Thoughts and Things

This is my blog for random thoughts on the events in my daily life.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Following up thoughts on Distributed Politics

Distributed Politics - A Local Global System, based on the people you know.

This paper is intended to explore the idea of an alternative, internet based, electoral and political system.

Currently the governing system is made up of a number of people, who propose and debated policies in a house of representatives. These representatives are elected, and are supposed to representing the rights and wishes of their constituents. They are often affiliated with a party of people that are intended to have similar views on a variety of topics. With the increasingly complex and busy world we live in, there has been a decrease in the discussion of policy and an increase in the focus on the personal characteristics of the party leaders.

To improve the transparency of the system and increase populist engagement, it is proposed to introduce a system of Distributed Politics, which this paper aims to explore.

Voting is completed through a web-portal, which can be accessed at home, or in publicly available internet accessible spaces (i.e. libraries). A person can vote over a longer period of time on any proposed policies/projects that are applicable to their local. This includes; block, neighbourhood, city, region, province, country, continental, or global. Policies remain unimplemented until they receive a minimum number of votes (for, against, or neutral).
The number of votes required is related to the area and population affected. Typically political boundaries remain static (with a border changing only when both sides vote to change it).

A block is defined as a geographical unit with approximately 150 persons living in it. Blocks can have a population of +/- 75 people without having to change their boundaries. If the population of a block hit’s 225, then the block is split in half, creating new blocks of 112 and 113 people.

Each block will elect (majority) a block representative, who will partake in neighbourhood debates, and will vote on the neighbourhood representative (transparently). Each neighbourhood representative will participate in citywide debates, and will participate in the election of a city leader, and so on. Policy is still passed through the vote of individuals, but is debated through the representative, or, if the representative feels that an individual that they represent can better present the case for or against the policy in question, than the representative can defer their debating privileges to that individual. To pass a policy, it must be voted on by at least %5 of the population in question.

Each leader will hold “town hall” meetings on a monthly basis, both digitally and physically to present new policies, voting results, solicit comment, host debates, etc.
Each block representative will be given 1/3rd of their time, at their existing salary, to conduct the affairs of the block.
Each neighbourhood representative will be paid a salary equivalent to the mean + 25% of the income of their neighbourhood, and the position will be full-time.
Each city representative will be paid a salary equivalent to the %95 student-t distribution of their city.
Each provincial representative will be paid a salary equivalent to the top paid city representative + 5%.
Each country representative will be paid a salary equivalent to the top paid provincial representative + 5%.
etc.
No person can represent two positions, and the terms are a minimum of 1 year at the block level, or 2 years for levels representing larger populations. Elections are held annually at the block level, with the incumbent representative gaining 1.25 votes for every vote they receive.

Anyone can present a policy for review by their block representative, who will spend part of their time helping to improve the presentation of these policies, and part of their time crafting their own policies for presentation to the neighbourhood representative.

Regarding which types of policy get’s handled at which level, this is determined through discussing the effects of the policy, as well as assessing the geographical area of impact.

With regards to taxes. Taxes are determined through weighted averages, and policy driven tax rates. Each block is responsible for paying tax on their income, which is weighted by their personal income level compared to the incomes in their block. Their tax = Policy driven tax % * Personal Income + (Block Average - Personal Income)/2. Each block is responsible for paying to the neighbourhood, Block Tax = Tax Rate * Block Income + (Neighbourhood average - Block Income). Each neighbourhood is responsible for paying the Neighbourhood Tax which = Tax Rate * Neighbourhood Income + (City Average - Neighbour Income). Tax rates are directly tied to budgets, and are voted on alongside the budget. Tax rates for an individual are determined by comparing the total sum required for the various budgets to the income/asset levels of the previous year. Assets are considered taxable income if they are transferred (i.e. sold/bought, inherited). The rate that taxes are paid on asset purchases is ½ the income tax rate, but asset sales are taxed as income (i.e. the seller pays tax on the income generated by the sale as it is considered part of their income).

Annual budgets are presented at every level. An additional %50 of the annual budget shall be held in reserve against potential budget over-runs (which still have to pass policy elections, but this ensures against tax collection mid-year).

Policy is used to represent any group decision, deference of responsibility to a representative, in principle project approval, project review process, etc. And can be intensively prescriptive, or extremely limited and defer the majority of responsibility to the representative. Representatives are responsible for promoting their point of view with regards to policy, and proposing new or revisions to existing, policies.


So... now that I've got a first, rough draft, of some thoughts, I guess the next step is to see if they have any validity. Do they? Is there a similar proposed system or active system like this? 

Phase 1 of the system implementation would be to start building a web-site that would present currently proposed policies to it's constituents, and essentially try to act as a poll for a current representative, including a forum for debate, and a wiki/document space for interested parties to post their opinion/research/propoganda.
Users would need to be verified through as secure a method as possible, potentially something similar to the federal government's tax system.

Phase 2 would be to refine the above proposed system, and implement it on a city-wide scale, with the goal of eventually moving to larger and larger venues.