old. Only people voting age and over can vote. A certain percentage of the population will not be represented, as they will be below voting age. Let’s say that 15% of the people are below voting age.
When this system was first set up, the people had forums and elections to set up what was basically their constitution. In this case, they decided on certain foundational rules about what would happen to the unearned wealth that was paid into the account that held the leasehold payments.
They decided that this money represented the bounty of all privately controlled land. It was the part of wealth of private land that they had decided would be unowned and unownable. No one owned this wealth. They decided that the human race would determine what happened to the unowned wealth in elections. Since children would not be represented in these elections, a fund must be created that would be used only for projects that specifically benefit children.
The voters would decide what projects and services fall into this category. After the general election, they could go allocate the money to specific projects and services. Some may want healthcare; some food and support, some may want better schools, some may want more parks, playgrounds, beaches, and information sources for children. Some people may realize that adults will be getting cash payments over time (from the basic income fund,’ discussed below) and may want children to begin receiving cash allowances to help them learn responsibility with money and give them something to lose if they should violate rules or act irresponsibly.
Like ‘The Infrastructure Fund,’ The Children’s Fund will have an elected administrator. People running for this office will campaign on their abilities to figure out the needs of young people and meet these needs. We would expect candidates to work very hard to try to figure out programs that would be effective and beneficial: if they could do this, they know that the voters will trust them with the money allocated to ‘The Children’s Fund,’ and not bypass them and allocate money to specific programs. We would expect people to get better and better at this job and, in time, most voters would only vote in the primary elections, deciding how much money should benefit children.
The General Services Fund
Our current governments do a lot of things that some people think the public should pay for.
For example, some people think that society is better if certain basic healthcare services are provided by public agencies. They think that if you break an arm, you shouldn’t have to spend a year’s pay to get basic care; you should be able to go to a public clinic, get treatment, and pay either a nominal fee or nothing. They think that society is better off if a public agency works to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like influenza and HIV.
Many people believe that there should be a public program to collect garbage, to have police and courts to enforce whatever rules the people have, and to provide various other services that don’t really fall into any of the other categories. Different people want different things. Some of the projects that the governments of the world fund today seem silly to some observers. For example, in 2018, The National Science Foundation funded a study on how stressful it can be to debate politics with friends and family. A lot of people, including the authors of the report, thought this was a silly expense as the report concluded (and this is an exact quote), ‘One could argue that the most stressful thing about politics is the waste and bloat of government spending, especially researching topics such as this.’ Like the other funds, The General Services Fund will have an administrator. The people may bypass the administrator and fund specific projects if they want.
We might expect people who run for this office will have done a great deal of research into what the people want and will make sure that the money goes exactly where the people want it to go; if they do this, the people will trust them and allow them to make the decisions over what happens to money in this fund. If not, the people will simply take way all their power by taking away their funding.
The Basic Income Fund
Some people believe that each individual knows what she wants better than anyone else. They believe that roads should not be paid for with public funds; private, profit-motivated companies should have the right to build roads and charge individuals for their use. Those who want to use roads can pay for them by the mile or through an annual subscription to the road company’s products.
Some people believe in the smallest possible public sector. They believe that individuals all know what they want, and bureaucrats are horrible at figuring out what people need. They will fund only services they see as absolutely essential to the operation of society, like police and courts, and provide only the minimum needed for the operation of these services.
We live on a bountiful world. It produces enormous amounts of wealth over time. Certain people want to have the right to control various parts of the world and corporations. In the socratic system, they are given the opportunity to do this, but they have to agree to share and actually share the free money with the human race, in exchange for the benefits we give them. When they buy socratic leasehold rights, they make an agreement to share. As long as they keep this agreement, we will allow them to have documents that verify that they have our permission to control the property, and give them access to courts to litigate disputes.
The amount they agree to share with us will flow into a fund that is under the direct control of the human race. We decide what happens to this money. We can do anything we want with it. If we want, we can use it to provide common services or fund projects that benefit us all. If we can’t find enough services or projects that we think are worthwhile, we can simply divide the money among our members in cash.
Say that you are looking at the ballot and find $2,000 worth of services that you think are worth funding, so you cast 2,000 votes in the election, for services that are in the first four categories listed above. This leaves $8,000. If you simply stop spending at this point and leave the election, the computers will zero out your account for this election cycle by allocating this $8,000 to the basic income fund.
Money in this fund will be divided evenly among all (responsible) members of society. The term ‘responsible members’ will be defined as ‘people who haven’t been convicted of criminal acts punishable by fines or found liable for reparations or civil penalties by courts.’ People who are liable for fines, reparations, or civil penalties will have their incomes reduced by the required amounts and will get only the balance.
What is a Public Administration?
In different societies, the term ‘public administration’ can mean different things Sovereignty-based societies (hundred percent ownability societies) absolutely need a very specific kind of public administration. They can’t function without an administrative organization with the authority to use force against any who violate its rules. The main reason for this involves the need for taxes: sovereignty-based societies accept that everything is owned and belongs to some person or group. Nothing is left unowned and available to meet the needs of the people. The only way that these societies can have anything for public projects is to take it away from the people as taxes. Not everyone will pay voluntarily and willingly; some will have to feel that the taxing authority will take action against them before they will pay. The taxing authority must have the ability to actually act: a hollow threat isn’t going to convince anyone to pay. If there is a limit to the force—a point beyond which the taxing authority may not go—the tax evaders will simply go to that point, so the taxing authority must have no limits. It must be able to use any method necessary, up to and including arresting tax evaders, and using any level of force necessary to subdue them, including deadly force.
If an administration has the authority to use any level of force against human beings, it can use this authority to crush dissent. Quite often, people who cause problems for the people in power are claimed to be in violation of some law (if all else fails, they can always be labeled tax evaders: no real evidence is needed for this crime, only a suspicion, and it is possible to be suspicious of anyone). The government can then make attempts to arrest them. If they submit to arrest, it seems quite common for these dissidents to suffer accidents like falling down several fights of stairs while in custody, and these accidents seem to be fatal a large percentage of the time. (Mysterious diseases that kill the accused very quickly also appear to be common.) Often, the people who have made enemies of the state know that they will be arrested and they resist, which makes the solution easy: they can be killed ‘fleeing the police’ or ‘resisting arrest.’
An administration with the ability to take these kinds of measures becomes more than an administration, it becomes the kind of body we call a ‘government.’ A government governs people; it controls people, it enforces the will of the leaders against the people. Having elections over relatively unimportant matters, like the identities of the specific individuals (who have always been vetted in advanced in ways that make sure that both candidates are acceptable to the political establishment) doesn’t change this. If the people can’t vote on foundational issues, the systems aren’t really under the control of the people. For example, the United States is often held up as a model for democracy. But the Constitution of the United States has never been put to a vote by the people. Would the people approve? Consider that the constructive incentives start out by dividing the populace into four categories. The first of these categories is ‘free persons.’ The other three are non-free persons.
What if the Constitution had been put up for a vote? How do you think the 80% of the people who the Constitution classified as ‘non-free’ would have voted?
What if the people of a ‘democratic country’ like America decided they didn’t like the idea of being a part of a ‘country’ and wanted to be a part of the human race, working with other people all around the world to make life better for us all? Would they have the right to make this happen by a simple vote? Or would they find that the basic structures of their societies were made not to be changed? They may be able to vote on certain things, like which of two people (both of whom have been carefully vetted in advance and both of whom have promised and continue to promise to respect the foundational laws) get into certain offices. But they won’t be able to vote on anything important.
By practical necessity, the group that administers people in sovereignty-based societies must have the ability to govern the people: it must have the ability to control them and force them to follow any rules the government makes, without ever having to ask what the people want.
In these systems, governments are not optional. They are mandatory. They must have governments. We were all born in and raised in sovereignty-based societies. We may not really understand why they do the things they do, but we have been in them from birth and seen the way they operate for our entire lives. We are so used to having all public affairs administered by governments that it is hard for most of us to even imagine a society with any other kind of public administration.
But history tells us that other societies have existed. Some of these other societies operated differently and neither had nor needed a body with the authority to govern or control the people. They did not need or have bodies with the authority to create policies that the majority don’t want and put them into place. Natural law societies, by their very nature, are ‘majority rule’ societies. No one owns the land, so no one owns the food and other wealth it produces.
The people must have some sort of meeting and election to determine what happens to this wealth. If the wealth goes where the majority says it goes, there is no effective way for any minority to control the group, to govern them, or to force them to do what they want the group to do. If a minority tries to use force to get the majority to accept certain rules the majority doesn’t want, the majority can simply exclude the rule Nazis from food distribution. They will either reform and accept the will of the majority or starve to death.
We know that societies with different administrative systems are possible because they have existed.
Socratic leasehold ownership systems are hybrid systems, with some elements of natural law societies and some elements of societies that accept sovereign ownability. Like natural law societies, socratic systems are inherently democratic, because the people control the wealth. The ones who control the wealth control society.
In socratic leasehold ownership systems we, the people of the human race, control the wealth so we, the people, determine what happens in society. What do ‘we the people of the human race’ want?
This question can’t be answered because the human race has never been in a position to figure it out. What if we want peace, a harmonious and sustainable relationship with the planet we live on, and a high level of personal and social responsibility? What if we want our planet and machines made by people to produce more and more wealth for the benefit of the human race, until we have our physical needs met and can concentrate on solving great mysteries and figuring out the meaning of life? If we want this, we can have it.
The Example Society
Humans are very capable beings. We are the only beings on Earth with the power of intellect: we can decide what to think about and organize our thoughts intentionally. We can, if we want, think about different ways to organize the key realities of our existence. We can think about the type of society that was in place when we were born and figure out how it works. We can figure out what other societies have existed in the past and work out the way they operated. We can use this information to build a scientific understanding of human societies and figure out other societies that are possible—that could exist if we wanted them to exist—and figure out how all of the possible societies operate.
The last four chapters went over an example society, from within the range of possible societies.
I have four important reasons for discussing the example society.
The first is to show you that it is possible to build societies on something other than guesses or beliefs about the intentions of invisible spirit beings. Humans have the power of intellect.
So far, we don’t seem confident enough in this ability to use it to analyze the nature of existence, the reasons that we might be here, the different ways we can interact with the world and each other, and the different kinds of societies that we can have.
We have used our intellects mainly to help us respond to the incentives that our destructive societies create. These societies push us to make war. We use our intellect to build ever-better tools of murder and destruction. We can build fighter-bombers that can fly faster than the speed of sound and send a cruise missile that flies even faster at treetop levels to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of destroying a city down into a vent hole the size of a chimney. We have used our intellect to build warships that are floating cities, complete with their own airports, and to build submarines that can stay submerged for months on end, each of which is equipped with enough bombs to destroy the planet many times over.
We have not used our intellects to understand the different modes of existence the human race can have, and the way our world would work if we chose other options.
The first goal of the ‘example society discussions’ is to provide evidence that this kind of analysis is worthwhile. It is time for us to use our great intellects for something other than finding new and better ways to kill each other.
The second goal is to show you that non-destructive societies don’t have to be primitive. We don’t have to go back to living in grass huts and planting crops with sticks in order to have healthy, sound, and sustainable societies.
It is true that natural law societies are inherently non-destructive and sustainable. But they are not the only kinds of societies that fall into this category. If we understand that there is a reason for the sustainability of natural law societies and find the features of natural law societies that are responsible, we can incorporate these features into societies that have very advanced features.
On some level, we should all realize that it is possible to live in peace with each other and in harmony with the world around us. People once did this. But the people who did this had societies that did not have many of the structures and tools that we have come to take so much for granted that we would not want to live without them. The second goal of the discussions of the example society is to show you that we don’t have to give up electricity, steel, comfortable heated buildings, cars, televisions, and other luxuries that have come to be necessities, to have a healthy society.
The third goal leads into the discussions of the next chapter.
Let’s say that I have convinced some people that it is possible for humans to organize their existence in non-destructive ways. Many people will say that this information is totally useless, because any society organized in non-destructive ways will be so different from the societies that we were born into that we would never be able to convert to that society.
I wanted to give an example to show you that this is simply not true.
The example society is, at least superficially, very similar to the societies that we have now. It has all of the things we need and are used to, including money, banks and lending institutions, private property, corporations, jobs, materials needed for roads, bridges, buildings, and utilities capable of meeting the needs of billions of people.
I want you to realize that it is totally realistic to accept that we would not have to go through a traumatic change in our modes of existence in order to move from the highly destructive and dangerous societies that were in place when we were born to sound, logical, sustainable, and peaceful societies.
If you were somehow transported to a world with a socratic leasehold ownership system, at the same level of technological advancement as the current Earth, you would be able to adjust easily. The other system would have restaurants, apartments available to rent, paying jobs, and other structures you are used to. The details of this society would be so similar to the societies we have now that you would hardly notice any difference, at least when dealing with things that are important in our day to day lives. But the foundational structures, including the idea of sovereign countries (which wouldn’t exist) or administrative bodies with the authority to ‘govern’ the people, or the flows of wealth from the land would be entirely different.
If we are considering converting to a different type of society, we will find this much easier to do if we choose to convert to a society that is as similar to the society that we start with as possible. A socratic leasehold ownership system is, at least superficially, very, very similar to the sovereignty-based societies (hundred percent ownability societies) that we were born into.
The third reason to go over the example society in such detail is to show you that we don’t have to change everything about the societies that we have now to have sane, logical, sustainable, peaceful, and otherwise healthy societies. If the problems are in the foundation, we only have to fix the foundation; we can leave the details as they are.
The fourth reason for the example society is to help you understand the discussions that follow shortly and explain how to convert from sovereignty-based societies (hundred percent ownability societies) to socratic leasehold ownership systems, if we should choose to do this.