Vision 2100 features a collection of radical concepts of how Earth could transform over the coming nine decades that could potentially become reality if only people started acting intelligently and for the interests of all society. It is a vision of what the world could potentially become by 2100, in the sense of what is scientifically possible, not what is sociopolitically likely. Vision 2010 is a best-case scenario, so in a sense it is very idealistic, and at the same time coldly rational. Since it IS Vision 2100, it aims to be very radically progressive.
- DISCLAIMER: Correctly applying the ideas here will require a new class of intelligent, informed citizen and numerous social safeguards which the 21st century doesn't yet have. Any attempt to do so now will likely result in more corruption, complication, and moves toward Orwellian totalitarianism / hegemony. Hence, this is only a vision, and I'm against applying these policies in my lifetime.
- : This icon indicates that a point is dubious (it may not be for the best, it may not apply, etc.)
- : This icon indicates that a policy is to be undertaken in only some states (so people who don't like it don't have to live with it.)
All of humanity is united in a single world-spanning organization called Society. Population has reached 15 billion.
Parts of government: Society has one government, comprised of a Legislature, a judicial system, and an administrative system.
Escape clause: Government can be legally disbanded on a national level if a threshold is reached (say, 10%) voting against government. This is voting done by citizens (true democratic vote), not through Representatives. This threshold is even less than the threshold for individual government bills, but it will not be readily reached because passing this involves disbanding all of government, including those functions which everyone wants to have (to then be replaced by a new charter and a new government, etc). This escape clause is here to ensure that the government derives its right to rule directly from the governed. Individual states will also have escape clauses with a higher threshold (say, 50%) because people have the option to move to other states if they are dissatisfied with the current one. If a state is collapsed, the federal government will reassign districts and create new states, and give them all slightly different mandates.
Mission statement: Government will have a mission statement that outlines the following aims of government:
- Improving the ultimate well-being of the sum total of all of society
- Increasing efficiency
- Eliminating corruption
- Preserving freedoms
- ...and maybe a few other things
This document will be raised to exalted status, much like the way the US Constitution is today, by which I mean 1) it will be considered the supreme guidance (if not law) of society that overrules extant laws; 2) it will be revered by everybody through active propaganda, much as the way the US Constitution is indoctrinated into the minds of AP US history students; and 3) it will be actively used in arguing court cases and be used directly in deliberations by the legislature.
Voting: The Legislature is an assembly of Representatives elected in a democratic manner from the peoples of the entire world. Everyone has access to the internet, through which voting takes place, and a foolproof method of balloting has been installed on the government's website for voting on these Representatives to take place. Voting occurs twice a year in two windows:
- June 1 - 15
- December 1 - 15
During the voting windows everyone who is a citizen (those who have passed Society's educational system) can vote on one candidate. A person only has a +1 for a vote (so no negative votes, no partial votes, etc).
Paid to vote: Voting takes time, effort, and money, and hence in order to get people who usually have other things to do, to vote, they would be compensated with some standard amount of money. Of course, this only ensures that they will turn out to vote, not that they care about who they vote for, but if they're going to vote it doesn't take much more effort to figure out who they want to vote for.
Voting holiday: In order to overcome apathy about voting (due to the fact that each individual gets very little out of voting), there will be two voting holidays where no businesses are open (except for essentials such as restaurants) and people championing various sides of social or political issues will hold fairs to try to attract people to their cause, as well as to help with coordinating the voting for the runoff-style elections (see rest of section). These fairs will also provide various activities, such as talks, debates, and other enticements, so that most people will go to these fairs rather than laze about at home.
Running: For the week before the voting windows open up, any citizen can also put his/her name on the ballot (run to be a Representative), though only people who have done a lot of prior campaigning or who are very popular/famous actually bother to do so. Only people who have, before the beginning of the election, been scaled as being substantively notable (via extensive polling) will be eligible to run for office.
Campaign expenses: The government will pay for much of the cost of running a campaign, with equal amounts given to all those who have been deemed eligible to run for office (and who have decided to do so). The amount will be substantial enough to pay for staff, touring the world, websites, and media appearances. The idea is to give everyone at least a baseline, if not an equal, playing field.
Political donations: Organizations, corporations, and individuals (other than the government) are forbidden from giving support to those running for office (except for a token sum total accrued from all of them to each politician, say, for volunteering and other small support). This is to ensure that money has significantly reduced impact on the outcomes of the election and so that political candidates do not feel beholden to any set of campaign fund contributors.
Candidate websites: All candidates are listed on a very prominent government website (which everyone essentially knows by name) and there are links to each of those candidates' web sites. Each web site has a standard layout so that people can easily navigate the website, and very quickly read up on candidates' political platforms and voting records (in both general assembly and usually in the open-to-the-public special assemblies) and calendar (such as when they will be meeting with people at rallies, debates, etc.), recordings of candidates' speeches and meetings, etc. The websites will be fully supported by the government, though at a low budget, and will be allowed to have contributions from other organizations, companies, and individuals.
Website info balancing: Also, candidates are required to have separate articles on each of the prominent to semi-prominent controversial topics (ie. climate change). On these articles will be listed the candidate's voting history on the topic and relevant clips of the candidate's debates with other candidates and meetings with constituencies. Also, the articles will have links to what other candidates and sources have to say about the matter, usually contradictory statements, listed along the side based on relevance, popularity, and importance (based on the below topic), so as to give a balanced portrayal of information.
Controversial topics: The websites will also be required to have certain terms (controversial terms, such as "terrorism" and "climate change") be links to "controversial topics" websites. These are websites where people will be allowed to present all their viewpoints on a specific matter, such as climate change, and where everyone can present their own arguments as readily readable document files, and where people can make comments on others' comments and vote up articles/comments they agree with, thereby pushing up good articles/comments to the top of the page. This way people will be able to easily gain access to all the important information - all the main viewpoints - on a controversial topic.
Threshold: Also decided prior to the voting window is the threshold, the number of votes a candidate needs to become a Representative. This number is typically around 20,000,000.
Winning: Whenever a candidate receives the threshold number of votes, he/she has 'threshold' and is removed from the ballot and becomes a Representative. Typically the popular candidates receive all the votes they need within the first few days of the voting window since they get votes the earliest. Later voters put votes in other candidates that represent similar political platforms. Usually a candidate that has threshold will post a list of candidates that he/she would support, to get those who would vote for him, to vote for those other candidates. In the last few days voting organizations, usually aligned along interest groups or political platforms, would tell their members who they should vote for to ensure that the maximum number of like-minded Representatives is elected to office.
No lame duck session: The day after the votes have been totaled and representatives chosen, the new representatives gain power and can start passing bills and the previous set will be removed from office. This prevents the legislature from suffering from any down time.
Terms: A Representative's term is three years and is staggered. It lasts for the next six cycles (a cycle is half a year and so a term in office is three years). The cycles are:
- January 1 through June 30
- July 1 through December 31
For example, a candidate that hits threshold on June 14, 2100 serves as a Representative for July 1, 2100 through June 30, 2103.
Number of Representatives: As a result the number of people comprising the Legislature is variable, depending on the number of people who end up getting elected each voting cycle. Also as a result, the number varies by very little from cycle to cycle. The typical number of Representatives in Legislature is 3000, and the typical number of Representatives elected each cycle is 500, since a good percentage of people don't vote.
Representatives' Team: Representatives may hire a team of 4-6 people to work with them (or more, but the salaries for this many are covered by the government). They are usually to help with campaigning, public relations, updating on political events, providing overviews of bills, and drafting up bills.
General Legislature: The term General Legislature refers to all the Representatives, who convene once a week to vote on matters that affect all of Society. As a safety precaution, this meeting is conducted online through the government website, protected from hackers and open to a great number of media peoples for news reporting, as well as to the general public (anyone with internet access). Representatives often call in directly from their offices, conference-call-style. There are no particular leaders or chairmen that guide discussion. Instead, those Representatives that had threshold earliest - those that are most popular - and those that have the most political positions shared with the most other Representatives - and hence de facto speakers for the majority - are most respected and they are de facto given the role of speaking first and presenting the opinions of the groups of Representatives that they represent. Therefore, there are in a sense a variety of prominent speakers depending on the issue under discussion. After their speech, other members may speak, though most of the time is given to a panel of Representatives and other people who are the most well-versed in the matter at hand.
Special Legislature: The term Special Legislature refers to subcommittees of the Representatives that focus on smaller matters. Certain special legislatures focus on monetary policies, others on transportation and communication, still others on matters at the municipal level, and so on. Usually, at the beginning of a cycle the General Legislature assigns responsibilities for each Representative, essentially assigning them various Special Legislatures; this usually works in a way similar to the general election of Representatives by the citizens, ie. each candidate for a particular Special Legislature has a threshold target to reach. A Representative typically attends a meeting with one special legislature each day, once a week, and meet with 4-6 special legislatures. These meetings are usually held in person to facilitate more in-depth discussion, and also recorded and presented on the government website, though usually attract far less attention from the public. All of a special legislature's powers come from the general legislature, which can create, modify, reassign members of, and dissolve special legislatures at any time.
Field of legislation and public voting: Representatives' job is to do all the nitty-gritty stuff: all the details of the laws that need to be worked out, will be worked out by the Representatives. They also pass such bills into law. However, the mass citizenry have the final say. On any bill that is passed by the general assembly, in the one-week period before it becomes active law, people may petition to hold a vote by the general public on the matter. If the petition receives a threshold number of signatures, then activation of the bill is delayed for one month, and the voting of a particular law is out of Representatives' hands and is voted on directly by the public. Then on the vote by the general public sometime toward the end of the one-month period, if at least a threshold number of votes against are counted, then the bill is canceled.
- The threshold number of "no" votes by the general public is 15% * the number of people who usually vote on such matters. (The actual threshold will of course vary depending on political climate.)
- Such matters usually receive a lot of publicity during the one-month period by both sides of the matter. By ensuring that everyone has polling access and a secure voting ID, we can ensure a very high turnout rate.
- This is a way to combine a federalist republic system's ability to cover a lot of detailed ground quickly with expert knowledge, with a true democracy's ability to truly reflect the views of the people.
Bills: Proposals can be submitted by any citizen to a Representative, and if that Representative likes it his/her team polishes it into a bill, and he/she then presents it at the relevant Legislature meeting. Representatives can of course present their own bills. Bills are then voted on a week later, giving Representatives time to look at it. All bills are worded as changing something, so that voting 'no' on one reaffirms the status quo.
No vote negotiation: Representatives are not allowed to strike deals with each other along the lines of "I'll vote yes on your bill X if you vote yes on my bill Y". This is because it represents a form of bribery, and is essentially taking the votes away from one group of constituents (those against bill X) in favor of those of another (those for bill Y) even if they are all constituents of the same Representative.
Undecided is negative: On any bill, those Representatives who abstain, or aren't present, are counted as "no" votes. "No" votes can't actively pass bills; only "yes" votes can.
State minimums: A minimum of 55% "yes" votes is required to pass legislation. This results in a 10% buffer zone which will prevent policies from flip-flopping too easily, but not such a high requirement that bills that need to be passed can't be passed. States can of course only pass legislation with effect in their own jurisdiction.
- Since this results in states having many different policies on different issues, the government overall is more tolerant because people have the option of moving to another state with regulations more favorable to them. Coupled with shared language and nation-wide info-sharing features (see communication section), this allows people to really be able to choose to go to a different place entirely.
- The Representatives chosen from a region (or alternatively, chosen by people in that region) will be the only Representatives whose votes are calculated on this matter; they are essentially the politicians of the state assemblies.
National supermajority requirement: Both a minimum of 50% "yes" votes and a maximum of 15% "no" votes is required to pass legislation on the federal government level. This is to prevent bills from being passed that a substantial population would see as improper of government, especially bills that tend to abuse parts of the populace; hopefully at least 15% of people will disapprove of such bills. This also helps to stop the "majority" from carrying on political acts of mob mentality, which could readily lead to the fall of the democratic status of the government. Of course, this would also mean a far more sluggish government, and a government unable to decide on many issues, but such an attribute would reduce the power of government (reduce centralization of power) and allow for more individual freedoms and liberties. Since the overall government is a hegemony, it is important that we avoid oppressing minorities to such an extent that gives them no way to escape.
Voting on bills: There are no filibuster or other procedural options. Bills are decided based on majority but require at least 60% (of the total Legislature for general meetings and of the relevant Representatives for special meetings) to pass, so if a bill gets passed into law, it's not too easily undone. The standard procedure on a bill is to discuss for 30 minutes, limited to a maximum of 2 minutes per Representative speaking on the matter, and then vote - quickly. The voting takes mere seconds and anyone who doesn't vote within that window is considered to be voting 'no'. Therefore conservatives (those in favor of keeping the status quo) often don't show up at these meetings at all.
Watchdog Group: The Watchdog Group is a group of Representatives elected on a platform of 'no bullshit', in other words, these people vote down bills that are focused too much on special interests, vote down long-winded and complicated bills, and vote down bills with too many things wrapped together, as a matter of course, regardless of whether they agree with the content. In this way pork-barrel spending and tedious negotiation and compromise, rendered ineffectual, is kept to a minimum. These people are also elected to their position not for their political stances, so should they no longer keep this role, they will no longer be elected.
Fact checkers: Fact checkers would be voted in the same way that Representatives are voted, and are usually selected from among experts in a particular field. The fact checkers would sit in on meetings of the assemblies and interrupt the speeches of Representatives to declare when someone is making a false statement, and would be required to provide evidence right then and there (expect them to come in with a computer full of such facts, and with particular hot-topics easily accessible). If a fact checker declares a statement to be false, and someone contests that, then a debate on the matter will be scheduled, with both sides able to bring in evidence and experts, and where most statements would have to be supported by multiple sources and citations. At the end of it all the Legislature will hold a vote on whether the fact checker made the right call (50% vote to declare the fact checker was correct, 65% vote to declare the fact checker was incorrect, so as to be sure that the fact checkers don't put themselves at too much risk on some commonly held incorrect beliefs). It is assumed that the Watchdog Group (above) will turn the vote in favor of the truth, as they are supposed to be less partisan on the issue. If the fact checker was correct, he/she is awarded an incentive bonus for mentioning it and an relevance bonus proportional to the time spent debating the matter if it is contested. If the fact checker was incorrect, he/she gets a "strike" and after a threshold number of "strikes" is fired.
- The things that a fact checker is not supposed to interject on is "what should we do" and theoretical constructs, since these are hard to prove. Also, highly disputable or unreliable information should not be the basis for declaring a claim incorrect.
- This will have consequences on lying politicians, see accountability section.
Time-limiting provision: De facto, almost all bills are written to last for shorter than five years. This prevents the lawbooks from getting unduly complicated, since only the five most recent years' worth of bills apply. Of course, bills can be crafted to have exceptions if they're seen as important and unequivocal, and ideas that are popular would get reinstated in newer versions of the bill.
Representatives cooldown time: After serving their term of 3 years, representatives cannot be reelected for another three terms (9 years). However, there's no limit on how many terms they may serve in total. This is to disincentivize the current set of representatives from passing laws that would empower them to the point of harming a democracy, since the next batch would be the batch to actually benefit. This is also to enable other batches of representatives to undo deleterious bills in the interim, thereby preventing any one batch of representatives from accumulating too much power.
No campaign contributions: Campaign money will be provided by the government and each campaign will receive the same amount of money, so as to mitigate the advantage to the wealthy (as the wealthy would otherwise be able to contribute more money to the candidates they favor). In order to prevent loads of people who shouldn’t be in politics running for office for the essentially free money, people can only receive the money to run a campaign if they can collect a threshold number of votes in the pre-election cycle.
Pre-election cycle: There will be a separate voting procedure that all people can participate in (with similar rules as that of the main voting session) to occur a few months in advance of the main voting session. This is to find out which candidates for all political parties/platforms are promising. For a candidate to be put on the ballot for the actual voting session, and to receive government-backed campaign contributions, the candidate must receive a threshold number of votes in the pre-election cycle. This threshold number will be substantially lower than the threshold number required for election to Representative, but there will be a corresponding lower turnout rate for this b/c fewer votes are needed (the main obstacle is the main voting session).
Representatives voted for particular issues: Vision 2100 uses representatives rather than direct democracy because individual platforms which may be easy to describe are actually difficult to carry out without some degree of human interpretation, and individuals can’t be bothered to vote on every minor issue. But representatives in the current governments usually involve “bundles” to the point that politicians claim that their constituency wants them to vote on certain matters (ie. abortion) where the constituency might have elected them for something else (ie. attitude toward improving the economy). So instead, representatives will be voted on only for particular issues. There will be a host of different issues, each of which will involve their own elections come voting session. A representative will be elected to vote on one or more issues; they can only vote in the assemblies on the issues that they have been elected for, and for other matters they don’t have to show up for the assembly.
- How much money the government should spend in general will not be one of these issues; it would instead be broken up into various categories based on what spending could be used for.
- 100 round-1 politicians,
- 400 round-2 politicians,
- and 2000 round-3 politicians form the General Legislature, and
- 10000 round-4 politicians from across the special legislatures.
- round-5 is the general public.
Politicians are elected in the same run-to-threshold process as described above, and in the same method of run-to-threshold, politicians will choose which among them enter the General Legislature (the rest stay in the special legislatures). Then, politicians in round-3 promote some of their number to round-2, and then to round-1. This run-to-threshold method (as described earlier) prevents concentration of power in the majority party.
Laws affecting the entire legislature are first brought up to the round-1 politicians. In each round, if at least 50% of the votes (sum of the votes by politicians of the current round and all previous rounds) are in favor, but not enough votes to reach a threshold are in favor, the law is passed to the next round. The thresholds for each round are as follows:
- round-1: 90% in favor
- round-2: 80% in favor
- round-3: 70% in favor
- round-4: 60% in favor
- round-5: 50% in favor
Round-5 is direct democracy, and is used only for the bills that are highly divisive.
Teams: The administrative/executive system is a collection of teams that are under the oversight of relevant special legislatures and are in charge of actually getting the job done. Their decisions can be overridden by the special legislature at any time; they exist solely to facilitate the desires of the special legislature.
Workers: Usually each team is comprised of various government workers that specialize in whatever it is they do, of which one member reports to the special legislature. Special legislatures usually oversee many teams at a time. The people working in this role are usually mundane nobodies, with no decision-making powers, no oversight, repetitive work, and average pay, and are considered government grunts. Workers of the administrative system form the largest portion of government employees.
Well-defined constraints: Government workers will have well-defined constraints on what powers they have, and will not have much substantial ability to exercise their government-given authority outside the realm of their work, thereby helping to prevent their abuse of their power. This applies to all kinds of government workers, in particular those concerned with law enforcement and security.
Competitive government contracts: The government would have contract-matchers who are rewarded for securing low-price contracts. These people would all work for the government but their bonus would be highly dependent on the quality of the contractor’s performance or goods, and how much below the threshold price (as decided by the legislature in determing what needs to be contracted out) the contract-matcher is able to get a deal on. This incentive structure would cause government to be more efficient; as this is a competitive system as the contract-matchers are all price-takers and are individually readily replaced, the government will be able to get the lowest price possible.
Temporary government jobs: Many of the menial jobs that the government has to do will be filled by people with very little training, who are interested in getting a job, any job, but are currently unemployed. Usually these jobs are jobs that need to get done eventually, but don't have a set schedule, or are quite ahead of schedule. Since the government's arms are everywhere, this would mean that anyone who applied to the government for such a job will be able to work at a local government office or project (though local may be more distant for rural areas). Workers in these roles will be able to leave for any other job that they've found in the meantime at a one-day's-notice (enough for them to shore up things that other people can't handle, and pass on the work to the next guy), so that their own ability to get a real job won't be hindered by this temporary one. Since there's going to be very high turnover, and the jobs being done are very menial, the pay is going to be low, but at least this beats doles in terms of productivity. In addition, the government will hold various lectures on job searching, as well as improving a variety of "soft" job skills, over the course of this temporary assignment, so that these workers will be more likely to be able to land a real job.
The judicial system is in charge of simply getting the cases brought before them resolved, and not for clarification of the law.
Structure: The structure of the judicial system is as follows:
- 100 Tier 4 courts
- 2,000 Tier 3 courts
- 40,000 Tier 2 courts
- 800,000 Tier 1 courts
Courts are not arranged by specialty or territorial jurisdiction. Instead, in determining which court to go to, the two sides first find a place which both will agree to go to (in which the judge's or region's preferences and geographical distance play a role).
Judge terms: Judges will be hired on an at-will basis. Judges' decisions will see review by higher level judges and the judges from Tier 4 courts will be reviewed by legislators from a special assembly. Judges that don't rule the way the law says they should will be given a warning and if they make enough mistakes will be fired. After all this system is based the courts being dependent on the legislature, rather than as a balance of powers relation. Judges usually cycle every few years regardless of how good they are just because of new laws that emerge from the changing of the times may do a 180 and then you'd want judges that have the correct innate perspective on the law that is more in line with the current laws rather than one who had the correct innate perspective on the law before the law changed. This helps prevent the judicial system from becoming a conservative mainstay the way the courts tend to be in the USA of today. This system also makes judges ultimately accountable to the people.
Before the trial: The process starts when the prosecutor files a complaint to the legal system. Within a few days the defendant will be notified, at which point both sides choose the locations where they would like to attend court. The electronic system will decide a location where both are satisfied, and the case will go to court in a few days. Before the trial begins, both sides are required to disclose certain vital information to each other; they also contact their witnesses and attorneys (if any). At any time during the process, the two sides can settle the case, in which case the case would end early.
Trial Procedure: If a settlement cannot be reached, then the trial begins. It is a singular session (which may be recorded by media but could be restrained from immediate release for broadcasting) where the prosecution states its case, followed by the defense. There is no explicit "which do you plead" rite, no "pleading the fifth" as in the US court system; instead, the defendant is presumed to plead not guilty (unless he/she confesses), the prosecution is not allowed to make compromises if the defendant confesses, and both sides do their best to defend their positions. At any time while one side is making its case, that side can call in witnesses or ask questions to any witnesses. The two sides take turns stating arguments and countering the other side's arguments, never repeating an argument unless it's to briefly state that it is a counterargument to another claim. Soon both sides will run out of arguments, after which the judges will convene in their office and reach a verdict based on a simple majority. As a result of this system, situations are resolved very quickly.
Trial Judging: Three judges preside over a case. All cases enter at the Tier 1 level. A decision is reached if two judges of the three can agree to the same sentence, AND the third judge's position is similar to the other two's. This means that if any of the three judges decide that the other two aren't treating a case correctly, rather than let the majority reach a verdict and leaving the potential of judicial abuse or inefficacy, the case is appealed.
Appeals: Cases can be appealed if any one of the three judges want to. This happens if the case is a borderline case requiring further review, or if the judges simply can't reach a decision. Cases go up one tier each time they are appealed. Tier 4 courts can appeal for the Legislature to review. Usually however, the judges of Tier 4 courts see so many borderline cases that they are good at drawing the line.
Case load: Court cases generally go significantly faster in Asiata due to simpler, more straight-forward legal systems; a court is able to go through 10 cases on an average day. The average Asiatic person instigates a court case every 5 years.
Judge selection: Judges are chosen by special legislatures from the pool of applicants who have passed the state's Judicial Filter (the equivalent of the bar exam). They are chosen to serve for a year-long term at a time, and can also be fired and replaced by a special legislature. Usually new judges are hired to work at Tier 1 courts, and only judges that have served at all the lower tiers can be promoted to a court of a higher tier, since they need to have more experience with the borderline cases.
Legislative clarification: The role of clarifying the law is usually undertaken by special legislatures. The special legislature may choose which cases it wants to review, and may accept and turn down petitions for appeal by Tier 4 courts. The determination by the special legislature is not final and may be supplanted by the ruling of a later special legislature, and by the general legislature, and so on.
Retrials: There is no law expressly forbidding double jeopardy, though by default judges won't allow the same prosecutor to gain double from the same defendant simply by going to trial multiple times. Defendants who have already gone through a case for a crime can be brought to trial for a second round for the same crime; this is important if new evidence appears which hadn't been revealed beforehand. If the defendant is convicted both times, the later verdict replaces the former instead of being appended to it. This also works the other way around; if new evidence disproves a convicted defendant's guilt, it is admissible in a second round, the verdict of which would replace previous ones. There can then be third, fourth, etc. rounds provided there is at least one trio of judges willing to review the case. There is no statute of limitations, though of course evidence gets increasingly blurry so convictions become increasingly unlikely with time.
Judging algorithm: In light of the fact that individual judges have different backgrounds and influences and hence adjudicate differently and sometimes contrary to the decisions reached by other judges (aka. one judge could sentence one to 10 years prison for a crime more severe than another crime for which a judge could sentence one to 30 years prison), it makes sense to use a standardized system for making decisions. It would keep the decisions (verdicts) consistent with all other situations.
- Of course, this system would have to be developed keeping in mind all the host of contingencies and extenuating circumstances that anyone could come up with, and care for things such as human emotions, fallacies, and negligence, like a gigantic law book.
- The judging algorithm would continually be improved upon or modified as the legislature comes up with new laws or the courts run into new problems/contingencies/extenuating circumstances. But whenever such a change is made, everyone is able to see the change being made (and thus can argue over its merits), and the judgments/verdicts placed upon all previous defendants of trials will also be re-evaluated, so as to ensure true equality/justice under the law.
- The public will be able to see the parameters and the code used by the judging algorithm. This is to help point out stupid mistakes, unjust scenarios, and allow faster fixing of these mistakes.
- The judges would still preside over trials, but would input information into the judging algorithm and use the output as the verdict rather than making the verdict himself.
- Some people believe that judging is too hard for a computer to do properly and that there's a human element to it. However, it should be apparent that if that human element is impossible to codify/standardize into words or into an algorithm, it's not educated analysis; it's just going-by-your-guts. Also, considering this is an algorithm that will be accepting modifications from the entire corpus of all judges and legislators, the bulk of which is to be decided over the course of decades and the rest developed on an ongoing basis, it's the best way to handle cases while avoiding undue subjectivity and simplifies the problem of really complex laws, reducing the amount of education judges and lawyers need and thus reducing legal education costs. Having an algorithm available for all to see allows legislators a better understanding of the particulars of a matter and allows more transparent changing of the parameters involved (aka. what, exactly, should be the punishment for a particular crime X? What about when compared to a slightly more severe transgression X+1?).
Law based on utility: Laws are complex, and there is an infinity of exceptions, caveats and contingencies that could lead to legal casuistry (determination on a case-by-case basis). So the general idea the courts will follow is that laws, and the cases that interpret the laws, are meant to improve total happiness (utility). Of course, this means there will be competition between the prosecutor's, defendant's, and everyone else's happiness. Here are a few pointers:
- Tolerance is usually supported because allowing people to do something they want to do results in more utility being gained than is lost by those who would restrict others' rights but wouldn't have been notably affected themselves.
- Fairness is usually supported because the perception of injustice will result in public mistrust of the judicial system and thereby devastate peoples' happiness.
- The weaker side is usually favored because placing burdens on them makes for a greater loss of utility than if burdens had been placed on others.
- Competition is usually supported because it tends to find a psuedo-equilibrium resulting in near-optimal utility; regulations on that competition are usually supported because they tend to improve the equilibrium to even higher utility.
- Freedom is usually supported because without it the government may spiral into a totalitarian state, leading to great opportunities for abuse and massive loss of utility.
- Scientific advancement is usually supported because technologies can improve life for people, hence generate massive amounts of utility.
- Simplicity is usually supported because it means less potential for abuse through misunderstanding, and hence more utility.
- Education, info-sharing, and transparency is usually supported because a democratic society relies on an informed citizenry, and without it there would be inefficiencies and potential for abuse, leading to loss of utility.
- Between an individual and the rest of society, laws are determined based on what would net benefit everyone more as a general rule.
- Punishment is usually not supported because there are other deterrents besides punishment and because punishment results in a direct loss of utility.
Who has rights: There are two kinds of statuses: Sentient beings, and citizens.
- Citizens are anyone who has passed the citizen filter (this is at least 95% of the populace). They have many more rights than sentient beings (see education section). Since the citizen filter requires a certain degree of intellectual achievement, all citizens are also sentient beings.
- The concept of sentient beings operates on a scale, since it is hard to differentiate the level of sentience say, between a human and a dolphin and a primate. Therefore, there will be a percentage sentience scale to account for this variety. This percentage sentience scale is then used in considerations for punishments for crimes (sentience of victim * guiltiness of perpetrator * severity of crime). Sentience has several defining factors; these must all be present for 100% sentience (and humans almost always get this.) Sentient creatures have almost the same rights as humans (rights to avoid death, pain and injury, loss of liberty, emotional distress) but depending on percentage sentience, have it to a smaller extent. Of course, sentient creatures (including humans) without citizenship can't represent themselves in court, so someone sympathetic to their cause will be found to represent them.
Non-harmful actions legal: If an action isn't substantially harmful to people in any way, people can't be stopped from doing it (they can't be required to obtain a license, for example). This is true even if the action causes minor emotional distress in people, especially if those people could have simply turned a blind eye. This rule removes a lot of frivolous, dumb laws currently in play, and may be used in courts to directly discredit laws and precedents.
- If it's only harmful to the person taking the action, they're expected to know better and have a good reason for doing what they're doing, so they won't get in trouble.
Guiltiness: In determining a defendant's guilt, judges do not simply vote 'innocent' or 'guilty', since cases are not seen as black and white, unless the defendant confesses or either side commits a terrible blunder in the presentation of their case ('makes a slip'). Usually two of the three judges arrive at a guiltiness percentage, typically 0% to 100%, though negative percentages and percentages greater than 100% are allowed as well depending on the circumstances. Punishments are then scaled according to the guiltiness percentage times a standard punishment. In other words, the 'standard punishment' is only exacted if the defendant is charged with 100% guilt, a rare situation.
Severity: Calculation for punishment of a crime depends on the product of guiltiness * severity. Severity is infinitely scale-able but judges are expected to select an appropriate severity level and if they don't their decisions can be appealed.
Burden of proof based on convenience: Burden of proof is placed on whichever side will have an easier time proving their case. This doesn't support or remove 'presumption of innocence' so much as change the approach to law altogether. So:
- When disputing whether an event happened, since it is nearly impossible to prove a negative, the side that claims something happened will be placed with the burden of proof (usually - they don't have to if they may not be able to do so at the time.)
- Between an individual and an organization (or agency or company) of substantial size (one involving many people), the latter will bear the burden of proof since it is easier for the larger entity to keep track of information, and because it is much easier for the larger entity to have the legal counsel and financial resources to make a case.
- Between two organizations, the larger one will usually have the burden of proof, though exceptions may be made for the first point, and if the two organizations are of functionally near-equivalent size (such as both sides having well-developed legal defense departments), the burden will be more equally distributed and both sides will be expected to have proof to at least partially back up their claims.
- Between two organizations, one of which is essentially non-profit or grass-roots and one of which is essentially for-profit, the for-profit will usually bear the burden of proof since the non-profit will usually have substantially fewer resources to defend its case and will usually have less expertise.
- Between the government (or government agency, such as police force) and anyone or anything else, burden of proof lies entirely with the government (or government agency). This is because it is always easier for an entity with legal authority to collect evidence than for an entity without such legal authority.
No frivolous laws: Lawmakers are injunctioned not to pass laws that a trivial. If they do, and a relevant case goes to court, the courts can declare the defendant not guilty of a crime/wrongdoing, and order the prosecution (and anyone who arrested the defendant) to pay remuneration to the defendant, by citing this meta-law. In this sense, laws that do govern trivial matters can be overturned by the courts and eventually will fall out of the lawbooks. Also, this law makes a provision that other laws that are regularly ignored by the courts will automatically drop out of the body of law after a one-month grace period.
- Witnesses can be convicted of lying (perjury) within a trial (or after the trial in a separate case). However, since it's hard to determine if someone is intentionally and maliciously lying, such a conviction results in no punishment other than public and judicial discrediting, and may result in judges throwing out their evidence from the case and from future cases.
- Both sides can be found guilty of contempt of the court.
- Prosecutors are just as in danger as defendants are of being assessed fines. This may occur if, for example, the court finds the prosecutor guilty of the crime which they have accused the defense, or of a different (though generally related) crime which they are responsible for, if the prosecution knowingly lies, aka. commits perjury (no one is permitted to lie knowingly).
- Defendants may also counter-sue in the same trial or at a later date.
Trivial trial provision: Prosecutors are almost always guilty of "bringing a case to court", which is a very, very light sentence meant to pay for court expenses. In many clear-cut cases, when guiltiness is say over 80%, the judges will usually add in that the defendant will have to pay this fine to the prosecution (so in effect the defendant is paying this money).
Prosecution fronts money for defense: In order to prevent wealthy agencies from bringing volleys of lawsuits against relatively poor defendants (SLAPP and vexatious lawsuits), the prosecution will be responsible for paying the defense a reasonable amount of money for it to develop a case for the defense. Hence, the defense will not suffer financial attrition. Of course, should the prosecution win on a particular charge, the defense will be held liable to pay back that money.
Loser pays a percentage of loser's networth as fees: As following from the above item, when the case is concluded the loser pays fees and the winner pays nothing. If the prosecutor wins, the defendant must pay the prosecutor back for all that money that the prosecutor fronted. Additionally, the fees the loser pays isn't just the fees for the court case. In addition, the loser pays a percentage of his/her net worth (based on net worth possessed some time before the trial began, say, three years). It will be a very small percentage per hour that a case is in court. For fast cases and people of ordinary net worth, this won't be a lot of money. But for cases that drag on and on over the course of months, and for companies with a lot at stake, this can quickly become unbearable. This rule is to compensate for the inherent advantage that rich individuals, organizations, and companies have in trials (since they are able to use much more money, they can get better and more lawyers and cover more bases), and incentivize the side that has the most resources (and hence would ordinarily be most inclined to drag the cases on in a batte of attrition), to be the most eager to get the case over with. It also means that trivial cases will not hog up court time.
Mental defense: Mental problems are never a direct defense for a case. However, it usually will mean a significant reduction on the guiltiness percentage verdict.
Keeping silent: Courts can't force a person to divulge information, even if the court believes the person has said information. This is for the obvious reason that the person might indeed not know about the information, might have forgotten it, or doubts the accuracy of his own memory. Hence, should a witness, defendant, or prosecutor keep silent while being interrogated in the courts (or at all while under arrest), he/she will not be punished via "contempt of the court".
Retracting statements: In general, people may retract statements that they have made earlier, either while in court or while being held by police or while interrogated. The idea is that people may choose to lie or make misleading statements or gestures while held in confinement/arrested/in trial, perhaps depending on the nature of the situation. This rule also makes it easier for people to clarify a statement if they then come to realize that what they said wasn't exactly what they meant. This is fair because people semi-regularly make statements that they don't totally mean, or which might be absurd if interpreted literally, throw in double negatives, equivocate, or mentally throw in reservations that they may think are so obvious that they don't bother to state explicitly (and then find out that others don't find them so obvious a qualification to a statement).
Not pledging an oath: While there may be an official oath to go by, anyone called to testify in court can first make their own oath (this gets around the religion problem if there be any), and will be allowed to make their testimonial if the judge finds it suitable. If the judge doesn't find it suitable, then that person may make a different oath. Or the person may simply choose not to make an oath and/or not to testify at all, and the court system will have to be absolutely fine with that decision. This thereby avoids any "forced-perjury" or "forced-confession" problem that may arise.
Presumed to plead innocent: A defendent doesn't have to plead either innocent, guilty, or "taking the Fifth"; instead, they are presumed to plead innocent and the prosecution is by default given the responsibility of proving them wrong. Hence a person will not be punished for pleading innocence and then being found guilty, and a person would not face the problem of potentially being let off of a more serious punishment if they confess (which would be a problem if that person were actually innocent).
No military tribunal: Regardless of whether a defendant is in the military, all trials go through the same (as civic) judicial system, which is in general far more lenient than the military tribunals of today's time. This is based on the principle that members of the military ought not to have fewer rights due simply to their being in the military.
Combined charges: The prosecution can't level a whole barrage of separate-but-related lawsuits against a defendant for what is functionally a single crime. For example, a prosecutor can't sue a person of email fraud on X counts of wire fraud where X is the number of emails that person sent to others to further the fraud. Instead, the whole fraud operation must be treated as a single charge. This helps prevent the prosecution from what is essentially a shotgun approach to making a case, and protects defendants from the possibility that "just one damaging charge out of many passes through", making sentences more about the actual type of crime rather than a semi-arbitrary and semi-irrelevant quantity (such as the number of actual emails sent as in the example).
No cutting deals: Prosecutors may not offer to make deals, usually in the form of reduced charges or punishments, the way they currently do to entice people to testify or confess to a crime or plead guilty. The current system in which prosecutors can cut such deals results in potentially improper and inaccurate testimonials, in people pleading guilty when innocent, and similar problems. Prosecutors that have been found to make such deals or bribes can be charged with bribery, since they are indeed offering something very valuable: a subject's freedom and lack of any more black marks to one's name. Hence we will not have problems such as prisoner's dilemma (the case where two innocent people both claim that they are guilty and that the other person is guilty also).
Importance of common sense: For cases in which common sense would conclude that a person should not be punished or should only be very lightly punished, this "common sense" on the part of the judge can be used to change the verdict to a great extent. Of course, judges are admonished to use this kind of common sense only when it really is common sense and not just his/her own idea of what is right and wrong.
Culpability requirement: The concept of mens rea, or the requirement that one being convicted of a crime must know that he/she is committing a crime, and the intention of committing a crime, are both fully instated. There is no law for which substantial punishment can be administered for violating it in the absence of proof of these two elements (among many other requirements for the prosecution to fulfill). Otherwise (if one of these is missing but the case is otherwise won by the prosecution), the defendant will still be declared guilty but the guiltiness percentage will be very low. For example, as a general rule guiltiness verdicts will be under 10% for cases lacking mens rea proof and will also be under 10% for cases lacking proof of intention of committing a crime.
No felony/misdemeanor divide: The current system of having a misdemeanor being treated differently from a felony gives the impression that all felonies are the same and all misdemeanors are the same, since they will show up on the record as X misdemeanors and Y felonies regardless of the severity of the crimes. Considering how extensive the continuum of a crime's severity can be, this single partition is unsuitable. Instead, convictions will have points associated with them, with more serious and bad-looking crimes being more points, and influenced by the following:
- Percent guiltiness (see judicial section)
- Severity of the crime
- Presence/absence of mitigating/exacerbating factors
Leniency for reversible crimes: Society understands that people make mistakes, but as long as the problem can be undone, it makes no sense to punish people too much. Hence, depending on whether something can be undone, punishment may become surprisingly less heavy-handed.
Punishment casuistry: Laws will generally be more flexible and give judges more flexibility in their interpretation of the law and their use of their understanding of extenuating circumstances to alter the verdict and sentence. The legal system will be heavily influenced by the particulars of the case and by common sense and appeals to protection of the individuals (ie. preservation of human rights and one's perception of one's own legal safety). Therefore, crimes will not be specified as having minimum or maximum punishments.
Revised samaritan law: Current good-samaritan laws (ie. if you see someone dying and don't help, you're guilty of a crime) is incompatible with laws that punish people for actually doing things (which are obviously a necessity) + the fact that people sometimes bungle up. Therefore it's not right to force people to help those who need help, and then charge them of a crime when they don't successfully help someone out. The laws would be rewritten so that people who are ostensibly going out of their way to help people have extensive protection from potential fallout should something go wrong.
Ignorance of law: Ignorance of the law is a valid defense, though not for the most basic of crimes. Ignorance is less of a defense for a person who is supposed to be well-versed in a field (the field they work in or have worked in recently). Some of the more basic and socially well-known laws (such as it's illegal to commit murder) will be classified in the "required reading" section of the law books. Then, people won't be able to claim that they didn't know when they do something.
Lying legal: People lie every day, maybe because they want to, maybe because it's a white/gray lie, maybe because they don't bother to state a technically necessary qualifying statement, maybe because their statement is equivocal, maybe because they feel threatened, maybe because it's just easier that way, maybe because of poor memory, maybe because he/she was himself/herself misinformed, maybe because everyone thought that lie was a truth before, maybe they bungled up their words and didn't catch it (Freudian slip perhaps), or maybe because it's just interesting. Hence, lying is too unanimous for the law to reasonably turn it into a crime. So unless a person is making a statement under oath, that person cannot be convicted of lying/perjury, even if the person were to be lying to a government official. As a corollary, there will be some kind of civil punishment for acts along the lines of filling out government-related forms (such as tax forms) incorrectly, but it will be civil and not criminal since there's always the possibility it arose due to a mere mistake rather than an intention to do ill to society. As a further corollary, government officials will be restrained from making every communication with citizens a case of requiring those citizens to testify something under oath.
Law protesting: People may not be prevented from protesting any laws currently in place; no law may be passed that prevents people from making such protests, such as under charges of not being patriotic or committing treason. The people will understand that the best way to improve society, and the best society, includes the ability to change society and the laws that govern it.
Prerogative to sue: People - any citizen - can bring a case to court (initiate a lawsuit) against unjust laws or rules, by the government, a corporation, or any organization - that they believe to be unfair, without the need to have already been harmed by it in some way or another (as is the case in the current US legal system). This way people don't have to be worried about challenging a law, losing their challenge and being stuck with the punishment for a crime, of a law they don't believe in.
Redefine complicity: Under current US law, knowing about a crime and not doing anything about it is deemed complicity and may result in punishment (almost as) severe as that of the crime itself. However, this rule would force ordinary citizens to act if it would otherwise not be in their best interest, such as if they were afraid that doing so would result in threats to themselves. Also, liberty can only be safeguarded if people are not required to all act as "police agents" because otherwise, in order to be safe and err on the safe side, people can overdo things (by telling other people that they must stop doing something, or by reporting on other peoples' actions even if they weren't illegal) and that would result in a reduction of other peoples' liberty and privacy. Also it is unjust to people to place them responsible for the actions of others. It is clear that in most cases of complicity, the crime would have happened even if the observer had not been there to observe; therefore the crime couldn't have been actively caused by the observer. The observer may also not be sure that something is illegal (incredibly likely in a world with complex laws), even though the law says that they were "supposed to know" that something is illegal. On the flip side, those who do prevent something bad from happening should be rewarded, with praise and/or otherwise, for going out of their way to make the world a better place.
Anonymous prosecutors: The fear of being targeted in the future for bringing up a lawsuit may result in a prosecutor not launching a valid lawsuit. To resolve this problem, it is possible for an anonymous individual to initiate a lawsuit. This anonymous individual may hire a lawyer who can then show up in court in place of the anonymous prosecutor. The anonymous individual may also request for an online court case so that no one knows who the real prosecutor is. In the event of the prosecution winning a case, punishments and costs are placed on the defendant, but since the prosecutor is anonymous, no benefits (such as punitive damages awards) are given to the prosecutor; instead, this amount is given to the government. On the other hand, if the prosecution loses, the government pays for the prosecution (since the prosecution obviously can't pay without compromising his/her identity, and an anonymous prosecution can't be practically held liable for any sum.) These lawsuits, being anonymous, are usually not particular cases (murder, injury, etc), but rather class-action-style lawsuits which challenge a whole variety of instances of an activity, in an attempt to change the way things are done on a more widespread level.
Lawsuits cannot be prevented: Anyone may bring a lawsuit against anyone in due time and in due process. This means that:
- People being held in prison may instigate lawsuits.
- People can't be prevented from accumulating evidence that may be used to launch a lawsuit. This includes that people can't be prevented from soliciting evidence for the case from others, and that people can't be punished for or prevented from using various means to directly obtain evidence for the case (including through the use of eavesdropping or wiretapping abilities).
- People can't be prevented from showing up at trial.
- People can't be prevented from suing on other peoples' behalf.
- People who aren't citizens can still instigate lawsuits.
- People who aren't considered citizens can also instigate lawsuits.
- Anyone attempting to stop a lawsuit through pseudo-legal means, bribing/corruption, etc., will be punishable.
Appeals for popular cases: After a case has gone to court and has been ruled upon, both prosecutor and defendant can popularize their case through the internet, the media, etc. Especially in cases of clear outrage, this would generate a disproportionate number of people for or against a case, who can vote on the matter through a petition held through a government-held website. Once the petition reaches a certain number of votes:
- If more than 50% of the voters would vote opposite the way the court did, then the case goes on appeal.
- If more than 95% of the voters would vote opposite the way the court did, then the case doesn't go to appeal and is instead settled in the other way.
- If the other side's petition results in a contrary finding of the first petition, then the case goes on appeal.
After the appeal court case, either side may have another petition, though with each tier, the number of votes of the petition required increases:
- Tier 1 to 2: 1,000 votes.
- Tier 2 to 3: 10,000 votes.
- Tier 3 to 4: 100,000 votes.
- After this, should one side's petition receives in enough votes, the case may be appealed directly to the General Assembly.
No statute of limitations: The original idea of a 'statute of limitations' was that after enough time has passed, evidence will not be trustworthy. This idea will be incorporated into the concept of guiltiness, ie. people convicted based on old evidence will have a reduced guiltiness sentence due to the potential that the old evidence is no longer trust-worthy. However, evidence of different kinds remains viable for different lengths of time depending on the situation and technology available, so setting any particular date as a cutoff 'limit' will no longer be accepted.
Criminal history erasure: One's criminal history will have all crimes that person committed listed on it, regardless of severity, as long as there is at least a 1% guiltiness - and the guiltiness sentencing is posted as well. The criminal history is periodically purged, with the crimes of less severity and less percentage guiltiness being the first to be wiped off. In time even the worst offenses may be forgiven, seeing that a person may repent and change into a better person over the course of several years.
Breakdown of crime: Criminal and civil law in today's world is too complicated. In an attempt to simplify law, basically any crime or civil wrongdoing is broken down to its essential elements: the different ways in which it harms society (aka. members of society). Potential to cause harm of any of the following is also given weight as percent guiltiness (ie. through negligence, getting drunk, etc.) Some of these are:
- Material loss (Loss or destruction of physical property, money, financial instrument, etc. Also includes financial, even immaterial loss to companies and such. Scales directly with the value of the loss. Usually comes with very little emotional distress.)
- Emotional distress (To some extent, people are expected to not suffer emotional distress from ignorable things like public nudity, but are expected to suffer distress from hard-to-ignore things like "I'll punch you". Usually, emotional distress is highly temporary and treated as minor crimes, but a few, like "I'll kill you" and some blackmail, involve long-term emotional distress and will carry a much more significant punishment.)
- Physical injury (Includes injury, assault, battery, aggravated assault, mayhem, torture, poisoning, etc. Severity is much greater for permanent consequences such as paralysis or loss of a limb. Scales with duration of effects, severity of harm, and level of pain. Is somtimes accompanied by emotional distress.)
- Loss of liberty (Ie. False imprisonment, duress, coercion, blackmail, and restricting people from doing things that a very tolerant society (like this one) would allow. This scales primarily with length of the loss of freedom and the types of freedoms lost. Is usually accompanied by emotional distress.)
- Loss of life (Murder. Is usually accompanied by physical injury but that's kinda irrelevant in comparison.)
- Impairment of society (Includes denial of the vote, bribery/corruption, unfair administration and interpretion of laws, failure to pay taxes, etc. Also includes crime against society and crime against civilization. This one tends to scale a LOT.)
For example, rape would not be treated as "rape + sexual assault + sexual harassment + ...", but rather as "emotional distress + physical injury + loss of liberty + ...". The idea is that there can only be one charge of any one of these elements, but it is infinitely scale-able (based on percentage guiltiness * severity). This is used to prevent double-counting of criminal elements. This is to get rid of, say, "fraud + wire fraud", or "wire fraud x 34" for sustaining a fraud through 34 emails. The reason is that all these criminal counts are in effect one crime.
- Fraud isn't considered a crime simply because for it to be a crime, somebody has to be hurt by it somehow (else it's an irrelevant lie) - but that hurt would have already been covered above.
- Bribery/corruption isn't considered a crime unless society or members of society are made worse off. Otherwise it's just gifting.
Prosecution may not withhold evidence: In many cases the prosecution (as it is supported by the government) has all the power in a case, so it is important that they not withhold evidence that would exonerate the defendant. Prosecutors that did so would be liable for the punishment for whatever harms (emotional or otherwise) they have inflicted on the defendant, if that withheld evidence would have exonerated the defendant.
- The defendant on the other hand cannot be forced to incriminate himself.
Change of decisions based on renewed info: When new evidence comes to light, the court may change its decision/verdict/punishment based on this new info. This is because it seems only fair that society makes the best decisions based on whatever information it can get. This also means that punishment should be as reversible and/or compensatable as possible, for those cases which do get overturned. This does however result in a problem involving double jeopardy.
Limit on law length: A threshold, in terms of number of words, will be set that prevents laws from becoming very convoluted. In order to introduce new laws when this threshold is nearly reached, lawyers must first consolidate previous laws to make them more concise (of course, without changing the actual laws). This means that it will be at least possible for the average person to read all the laws in place within a reasonable period of time (say, a week). This cuts down on the legal/judicial complication that makes getting lawyers so absolutely necessary, and enables people to proactively take action, sure that they are not being limited by too many restrictions (and not be limited by restrictions that they may not know about). Thresholds on laws can be separately instituted for different levels of government (global, state, local, etc).
Judge doesn't know either side's identity: In order to prevent judgment in court cases from being partial, the judge is not given the defendant's identity (and may not be given the prosecutor's identity either) (though this may be necessarily known by some other official working with them). This involves presenting defendants (and probably prosecutors as well) behind an opaque "screen" throughout court proceedings.
Cannot sign away one's rights: Employers/counterparties/businesses cannot require employees/counterparties/clients to sign away any rights given to them by laws (except maybe in a few particular circumstances). For example, employers cannot require employees to sign employment contracts saying they cannot whistleblow, and one side cannot require the other side to agree to arbitration instead of going to court.
Neighborhood watch: A universal neighborhood watch system will be established through a collection of online websites allowing people to quickly and easily post events and crimes they've seen, and upload pictures of wanted criminals and footage of when people have spotted said wanted criminals. The system will also allow others to search through this material, and generally facilitate quick collaboration between the general community and criminals. This will therefore reduce the need for a police presence as well as increase anti-crime effectiveness overall.
Recording: Recording is permitted by anyone of anyone without the subject's consent, though such pictures may not be posted for others to view without their consent (or rather, must be removed from internet and other public places if the subjects want them to be removed), and also can't be used for commercial purposes without the subjects' consent. Recordings are allowed to be used as evidence in the courts without anyone's consent, and allowed to be submitted alongside complaints to the government (or corporate) websites, so as to bring about greater transparency. Thus society will have access to more of the truth in coming to a verdict in the judicial system, thereby helping to prevent wrongdoing, while still helping to protect peoples' privacy. The government will simply not have a large administrative arm in charge of wiretapping, so while suspects can be wiretapped, any government wiretapping agency will not have the resources to pull off 1984-style mass wiretapping programs. Watchdog/vigilante groups will not be barred from wiretapping people even in private places (such as in the subjects' home), much less in public, though they could potentially lose cameras put in a private place. With respect to porn law, sexually explicit recordings are lawful and may be posted on the internet if and only if the subject consents (and must be removed when the subject withdraws consent).
Recording of officers: Recording of government officials allowed at all times, in part to ensure that they are doing their duty correctly, and to act as evidence against any otherwise overpowered and power-abusing government officials. Government officials and agencies may not restrict the ability of individuals who record them provided the individuals don't then act irresponsibly by leaking the recordings all over the internet or other public forums, and provided that the recording doesn't actively obstruct justice. This definition of "obstruction of justice" will be determined by the courts. While police officers can arrest anyone they want, the arrested can then sue the police in court and thereby effect significant punitive fines on government.
Recording cross-checking: Because of the potential that one side or the other (for example, civilians and police) may manipulate recordings to suit their needs, law enforcement officers are expected to be constantly equipped with a tamperproof camera that is expected to be turned on and recording during all their working hours. That way, if a case or a dispute arises, this will be a source to support the law enforcement officers' points of view, and this is important in legitimizing such matters as speeding and ignoring the stoplights, by giving law enforcement officers evidence to prove what they say they saw. Of course, if government officers have it turned off, then any complaint filed against them and backed with a recording will automatically result in a victory to the complainer since the defendant has no evidence to the contrary.
Libel leakage laws: Laws will be in place to punish those who leak those who put out recordings to public forums or internet, if those recordings aren't true (which is libel) or don't represent a person breaking a law (which is just malicious info-sharing). Punitive measures will scale based on amount of money, will usually include a public apology, and involve transmitting money from the wrongful leaker to the subject of the recording (or anyone harmed by releasing the recording to the public). In general it is, and only is, righteous and legal to leak recordings portraying criminal or civil-law wrongdoing.
Punitive accountability: Government officer and agency accountability will be ensured using heavy-handed legal consequences, such as loss of power/position (for individuals) or change of leadership (for agencies), saying one is sorry in public, jail time (if particularly criminal abuse of power), and heavy fines. The punishment will be punitive enough that, even considering the percentage of time that power-abusing government officers will not be caught, that they will still be highly wary of overstepping their bounds. In certain borderline cases, government officers who infringe on their powers will be let off with merely an admonishment on the first 1-3 instances (depending on the severity of the incident) so that government officers will not be too afraid to carry out their duty.
Corporate accountability: Corporations will be held responsible if they produce a product or service that doesn't do what it's supposed to do or has unusually substantial/severe un-preannounced side-effects, regardless of whether the corporation knew about the problem beforehand. In the industry of drug development, biotech companies will be heavily fined if they should have concluded, but didn't, from pre-human (such as mice) trials that a drug is not safe for humans, and yet contined on into the clinical trial phase.
Government contracting: Government contracts with companies will be heavily scrutinized to make sure that particular individuals are not having an undue influence on what company is chosen. Contractors that bid low and get the contract, but don't deliver satisfactorily on that low bid will receive negative marks that may preclude them from receiving further contracts (depending on alternative companies and number and degree of infractions).
Test-grading evalations: School test graders too often give varying marks on open-ended answers to tests. (See education section) While there is no longer any homework, not all tests can be administered using the multiple-choice format. For other, open-ended questions and answers, graders must have detailed rubrics, and must follow this closely. Instead of answers to exams being graded by just one teacher who has the final say (as in today's system), these answers to exams will be graded by 3 graders independently. If any of the three are out of order, a commission of substantially more other graders will evaluate the answer, and depending on their conclusions' having or lacking some degree of concurrence, the grader(s) who graded incorrectly may receive black marks and given a warning to improve their evaluation strategy. Graders who receive enough black marks will no longer be allowed to grade answers (they may lose their jobs as a consequence), so they will have to be more careful with their evaluations.
Complaint system: The government will have a safe-to-access, fully user-anonymous website where people can readily submit complaints about wrongdoing on the part of government workers, regardless of who they are. No government worker gets protection or immunity to complaints filed in this way. These complaints will be kept for at least five years in the logs and when enough complaints build up against a particular individual, group of people or agency in the government, an investigation will be initiated by a special assembly that oversees such matters, potentially resulting in direct resolution of the matter in the form of government punishment of its workers or potentially resulting in a public posting saying that whoever filed such-and-such complaint has grounds for initiating a lawsuit. Thereafter, anyone (doesn't have to be the one who first posted the complaint) can potentially instigate a lawsuit. As a result of this system, complaints can be quickly addressed and government officials will take care not to do things wrongly.
Low tolerance for officials: Government officials in positions of power (representatives) must be circumspect in their statements and actions, or they may readily be indicted of attempting to subvert the government. This is usually either corruption or changing of the law to such an extent as to result in loss of the public's liberties to the point that the government may devolve into a totalitarian state. The indiction's verdict will ultimately lie with the General Assembly. This will be enforced by a part of the government's representatives called the Watchdog Group (which ensures no government wrongdoing). Because of the increased likelihood of abuse by those in positions of power, and the potential consequences of those actions, the severity with which crimes they commit are addressed must be increased significantly.
Lying by politicians: Representatives are known to lie in Legislature, so people should only trust what they say if they say it under oath. Hence, it would be customary for all representatives to make an oath to honesty before making their speeches. Then, Representatives that are caught blatantly lying when they should have known better (ie. making false statements on a topic they profess to be an expert in) will be charged on the basis of perjury, based on whatever negative consequences for society their statements may have, including indirectly, including the way their words may lead to the rest of government to vote in a way that would worsen society based on this falsehood.
- To a lesser extent, representatives that are caught making false statements in general will be censured and required to make an apology, and if they refuse to do so the people may choose to hold a re-election to kick them out of office for being irresponsible.
- Alternatively, since we don't want representatives criminalized for stating the truth when lies predominate, the punishment may just be reduced to "strikes" (if a politician gets a threshold number of "strikes" he/she is fired) and/or fines.
- Catching lies by politicians will be done via the fact-checker system (see legislature section).
Lying by government officials: Lying by government officials in their line of duty is liable for significant punishment and can be brought to court since government officials are understood to be representing Society when speaking in their line of work. This will make these people, who are usually in positions of power, be more wary about abusing their power and then trying to get away with it by lying. Usually the punishment is light unless the person's lying is malicious or is too flagrant to be ignored.
Lying by corporate workers: Workers at companies will also be responsible for lying to other people in their line of work as well. The company will enforce rules and punish those workers who don't follow these rules; if a company fails to do so then customers can stack up accusations and complaints on the corporate review websites (see complaint system) and devastate the companies' public relations image.
Military sue-able: Military people are not immune to lawsuits like they currently are under the US system. (Of course, it's not like people of another government will use this to subvert the nation, since there's no other government.) Military people are thus treated like everyone else. Same goes for police.
Politician exposure: One of the requirements for all politicians and of the higher-ups in the administrative system is that during their term in office, they can expect to have (almost) no privacy. These people have a great amount of power concentrated in their hands and that privilege comes with added responsibility or would otherwise be readily abused (since people are easily corrupted by power), through such means as grafting, kickbacks, bribes, or other deals. In order to ensure that the government really is answerable to the people, and that its members are not involved in some conspiracy scheme or other, it is legal for people - anyone who has basic level clearance, such as all accredited journalists - to record every aspect of politicians 'and administrative system leaders' daily lives, including wiretapping and other such activities, to ensure that they are not abusing this power. The same requirement is not placed on everyone else in society for the obvious reason that other people are in far less of a position to abuse. As a caveat, for dealing with particularly sensitive information, the General Assembly can establish that the special assemblies dealing with classified information can hold their meetings in secret, away from the prying eyes of reporters and other people.
WikiJustice: This will be an online organization where people can track political figures (such as those running for or in political positions) based on how they've stood up for justice. Doing good will earn politicians "justice credits", although for practical reasons these most likely won't be simply a point value system. People who have accumulated substantial "justice credits" are well known among people who check such websites and this news is spread to all citizens through watchdog groups and other organizations. Such people therefore stand a far better chance of being elected to be representatives. Some "justice credits" are given for the less debatable issues, such as being the first to call for fixing what is widely perceived by the community as an injustice. Other "justice credits" are given depending on representatives' demonstrated views on various political matters and such would differ depending on the peoples' political views.
No defense of authority: Those who take actions harmful to society (for which they can be charged with crimes), may not use as their defense that they were being ordered by their higher-ups to take any particular action, unless they were forced to do so. This is then usually not a defense for those with weapons and the ability to use them, and after-the-fact they may be charged with having committed a crime for actions taken "in the line of duty". It is encouraged that if the government were ever to order its police or military to do unconscionable acts, that they would refuse to do so, and use their power and weaponry to resist such authorities, thus reducing the effectiveness of the military/police chain of command.
Civilian review boards: The general assembly may create civilian review boards for monitoring the actions of various government agencies and contractors, such as the police, in a particular district. These would be elected for a set term, they cannot be readily dissolved by the legislature, and their members not allowed to serve again after the term; this is to help ensure objectivity, independence, and impartiality of the review board. Civilian review boards have the authority to collect data and obtain the collaboration of the agencies they are tasked to review, and have the right to post their data to the internet. They will also have various powers over the agencies they review, including hiring and firing of personnel.
Burden of responsibilities placed on those with power: Because people in positions of power:
- stand to gain more from abusing their powers,
- are more capable of abusing their powers,
- are more capable of doing harm to society when they abuse their powers,
- are able to thwart whistleblowers and other forms of complaint about such abuses, and
- are in a better position to get away with doing so,
than people who do not have power, and because such positions of power tend to attract people who would be abusive with their power, we can much less afford lax rules about the matter. Hence we should make sure that their rights are far more restricted, and their responsibilities far more clearly defined, than for those not in positions of power. And this includes:
- the degree of injustice they inflict on others that we will tolerate;
- the amount of personal privacy and safety measures he can expect; and
- the ability to do what he wants with his money, position, connections and resources.
Expiration of secrecy: Government can keep things secret if at least five people (usually government officials) ask for it to be kept secret, and no more than 1 person wants it exposed. The information will remain classified for a month. After that, classification may be extended for another month if and only if another five (different) people who have seen it ask for it to be kept secret as well, and no more than 1 person wants it exposed. The classification can be extended indefinitely but each month the requirement for people in support of its secrecy doubles. Pretty soon, this secrecy will become unsustainable (since someone will determine that it should be exposed); hence, even those data with the best reason for staying classified will only stay as such for under a year. At that point, all the individuals who asked for such information to be kept confidential will be challenged, as a matter of rule, by a special legislature to explain their rationale. Any piece of data will be evaluated to determine to what extent its remaining secret was important to society. If something is deemed unworthy of keeping secret, then all the people who supported its secrecy would be punished with something significant (such as a percentage garnishment of total income/net worth, or demotion). This hence constitutes a strong requirement and incentive for government transparency.
By whim of constituents: During the voting process who voted for a representative is recorded. Later on, if a subset of these people (a low threshold), declare that the representative they voted for is not doing what they wanted to (or were voted to do), then they can have a revote (only a subset of the people who originally voted for that representative who want to change their votes for someone else need do so; it's up to them to shift their votes away from the representative). These people can vote for someone else (probably some other representative who was really close to hitting threshold in the normal election process). The newly elected representative will displace the old one (since these leaving constituents will send the representative's votes collected to below threshold). This method will result in the ability of the masses to very rapidly replace elected officials and hence force elected officials to do what their constituents want, all within the election cycle.
Punishment for biased voting: Representatives cannot vote on any matter in which they may be particularly biased, such as particular industries. This is determined by their relations with people in such industries, and whether they or any relatives or close friends stand to benefit significantly from a vote in such a field. Their votes will be discounted (and so the bill can be overturned) and they will incur a significant punishment (such as percentage net wealth garnished). This is retroactive as well, so that receiving benefits from voting a certain way in an industry either before or after the vote will both result in such punishment. Furthermore, Representatives that vote in any given industry cannot enter work in that industry for many years (so that they cannot benefit from any "favors" that they may benefit from when they do join).
- This doesn't apply to matters that everyone will end up being biased on, such as gay/straight.
Funding sources publicized: People who have significant impact on politics/economics (such as pundits, media/journalists, politicians) must state any material relationships they have with anyone beyond a very low threshold. This ensures accountability for their actions, and the public will know when such people claim to have 'unbiased' opinions but are actually being probably significantly influenced by their sponsors.
Petitioning for monitoring: People can post petitions on a government website made for this purpose. Since it's a petitioning site, individuals will be assigned internet ID's for this site. Also, an individual can only sign up to a certain number of petitions in any given month (for example, 3). Once enough petitions have been received - a threshold usually over a few thousand - regarding monitoring a particular agency, organization, or company, the government becomes required to monitor it:
- Is it doing anything illegal?
- Is it being abusive to customers or other people?
- Is it biased or untruthful, if it claims to be fair or honest?
- What are its resources being spent on?
- Where are its resources (money, volunteers) coming from?
- What are the circumstances surrounding particular notorious events related to it, that led to filing the complaint?
The monitoring will be done by some other party that will be randomly selected from a pool of qualified investigators. In this way any institution large enough to have a significant impact on the lives of everday people or have significance on the political arena will be closely investigated and held accountable for their actions.
Higher fines for the rich and poweful: Since the rich and powerful have more resource available to them and know more about laws and tricks and therefore are better able to take advantage of the system in borderline-illegal ways and end up getting caught less. To compensate, punishments exacted on the rich and powerful will be far more substantial than for the poor and powerless. Wealth for this purpose will be determined by all past incomes earned, and power will be determined by polling who people think are the most powerful (both individuals and whole professions).
Lawsuit against judges: Judges who rule improperly on court cases (ie. cruel and unusual punishment, willful ignorance of the evidence, abusive treatment of prosecution/defendant) can be sued by any party, with the punishment potentially including disbarment or suspension without pay.
Particular case types
Indiction: Political fraud: If politicians or other people deemed of great significance in the political arena (such as notable reverends, members of the administration, celebrities) make false statements regarding some political aspect or controversial topic (such as slander against politicians or false claims about what actually happened such as consequences of climate change or politicians' voting records), then their words and actions have resulted in changing peoples' informed course of action (ie. who to vote for), to some extent differently from what they would have done had they known the accurate truth. Such people are responsible for defrauding the citizenry of their vote. Hence, they can be very, very easily brought to court on an expedited track (their schedules are placed before that of all others in going to court). Since such lawsuits are about primarily fact-based matters, the court proceedings will go very quickly. Also, because the politicians made their statements in public and so any harm dealt has primarily public consequences, these cases are done in wide-open publicity, and given to the media. The media of course will make the most of the verdict, so that politicians (or other people) make such false statements, they can be quickly condemned for it. This process therefore helps to ensure truth in political campaigns.
Indiction: Wrongful use of drugs: No drugs are considered illegal or punishable. Possessing, selling, or bartering with drugs is not considered illegal or punishable. The use of non-psychoactive drugs in a medically harmful way indicates that a person didn't know what he/she was doing, and conviction results in merely the requirement to retake the medical drugs class (and suspension of citizenship until then). The use of psychoactive drugs may be considered a private health or addiction matter and conviction results in sending the person to rehabilitation or psychotherapy. In all these cases, court cases are civil, not criminal. The idea is to encourage people to understand the medicines, to understand any psychological problems they might face, and make it less likely that drug abusers will be forced into the underground where they are more likely to cause harms to society and crimes.
Indiction: Tax evasion: Instead of putting people in prison for failure to pay taxes, these remaining unpaid taxes are simply deducted from the individual's bank account as a civil court matter. And if the government can't get enough money in this way (the person doesn't have enough money in the bank), then it's understandable why the person was evading taxes (he/she obviously doesn't have enough to pay it back). In this case then the government garnishes future sources of income that the person might have. At any rate, putting the person in prison will only reduce that person's productivity, ultimately resulting in lower taxes.
Indiction: Weapon possession: Weapons, anything dangerous, graffiti spray-cans, etc., can all be legally possessed by anyone on property (unless there's a really good reason for prohibiting it, say, beyond the security section of airports). In general if the item's mere presence isn't dangerous or harmful, then possessing it (or having it on you) isn't a crime. Most of the time it's the actual use of, or the presented threat to use, the weapon or whatever item which is harmful to society and hence worth punishing. One exception may be with guns in plain sight, since just having them in plain sight may invoke fear among those nearby. The caveat to this is that guns hidden away (and not used or exposed) is not criminal since society isn't being harmed by a weapon that both isn't used and which they don't know is present.
Indiction: Treason: Treason will be relegated to a misdemeanor since after all there's no other government that a convict could be subverting the nation into. Also, treason will be particularly narrowly defined, so that people who urge changes to the government, or who have things to hide from the government, or expose the inner workings of government, can't be convicted of treason.
Indiction: Exorbitant punishment: Those in positions of power who slap a major punishment onto a minor infraction (or no infraction at all or belief in an infraction caused by a misunderstanding), and don't quickly ameliorate the punishment when they should have realized that what they are doing isn't common-sensical, can be charged and convicted with this. The first time around, that person can no longer be the one with "final say" regarding punishment for infractions. If these violations of just punishment continue, the person can be stripped of his power regarding punishment altogether. This rule would therefore make some of the following stupid (but true) punishments be much rarer:
- Impounding a car for when its driver loads furniture left on a city street onto the car;
- Imprisoning a person for letting her lawn get brown;
- Suspension from school for bringing a cutlery knife in the lunch box;
- Foreclosing on homes that are only days past due date on bills, etc.
Indiction: SLAPP: Prosecution can be counter-sued (while the first one is ongoing, and this counter-suit can come to trial while the first one is ongoing as well) for strategic lawsuit against public participation. All that has to be determined in the anti-SLAPP lawsuit is that there's a reasonable chance that the lawsuit is SLAPP. While this doesn't throw the primary case out of court if won by the defendant-turned-prosecutor, it means that the costs of the lawsuit being borne by the defendant will instead be paid for by the prosecutor. When the case is settled, the full cost of the secondary lawsuit (the anti-SLAPP) will be paid for by whoever loses the secondary case. This makes it harder for wealthy prosecutors from carrying out a SLAPP.
Indiction: Murder: The question of what kind of victim constitutes murder has become ever blurrier with the advance of science: should destroying a newborn be murder? A baby in the process of birth? An unborn baby about to be born? A very young unborn baby? A gastrula? A blastula? A zygote? An egg? No particular "checkpoint" is going to be really satisfactory since the cutoff's consequences will be too strong for a small change (killing a 6-day fetus isn't murder, but killing a 7-day fetus is?). Also, as growth is a continuum of states, there will be many possible states to choose from. So instead of specifying a cutoff, it will be better to use a gradient. Along the idea of percent guiltiness, a person who destroys a zygote will be convictable of murder, but with minor guilt (0.001% say), scaling upward as the baby develops (say, 5% guiltiness at the 1-week stage), and will be 100% guilty after the baby has been born. How the guiltiness is assigned will reflect scientific analysis of the development of the baby (differentiation of tissue types, number of cells, length of time since fertilization, etc).
Indiction: Crime against society: This is placed upon people who have abused their socially given power to such an extent that their actions compromise the very integrity and liberty of the peoples of the world. It is considered one of the most severe charges possible and is only applicable for cases in which one can be seen as bringing Society precariously close to the precipice of totalitarian government. The culprit must:
- Be in a position of power that can lead to social-power abuse;
- Abuse that power to weaken the stability of society, in particular by shifting the government close to totalitarianism or what could lead to totalitarianism. This is a relatively strict interpretation, and would include representatives making claims that they can infinitely detain people; fighting a 'war' without formally declaring it; maliciously interpreting laws to give them far more powers than they were supposed to have; silencing of political opposition and taking and torturing of political prisoners; media censorship; attempting to scare the denizens of the world into obedience of a Big-Brother style of government; and collaborating to drastically undermine Society;
- The freedoms of Society's peoples must be already pretty close to the borderline of totalitarian government. Hence if the government has been generally tolerant and free, almost no one will get charged with this.
Indiction: Crime against civilization: This is placed upon people whose actions have compromised human civilization's ability to invest its resources in science and yield inventions, innovations, and discoveries. It is considered the most severe charge possible and is only applicable for cases in which one can be seen as nearly shutting down either Society's ability to create new technologies or Society's ability to apply them.
- Ordinary crimes, such as 'sabotage', 'treason', establishing monopolies, and legal actions, such as changing the research, education and patent laws, don't count.
- This is primarily reserved to punish those who would start new religions or cults that actively proselytize and effect an anti-technology, anti-science, anti-scientific-inquiry effect on civlization - on the founders, and the most anti-science leaders of the religion or cult. Followers don't count.
- To wit: Christianity and Islam are some of the worst offenders, for their texts would forbid any sciences that could potentially challenge their religious doctrine. Christianity was responsible for an intellectual black hole in the medieval ages, without which humanity's technology would be centuries ahead. Islam is currently responsible for an intellectual black hole that has resulted in stagnation of scientific advancement in modern times in the Muslim sector. Hence it is the founders and leaders of such movements that this indiction would punish.
The reason this is the most severe charge possible is that a long-time, widespread anti-science religion would prevent or delay a host of technological advancements, some of which may be capable of preventing an untold number of deaths (in the millions or billions), such as penicillin, and some of which may be capable of greatly improving the lives of an untold number of people (such as electricity and computers). It is for this reason that this crime is an infinitely worse offense than murder.
Indiction: Disturbing the peace: Considering that normal function of a democracy involves
- Maintenance of citizenry's rights by periodic contesting of encroachment of government or organizational power,
- Protesting and complaining both physically (verbally and through protests) and electronically, and
- These incidents sometimes come to a conflict with government or organizational power attempting to limit the citizens' rights,
- Presenting one's own opinions to other people, and
- Some of these ideas will necessarily get certain members of society riled up or distressed,
It becomes necessary that at times normal function of a democracy will result in disturbing the peace. Hence 'disturbing the peace' is not a valid accusation (it's not illegal). In the spirit of free speech, mere words (unless it's incitation to harm() are also legal. Now, that's not the same thing as the following:
- Hurting someone physically (through rioting, say);
- Preventing people from doing their job (picketing, or going on strike if employee has signed an employment agreement prohibiting striking);
- Making too much noise resulting in decrease in aura;
- (a few other things).
Indiction: Pornography: The idea of having law is to prevent people from doing things that would harm others. In the case of pornography, no harm comes directly from the viewing of porn; the harm comes from the potential abuse inflicted on the subjects of porn, primarily due to the fact that historically the subjects of porn (the models/actors) have been less knowledgeable about their options, and financially desperate and thus seek porn production for cash. But that does not mean that pornography itself is harmful. Therefore, porn will be readily available for public consumption and perfectly legal, but there will be plentiful safeguards to ensure that the subjects of porn know of their options and are not in severe financial troubles. The taxation system includes various social safeguards for this purpose (see taxation section) so that people will not feel like they have no option.
- Sexting and other instances in which the subject of porn chooses to share the porn with others, would be perfectly legal.
- These rules apply to child porn as well.
Indiction: Blasphemy: The whole point of having free speech is to show certain ideas to be conducive to society and others to be deleterious to society. Of course, for any kind of statement there will be people who feel insulted. However, as long as that 'insult' is not translated into direct physical and/or financial harm, it is essentially harmless (except for emotional distress). An anti-blasphemy law would elevate pro-religion speech above anti-religion speech; there is however no civilization-promoting reason for doing so. However, in order to prevent speech from calling itself a new religion and therefore declaring that others are committing blasphemy against it (a common tactic of Scientology), and to avoid the situation where atheism itself declares itself a religion (and declares anti-atheism speech as blasphemy too), it only makes sense that there cannot be an anti-blasphemy law.
- 'Blasphemous libel' is also a non-crime. (Libel is a different matter.)
Indiction: Child labor: Children may work but only if they have passed the citizen filter (see education section), which means that they may only legally work if they are well-informed about their rights and will be able to resist being pressured into working. Government doesn't really care about the age since birth of individuals, but rather about their intellectual and educational development; thus, if a person is a child prodigy and has passed the citizen filter by age 10, that child is just as qualified to work (except for physical and experiential limitations of course) as adults who have passed the citizen filter.
Indiction: Intention to commit crime: Having an intention to commit a crime is not punishable unless the person was stopped just short of succeeding (such as through intervention or luck). The reason is because people oftentimes have thoughts of doing something illegal and then decide not to do it; such people should not be punished. Likewise, 'conspiracy to commit crime' can be parsed into 'intention to commit crime' + 'incitation to commit crime'; the former isn't punishable if the person decides to bail out before actually doing something.
Indiction: Incitation to commit crime: This is very narrowly defined, because of the potential for the government to abuse it and because just about anything said or done has the possibility of inciting crime (including the mere presence of having a legal system). It obviously makes no sense to make it a crime to 'make prison establishment a crime because some people are pissed off at prisons' or something. Instead, incitation to commit crime is one of the following:
- A commander/leader tells you to do something and you do it because you are pressured by the situation and/or the authority the person gives off, in which case that commander/leader is guilty of this; or
- Actions taken that cause what is already a mob to take harmful action. The making of a mob by itself doesn't constitute a crime (similarly, picketing and protesting aren't crimes either), but telling it to lynch somebody is. Merely telling someone to commit a crime, telling someone that committing a crime would be a good idea/right thing to do, or gathering material that could potentially be used to commit a crime (without getting even near to committing that crime), don't count.
Punitive damages scaled to net wealth: Most crimes will involve some degree of punitive damages. Depending on situation, this will be a percentage of the defendant's net wealth. The idea here is that punitive damages are meant to discourage the person from doing something again, and this is only effective if a person loses a percentage of net wealth rather than a set amount; otherwise, rich people will not feel that they have been punished and poor people will be utterly destroyed.
- Alternatively, this can be progressive, ie. poor pay 10% of net wealth and rich pay 15% of net wealth, especially if this is a crime usually perpetuated by the rich.
- Balanced out by the fact that rich people can more readily hire better lawyers and last in legal attrition battles so they don't get charged as often as poor people.
- Accompanied by the rule that one cannot readily transfer one's money to an individual without getting something of similar value in return (ie. no giving money to spouses or children), this prevents rich people from simply temporarily transferring money to reduce the punitive damages.
- If the defendant is a group, depending on the situation they will each be charged with punitive damages equal to a percentage of their net worth.
No punitive damages based on likelihood of getting caught: The current system involving punishing people more for crimes that are rarely caught is only going to incentivize rarely catching such criminals (because it costs money to find criminals and bring them to court), and also results in massive randomness which is very unfair to those who do get caught, for they have to shoulder the burden of all the others (when the others are also guilty). Hence this plan advocates no such punitive damages (different from the one mentioned above).
No isolation: Isolation is totally unproductive for all parties involved and so will not be used as punishment. Same goes for intense isolation used for torture.
No torture: Since it's apparent that people will readily lie or imply a lie while under torture to escape it, and the torture helps no parties involved, it too will be outlawed. Confessions derived through prospect or undergoing of torture will carry no weight (but see judicial section; confessions in general have no weight in courts).
Shift away from prisons: Prisons will no longer be the most popular destination for convicted criminals, due to the fact that a prison term is generally nonproductive for all parties involved and psychologically debilitating. Instead, convicted criminals usually serve parole under close supervision from police officers or surveillance cameras (such as flying drones), and some will have unremovable collars with tamperproof cameras attached, depending on the situation. Criminals will be allowed to interact with people in society while going about their daily life or doing various activities, such as social work. If social work is part of the sentence, then it is mandatory, and this will be a highly popular sentence.
No capital punishment: Considering that capital punishment makes the sum whole of society less productive, it will be abolished. In its place will be imprisonment (for those who are bordering or are manical/pathological), parole with constant observation, or social work with constant observation. Then at least convicted criminals will be doing some good for society rather than just bad. Also, since it's nearly impossible to prove 100% guilt and 100% culpability (and everything else you need to land a particularly harsh sentence), capital punishment has the added downside of not being a reversible decision if a convict is ultimately exonerated. The same goes with mayhem punishment ("eye for an eye", "limb for a limb").
Overall punishment level reduction: Overall punishments for crimes will be greatly reduced from current US law levels. Many of the infractions currently treated as criminal in the current legal system, such as some instances of fraud, lying, various white-collar "crimes", or any of a host of misdemeanors, will be treated as non-criminal cases and therefore result in any combination of the following:
- Specific action
- Restitution payments
- Public apologies
But will not result in bodily harm/torture, imprisonment, or social work/forced labor. The reason behind this reduction of punishment is that high-length punishment (long prison terms) doesn't really deter people that much more than moderate-length punishment; that punishment is unproductive for all parties involved; and that high-length punishment is no more effective at preventing future crimes than moderate-length punishment.
Detainment transparency: People who are detained still have the right to make regular phone calls with a representative from any of the established civil-liberty watchdog groups so as to tell them their situation. Those representatives, and journalists, can also call in and request to speak with the detained so as to get the story (especially useful if these people are ever denied their right to communicate with the outside world). This is to ensure accountability on the part of anyone who detains other people (primarily the government and its enforcement groups).
Education for criminals: In an attempt to improve people who have been convicted, people could be required to attend in-depth education focused toward whatever it is that caused the tendency to commit their crime, as well as education to prepare them for at least some job. Criminals will have to take a certain set of specific courses and score well on each of them before being let out.
Rumors of severe punishment: The purpose of punishment is to discourage criminal behavior and to cause criminals to change their behavior. However, this usually would involve a loss of utility (suffering by the inmate). Rather than threatening would-be criminals with something such as long-term imprisonment, it may be better to threaten them with the specter of rape. (Of course, not actually do this.) Then have the government spread rumors of rape happening in the prisons, and pay a few people to misleadingly claim that they have been raped in prison, etc. Considering that people would in general want to keep the fact that they've been raped hidden, the fact that most prison inmates (having not been raped) would claim that they had not been raped would not actually convince society that rape isn't happening in prison. This method entails enough deterrent to thwart behavior, and yet cause a very small actual loss of utility. Hence this is a tenable social-manipulative solution to the problem of punishment.
No juvenile-adult cutoff: Growth and mental development is a gradual process and varies from individual to individual; hence it is improper to institute an age threshold for when a person is tried as an adult instead of as a juvenile. The guiltiness sliding scale adopts this very easily by simply adding another guiltiness factor of 0 at age 0 and trending toward 1 at maturity (somewhere around age 15-20).
Civilian weaponry: Civilians are encouraged to have a stun gun with them, especially in times and places when and where it's not safe (such as at night or in places one usually doesn't go to). People are allowed to stun or arrest other people if they perceive a threat, and are also required to pay a small fine if there actually wasn't a threat. This measure is done to prevent accidental shooting of people, and can help protect the public from evident murderers (terrorists, psychopaths). This would also make shooting (with a real gun) in self-defense less of a valid defense since people should be using stun guns instead. This also assumes that stun guns will be mostly safe (at least, safer than tasers).
Drones for firefighters: Firefighters are usually not distinguishable from police in that both are learned in both activities. They use unmanned aerial drones exclusively to put out fires, evacuate trapped people, etc.
Healthcare roles: Usually the police have no need for the helicopters at their disposal, and usually they have significant down time, so they are placed on call to use those helicopters to answer emergency calls for health-related concerns, functioning in the role of an ambulance. Helicopters have entirely supplanted ambulances, and contain a variety of first aid equipment. Because of the role of helicopters in first aid, the three groups (EMS, police, firefighters) share the use of helicopters. Usually however helicopters are reserved for patients who can't be moved around a lot (such as those suffering from spinal injuries), because otherwise unmanned aerial drones can do this role more effectively.
Multiple independent secret agencies: Government does not have a single central intelligence agency but rather has dozens if not hundreds, all of them mid-size operations that may share information as they see fit, but operate independently. These agencies may have arms that oversee other agencies to cross-check that they are doing what they have been paid to do legally. In this way, the intelligence agencies will be kept under check and balance from all the other intelligence agencies. Also, in this way if ever the government decides that a particular intelligence agency is performing poorly, it will be able to very quickly detach itself from association with said agency by simply terminating their contract.
- In addition, intelligence agencies may operate on their own, independent of the government - acting as private investigators paid by the people.
- Intelligence agencies will not be forbidden from investigating government actions the way journalists have access to investigate; however the government will of course do its best to keep its sensitive secrets from being leaked.
- Intelligence agencies, like individual people, legally protected in their action to find information about people and organizations. However, intelligence agencies, like individual people, are required to use judgment and self-restraint in deciding what bits of information they choose to release to the public, lest innocent people become unduly harmed by the revelation.
No license to kill: Even police and the military have no right to kill citizens. Instead, the police, riot police, intelligence agency members, SWAT teams, etc. are expected to use tranquilizer darts/stun guns to take people into custody. This is to prevent accidents from occurring, and to prevent the police from becoming unduly powerful.
- If the military is being sent to fight a rogue state, the opponents are considered to have committed treason/sedition and their citizenship status revoked.
- This is to prevent the military from simply blowing up a place that has both citizens and suspected targets.
Rank deflation: The ranks of the vast majority of police and military will be reduced to private (the bottom tier), and much of the rest of the hierarchy will be flattened, thereby putting the bottom level troops within fewer steps of the top brass. Along with the change to private will come a change in the connotation of the term, meaning "you're just a private, so mind your own business!". This is meant as a psychological foil to the tendencies of police and soldiers to get carried away with their sense of power or of their self-significance/worth/rank/prestige in their daily work, which oftentimes brings about major problems or injustices. Hence, this is mainly meant to improve the attitudes of police and military.
Grading of civil security officers: Police, soldiers and other members of civil security will be awarded bonuses depending on their performance throughout the year, which in turn is heavily influenced by how many indictions they get from the courts (for doing something illegal on the job) and how many people send in forms declaring mistrust in that person for particular instances (which happens a lot in cases of social injustice or abuse of power). These officers can end up with next to no pay, or outright fired, in a single pay cycle if what they do is seen as particularly atrocious or foolhardy. This system will replace the current system, which involves suspension with pay.
Helicopters for police: Helicopters form the standard vehicle of the police, replacing police cars. The police don't use vehicles to patrol neighborhoods - they use cameras instead. Also, most of what the police do involve actions that can be done using unmanned aerial drones (see the military section), so the use of a helicopter isn't all that common.
Stations: Police and firefighter stations are built as add-ons to hospitals with emergency departments (because they have helicopters and helicopter pads). They also have a store of unmanned aerial drones in the stations.
Role in traffic: Vehicles are designed so that they physically cannot go over 55 miles per hour. No streets in Society have a speed limit lower than 55 miles per hour. This eliminates speeding concerns, and the need for police to ticket speeders. Intersections have cameras and weight and motion detectors built in so that police aren't needed to catch people who run red lights.
Helicopters for riot police: Helicopters have tear gas bombs and microwave guns which are useful against suspects they are trying to hunt down, but equally good at riot control. Various other drones also have these functions. Since they're not on the ground, helicopters have to be aided by on-site police.
Drones for police: (See military section) The police don't often go out "into the streets" to make their rounds or even for many detective trips. Rather, unmanned aerial vehicles or landed robots will do this task for them. The robots will be armed with paralyzing (but not lethal) weaponry, so as to eliminate the risk of accidentally killing an innocent person, as a paralyzed person can be brought to the police station or court and verified as a criminal / tried and convicted first. Police will instead operate these devices from the safety of their police stations. This also eliminates any defense of "shooting out of self-defense" that the police may have, since they are at no risk themselves (and damaged drones can be readily replaced).
Multiple independent police: In the spirit of preventing abuse by a powerful organization, it will be replaced with many smaller ones which must compete with each other to survive. Instead of having a single sanctioned police force per region, the government will contract out policing responsibilities to several smaller private organizations. They will be forced to compete with each other for the favor of the local government, and that will in turn be based on their policies and relations with the public. In this way they will be incentivized to accept peoples' complaints about wrongdoings by other police forces, and will report wrongdoings on behalf of the citizenry.
- Police agencies that abuse their powers will gain disfavor with the public and the local government will be able to readily cancel their contract with such police agencies.
- Police agencies that are more effective at preventing crime will gain favor with the public and thus will keep their contract.
- Security agencies will work in the same way.
Anti-police measures: Meant as safeguards against abuse by police:
- Civilians can stun/arrest police officers provided there's a good chance they're acting beyond their rights. Of course, the police canno be substantially injured, and the arrest is meant to be very temporary. Considering this only has a chance of working out if whatever the police is doing is highly disputable, this measure will help ensure supremacy of justice.
- Police UAVs are required to have digital cameras that continually upload their recordings to a central database, and the data can only be flushed out after enough time elapses, enough for people that have potentially be victimized by the actions of the UAVs to file a complaint, in which case the records will stay even longer. This is also a measure to prevent the police from acting with impunity.
Standing military: Since Society doesn't have any other national entity threatening it, it doesn't have much of a standing military. This also means that there isn't much the government can do if massive numbers of people decide to overthrow it, which is another check on the government. However the government does have powerful forces so that isolated threats such as secessions or minor revolts could be put down.
Nukes: Society retains several thousand nuclear warheads installed in ICBM's for extraordinary circumstances. These nukes are placed in satellites (which can launch them to anywhere on the world or elsewhere) and on nuclear submarines. However most of the nukes ever created have been deconstructed and their uranium and plutonium have been put to use at nuclear power plants.
Army: Aside from regular police, Society doesn't have an army. It has no infantry, no infantry support vehicles, no field hospitals, no tanks, and no artillery. However, it fields a lot of unmanned drones, all of which are controlled long-distance from military bases spread around the world, and these controllers are trained by the military.
Navy: Aside from coast guard vessels that have a role in relieving distressed ships, nuclear submarines, and submarines for oceanic research, Society doesn't have much of a standing navy either.
Static defense: Walls, SAM turrets, bunkers, bomb shelters, coastal defenses, and other static military structures have been mostly disassembled.
Air force: The power of Society's military lies primarily with the air force, which is also technologically very advanced - this is the part of the military with nearly all of the funds. The focus is on speed and flexibility over efficiency, so there's not too many classes of aircraft. These aircraft have been designed with versatility in mind because in the absence of a national threat, a military's reason for existence is to be ready for the unusual.
Unmanned aerial drones: Also part of the air force, though usually the police control these for all sorts of operations, such as tracking down criminals, surveillance, and riot-fighting on the ground. These come in a lot of varieties, each suited to just one (or a few) applications. Several basic drone classes:
- The fire-hydrant type, which connects with fire hydrants and has an extensible hose, and which goes into burning houses carrying the hose on full power;
- The fire-suffocator type, which is a much larger drone that carries a payload of highly inflammable material for putting out large fires;
- The hunter type, which is very agile and hardened against impact, carries weapons, and used to chase down criminals;
- The surveillance type, which is very small and may look innocuous when not moving, is silent, and can change its skin color to blend in with surroundings (in the absence of cloaking technology, basically requires another surveillance drone nearby to take pictures of it and tell it how to change its colors), and which is also used for a variety of civilian purposes;
- The personnel evacuation type, with a powerful engine and flexible chassis which can carry a very heavy payload and is used to hold on to people such as those stranded in blazing homes, but which can also be used to capture criminals;
- The medical type, which provides a great variety of treatments and diagnosis AI, capable of giving immediate treatment for most situations; and
- The construction type, which aids in construction projects, used primarily in civilian purposes.
Limits of purpose: As an edict above and beyond orders of commanding officers, there are certain things military officers can't do. These include actions that would compromise the existence of a true democracy in the government, such as attempting to stop riots and protests, for it is not the job of the military to stop civilians from changing the government.
Reduced Gini coefficient: The Gini coefficient, a measure of wealth disparity, will be reduced as a result of more widespread liberal, progressive mentality and as a result of many of the other changes as described in this section. The point of having a lower Gini coefficient than is current in the US, is to prevent widespread social upheaval and social disillusionment with the system. It is also to prevent power from being excessively concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority (the wealthy elite and the corporations they run), thereby preventing them from having an undue influence on society and government.
Universal currency: A fiat-based currency with the government holding exclusive creation rights will be used by essentially everybody. Alternative currencies will be available but will probably not see much support by various institutions and therefore will not be serious competition.
All money electronic: All money will be electronic. There will no longer be bullion, coinage, nor paper money, as keeping money in paper form results in a slightly reduced volume-velocity of money which is in turn unproductive for the economy. Also, by ensuring that all money is only legal if in electronic form, the government can more readily ensure that money isn't being transferred around illegally or for illegal purposes (such as for human trafficking) or being kept somewhere where the government doesn't know about its existence (see wealth tax below).
Marriage not economical: Marriage and civil union will not have any economic effects. Taxes will be assessed on an individual basis, on that particular individual's ability to earn income, rather that of the combination of that person with the significant other (if any). This will make marriage no longer an economic concern, and people would marry on domestic/relationship/romantic reasons alone. Marriage will also not confer changes in alien-ness status; instead, individuals become citizens upon passing the Citizen Filter regardless of whether they are married. In this way, (since citizenship in Society has very important economic consequences), marriage is decidedly not a factor that impacts family economics.
Government equity positions: The government will be the largest investor, having positions in many companies. After all, the government's objective is to make the economy better, so why not start off by aligning incentives between the government's and that of the companies on which the economy is based? Government can borrow (using the current bond system is fine) at near-zero-percent interest rates since Society, as the single government in the world and with control over its money supply, is de facto unable to default (it'll just print more money) and will be ultra-stable. Of course, its massive positions in equity will mean that it will be less stable than many countries of today's world, but since it can expand the money supply at will, this is essentially a non-issue. So the government will be able to collect money at very low rates and turn around and use that money to buy equity for much higher returns. In this way the government can earn 7-15% returns annually. As long as the government has enough money to start off with (which it can get to eventually if it starts doing something like this or temporarily has high taxes in its early decades), and assuming it doesn't over-spend on years with low returns or losses, and assuming it saves surplus money from good years, it will have the ability to generate enough money overall to pay for its traditional obligations as a government, and no longer be dependent on taxes for income.
No trade barriers: Since there's just the one government it makes no sense for the government to regulate trade through use of barriers, quotas, etc. But neither will it provide trade subsidies, since there's no subset of the human population that it should theoretically be favoring.
Revised subsidies: Subsidies will be provided by the government only for expenditures resulting in benefit to all of society, ie. positive externalities that can't be reasonably captured by individuals paying for the rest of the expenditures. This applies to many things:
- Software development
- Scientific research (medical, biological, etc.)
- Support for inventions and innovations
- Knowledge-sharing systems (like many of the items in the Communications section), and
- Some surplus food production (so that in case of disaster there will be no famine).
Reduced executive pay: The overall social culture will see to it that executives are not being overpaid for their work - especially if they clearly suck at it. Boards of public companies will in general vote against the hiring of any executives that have been kicked out from other companies, or during whose terms their companies have weakened or even collapsed, viewing their presence as being dangerous and deleterious to their own company's well-being. Such "bad" executives would be placed on most corporations' blacklists since they have clearly proven themselves inept. While top executives will still command top dollar, intermediate nobodies who are also executives will be making far less, since the current situation of high executive pay will lead to incentives for corporations to mass-produce their own executives, leading to a future in which there's about-matching supply of and demand for executives, leading to more normalized pay.
- Pensions (since they don't know how they ought to be investing other peoples' money so they shouldn't, and instead, should pay employees more outright)
- Medical and dental insurance (since they don't know insurance that well, and their providing this insurance prevents people from shopping for their choice of insurance with the added money they would have gotten had the insurance not been part of the benefits package).
In general, the money the company saves from not providing job benefits will be channeled into employees' salaries if they wish to remain competitive for employees.
Mix and match apps: In today's society, network effects compounded by exclusivity of the systems (such as Office not being able to open certain kinds of documents) make it difficult to get to the optimal state of being able to use the most readily usable and most flexible and most popular system since they tend to be exclusive, as well as hamper sharing. In the future, by allowing independent designers to turn out interfaces and mods to software in a legal fashion, and through the use of legal injunctions to prevent the original developers from making un-moddable programs, people will be ensured their freedom to use the software that they wish to use, without various arbitrary impositions.
Weakened unions: Unions and industry-based associations (such as the American Medical Association) cannot require that those who would compete with them for jobs must be part of them, and their members cannot discriminate against those who are not in their own or other union/association. This is to prevent unnatural development of monopsonies and the limitation of supply of labor. Unions and industry-based associations cannot coerce their members under threat of job loss or change in job quality or status. Laws cannot be established limiting the number of people who would seek private employment in any given industry. Laws cannot be established favoring employees in unions or industry-based associations for public employment.
Non-socialist planned economy: This is the third path besides capitalism and socialism: Have government create a central internet agency be a site where people can report what they plan to buy in a specified point in time. This information is fed into a big machine that can produce information, ie. tell the producers what they should do to optimize production capabilities, but not enforce their production; it will also make everyone in society aware of the consequences of peoples’ individual actions. This allows everybody to retain freedom of choice and solves the calculation problem as well as the problem in capitalism where people don’t have full information (by pooling all this information you get a centralized source of near-complete information). Then, because this system is so conducive to the profits of the producers (who know exactly what they need to produce), the system can charge high fees (say, 20%?) and this money can be spent on welfare. Because the system is also a consumer-producer match-making site, and b/c of the network effect, essentially everybody will want to be enrolled in it despite the producer fee. Also, because this system pools information, the government can take a look at what externalities result, and then use taxes and subsidies to influence decision-making, thereby solving the externalities problem.
Algorithmic insurance: Insurance applications must be electronically presented in standardized format by consumers who want insurance. This is then fed into an algorithm to generate insurance rates. Government will at random perform audits to ensure that people aren't lying while doing this, and anyone caught will be charged with fraud/theft. Anyone who signs up for the insurance will periodically and randomly be given information concerning another anonymous person's accident and claim for insurance payout, and will be required to give his own judgment on whether a payout is reasonable. Since they only have a say on other peoples' payouts, they will be disinterested and hence will give more accurate results (unlike having insurance employees deciding on whether to make payouts). These analysis requests will be sent out by the algorithm as well, and each claim for payout will be sent to at least 5 people. If at least half vote that a payout should be given, then the payout will be made electronically by the algorithm. The algorithm will be hosted on a government server database for security reasons. By adopting this plan, almost all insurance overhead will be wiped out, save for the costs of running the algorithm, hence dramatically decreasing insurance costs on the customers.
Promise of sustainable economic growth: Government, having control of the central bank, will promise to do its best to sustain a constant target growth rate (say, 4% GDP/yr), and will follow up by having the central bank and the government's legislature undertake actions to do so. The government will prevent the economy from collapsing by taking actions such as providing insurance for peoples' bank accounts, as well as buying out financial institutions and other too-big-to-fail institutions at a discount (thereby making them parts of the government and then running them as such), instead of bailing them out by giving grants/loans to them. Hence people will be assured that the folding of a major private institution will have negligible effect on the economy. When the economy has rebounded, the government will then sell these once-collapsed institutions back to the public, for a substantial profit. This profit will pay for the cost of maintaining the institution during economic downturns and for holding onto enough capital to make such transactions/buy-ups possible. Also, the government can provide stimuluses for markets in a downturn. When an economy is overheating, the government will also take actions to cool down the market; for example, if it considers prices for the real estate market are rising too quickly, it will proceed to raise property tax rates, place a temporary real estate excise tax, etc. By making the promise to do this, the government will be able to significantly mitigate business cycles.
Revised CPI: Instead of just one CPI, there will be a spectrum of CPI information. This is because inflation is different for people of different income levels, because the things people buy at different income levels are different and change a lot, not just a little, depending on their income levels. CPI will be reported say, as one CPI number for each 10% of the population:
- The CPI for the poorest 10% will feature primarily food, transportation, and rent.
- The CPI for the lower-middle-class (middle 50%) will feature primarily rent and the assortment of goods these people usually buy.
- The CPI for the wealthiest 10% will feature primarily real estate, financial costs, and costs of doing business/running a business.
This keeps CPI figures and hence inflation figures relevant for all different income strata of society.
Removal of loopholes: Loopholes, deductions, deferrals, tax credits, subsidies/incentives, and other distortions in the tax code will be removed to drastically simplify the system, to the point that even a kindergardener will be able to figure out how much taxes should be paid.
No itemized deductions: Tax deductions incentivize people losing money, and is used exclusively by the rich to avoid paying taxes. Also, the rich tend to write off as much as possible of their own expenses as "business expenses" and exploit a variety of other loopholes. As such itemized deductions are to be eliminated. Entirely.
No income taxes: Because the government is leaner (lack of any sizable military, for instance), and because of other activities that the government is involved for, there will be essentially no taxes (neither on income nor on accumulated wealth). All government income will come from other sources, at least in good years. In bad years the government will of course have to resort to taxes.
Wealth tax: Instead of having an income tax, there will be a wealth tax of say 1-3% of a person's savings year on year. This is of course to supplement the government's earnings, and the wealth tax intuitively makes more sense than an income tax since part of the role of the government is to keep its people safe, as well as to assure that people keep their own property year after year - and not the role of the government to ensure that people have jobs or income sources year after year. Also, taxing wealth disproportionately hits the wealthy when compared to income taxes which tend to hit the poor more, since the wealth calculation is based on one's excess earnings, after payments for debts and life expenses have all been calculated. Furthermore, a wealth tax discourages saving and encourages spending, which is good for increasing the volume-velocity of money and hence a boon to economy and GDP. The rich are those who would lose the most from a wealth tax, and are also the ones who would, in the absence of a wealth tax, save up all their money; this encourages them to spend more of that money to bolster the economy.
- Money stored in banks and credit unions
- Money in long-term (durable) capital goods such as factory equipment
- Money in real estate (houses, commercial and industrial buildings)
- Money in financial products
Negative tax (socially guaranteed minimum income): This follows from the no-tax item above. Since people need a baseline income stream just to stay alive at the bare subsistence level, and additional baseline income streams for basic services/housing and medical care/insurance, and there is still unemployment, the government provides a flat subsidy to every person - the negative tax. This amount is the same per person, regardless of dependencies, marriage, and household issues; but since households reduce costs by sharing housing and house-related expenditures, economical living (living as a single household rather than several when possible) is thereby encouraged. One can think of the social security program (see socialism section) as a further extension of this negative tax, except already applied to healthcare insurance. The negative tax is provided to allow everyone - even those temporarily without a job - with the basic minimum of the following:
- Shelter (just enough to pay for the cheapest rents)
- Transportation costs
- Internet (so they can educate themselves and find jobs)
- Insurance policies including healthcare
Transaction tax: At 0.1% to 0.3%, this small percentage amount will not pose a serious consequence to the financial community and will actually help to prevent financial market overheating. Furthermore, since financial transactions are mostly the mainstay of the wealthy (transaction taxes will be present on financial securities, derivatives, etc. which are primarily owned by the wealthy), this helps to put a limit on (the impact of the wealthy's ability to earn greater returns through capital rather than their own labor,) on (the disparity of wealth between the lower and upper classes). And despite this being a small percentage, by 2100, the per capita amount of financial transactions will be several orders of magnitude more than currently, even when compensated for inflation, so that this will be a LOT of money to add to the government's coffers.
Mandatory consumption: Every year, an amount equal to at least 10% of the wealth one started with at the beginning of the year, must be spent on consumption by the end of the year. Consumption would include spending for goods and services, but not for services that merely shuffle money around (such as financial products, capital goods, real estate, companies, and other investments). If the spending quota of 10% is not reached, the additional amount that should have been spent will be taxed away (entirely) to the government, so that there's no incentive not to spend at least 10% every year. This policy is mandatory until age 65 (the lower end of the retirement age range). The point of this policy will be to make people spend their money so that the rest of the economy will get a boost (increase in velocity of money). Besides, if you're rich, but unwilling to spend the money, then why work so hard earning and hoarding it in the first place? The policy won't extend beyond age 65 because retired people can't be expected to burn through their savings so quickly. Additionally, this will hinder the creation of massive estates bequeathed/inherited, which do nothing except to cause the benefactors to cease being productive members of society.
Socialism charity choice: As far as redistribution of wealth is involved, instead of having the government collect this money through taxes, the government licenses a whole host of social-charity organizations to redistribute on their behalf. The various charity organizations compete with each other for the money of the peoples, competing on matters including efficiency of redistribution and quality of service. The people are required to pay a certain set amount (equal to taxes) but they may choose which organization to pay it to.
Automatic tax billing: Instead of having people send in tax forms with accompanying money, and confuse everyone about just how the amount is calculated (and hence having to seek out software or professional expertise), the government will have a central program that calculates these numbers for everybody, thereby dramatically increasing efficiency. Then it will automatically bill and deduct money from peoples' accounts.
Instant budget reconciliation: Assuming government implements a required measuring of each individual's income/net wealth, it becomes possible to connect all this information to a central database. Then it becomes possible to constantly siphon off an infinitesimal amount of a person's periodic income or average recent net wealth to pay for taxes (or to contribute in the case of subsidies). This taxation, since it is done automatically, makes it unnecessary for individuals to use tax accounting programs or to worry about taxes and fiscal years; since the tax is just siphoned off, they don't have to worry about "saving" money to pay for taxes. Since taxes are continuously being siphoned off, there is never a lump sum payment people have to make, which makes taxation psychologically less noticeable on the citizens. Also, this means that the instantaneous tax rate can be instantly adjusted to compensate for any and all changes in the government's expenditures as a result of politicians passing bills, making for an instant budget reconciliation that makes the government selling its debt (ie. via treasury auctions) entirely unnecessary. The instantaneous tax rate schema is adjusted by an algorithm and cannot be arbitrarily set by politicians; instead, it is set so as to immediately give the instantaneous tax that, along with other sources of government income, will match up with government expenditures. Since taxes change immediately to reflect changes in government expenditures, politicians cannot escape blame for the increased taxes resulting from their increasing government expenditures, and hence will be more responsible in their dispensing of government expenditures.
- This does have the downside of making government policies more short-sighted. To compensate, another rule stipulates that government can make expenditures on long-term investments that do not have to be balanced by increased taxes, in exchange for creating an additional set tax burden to be collected by a set future deadline, that would fully compensate for these costs. The amount of the tax burden will be calculated at that time, taking into consideration all accrued expenses the government has spent on this project. Because it is a lumpsum that is separate from the regular, continuous tax, it is psychologically easier for citizens to hold the correct people responsible for this increase in their effective taxes. It is hoped that, at that time, they will be able to make a better analysis of whether the investment was worth it. In order to write off an expense as a long-term investment, the legislature will need somewhat more than the normal majority to support it, and somewhat less than the normal minority protesting it.
- This means that except for these particular investments, all other functions of the government will constantly be in balance and income-statement-neutral.
- Instant budget reconciliation will work on a state level as well, with a second rate of continuous taxes in addition to the federal rate.
Progressive bracketless tax rates: Instead of using a system of tax brackets, where the relative tax rates between brackets and the cutoff between brackets may become arbitrarily skewed, it may be better to use a single formula. Assuming that the tax scheme is very simple (no loopholes, exemptions, tax credits, etc), you'd be able to calculate how much each person pays in taxes using a simple equation. This is meant to be merely an example:
Marginal tax rate equation: = arctan(a x) / b
- x is the dollar amount you're earning.
- a approximates the inverse of "how much a person should be earning", the higher it is the lower the taxes payable.
- b influences how much people should be taxed, including how much the ultra-wealthy pay in taxes (100% marginal tax rate if b = PI/2). The higher this number, the less the burden is on the rich.
Total tax payable is the integration of this equation from x = 0 to x = your income, = x arctan(a x) - ln (a2 x2 + 1)/ (2a) + C
So for example if you were to use a = 1/50000 and b = 2.4, you'd get:
- People earning at poverty level ($15k) have 12% marginal tax rate, 6.6% effective tax rate, keep $14k
- People earning at median level ($30k) have 23% marginal tax rate, 12% effective tax rate, keep $26k
- People earning at 50k have 34% marginal tax rate, 19% effective tax rate, keep 41k
- People earning at 100k have 46% marginal tax rate, 30% effective tax rate, keep 70k
- People earning at 250k have 57% marginal tax rate, 44% effective tax rate, keep 141k
- At the asymptote, both tax rates go to 65%
The beauty of this system is you only need 2 numbers to describe the entire tax code, and anyone with even the simplest calculators can solve this problem to find out what they need to pay in taxes. No more massive spending on tax software. These 2 numbers (a and b) will be set by the government on a year by year basis. Then, the government could post a website allowing people to type in their income (a single number; this is x) and will generate taxes payable off of that amount (in the extremely simplified tax code case).
Floating tax rate: Insofar as there will still be a tax, its rate and its specifications will not be up to the legislature to determine. Rather, it will be calculated based on the amount of money being spent that year. So if the legislature decides to increase a particular discretionary spending item, the expenses will be added to the total amount that eventually needs to be taxed, and calculated on the last day of the fiscal year by computer (as mentioned above) and then taxed immediately (as mentioned above) so that the government's spending is balanced (or positive).
- Note that depending on situation, it may not always be in the best interest to maintain a balanced government ledger, so maybe certain exceptions will need to be incorporated into this rule.
Encourage tax paying as social responsibility: The government should make it a point to use various methods to convince people into thinking that paying a fair amount of taxes is the right thing to do. This includes advertisements showing what one's hard-earned tax money is paying for (and making the benefits plainly obvious for everyone to see), so as to convince the public that their money isn't just disappearing into a black hole. This also includes a publicly-available "honor roll of taxpayers" which lists, based on total inflation-adjusted amount contributed, all taxpaying members of society, as well as accompanying measures to exalt those people for paying a lot in taxes, as well as turning the whole thing into a contest to see who can pay the most in taxes, rather than (as in the current situation) a contest to see who can pay the least in taxes. This is also a means to encourage those who can to pay taxes. Otherwise, we will always have a tax problem, with people constantly trying to avoid taxes using tax havens and loopholes in the tax code.
Welfare dishonor roll: As a counterpoint to the above item, welfare recipients will be listed by name in a "dishonor roll of welfare recipients" which lists, based on total inflation-adjusted amount taken, all members of society benefiting from welfare. This is meant to discourage people from staying on welfare too long through a growing sense of guilt and shame. As one generates income and pays taxes off of it, they can gradually get out of the dishonor roll and eventually into the tax-payer's honor roll. Simultaneously, measures will have to be taken ensuring that certain people don't start killing everyone on the list "for being lazy welfare queens".
Accurate taxes and subsidies on externalities: Higher (than current) taxes on actions with negative externalities. This would include things such as use of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Subsidies on various actions that don’t have positive externalities, such as farm subsidies, will be eliminated. Higher subsidies will be granted on actions that carry positive externalities, such as donations/charity.
Public awareness taxes: Implements taxes on goods that people usually overrate because they are usually unaware of the negative consequences to themselves (usually in terms of health). This means for sugary/soft drinks, junk/fat foods, candies, etc. By making people more aware of the costs, people will be less likely to consume such products which are deleterious to their health. On the flip side, for those people who are very aware of these downsides, it would be fair to doubly impose negative effects (once via this tax and once for the negative effect itself), so to compensate, people will be able to take easy mini-courses covering information about such negative effects, and be quizzed on it, and if they pass they will be able to deduct these taxes. This would also encourage people to learn about the downsides of these particular goods.
Social service instead of taxes: People can choose to replace their paying a certain monetary amount of taxes with their doing a certain corresponding amount of social service, if they believe that they can provide that social service more effectively than the government can do with their tax money. Of course, only the poor and middle classes can hope to supplant a substantial percentage of their tax responsibility in this way, and even so it will involve months of social service out of the year.
Taxes on addictive goods: Various addictive goods get used far more than they should (even from the perspective of the addicted in hindsight). This is often the case with drugs (nicotine, alcohol, all other recreational drugs), gambling, and very addictive games. These goods are also highly inelastic which makes taxing these goods good in several ways: 1) they provide income so that means reduced taxes elsewhere; 2) they don't distort peoples' spending preferences nearly as much as taxes elsewhere would; 3) to the extent that they do distort incentives, it's for the individuals' or the public's good and serves as a form of motivation. Taxes should also be raised on goods/services that are not particularly beneficial to society; this could include wastefulness, pollution, etc. Such taxes are already in place today, but they could easily be raised to being substantially more.
Fee for too-big-to-fail: If government is going to bail out the too-big-to-fail, then government should require them to pay a hefty not-fail insurance (and have a puyblic list of who government considers too-big-to-fail, and the institutions which are too-big-to-fail will be posted on this list and required to pay the insurance). This may take the form of a tax on certain financial institutions.
Bank protection fee: If government is going to bail out accounts of depositors, it should require those banks to pay insurance on those depositors' behalf. This may take the form of a tax on certain financial institutions.
No organizational legal identity: Corporations, organizations, and other agencies are not legally recognized as individuals and thus cannot have rights, responsibilities, or liabilities. Instead, these organizations are represented by those in control of them (ie. CEO's and boards of directors). The idea is to make individual people responsible for organizational or corporate wrongdoings so that someone may actually be punished, rather than merely fining the organization itself. Organizations will not be able to sue or defend in court, or to be the target of a lawsuit, but the leaders of the organizations (those running the organization) would be expected to be defendants and someone representing the shareholder body or board of directors would be expected to be the prosecutors.
- This applies to the government as well; it cannot sue or be sued, but attorneys hired by the government will act as prosecutors on behalf of the judicial system, and those running the government (including particular special assemblies or particular agencies of the administrative system) can be required to perform certain actions or pay fines and act as defendants.
No incorporation: Companies may not incorporate. Instead, companies may be run as limited partnerships in which anyone holding stock in a company is considered a limited partner and is responsible for a percentage of the company.
- Companies with limited partners may therefore not have a general partner if the responsibilities of the limited partners add up to 100%, which would be the case for stock-based companies.
- If an individual owns 1% of a company and that company earns $1 million in profits, then that person will earn 1% of it ($10,000). If that company goes bankrupt, stockholders will be individually liable for whatever money the company isn't able to come up with, in the same way that a sole proprietorship offers no legal protection to the sole owner. So if the company loses $1 million in profits, then that person must pay 1% of it ($10,000).
- Usually individuals will not want to shoulder the risk of a worse-than-default, bankruptcy scenario, so they make variable contracts with financial insurance companies to outsource their risk in exchange for a modest premium paid monthly based on the amount of stocks owned and for how long.
- The end result of this is that corporations will be able to borrow money from each other (bonds) at a very low rate of interest (and so standardized that bond markets will no longer need much market analysis), while required returns on equity will be higher.
Optional restrictions on companies: Entrepreneurs have a choice of which type of corporation to set up. Companies, once set up, cannot unilaterally remove these restrictions on them, but can only add more restrictions. Companies cannot have subsidiaries that break any of these limitations either. The varieties differ on various aspects, say,
- reduced legal rights
- increased transparency requirements
- reduced protection to owners and shareholders
- restrictions on lobbying capabilities
- restrictions on anti-union practices
- restrictions on overtime, out-of-work work, hiring practices, etc.
- required benefits and perks for non-management workers (profit-sharing)
- restrictions on pollution effect and other negative externalities (ie. go green)
Entrepreneurs would be able to set up companies with any combination of limitations, and for each limitation the corporate tax rate for that company will be reduced (depending on which type of limitation). This forms a sort of market incentive (once someone else in their industry starts following some of these) for them to set up companies with these socially-beneficial restrictions, but still allow them to, say, create a non-transparent company if it would be really bad for the company to be transparent (say, a security company).
Cutting up companies: As a general rule the government will prevent a company from going too big or influential in any industry (say 5-10%). This is usually done by splitting companies up as was done to the Bell Company. While there will be losses to economies of scale, at such sizes these losses will be very minor and will be less significant than the threat that sudden collapse of a major industry player may have on the economy. Hence companies are prevented from becoming monopolies and oligopolies and will never grow to the point that they could manipulate prices. (Even for new inventions, patent law is different (see science section), so that there will not be a monopoly in those cases either.)
Never too big to fail: As a corollary of the rule of cutting up companies, companies will not be allowed to grow to the point that they become "too big to fail"; they will instead be split up when the time comes. For some industries, such as the financial industry, companies will be kept small enough that several of them may collapse simultaneously without financial magnification resulting in recession. Then, because no organization will be too big to fail, the government will not be obliged to bail out any companies, forcing those companies to be more circumspect and thereby properly evaluate risks.
Centralization/monopolization: Industrial and service processes that can see significant benefit through economies of scale, and not marginal ones, will be centralized into a single monopoly. (There will be very few such industries, and they will usually be very niche, high-tech companies.) The government (or the people, aka. consumer vigilante groups) will see to it that this monopoly is not being run to maximize company profit, but to maximize the benefit to society, so they will be able to point out flaws in the system, incorrect or unfair pricing schemes, etc., and pointing this out will lead to fixes in the system. Of course there will be to some extent government oversight on such centralized monopolies. Another reason the government is tasked with centralizing such companies is that the technology and products they produce will be too expensive for almost any company to launch by themselves.
Company review forums: Online websites where consumers can post reviews of goods and services obtained from companies, and their experiences with those companies, available for easy access by all and compiled into comprehensive reports for quick review by a board of editors trusted by those same websites' communities. These reports would be read by anyone who cares about the matter or are trying to evaluate ways to improve that company or are shopping for something big (such as who should you get to release your startup's IPO?). Because access to posting on these sites will not be restricted, anyone can easily point out problems in a company in such a way that people will notice, resulting in an eventual change in the company.
Government involved in network effects: Various types of businesses benefit from network effects and information cascade effects; Facebook is a good example. Facebook derives much of its competitive advantage over all the other social networking sites simply because it's much larger; a lot more people are already using Facebook than anything else. Hence, even if a better competitor eventually arose that was much better than Facebook, since it starts off with no people using it, it will not be able to supplant Facebook. This results in a deterioration of the free-competition ideal, and hence must be corrected with some form of government regulation. For one thing, the government will ensure that the networks of businesses that are affected by network effects are shared among people using competitor's software; this takes the form of standardization, or ensuring that people using a social networking site other than Facebook will have no disadvantage in communicating with people using Facebook (compared to other people already using Facebook), for example. And that open software, such as OpenOffice, is fully compatible with Microsoft Office, for another example. In this way the network effects are weakened and the advantage of the older, more institutionalized (but perhaps inferior) technologies is degraded.
Extremely low barriers to entry: To increase competition, any citizen can start up their own business just by applying online, where they simply say who they are and what they're now in business for. For sole proprietorships the process would take under a minute and then they're legally allowed to open their business. For partnerships multiple people have to register together, specifying their roles, but the process would still take mere minutes and can be done over the internet. Money-at-hand is not necessary for starting a business. Licenses aren't needed to run a business at all, though the online registration gives the government a means of tracking down and punishing fraudulent businesspeople/entrepreneurs who abscond with peoples' money or mess up badly (ie. serving contaminated food), as well as charging royalties to use registered patents. Closing a business will be almost as easy unless there is still outstanding equity or debt involved.
Management required to short puts on their stock: Instead of giving management stocks or call options, which give them an incentive to temporarily bloat up the value of their company stock to unsustainable levels by overextending and taking extreme risks with not enough downside accountability, management will be required to short puts on their stock. This means they have no upside for taking substantial risks - which is good, because the type-A personalities that comprise CEOs usually suffer from the Lake Woebegone effect the worst - and an extreme amount of downside. These puts will expire at least a few years after they finish their tenure in management so as to ensure that they won't be able to benefit from some temporarily stock-price manipulation.
Stronger anti-trust laws: Very large companies in all industries will be required to split up into smaller companies so that none of them can ever reach a "too-big-to-fail" status and to ensure that none of them can ever command near-monopoly power over people in any area. These smaller companies will be placed under the control of boards of directors and management that aren't related to the board of directors and management of the former. Individuals that have near-controlling interests in one company are by law forbidden from holding near-controlling interests in any company that is in any way involved in any of the industries the first company is involved with. This is to prevent collusion between these companies. Any discovered collusion will be treated harshly and will result in total replacement of all board directors and management in both companies, and they will be forbidden from ever working in that industry again. (This encourages people who believe they might be punished under this law, to move into another company ahead of time, thereby disempowering the groups interested in collusion. It will also make shareholders eager to prevent such a problem from arising, since wiping out the management is sure to make stock prices tumble.)
Job matchmaking sites: With the use of standardized website databases of resumes, finding a job is significantly easier. There will be several to many such websites, each one doing things a bit differently in how they determine a job searcher's ability, and employers will peruse these sites to determine fit, choosing the sites which they deem the most accurate or reliable in providing employee info. The resume data won't be "document format" but will be kept in an extensive database that allows easy searching by employees.
Job ability evaluation: The job-matchmaking sites have computer programs built in that test one's ability to do various things, such as language, computer, management proficiency, etc., and based on these programs' evaluations, these websites generate resumes. These evaluations may be periodically retaken to allow people who have, say, learned a new language, to prove that they have done so, and ratings for these evaluations will periodically decline, prompting people to re-test. This is because people tend to forget a lot of things over time. Because of the reliability and accuracy of these databases and their evaluations, finding an employee will take almost no time at all, significantly reducing the time it takes to find another job and allowing people to more readily switch jobs. These would include:
- Technical knowledge questions
- Technical ability examinations
- Proficiency with various programming languages
- Foreign language proficiency
- Writing samples, often with a prompted subject matter
- Personality tests such as Myers-Briggs type indicator
- Math ability
- Reasoning ability
- Computer, software, and other electronic equipment proficiency
- Submit proof of accomplishments and awards
- Job and character references
- ...and many others
Job-matchmaking interviews: Additionally, some of these sites may require the job-searcher to come in for an interview by a job matchmaking specialist well-versed in the industry; for these sites, employers don't even need to have their own interviews with employees. Not having to go to interviews and super days can reduce job-finding inefficiencies dramatically. These will be very extensive, hoping to cover most aspects of an interview that employers would want (since within any industry employers look for very different things in new hires, it's important that they cover much ground). The interviews may include:
- Stress tests
- Social behavior performance tests using mock situations in which the employee acts out a scene
- Presentations and debates
- Case study based interviews
- Technical ability tests using mock programs and mock data
- Almost anything else relevant to a job
- Casual get-to-know-each-other interviews
Permanent online resumes: It is generally established in culture that people who have found jobs mark that they have jobs on their resumes at the various job-matching sites they've posted resumes to, rather than removing their resumes, when they've received an offer and/or are working with a company. Other companies can regularly send him/her other job offers into a private mailbox that only the individual has access to. So in much the same way that it's legal and unpunishable for a person to "shop around" for new apartments while already renting one, or to find a new insurance policy while still on one, it's legal and unpunishable for a person to "shop around" for other job offers. This has the added benefit of making sure that employers are paying enough for their workers by constantly readjusting salaries and benefits to match what they expect the employee will receive from other companies in the job market.
Job search protection: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against those who are searching for a different job. This includes harassment, bias, changes in assignment, changes in routine job reviews' grades, relocation of workplace, or dismissal that can be deemed by common sense as being due to discovery that an employee is looking for another job.
Job matching and preparation: The government will have an agency with the specific function of matching up unemployed people looking for a job, with potential future opportunities for jobs. Applicants will be interviewed for talents and interests, and counseled on projected "hot" industries of the future, and provided with an incentive package to go learn something in that field to prepare them for a career in that industry. The package will usually involve an ultra-low-interest loan offer (sponsored by the government), the funds of which can be applied to education at one of the various vocational schools, but in particular to the few types of vocation that the interviewer believes the interviewee is most suited for. Additionally, the agency could team up with private companies, where the private companies extend a pre-offer to the interviewee stating that the company will hire that person upon his/her successful completion of that vocational school; if the person takes up the offer, the offer will only be cancelled if the company sees extenuating circumstances (bankruptcy) or the person fails to graduate with good enough grades within the allotted timespan for the education.
High-level job hiring by relevance, not seniority: Currently many companies have lower rank jobs with different job requirements/functions from higher rank jobs, yet hire for higher-rank jobs from the lower-rank workers (ie. promote them). This makes no sense - while those promoted in this way will understand the needs of the lower-ranks, a person who is skilled at management and making good business decisions (required for higher rank jobs) but not at actual operations (required for lower rank jobs) will never have the opportunity to do what they do best in. Instead, people will be able to apply directly to mid- and top-tier executive roles if they can demonstrate capability (even if that is moving across industries and they know very little about their current industry).
Work-from-home dominant: Because of the increased costs of getting around (high fuel prices and high population resulting in congestion), and the very low cost of using the internet, almost all work that doesn't have to be physically done on-sight will be done over the internet in a work-from-home style. Employees will check in every morning and will often be required to use webcams to ensure that they're actually working. Various kinds of services occupations will be done long-distance using teleconferences, a technology which (since it will be so widely used) found ubiquitously. Certain services will be supplanted by a do-it-yourself style of professional support; for example, instead of a plumber coming to your home to fix the plumbing, you will be able to use a webcam and have the plumber actively direct you on how to fix things. To support this system, the general education system will involve various generic practical knowledge (such as how to use a drill). In other cases, communities will share specially equipped rooms allowing for advanced telecommunications of this type. Taking advantage of such long-distance technologies will become a key staple of even such fields as medicine (telemedicine).
After-the-fact regulation: Anyone can start a business in almost anything; there are very little startup costs allowing for slightly easier initiation of entrepreneurship. Professional associations cannot be allowed to bar people from creating startups or otherwise competing with them. However, people must be aware of the laws and regulations in their industry, as they will likely be slammed hard for infringing on these regulations over the course of their work, and these regulations will often be suggested to government by the major professional associations and industry leaders. For example, anyone can open a restaurant without getting food licenses (ensuring food quality), but if the food is dirtied and someone gets sick the business-owner can be slammed with major legal bills and payments to prosecutor for failing to ensure good food quality.
Wage insurance: In the future one can only expect job turnover to be ever-higher. Hopefully the other ideas in this section will curb some of that friction, but it is still advisable to have wage-loss insurance for when workers' specialties get displaced (automatized, shriveled due to efficiency, or outsourced) since changing industries is a significant pain entailing much that one needs to learn all over again. Wage insurance would compensate for the temporarily lower salaries this shift causes, say by providing 50% of the loss in salary income. This wage insurance would only be given out to those who have had a job for quite a while, and only be given for displacement-related reasons (not for being fired for being a bad worker, for example.) (However there is the problem that employers hiring these people will then be able to reduce wages even more.)
Redefined prestige of profession: A new ladder of prestige will be set in the following order, from highest-prestige to lowest-prestige, with this ladder being set up in this way so as to encourage people to enter professions that can't pay them nearly as much as their work in said profession is actually worth:
- Inventors/innovators of things with massive social importance - because we want anyone who thinks they can do it, to come up with state-of-the-art technology.
- Programmers/developers/designers (for computer code) - because we want to shift anyone with the skill into supporting the inventors at coming up with state-of-the-art technology.
- Inventors/innovators of things with mild or minimal social importance
- Creative professions who can leave their legacy to future generations (ie. artists, and song producers, but not street performers)
- Oversight (of factory robots) and management (of workers, ie. company executives)
- Anything rote; the more rote the worse (including menial work, repetitive tasks, even if the job requires a considerable amount of knowledge, skill or talent) - b/c we want to shift people away from doing the jobs most likely to be replaced by state-of-the-art technology.
To achieve this society must be reconditioned to think that prestige is made by one's contribution to society and ability to leave a legacy that keeps on giving, rather than by money, power/influence, rank, perks, and difficulty of entry into profession.
Reason for firing required: Employers must give employees a letter saying exactly why they decided to fire that employee. 1) This gives the employee an idea of how to improve themselves so that they can be of better service in the future; 2) This holds companies accountable for "revenge-firing" (firing people for stepping out of the "company line").
Limit on employment in any one profession: Many of the problems that arise in today's society are due to vested interests: People who work in a particular industry tend to want to support its growth and/or its status quo position beyond what is optimal for society. This rule requires that people enter a different industry from what they have been doing every threshold number of years (ie. 7 years), and that the new industry can't be the same as, similar to, or closely related to any of the industries they have already worked in; and it blocks them from receiving income from any source - employment or otherwise through business relations - from those industries. This breaks up conflicts of interest resulting from such vested interest in the profession. By forcing everyone to experience multiple industries, this rule will facilitate peoples' ability to think beyond their immediate self-interest, and think about the downsides that their industry's actions will have on the rest of society, since they will soon become part of that rest of society (and since they don't know which job they'll end up getting when they get kicked out of their current industry). Yes, there are specialization problems and inefficiencies introduced. However, these are becoming ever less important as the rate of change of society continues to accelerate, making people have to relearn much of their profession every few years anyway, even if they didn't change professions (for example, currently 50% of what a person knows is true about medicine/healthcare, becomes outdated every 5-7 years).
Limits on overtime: Employers are required to pay employees extra beyond pay (such as 50% extra) behind a low threshold (such as 8 hours per day, 5 days a week), a correspondingly higher extra beyond pay (such as 100% extra) beyond an intermediate threshold (such as 10 hours per day, 6 day s a week). People will not be allowed to work overtime at all beyond a higher threshold (such as 12 hours a day). These limits will be enforced if possible, even if some of that time is work-from-home, self-employment, or a secondary part-time job. This is because with increased efficiencies in the future it will be harder to provide jobs to nearly everyone if each worker were to put in the same amount of labor; this also acts to decrease labor supply, thereby reducing unemployment, increasing wages, and increasing costs.
Reemployment support: Government will provide the following mostly free of charge for the unemployed or destitute so that they can get back to finding a job after being laid off or suffering a calamitous financial setback:
- Any medical examinations needed to claim disability benefits (only if the exams turn out to indicate said disability)
- Electricity, phone and internet so people can use them to apply for work
- Gasoline, money for toll-roads, and essential car maintenance so they can get to work and go to places to apply for work
- Daycare and related services so that people will be able to leave their children to go find work
- Money needed to fill out any applications necessary for work-necessary credentials (usu. government IDs)
- Any other small monetary amounts needed to find work and remain employed
- Help recovering from any reasons why one might have lost employment, such as psychotherapy and quitting drugs
- Allowing (and maybe subsiziding) activities (small technical violations) for the poor that might otherwise not be allowed, such as loitering/sleeping on the streets and high-density subletting, receiving things for free (ie. begging, or being shared food)
- People can also get small temporary loans from the government at low interest rates that they can use for patching up other holes so that they don't get hit with a larger penalty due to their not having the money to fix up things.
Social security fund: This will be mandatory collection from all individuals, so that the amount it receives will on average be enough to provide for its various uses. The idea is for it to neither turn a surplus nor a deficit. (At first this money will be mandatory collection, but once the government attains critical mass for trading on its own account taxes are done away with altogether, this included.)
- The poor will not have to pay SS tax, but will "owe" the money that they would have had to pay in SS taxes had they not been poor. If they stay poor indefinitely they will not have to pay SS tax at all.
- Lower income people will pay low SS tax rates (progressive taxation).
- People with more net wealth will be obligated to pay more in SS taxes. Since people tend to accrue wealth, SS taxes usually go up as a person gets older, and are usually the highest right before retirement.
- The amounts received as SS taxes then get paid out to them after retirement and when they are temporarily out of work.
- Emergency medical care
- Joblessness charity
- Disaster relief (includes a lot of insurance titles, such as storm, flooding, volcano, quake, etc)
- Payments in case of handicapping, paralysis or other bodily harm, paid out based on inability to earn income
- Epidemic/pandemic response team
- Pensions if one ends up retiring with barely enough money to get by
The point of which is to prevent such people from turning criminal in order to get money, or doing other activities that are less than efficient, due to lack of money when they need it the most.
No-qualms payment: Unlike the current insurance companies' way of doing business, which includes denial of payment altogether for any small infraction, government payments from the social security fund for insurance purposes will be decreased by a small percentage for infractions, rather than be reduced so much that it screws over the needy entirely.
Joblessness charity: Charity for the jobless will be provided in part by private/community charities. The government will provide enough money to support the basic necessities for as long as one is unemployed, without any end to the duration, though the amount given per month starts off high and drops off. This encourages the unemployed to at least try to find a job, but the system won't screw over the people who are just very unfortunate, regardless of reason, to be able to find/keep a job at all. Otherwise, such unemployed people could very well turn to crime. This ampleness of funds will be made possible through the use of modern, highly efficient technology that takes care of most of the necessities of living, and by the government investment method (see the economy section).
Culture of voluntary work: Because people don't even need to be employed any more to live a bare-bones life, Society will use social propaganda and other means to elicit in people a desire to do work, similar to a work ethic, in any of the following ways:
- A desire to outdo others (for the egoistic-inclined),
- A desire to accumulate wealth (for the hedonistic-inclined),
- A desire to rise in social status (for the celebrity-inclined),
- A desire to reach a position of power (for the managing-inclined),
- A desire to make a distinctly new creation (for the creative-inclined),
- A desire to do what no one else has done before (for the inventive-inclined),
- A desire to make other individuals better off (for the altruistic-inclined),
- A desire to fix problems (for the repairing-inclined),
- A desire to make the world better (for the perfectionist-inclined),
- A desire to discover something new (for the curious-inclined),
- A desire to help the community (for the empathically-inclined), etc.
That way people who do work are people who want to work in whatever field it is they are in, rather than people who grudgingly do just enough to make do. By removing the need for people to have work, this innate human tendency to do good will be brought out more.
Start-high-go-down insurance: Insurance policy adopted nigh unanimously is as follows. Everyone starts with a really high insurance rate (the rate charged for the people who are in the worst imaginable health condition possible, usually an insanely high rate). This amount then goes down from there as one offers proof that one deserves a lower rate by revealing more about oneself voluntarily. Everyone can reduce that insurance rate to a more modest level with just a simple physical checkup in which they only consent to studies which they know will prove that they don't have some condition or another, and refuse to be checked for the other matters. Then people will no longer have the ability to claim that insurers are violating individual privacy, since the people can always get the "normal" (really high) rate by refusing to lose any privacy at all. These tests will of course be out of date periodically, say, every few months, after which if a person doesn't consent to a checkup these rates will go straight back up.
Mass use of robots: The medical robot Doctor Device is one of many different types of robots, each of them used for its own purpose. The police, firefighters, and EMS use various types of unmanned aerial vehicles. Transport of luggage is aided by robots, and robots also clean things.
Factory robots: Factories and industrialization have proceeded to the point that robots are used for nearly every aspect of production, as well as performing a variety of services. Factories no longer have any workers directly on the assembly line or even in the factory itself; they no longer have any guards, janitors, truck drivers, or other personnel. All of these have been automated with the use of mass-manufactured, cheap robots. Instead, several people manage the robots that operate the factory, providing oversight and fixing problems when they arise through controlling the robots.
Servant robots: A variety of robots at affordable prices can be bought for use by the average family to perform a variety of chores. These can also be bought for maintainence, janitorial, menial, and other tasks in institutional sites, and in certain industries (such as janitorial and trash-dumping).
Automated transport: Transportation, which is primarily public (the metro rail system), is controlled automatically according to a very specifically set schedule. These are powered by pantograph.
Foldable furniture: Also because space is such a precious commodity, furniture are able to contract or else "fold up" so as to save space. This allows rooms to be a lot smaller, for homes to have fewer rooms, and still to give the feeling that there's plenty of room.
Reduced industrial/service workload: Robots will have fallen greatly in price and so will see generic use in just about anything that sees much repetitive action, such as industrial production processes and even certain types of service jobs, and will thereby supplant human work in those fields since robotic work will be far cheaper. Humans will thus see a very significant shift towards employment in other kinds of labor.
More affordable baseline living standard: The widespread use of robots for goods and services will mean that a baseline (rather poor) standard of living, consisting of shelter, transportation, food, etc., ie. stuff necessary for getting by and having a modicum of happiness and quality to life, will cost so little as to be essentially free and easily within reach of charity organizations - for all the worlds' peoples. Hence one will rarely/barely need to work if all one desires in life are the most basic/common of goods and services.
Proxy robots replacing transportation: Rather than have people go around doing physical tasks (especially if these are rather simple tasks to be performed far away), people can rent out proxy robots that act in their place. These proxy robots will be equipped with a camera/recorder, voice player, and limbs for performing various common functions. The robots will be built using very lightweight material (usually aluminum and plastics) and be powered via trolley line, solar power and a small battery, allowing it to have very low costs for transportation (since transportation costs depend primarily on the weight being moved). After all, the proxy robot will not need much space and will only need a very small and thin protective casing, which will also be very light, compared to all that hulk we call a car). For a great variety of occupations people can work long-distance through these proxies (and can handle multiple proxy robots in certain cases) for when simply working through the internet may not be enough (such as for manual labor type work and various service professions).
Replicating factory robots: Some general services and products we just need a lot more of. These are generally commodities that can be readily mass-produced, if only we had the infrastructure for it. Of course, building a lot of factories is going to be very difficult, especially since terrain is hard to navigate and terraform and subject to all kinds of zoning/usage problems, and also because of the sheer amount of factories needed and the difficulty of keeping up with ever-increasing demand. Factory robots can be programmed to replicate themselves when they're handed enough of the right materials and fed energy. The energy can be provided on-site via solar power, and all other resources can be delivered to them. This project can tap into the tremendous free space available in the ocean; we can set up flotillas of replicating factory platforms, which will be packed into tightly sealed ships during storm times and unpacked at other times. These ships will stay relatively close to the coast so that resources can be delivered straight to them. As they replicate, we will end up with whole fleets of factory robots.
Oceanic mass agriculture: As the population continues to increase, additional crops will have to be grown on the ocean. Various ocean-going floating farms can be produced en-masse by replicating factory robots (see above), each of them having an enclosable roof that can be shut in storm times. These large floating farms will be designed to withstand storms without a hitch (see transportation section). Periodically these can deliver their goods to port to be then shipped to consumers.
Background industry: Industry for a variety of common goods, especially food, will be generated in any place that isn't occupied by something else (such as a living quarter, road, or workplace). This will be supported by a vast fleet of semi-independently operating, semi-coordinated robots and computer systems, that will share in resource transportation but not be centralized in terms of space used in the production. One may think of this as the entire Earth being a giant factory / Earth being flooded with many small factories, rather than having particular factory zones/buildings/areas. The robots might also tend to overproduce, so that, say, it is possible to simply walk down the road and pluck up some freshly made food along the way from one of these micro-factories.
Disincentives for shorting financial securities: Shorting has the problem of destabilizing the market downward through a process of positive feedback, and can be used to destroy recently IPO'd public companies as a financial weapon. As such, there will be disincentives, including 1) substantially higher transaction tax than for trading goods normally; 2) individual securities that suddenly have a significant short open interest will be temporarily closed from trading; 3) increased rules and regulations for taking short positions; 4) randomly offset short position-taking (the bid/offer shows up on the exchange at a random time after you post it, so that you don't get to immediately lock in a rate), etc. (I'm not sure about the efficacy and other consequences any of these actions may have, though.)
Strictly enforced distribution: Distribution laws must be strictly followed for accurate price discovery. However, various policies and technologies must be implemented to make payments smooth (market liquidity), especially for the smaller amounts, including ease of payment-making, online financial security, and automatic charging and billing, plus consumer safeguards for these.
In a market for a normal, rivalrous good, producers' profit and loss is supposed to balance out for simple economic sustainability and no profit. Price discovery works here because at all points beyond the equilibrium, the marginal cost of the next unit of a good is greater than the marginal benefit of that unit.
Currently, patents, copyrights and trademarks make many nonrivalrous goods' markets monopolies. Without competition, the fact that marginal units of such goods have near-zero costs is ignored, with producers in favor of setting a particular price that maximizes their own profit. This means that people who would benefit from using a nonrivalrous good, but by less than the price charged, are denied access to it, leading to non-optimality.
The solution is to use a different price-finding mechanism. For example, instead of charging music $1 per download, which would not be accepted by those who would benefit less than $1 worth of utility or easy get tired of listening to the same music, a music company could charge $0.01 per run/play of the music. In this way producers will obtain more money from those who really like the music, but still get some money for those who barely like it. In this way society can extend the benefits of nonrivalrous goods to everyone, leading to an optimal situation whereby both producers and consumers are better off than the current system. Producers will have to be creative in converting to this system. For the music example, adopt a pay-per-listening of a song, using servers to track how many times each person listens to each song and charge accordingly.
- Note that the monopoly of the producer is retained.
- Already starting to come true.
No simple wealth transfers: According to the idea that money earned by an individual is money that individual (and not someone else) deserves, and the idea that transferring money to another (ie. one's children) causes massive slacking-off which is not conducive to society, this plan would make it illegal for people to simply transfer money to another unless there is something close to parity being traded in the other direction.
- Wealthy people shouldn't complain too much about this rule as it applies to inheritance. Giving vast sums of money to children causes them to not learn the life lessons needed to build their own fortune.
- As for the rest of the family, the rich person could just use the money to buy things that the whole family can enjoy, ie. a new home, car, etc.
- This doesn't apply to specific organizations, such as charities, but these specific organizations are required to be transparent about their financial information so they don't simply become a conduit for indirect wealth transfers.
Government stockbuying: (See taxation section) We know that if it were possible for you to consistently turn a profit if you consistently bought when a stock fell and consistently sold when a stock rose, everyone would be doing it, and if you consistently lost money in this way, everyone would be doing the exact opposite. Since they aren't, we know that this process is net neutral. Hence the government should on average neither gain nor lose money by buying a percentage of every stock whenever it falls and selling whenever it rises. The benefit here however is that the swings in the stock valuations are mitigated by more than X% if the government counteracts market forces by absorbing X% of the change in this way, since in the process you also reduce speculation. Hence you'd reduce stock volatility and along with it the chances of bubbles and recessions.
Standardized market database: Instead of currently, where various internet stores all have their own ways of doing things (ie. Amazon's way of searching for products is different from Ebay's), eventually all markets will coalesce into one major database (it may be safeguarded from hackers by the government) that will list most products by ISBN and arrange them by standardized categories. Hence very similar items will all be listed together. Additionally, the site will use product tags so that finding similar products that also have a particular property (ie. 'blue') will be made much easier. The database will allow buyers and sellers to post goods for sale/trade in an exchange/mall/auction format depending on the type of product. The database will also feature a rigorous application form for all goods posted for sale, so that buyers will know exactly what the good is. The database will also feature a rigorous application form for buyers, so that the database can immediately zero in on whatever goods one wants. Depending on the type of good (especially large goods such as real estate and capital goods), this application form will potentially request dozens of entries of information. Then the database will make a list of all matching products - all fields must be compatible for a match. In this way buyers will not have to waste their time with incompatible goods (which currently drain most of the time buyers spend doing online shopping), hence greatly increasing market transparency and allowing for enhanced competition.
Illegitimate database listings fined: A secondary database (a subset of the main one) will feature even more regulations. Listers (buyers and sellers putting up listings) will be required to deposit money with the central agency (someone reliable, such as government, can act as this) of the database for each listing they make. People can contact the database claiming of illegitimate listings. After the database's workers evaluate such claims, the lister will be hit with a significant fine (drawing from their security deposit) and all their listings will be delisted. This serves as disincentive for being fraudulent with listings, and hence ensures a high standard of quality for this secondary database. Because this will be popular with the other side of the transaction (the people not doing the listings), eventually market forces will drive the majority of listers to use this secondary database. All of the following are considered illegitimate listings that will incur severe fees ("material" means significant enough that it reasonably impacts whether a property will be of interest to a buyer or seller):
- Multi-listed listings (regardless of similar or different, if they are for the same property (for unique properties) or same type of good (for standard products).
- If the same product is being sold by multiple parties (brokers), failure to crosslist the listings for customers' convenience
- Listings that aren't removed within 5 minutes of actually being "off-market" (ie. bought, sold-out, no longer being sold)
- Fraudulent (materially incorrect or inaccurate listing information, either intentionally or otherwise) listings (ie. attributes that don't exist, additional "sold separately" goods in pictures, wrong pictures, materially modified pictures, false or biased customer reviews)
- Materially important listing information being omitted (such as the exact address for real estate)
- Lack of conservatism (in the accounting sense: if one characteristic can be presented in a worse and a better way, it must be presented in the worse way to be conservative)
- Listings with words that almost always constitute false advertising (ie. "best", "fit for a king", "cheapest", "state-of-the-art")
- Listings that understate the true cost to the buyer (ie. because the seller adds fees, commissions, etc. without including them in the listing, tries to jack up prices in negotiation, requires buying something else that is either irrelevant or is bloated in price compared to market average)
- Listings with inapplicable guarantees/warrantees
- Listings with a material lack of transparency
- Listings with ambiguous information
- Listings with inappropriate content
Fast-trade tax: Much of market destabilization is due to speculation (lots of runs when the markets start tanking); therefore, the best way to eliminate this destabilization is by weakening the effect of speculation. There will be a substantial fast-trade tax (of up to 3%, depending on the situation and the market) for people who still want their orders processed immediately or near-immediately. Since most people will not want to pay this (two payments will wipe out the average stock market gains for almost a year), they will only be wiling to delay-trade. Delay-trading will have various tiers, with the least-delayed involving the most fast-trade taxes and the most-delayed (such as a week) will not be charged any fast-trade tax. This will tend to slow down market runs, thereby substantially weakening them, without having much of a negative impact on the accuracy of the stock market as an indicator of value. In addition, this will wipe out day-trading, thereby forcing day-traders to find employment doing something actually productive.
Reduced leverage allowed: Individuals, organizations and companies, including financial ones, will not be allowed to leverage more than 4x for stocks, a bit more for bonds and much less for derivatives and anything else with higher volatility. This is to ensure that the investor does not go bankrupt or suffer massive losses too easily from, say, a 5% or 10% decline in stocks. (Even with 4x leverage, a 10% decline wipes out half of one's assets.) The main benefit is to stabilize the financial sector and hence the economy from speculative motions.
Society has a preschool and a primary school system, both of which have standardized curricula.
Surveys of what you know: The government could periodically survey people to ask them what aspects of their education they found useful or useless in their daily lives, and use this information to modify the curricula. The government could also test people on what they know (facts and ways of solving problems for example), and use this data to add things to the curricula to make facts more memorable, to clear up misconceptions, etc. This feedback system will allow for the creation of a robust education system.
Preschool: Preschool is for ages 0-6, focusing heavily on day care, babysitting, weaning, learning English vocabulary, basic interaction with people, simple mathematics up through subtraction, and play. It is entirely optional, though almost all parents would want to have their children enroll in preschool, public or private.
Primary school: Starting at age 7, this lasts for an indeterminate number of years, though usually eight years. Students must take each of the following core classes, as they are required (they are marked with an asterisk on the list below). The courses not marked with an asterisk are electives. Students must take and pass all of the core courses, and 2/3 of all the elective courses, in order to sit for the citizen filter. Each of the classes lasts for a semester. Some disciplines, such as the math courses, should be taken in order, but many other courses have no such requirement. Primary school is mandatory for at least seven years.
Online education: Videos, preferably interactive, along with practice questions, worksheets, lab/acting/applied experiments, quizzes and supporting material, all available for free online so that anyone can learn for free, or to brush up their education.
- Additionally, this can be combined with education in the school because teachers can be given information about what topics students are stuck on, and can therefore tutor them specifically reinforcing those ideas.
- Already starting to come true.
English requirement: English is the only official language in Society, having sufficiently supplanted all other languages. Students must take and pass eight semesters' worth of English courses in primary school, though these can be taken several simultaneously. They are encouraged to take them all in the first four years of school so that they will be sufficiently prepared for all the social, reading, and writing skills courses.
Passing: At the end of each course is a test, not necessarily written, which determines 100% of the grade. It may be taken a total of three times, though each version is different. A student passes only if he/she scores a 75% or higher at least once on non-asterisked courses, and 95% or higher on asterisked courses. The makeup sessions are two and four weeks after the final, allowing students to be given feedback on what they're weak on and to shore up their weaknesses before trying again. If a student passes a course, he/she gets a credit for that course. Credit for each course, as well as 8 credits in English, are required to sit for the Citizen Filter.
Teach only the truth: Courses teach only what is known to be the truth, as defined by general consensus or scientific studies or common sense that is actually common sense. This helps to restrict teachers from promulgating biased viewpoints. Hence, for example in religion it is okay for teachers to say that certain religions are popular and include beliefs A, B, C, etc., but not okay for teachers to discuss the veracity or lack thereof of any of these beliefs, or to say that one religion is better/superior to another, etc. (Same constraints apply to evolution, etc.)
- Alternatively, since in some cases it can be hard to determine which of various scientific theories is correct (and they may all be wrong), people who are experts in their field will be able to vote on what theories deserve merit. Any scientific theory that wins enough votes will be taught as an alternative, but certainly the students will be told that it is a controversial and non-mainstream theory.
Grade deflation: Grades will be out of 1, so all grades will range between 0 and 1 (spanning the decimal figures in between). Averages and final grades, including GPA, will be an average and hence also range from 0 to 1. This is meant to get rid of confusion between schools that have GPA's out of 4, out of 5, or out of some weirder numbers, by standardizing everything.
Grading of teachers: To the extent that there will be teachers, teachers will be fired or given a raise or reduction in pay depending on how many of their students perform on par. Since the tests on all the materials are standardized, this will give a good metric for teacher performance. Teachers that have almost all their students passing will be awarded, and teachers that have multiple students fail and retake their course will not. Firing a teacher requires that the teacher perform really badly for several successive years.
Core courses are marked with an (*).
- PHND: Handwriting
- PNOT: Effective Note-Taking
- PGRF: Simple Graphical Presentation
- PCRT: Exercise in Creativity
- PTHT: Skepticism, Thought and Deliberation (*)
- PTIM: Time Management and Planning (*)
- PDCM: Decision Making (*)
- PSYF: Awareness of Psychological Faults (*)
- PINI: Personal Initiatives Reinforcement
- PMSC: Misc Personal Skills Material
- PDEF: Self Defense and Avoiding Fights
- PSWM: Swimming and Physical Safety
- PTEM: Teamwork, Collaboration and Focus
- LFAL: Logic and Logical Fallacies (*)
- LRAT: Rational Decision Making and Logic (*)
- LFLX: Flexibility of Thought Training
- LCAS: Situation Analysis and Case Study (*)
- LRAT: Rational Detachment and Stoicism (*)
- SLIS: Effective Listening (*)
- SEMO: Assessing Emotions and Thoughts
- SRAP: Rapport Building and Communication
- SNAM: Remembering Names and Association
- STEL: How to Tell a Story
- SBAD: How to Deliver Good and Bad News
- SLIE: White Lies and Detecting Lies (*)
- SDEF: Presentation and Defense
- SPUB: Public Speech
- SDBT: Debate (*)
- SARG: Conflict Resolution (*)
- SNEG: Negotiation and Compromise
- SLED: Motivation and Leadership
- SSEL: Selling/Marketing
- SITV: Interviewing and Common Q&A
- SJOB: Job Searching
- SDAT: Flirting and Dating
- SPRO: Promotion and Activism
- SEMO: Emotional Awareness and Understanding (*)
- RCRT: Critical Reading (*)
- RSBT: Subtle Readings Analysis
- RSPD: Speed Reading
- RFND: Investigative Research (*)
- WBAS: Writing Basic Skills (*)
- WPPR: Writing/Editing the Paper/Proposal
- WRES: Resume and Cover Letter
- WETQ: Etiquette and Specialized Forms
- MMPD: Multiplication and Division (*)
- MFRA: Fractions, Decimals, Percents and Ratios (*)
- MALG: Basic Algebra (*)
- MAL2: Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry (*)
- MGEO: Geometry and Introductory Physics (*)
- MPRB: Probability (*)
- MSTA: Statistics (*)
- MWDP: Word Problem Solving (*)
- MBTS: Brainteaser Problem Solving
- FMNY: Money and Transactions (*)
- FACC: Personal Accounting and Budgeting (*)
- FFIN: Personal Financing and Loans (*)
- FSEC: Stocks and Other Securities (*)
- FRES: Real Estate
- FTAX: Filing Your Tax Documents (*)
- FMIC: Microeconomics
- FMAC: Macroeconomics and Politics
- FINT: International Trade
- FBUS: Launching a Business
- FFMA: Financial and Managerial Accounting
- JEVD: Everyday Law and Relating to Police (*)
- JCRM: Criminal Law (*)
- JCIV: Civil Law and Regulations (*)
- JRTS: Personal Rights and Responsibilities (*)
- JBUS: Business and Trade Contracts (*)
- JCON: Other Legal Contracts
Politics / Government
- GPOL: Politics and Government (*)
- GGEO: Basic World Geography
- GDEB: Major Political Debates
- GREL: Major World Religions
- GCUL: Major World Cultural Differences
- TNUM: Typing and Numpad
- TPRG: Basic Computer Programs (*)
- TPR2: Auxiliary Common Programs
- TNET: Internet and Searching (*)
- TDAT: Data Mining
- TFOR: Public Forums and Wikis
- TFIX: Computer Fixing and Troubleshooting
- TAPP: Use and Repair of Everyday Appliances
- TSAF: Safe Use of Mechanical Tools
- TCAR: Basic Car Maintenance
- TRLS: Use and Repair of Real Estate
Life Skills / How-Tos
- QDRV: Driving and Parallel Parking (*)
- QSAF: Personal Safety and Dangers (*)
- QMOV: Getting a Home and Relocating
- QWLD: Wildnerness Survival and Navigation
- QINS: Getting and Collecting on Insurance
- QBUY: Buying Cars, Homes, and Large Goods
- QSEW: Basic Sewing
- QHOU: House Cleaning and Maintenance
- QSCN: Scandalous Things No One Tells You
- QSEC: Personal Security and Scams (*)
- QSCR: Credit, Scores and Histories
- QBAB: Baby Care and Weaning
- QMSC: Misc Life Skills
- QOCC: Overview of Occupations
- HFUD: Basic Cooking and Selecting Good Food
- HNUT: Nutrition Facts and Dieting
- HCPR: CPR and Medical Symptoms
- HMED: Health Safety and Common Medicines (*)
- HDRG: Drugs, Alcohol and Knowing Limits (*)
- HSEX: Abstinence and Sex
- EVOL: Evolution (*)
- ETHX: Theoretical and Applied Ethics (*)
- HUMN: Human Rights and Democratic Ideals (*)
- PSCI: Unproven Studies and Pseudoscience (*)
Citizen Filter: This is a supervised sit-down exam that every student must pass in order to graduate, and spans a week of tests. The exam has sessions on each of the subjects listed above (all the core courses, plus the elective courses the students choose). Students must score an average of 75% or higher among all the subjects, and score an average of 95% or higher among all core subjects (*), in order to pass the Citizen Filter. The Citizen Filter is offered every semester.
- In addition, a person must first pledge that they will be responsible for the upbringing of any children he/she may have until they become citizens, to the best of their ability (if the child never becomes a citizen, then indefinitely). This is to ensure responsibility for children.
Effects of passing: Passing the Citizen Filter does the following:
- The person graduates and is no longer a student and no longer required to attend school.
- The person becomes a citizen of Society and has voting and running-for-public-office privileges.
- The person may seek a job with the government. The government also runs a job-matching service which only citizens may use. (Prior to citizenship, a person may seek a job but a closely related individual has to sign them on for them to ensure no abuse. Also, few employers will be willing to hire them.)
- The person's salary expectations go from shitty to average, since almost no one will hire people who can't pass.
- The person is able to represent him/her-self in court. (Prior to citizenship, a person will need someone else to represent them.)
- The person gets a drivers' license.
- The person may make large transactions, financial transactions, and sign legal contracts on his own behalf, and may initiate lawsuits.
- The person may perform CPR on people and may use medicines on themselves without supervision, and may advise others on use of medicines (as long as they're not pretending to be doctors).
- The person may marry, have sex, and have children.
- The person may use drugs. Any drugs.
- The person may enroll in curricula that lead to sitting for the Judicial Filter, Medical Filter, Financial Filter, and/or enroll in ancillary school, vocational school, etc.
- The person is no longer considered a minor in the eye of the law. This means punishments for crimes will be more severe.
Ancillary school: Students who have passed the citizen filter may enroll, at their own expense (or through private scholarships), in ancillary school. Such schools usually teach skills that most people don't need to know but which are useful for a background in arts or academia. Only a small subset of students graduating primary school will enroll in ancillary school. Requirements differ from school to school and these are not monitored by the government for quality standards. This would include:
- History + Anthropology
- Visual Arts
- Performance Arts
Vocational school: Students who have passed the citizen filter may enroll, at their own expense (or through private scholarships), in vocational school. These schools teach what is required for a particular field of work or industry. Such schools are meant to prepare students for actual work. The majority of students graduating from primary school attend vocational school. Requirements differ from school to school and these are not monitored by the government for quality standards. This would include:
- Computer programming
- Law (equivalent to law school)
- Medicine + Nursing (equivalent to medical school)
- Business Administration (equivalent to business school)
- ... and Various other industries.
Dominates the GDP: Healthcare should come to be the single most important element in GDP; I'm thinking 50% to 90%. As inefficiencies are ironed out by many of the expected changes of Vision 2100, and as the world continues to increase productivity at a faster and faster pace through industrialization, the percentage of GDP required to sustain basic human necessities will continue to decline, as they have for the past few centuries. Furthermore, the percentage of GDP used for "normal", non-medical goods and services will also decline compared to social productivity, resulting in a greater percentage of "spare" GDP. Considering the complexity of the medical field, however, it is very likely that another few centuries will be necessary before fully understanding the human body, as there is just so much research that can still be performed in the field. The "spare" GDP will mostly go into healthcare and medical services and research since people are as always very strongly concerned with their survival. However, this high level of spending on healthcare will actually seen by society as a plus, as it means that people have access to superior medical technologies, thus leading to lower morbidity and higher life expectancies.
Little Doctor: The AI program Little Doctor is a very complicated program developed by a massive joint project between government, healthcare professionals (especially doctors), scientists, and programmers. Little Doctor takes a lot of input regarding almost all aspects of a patient's body to deliver a diagnosis, prognosis, additional tests needed, and treatment plan. It also draws upon information from previous treatments and diagnoses in making this decision. As it is based off of an AI that is capable of learning from new healthcare-related information, it picks knowledge out of PubMed, the premier medical database, and incorporates it (naturally this can only be done by articles specifically rewritten to be easily understood by the AI so as to allow no room for misunderstanding). Since medicine is one of the most complex fields of human knowledge, and the effects of a wrong diagnosis or treatment very important, the first 50 years or so of the Little Doctor's existence and use sees a considerable amount of evaluation, guidance, and support from physicians, and also a considerable amount of reprogramming work. It is projected that even after these 50 years of guidance, physicians will still be needed to ensure that it works smoothly and to incorporate new scientific knowledge into the program, albeit with fewer physicians needed.
Doctor Device: The premier robot lineup that performs a variety of medical tests on patients, as well as performs surgeries. There are a lot of different types of this robot, ie. some perform surgeries, some perform basic medical tests, and some practice more complicated ones (such as CT and MRI scans, which require special infrastructure). Hospitals usually have the greatest variety of Doctor Device products to offer specialized care, but ambulance helicopters and certain unmanned aerial drones can also have Doctor Device components. Doctor Device is designed to work intimately with Little Doctor to provide medical testing and treatment. These two combined mean that physicians no longer directly treat people.
Medicine availability: Medicines are dispensed from pharmacies that are like little booths, with a robot that obtains and prepares the medicines from the stores within the pharmacy. Citizens (aka. those who have passed the citizen filter and thus have demonstrated their understanding of medicine) can obtain medications by doing all the following:
- paying the money;
- inputting one's identity info so as to verify their citizenship (may also involve iris scans for additional security);
- requesting for a certain type of medicine; and
- prescriptions from a Doctor Device + Little Doctor for non-over-the-counter (though these will be done electronically by the Little Doctor and not in-paper).
Medical data: All medical treatments and diagnoses add information to Society's medical database, adding to the body of information used by Little Doctor to evaluate others' medical conditions. Because of the obvious benefit to society of having all patients be included in data collection, it is mandatory.
Clinical trials: In many cases, the Little Doctor won't be able to make definitive diagnoses or treatments. In this case, the optimal (or best known) treatment will usually be prescribed, but patients will be able to opt into clinical trials (ie. taking alternative treatments) so as to explore potential options' efficacy.
Readily accessible medical records: People known to suffer from certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, will have implants that record personal health information to a global medical info repository. This can be useful in case something goes wrong, ie. an elderly person suddenly falling in a home when no one else is at home would be able to get timely treatment. Also, this information would be useful to Little Doctor in tracking such things as blood-sugar levels and heart rate. Of course, there will be safety systems in place to prevent such information from going into the hands of anyone other than relatives and medical personnel.
Legalized drugs: All drugs are legalized, at least for citizens. (Tentative; this will be one of the things tested by the state-system mentioned in another section since we don't know exactly whether adoption of this system is good for a society.) Note, as put forward in the education section, almost everyone that's an adult will have passed the Citizen Filter and so will be citizens, but would also have satisfactorily completed the course on medical drugs and drugs of abuse so that they will be fully aware of its consequences.
Drug user surveillance: Added government surveillance on people who use drugs/medications seen as psychologically effective or which are addictive and thus tend to result in increased crime rate. However, this does not mean the government is allowed to subvert those individuals' privacy and other rights. Regions with higher drug use rates will be apportioned a somewhat higher police density to cope with any increases in the crime rate that may result.
Anglicization of medical terms: Assuming English becomes the world language, all medical terms will be replaced by a common-English equivalent which accurately describes the medical term's meaning. These new words will be chosen so that people can have an accurate understanding while learning the fewest amount of new words. Of course, if the world language is something other than English, that language too should add words to it to cover all medical terms.
Power of attorney: Assuming a patient becomes unconscious/vegetative without leaving a living will, power of attorney goes to whomever knows the person best. This will be decided based on the time that the person has known the patient, how recently that time was, how close the person and patient are to each other (like whether or not they get into arguments, or are married), etc. Usually, the people ending up with power of attorney will be the parents until one reaches the 30's, and then in some cases power of attorney may shift to a marriage partner.
Plenty of exercise opportunities: Equipment will be installed in a variety of public places (ie. parks, schools, plazas) that are currently commonly found in gyms (such as stationary cycling machines, treadmills, etc.). Their use will be free. This will allow people to exercise in their down time or as double-tasking in certain events that are currently sedentary (ie. schools), sparing people the need to exercise at other times when they want to be productive doing something that's incompatible with exercising.
- Some of them will be hooked up to generators (since cycling machines can be used to generate energy) with which to power the other devices which use energy (ie. treadmills) to balance out.
Incentives for solving the healthcare problems of the poor: Because the poor are too poor to pay for treatments that they desperately need, yet these have better cost-effectiveness than state-of-the-art treatments for the better-off, government will incentivize people in healthcare to take care of the poor by providing more healthcare services to the poor (doctoral attention), more R&D into solving the healthcare problems in the poorer parts of the world (ie. vaccines for diseases in Africa, such as malaria). Because Vision 2100 calls for global hegemony, the poor of these places are all part of government and have voting power and thus will command far more attention from politicians than they can today (considering how weak the poor countries are).
Nuclear power: Comprising 95% of all energy output of Society, a great many nuclear power plants are interspersed at various locations around the world - usually rather close to uranium sources - and keep energy costs at reasonable levels even for the high-energy-intensive late 21st century. These plants are usually sited at places far removed from developed places, environmental danger zones (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, volcano prone areas), and nature preserves.
Nuclear waste disposal: Nuclear wastes are disposed in large, well insulated underground chambers (similar to Yucca mountain). Oftentimes these are located right underneath nuclear power plants, reducing transportation risks and reducing NIMBY effects. There would be only a few, very concentrated disposal areas to reduce the total land area of the NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) effect. Potentially these wastes could be placed in Antarctica, as that is the place least likely to see colonization and the place with the least potential to harm the nearby ecology, and the ecology with the least variety of species.
Fossil fuels: Most fossil fuels are used for situations in which combustion engines are still required. Since most of Society uses electricity by power line, this is quite a limited use of energy.
Renewable resources: Given the shift to nuclear power, the cost of energy has still yet to rise to the point that more expensive alternatives of energy, such as wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and water-gravity (dams) are still rarely used. They are primarily used as backup in case something happens to the nuclear power network.
Standardization: Energy outlets are uniform across the world, using four-prong outlets (two for grounding). A common device in use throughout the world converts electricity from these outlets into microwave energy allowing for wireless power.
Land and Population
Stable population: Due to greater awareness of the scarcity of resources for burgeoning population, due to a preponderance of middle-class families who do not need high populations, and due to incentives to not have children, population will replenish itself at about the rate needed to sustain population, with a nearly zero growth rate. This, coupled with increases in capital infrastructure, means that labor and capital are more in line and means that labor is somewhat scarce, with workers commanding higher wages and with lower unemployment.
Sprawl: Cities have grown several times over in size from the early 21st century, and they and towns and suburbs have mostly merged into large ecumenopolises (aka. Eastern Seaboard, which stretches from Boston through Miami without a break). As as a result of nearly unbridled population growth getting close to the earth's carrying capacity, very little space is left as pristine nature. This is the reason that much of the cityscape of the planet has been connected in an extensive grid-like street network.
Land value: Land values are now very high in almost all places. Whole cities have sprouted up in the middle of deserts just because all the land everywhere else has been entirely exhausted. As a result, suburbian villas like those of year 2000 have now mostly disappeared except for the extremely wealthy, replaced by high-density blocks of apartment/condominium buildings and high-rise commercial buildings, and large, multi-layered factories. Rarely do cities have buildings under 3 stories tall. Cities feature a lot of skyscrapers.
Natural preserves: Many locations considered natural wonders are preserved by Society. In total, natural preserves constitute only 1% of the total non-water surface area of the earth. Natural preserves serve one of three functions:
- The museum type, which allows people to visit the territory after paying for tickets, which are used to support the natural preserve; these are usually kept by private institutions;
- The observation type, which is for keeping natural wonders unharmed so that future populations way see it, and these are often used for making films and pictures of, but usually don't allow people to visit them too often for fear of ruining the preserve; and
- The conservation type, which is usually very large, large enough to sustain stable populations of a variety of species, so as to help prevent species extinction.
Land owned by government: The government will own the land, and not sell it to private interests. Coupled with an inheritance tax/restriction, control of more and more land will revert to the government as the landed people die out without fully passing on their land. This would not entail seizure of the land. Land will be rented out by the government. This will facilitate eminent domain, since contracts could all be made on a monthly or yearly basis. The reason the government should do this is because of a moral/social justice standpoint: the land is the common domain of all peoples. Furthermore, as the government gradually controls more and more territory, it can charge royalty for resource-obtaining operations (mining, lumbering) done on their territory, and use the money collected from this to pay for other social-justice initiatives.
Land-based charging for externalities: Also, since land is owned by the government, and this includes land, water, and air, the government will be entited to charge companies for their usage of and deleterious effects on the land, water, and air, including all the natural-resource-related negative externalities. This charge will be levied in small time-spans (ie. continuously, daily, weekly) and their magnitudes reflect the severity of the consequences of the company's actions (including those arising from accidents, such as oil spills) for that period of time. The government will be able to sue, disband, or nationalize companies that don't pay up.
Efficient residential land use: People will need to stop wanting to have their own (suburbian) homes. That is way too land-expensive and unsustainable in the next century. Instead, various residential rooms will no longer be produced for individual housing, but rather for communal use, since these rooms are usually not being well utilized at the current time. This includes restrooms (to be 1 per 20 households), kitchens (many homes will be sold without kitchens since many people don't cook, and there will be a large community kitchen), swimmming pools (currently a lot of well-to-do suburbian housing have them, but they are always unterutilized as such).
Bearing a children a privilege: In the foreseeable future, population will continue to skyrocket, and erase many of the gains that technology has produced on the quality of life (ie. 100% increase in productivity resulting from a variety of new technologies will be wiped out by the population doubling). Hence population control will become very important, and to this end bearing children will no longer be a right, but a privilege. The poor tend to beget more children as a direct result of their poverty, since they see children as a retirement pension. However, all this does is result in children with very low quality of life and reduced expectations for life (it is well known that children of the poor will not do as well). Hence, the only humane thing to do is to keep people from begetting children if they can't be reasonably expected to support them. This will consist of government-supported family planning and significant punishments for begetting children if you are unable to support them (aka. your foreseeable income and accumulated net wealth isn't enough to provide for a decent standard for your children - this requirement will depend on where you live, your debt obligations, and on how many children you have). These punishments won't include fines, for the obvious reason that the poor already have no money; it will primarily consist of mandatory job training in preparation for higher-paying jobs (and with an obligation to pay back some of that money to the government) and mandatory social work, so as to ensure that these poor people can get the maximum money they can get to support their children (not really much of a 'punishment' really). Additionally, the children of really destitute families will be taken away from them and given to foster parents. Of course this doesn't seem 'ethical', but it will make for a better standard of life for the children. Additionally, the poor will be able to enroll in a long-term sterility plan in exchange for some money. If they already have children and the government deems them unable to support their children, they may be required to undergo such sterility surgery in exchange for some money with which to take care of their existing children.
National symbol destruction: Ie. Flag-burning, bible-burning. Destruction of national or organizational symbols can't be prohibited because if they were, eventually the entire world will end up as a big collection of flags and religious texts and other symbols, either new or half-decomposed; ie. such a law is not sustainable.
Holidays: In the spirit of freedom of religion, there will not be any national holidays (holy-days). And in the spirit of equality for all, that includes secular holidays as well (or else eventually you'd end up with a major secular holiday on every day of the year). However, it is understood that people will receive vacation days that they can use over the course of the year to treat as their own personal holidays.
- This strips Sundays (and any other holy days of the week) of any special treatment as well.
Gambling: Anyone can set up a gambling scheme. However, it's up to parents to ensure that children don't wind up having too much money on them, and people who haven't passed the citizen filter can't get much money (they are usually unemployed) and can't make legal contracts that would hold them liable for losing their money, and people who have passed the citizen filter will know enough to realize that gambling generally isn't a smart idea.
- Goes along with everybody being able to sell bonds (borrow money) and equity (for their company or such endeavor), since these are also cases involving risk. Heck, everything in life comes with risk, you can't exactly expect to baby-sit people throughout their entire lives.
- By making gambling illegal, governments are making it impossible for people to come up with creative, entertaining feats which people would actually pay money to be a part of.
- If it's a pyramid scheme one will be charged with fraud if the perpetrator lied about what investor money was being spent on, and because it's obviously not sustainable and so would collapse at some point, and the perpetrator had to know that at some point some of his investors would be cheated out of their money.
Legality in privacy: As a general rule, activities that people want to do in private, that everyone involved has agreed upon, and which doesn't harm anyone else (especially if they could just turn a blind eye), are perfectly legal.
Citizenry quorum: At least 95% of people over age 18 must be citizens. If there are not, then the requirements for the education system must be lessened so that 95% of people over age 18 will eventually become citizens. This is to prevent the government from abusing the citizen filter process by making too many hard-to-overcome requirements for citizenship.
Anonymity protection: Organizations to which you do not give permission to store private information about you cannot store such information about you; this includes governments. Organizations also cannot transmit your private information to other organizations without your permission. This is because your right to privacy protects you from retaliation from people who would necessarily not have your viewpoint on matters, and protects you from financial/identity theft, and government censorship/punishment. Organizations must also delete your private information from their databases if you tell them to.
Presence of beauty: Beautiful and handsome people are encouraged to come out into the public more often. This is because of the extra utility generated for public passersby. People are also encouraged to dress nicely (or beautifully) for the same reason; this goes even for lewd dress.
Corrupting of public morals: Considering 'public morals' is merely a conservative-thought bastion, it is not something worth protecting. Rather, it is merely a concept/rule that would hinder society's tolerance of people, and will not be supported.
- Clothing (or item) is defamatory or is intended to incite a mob to violence,
- They are trying to get into some public event in a closed space where the choice of clothing (or item) actually becomes a physical matter due to the proximity, in which case they can be kicked out.
People running around showing their genitalia in public will be a very rare occurrence since they'll likely be embarrassed and get alienated fast - real fast.
Religion and belief no defense of secular crimes: Religion and belief cannot be used as a defense of (secular) crimes esp. the following:
- Incitment to violence/murder
- Assault, rape, mayhem, murder, other violence
- Threats and disturbing the peace
- Discrimination (unless it pertains clearly to their religion, such as church service)
The reason for this being, otherwise any one could create their own novel religion that gives them the right to do whatever they want.
Divorce: Marriages may be terminated by either individual in the relationship. Unless there had been a contract (ie. nuptial agreement), neither side is legally obligated in any way following a divorce.
Marriage partners: Any two people may choose to marry, regardless of orientation (ie. gays may marry, lesbians may marry, transsexuals may marry, etc.) Frankly, it doesn't matter (see economy section). The idea is that marriage means different things to different people, and that the type of relationship is something that should be up to the people in the relationship to decide on, and not for the government to control.
- More than two people may marry if they want to, since the new interpretation of marriage is BFF (best friends forever) and marriage no longer has anything to do with sexual relationships.
- To those of you who don't like this: Yes, I know it's repulsive, but in the spirit of tolerance, it's really not your business to tell others what they can or can't do. If you don't like the idea of dilution of definition of marriage, just make sure that you only do it with a straight partner as you would in today's society, and turn a blind eye to anyone else who does differently.
Degrees of marriage: Any two people can choose to marry if they are both citizens (having passed the citizen filter means they are mature enough for 'marriage'.) Note that marriage is only in name and carries no special effects, benefits, or responsibilities (see economy section). Because 'marriage' no longer has anything to do with sexual relation, it becomes a proxy for BBF (best friends forever). There are no limitations on who can marry whom (aka. in-family marriage, even if it's between people who share much of their blood, such as parents and children), just like there are no limitations on who can befriend whom.
- Because this concept of marriage is a watered-down version of the current marriage system, marriage can take place very quickly and its dissolution equally quickly, without the need for public notaries.
- This is a different concept of marriage from what you're familiar with; it's more like civil union.
- If you want a religious marriage or a special marriage customized for you, that's a different matter. The latter will require use of contracts (ie. nuptial agreements) separate from the marriage itself.
- To those of you who don't like this: Yes, I know it's repulsive, but in the spirit of tolerance, it's really not your business to tell others what they can or can't do. If you don't like the idea of dilution of sanctity of marriage, just make sure that you only do it with a genetically unrelated partner as you would in today's society, and turn a blind eye to anyone else who does differently.
Promiscuity: Religion aside, there is only one good reason why promiscuity (sex before marriage) should be prohibited: because it disrupts the existing marriage system. Of course, given the radical changes to the concept of marriage here, that's no longer a problem. As long as both people have passed the citizen filter (which ensures their awareness of the consequences), they should be allowed to have sex as they will.
- To those of you who don't like this: Yes, I know it's repulsive, but in the spirit of tolerance, it's really not your business to tell others what they can or can't do. If you don't like the idea of promiscuity, just make sure that you don't do it, and turn a blind eye to anyone else who does differently.
Polygamy: Religion aside, there are only one good reason why polygamy (incestuous sex) should be prohibited: 1) potential for abuse (aka. power relationships). Potential for abuse can be averted in several ways:
- By making the polygamy-ness go both ways. A man may be in a romantic/sexual relationship with multiple women, and a woman may be in a romantic/sexual relationship with multiple men. That way neither side can really use sex/relationship (or the withholding thereof) as a power matter.
- By requiring that people must pass the citizen filter before they can enter a sexual relationship.
- By making marriage not come with economic consequences (see economy section).
- By making marriage something easy to enter into and easy to get out of (easy divorce).
Confusion of offspring is a moot problem now that we have DNA sequencing technology. Also, just because polygamy has historically led to subservient treatment of women, isn't a good reason to not try again with the proper safeguards in place.
- To those of you who don't like this: Yes, I know it's repulsive, but in the spirit of tolerance, it's really not your business to tell others what they can or can't do. If you don't like the idea of polygamy, just go find a partner who also doesn't plan to be polygamous, and turn a blind eye to anyone else who does differently.
Incest: Religion aside, there are only two good reasons why incest (incestuous sex) should be prohibited: 1) potential for abuse and 2) congenital defect problems resulting from sex with kin. These problems can both be sidestepped through proper education of both members by stating that both must have passed the citizen filter to have sex. Then, incest will no longer be deemed a crime.
- But any two people who want to have sex must have passed the citizen filter too; this is a requirement to ensure that they know what they're getting into and know how to care for any children that may result from having sex.
- To those of you who don't like this: Yes, I know it's repulsive, but in the spirit of tolerance, it's really not your business to tell others what they can or can't do. If you don't like the idea of incest, just don't do it yourself, and turn a blind eye to anyone else who does it.
Many states: Society, while working as a whole in dealing with many issues, cannot be considered one political jurisdiction in other issues. The world is cut into 2^N states, all of different sizes with parts spread out across the world. Each state has its own set of variations on the law or on preferences and customs. These were set up so as to reduce the tension between peoples of different beliefs and ideals. Many entries in this article have a mark () by their title indicating that they are meant to be policies adopted in only some of these states, and not in others.
Tolerance: On the other hand, each state's peoples are expected to let other people live with their own beliefs in their own communities, and not try to infringe on the rights of other communities. What is legal in one half of the states is illegal in the half of states that doesn't support that set of principles.
Balanced territories: Since part of the point of the states system is to allow for experimentation and evaluation of different policies, it is important that the states start off balanced. Of course "balance" is hard to determine, but it generally involves equal standards of living and balance of resources between the various states. Furthermore the evaluation is based on changes from the baseline, ie. how the two sets of states change as a result of their adopting different policies.
Boundaries: The boundaries between the states are regions where it's expected that both sides of an issue would be tolerated, and thus the boundaries are the places where the discussions on these issues take place.
Duel of societies: Periodically, the states would be split up into new ones and over the course of several decades it will become apparent if certain policies are better than others, ie. result in increased efficiency or productivity. Then at the end of a certain period of time, experiments will become "closed" and the states will be remerged with similar other ones. This would be good for evaluating effects of fiscal policies on the economy and on evaluating effects of legalized drugs on crime rate, etc. Hence this provides a means of searching for the perfect society.
Because of the rapid depletion of oil and continued rapid population growth, cheap and effective mass transportation has become a major issue.
City organization: Over the course of nearly a century, all cities have been demolished. Streets which used to take unusual shapes and form acute angles with other streets have been replaced with a new grid-like system in which all streets are horizontal or vertical, like the lines of a grid. This grid encompasses much of the entire landscape of the planet.
Density: Cities are on average three times as dense as they were in 2000. Buildings almost always have four or more floors to them.
Metro lines: All cities have adopted a metro bus-rail system. These are always underground. They take on a regular, highly reliable schedule as they are fully automated. They are essentially subways in that getting on and off them occurs readily at each stop, because they use rail tracks which also provide them with electric power, and because they are an underground system. Each locomotive is comprised of several carriages that can pivot from one another so as to allow them to turn corners. The metro line system is meant to be used by people without too much baggage, and these buses have a lot of retractable seats lining the sides.
Stops: Metro lines have terminals at regular intervals at street intersections. People are expected to walk the half-block it takes for them to reach their destination once they have arrived at the stop closest to their destination, just like with regular buses. Since all city blocks are made to have nearly the same dimensions, all buses come to a stop at an intersection at the same time. The stop lasts one minute, allowing people to spend 20 seconds getting off, 20 seconds transitioning to the adjacent metro line, and 20 seconds getting on. There are two buses serving each red line, and a full circuit around a block takes eight minutes, so a bus arrives once every four minutes.
Metro line pattern: All metro lines have been developed with the idea of using a street as a one-way metro line. Refer to the picture. A metro line goes in a circle around one city block (a city block is square but often has a street running through the middle of it). Every other city block doesn't have its own red metro line. All red metro lines go in the same direction, say, counterclockwise, and are placed diagonal with one another. The end result is that one could very well think that the grids without metro lines actually do have one, going clockwise. There is essentially one metro line running along each street. This system reduces the cost of maintaining the metro line while maintaining ease of use. The other classes of metro lines run in both directions.
Classes of metro lines: There are four classes of metro lines:
- The red lines have lengths of one block, and go in a circle around one block. They are used for traversing short distances and for finishing the leg of a journey.
- The purple lines have lengths of four blocks. They are often used for shopping at local places.
- The blue lines have lengths of sixteen blocks. They are used most often for medium-distance commuting.
- The green lines have lengths of 64 blocks. They are often used for long-distance commuting and for going across cities, and usually achieve max speeds of 300 mi/hr.
Speeds: Red lines are the slowest because they have to stop at every intersection, and take about one minute to go the length of one block, then they stop for a minute. All other classes are faster since they stop less often, spending less time at stops and achieving faster speeds without being too wasteful.
Cars, trucks and freight: There are still roads allowing people to drive cars and trucks, and these are still clogged as usual. There are still railroads meant to transport freight. The metro line system is not a replacement for any of these.
Airplane security: The cockpit will be sealed off from the rest of the airplane by very thick walls that are nearly immune to small-size explosives (in other words, won't be blown up by explosives in such small quantity as to be easily hidden) or explosives that won't destroy the airplane outright. Or, if pilots are replaced with reliable piloting AI altogether, the AI will not be hackable from within the airplane (or while active in general), will be physically well protected, and will follow its own flying and landing procedures independent of any controller or pilot from the surface. Therefore, terrorists will not be able to hijack the plane, even at the threat of, say, killing a passenger periodically until they receive control of the airplane, since the flight controllers can't give such control anyhow.
Airplane parachutes: Furthermore, airplanes will be outfitted with massive, multi-layered parachutes placed at regular sections along the length of the airplane so that an explosion, even if it were to split the airplane into two parts, will result in two parts that both will land slowly and safely to the ground rather than crashing at high speeds.
Airport scanning: Airport security scanners will have software that identifies objects that are potentially destructive (from the x-ray images of people walking through) through auto-recognition software, rather than having the information being displayed to airport security officers, thereby guaranteeing safety. This auto-recognition software will be based along the lines of text-recognition software currently in use.
Buffered ship design: New ships will be cylindrical and have two shells (cylindrical walls), the inner able to freely rotate depending on gravity and being buffered from the outer, thereby reducing buffeting from strong winds or waves. Because of this design, ships won't be able to flip over either. The space between the inner and outer shells will be filled with walls and thereby separated into compartments so that even if the ship gets punctured in several places it won't sink.
Drunk driving: Driving while intoxicated is legal, primarily because a drunk person isn't going to think clearly enough to know that he shouldn't be driving. So if he can't make that judgment call, he can't be punished for it. Punishment for crashing or hitting somebody or something is punishable, but since the drunk person is obviously unable to make the judgment call to not drive, he can't be making proper driving judgment calls either.
- Rather, a bars will be required to take peoples' vehicle keys before administering drinks, and then only hand back keys if they're not substantially drunk as measured through a breathalyzer, and a host of a party will be expected to prevent drunken people from driving. This would actually get around to solving the DUI problem, rather than the current legal system.
Electricity powered: Where possible, transportation will be powered by electricity. Most of this electricity will come from the nuclear power plants.
Free internet as a right: People (who have computers) will have free access to internet (as if it were a right), including net-neutrality (and web providers can't censor or selectively slow down sites). This is because of the importance of the internet - almost all useful information will be provided online, voting will be done via internet, and many computer programs and files (such as music and games) will be primarily provided over the internet.
Government database security: Quite a few government databases and servers will be hosted on highly physically secure bases spread out across the globe, and all of these servers are redundant duplicates of all other servers. Government servers will have a collective checking algorithm built in. No server can update its data without all other servers being similarly updated, and whenever a piece of data turns out to be different on some servers than on others, the minority servers are overwritten with the data from the majority. The updates occur every few minutes; hence, in order to change anything, data on at least half of these servers have to be changed nearly simultaneously. If a server starts to act erratically, all the other servers will mark it as compromised and remove that one from the network until government officials physically key in to each of the remaining servers that the problem has been resolved. All servers will run in a secure shell so that no programs and files from the internet can possibly infect the server; all such changes have to be done physically, directly to the server. In addition, information in the servers are all encrypted and can only be accessed via a set of keys that can only be created by consulting at least two other specified servers' databases. Considering how servers cannot be hacked via the internet, it hence becomes nearly impossible to get the information from the servers via hacking.
Centralization of market info: In an attempt to blend the advantages of capitalism and socialism with as few downsides as possible, the government will institute an online website where people can post their schedule of desires, ie. "I would like to buy X at a price Y at time Z" for any number of goods. This will allow entrepreneurs to get a better idea of what demands society needs that need to be satisfied, tapping into the benefits and economies of scale arising from pooling knowledge while simultaneously avoiding economic planning. The information individuals upload will be analyzed by an algorithm; its results will guide production by the whole community thereafter. Additionally, entrepreneurs can also post that they plan to do a particular action, ie. "Open a store that sells Y of X at time Z", so that others will, upon seeing this, not open their own stores, if say society was only one store away from equilibrium. This can be used to prevent business cycles. The information from this database will be available for everyone.
- To ensure accuracy, perhaps people may be held responsible to actually buy what they claim they would buy, thereby ensuring that people only report their true demand and supply schedules to the website.
Public release of government collected data: Information from government surveys, censuses, etc., as long as it does not significantly impact security, will all be released to the public for free. This information could potentially result in better optimal allotment of society's resources, along with the above item.
Advanced searching: A variety of online organizations will crawl over the internet database the way search engine spiders do today, and classify pages based on content and aim across a variety of levels:
- Page/font/color style
- Use of images: number of images, image arrangement, types of background
- Types of websites the majority of links are to
- Keywords/terms used
- Objective of website
- Traffic / who comes to the site (evaluated by whether people find the site relevant and declare it as such, after visiting the site)
- And many more for specialized sites, such as "questions this site answers", "things this site sells", "facts on this site", etc.
Then of course this makes searching for things much more effective.
Advanced qualitative matching: A variety of online websites will categorize all sorts of things (pictures, books, products, music, games, videos, you name it) and anything relevant to them by a collection of descriptive tags. Users can then go to these websites, type in something they like, select the tags that describe properties about it that they like, and then search for other things that share those tags. For example, this would allow you to quickly find books that are written in similar styles, of similar length or time period, of similar genres, have similar plot points, plot elements, characters, etc. Likewise, if you need to find a picture of a person in a particular pose, there could be a host of tags to describe each possible pose and angle, as well as tags describing the clothing of the person and the environment, etc. This would allow for a dramatic decrease in the amount of time spent searching the web for this kind of info. Users can also add tags that they find relevant to a particular object, and add new objects, so that over time the database gets more and more robust and accurate.
Music filtering: Music filtered in very specific ways, based on traits (similar to Pandora's system), though more advanced so as to pick up on strings of notes, so if hear a particular music pattern you can find all the songs that share that pattern. This would allow quick finding of the same song in different languages, remixes, and alterations, or even the same song (but as different file types, such as MTV vs song, karaoke vs no subtitle, etc).
Music ISBN: Like books, all music productions would have ISBN-like numbers attached so that searching for a song will be really easy if you know that number. Thing with music right now is that you have to know both the name and the singer or you could easily end up with a different song that goes by the same title as the one you searched for. Another problem is that translation across languages would make it very difficult to find a song. This system would eradicate that problem (though see the universal language section).
Image filtering: Images would be pre-filtered in very specific ways:
- Content material
- Style of presentation
- Overall appearance/color scheme
- Digital/analog? pen/pencil? motion/static? etc.
- Individuals and organizations who are the subject matter
- Image size, dimension, quality, and type
- Similar images (but wouldn't just have pictures that are pixel-wise similar, but also thematically and/or subjectively similar)
New image standards: Widespread use of .svg (vector graphics based) images allowing for better scaling, as well as public availability of svg graphics making and reading programs. More complex images would be in a format similar to .psd, with the use of multiple layers that can be separately modified, thereby allowing people to change images more readily. Accompanying this would be widespread availability of .psd readers and editors (usually a simpler and more user-friendly version of Photoshop).
Truth in business: In business deals, it is illegal to not provide clients/counterparties with all materially important (in the accounting sense) information regarding a transaction; failure to do so is a milder form of attempted fraud. This means that "company grunts" and salespersons will have to be fully aware of all sorts of consequences and other information regarding their products and company policies, and will have to tell their clients/customers about all this information, especially catches/caveats/exceptions, before pushing them to commit to a transaction/contract/purchase.
Truth in advertising: It is illegal to make claims in advertisements that don't represent the typical or are untrue. (Hence, by these standards McDonalds's current advertisements for their fast food would be deemed illegal because the pictures portray their products as much larger and substantive than in reality. Same for many other restaurants that use pictures.) Also, advertisement sequences may also not exaggerate the positive benefits of a product. (Hence, by these standards advertisements showing consumers being made very happy by trivial products is illegal.)
WYSIWYG advertising: For a variety of products for which this is possible, the products ought to be marketed in a transparent fashion, ie. using transparent plastic bags to hold products. This would make it more obvious to people what you were buying. This becomes an accepted way of doing business for almost all companies, since failure to do so could open them up to truth in advertising lawsuits. Under said rule, the way Lay's is currently marketing its potato chips in half-chips, half-air bags would be considered false/misleading advertising and could be sued, therefore to protect themselves they would be inclined to sell potato chip products in transparent bags. Additionally, restaurants would produce menus with photos of what one would realistically expect of whatever it is they order, a vastly superior system compared to the current system in which newcomers have no clue what to expect from restaurants that provide menus with no pictures at all.
Modesty in advertising: Advertisements will be required to be at least somewhat modest in the claims they make. Too often in today's world advertisers say that whatever product or service they're pushing is better, faster, more reliable, or cheaper than (all, it seems to be assumed) competitors'. Of course, since multiple advertisers in the same industry all say this, they can't all be correct, and this becomes a violation of the truth in advertising rule. Hence, advertisers are allowed to make claims that they are the best only if they really are the best in all categories (and this usually isn't true) and can be sued if it turns out not to be the case in any part of their argument. For example, an advertiser claiming a product to be the best will be liable in a lawsuit if that product is not the cheapest among similar alternatives, even if it is the fastest, most reliable, most efficient, and most effective. Also, even if the claims were valid, they can be sued by companies of similar upstart products starting from the moment those new products become available, so non-modest advertisers will be forced to be modest if they want to be safe.
Advertisement disclaimers: Since almost nobody looks at disclaimers anyways, they are not necessary with advertisements. However, this only makes it more crucial that there be truth in advertising, because advertisers now have no protection of "the disclaimer said what I said wasn't true" to fall back on if their advertisements' lies are called out upon.
Free access to all websites: People can opt out of seeing certain types of results (such as those of foreign languages, low-traffic websites, high-bandwidth-requirement websites, etc.) but won't be obstructed from seeing any websites, and most websites that have been up for any substantial length of time would be indexed along these categories. Society would have developed to the point that it is okay to view any kinds of websites, including sites normally considered strange at the current time, such as ecchi, hentai, porn, kinky sites, child porn, other sites with shocking or inflammatory content etc.
WikiSensitiveInfo: Essentially a more modern version of WikiLeaks. Some organization like the current Wikileaks, though with news releases made to be more understandable and interesting to the average person rather than on obscure titles, and at least partially self-censored so that news that would be outright damaging to the functionality of the government wouldn't show up (as contrasted with news that would be outright damaging to individuals, regardless of who they are, if they are actually wrongful). As a result, information that would hamper the ability of Society's secret service operations if released, would not be released as a result of this self-censoring.
Brand naming: Common words (nouns, adjectives) can't be used as brands. Names of places and people would usually not be allowed for brand names, due to potential for confusion. (For example, is Zephyr Springs bottled water collected from Zephyr Springs? Maybe not, but it sounds like yes.)
Universal language: Most likely English since it is already a near-universal language. Whatever language becomes thus would be understood by everyone (save the very very young) and be the sole means of communication except when jargon or other modes of transmitting data are required; in other words, no "minority language" that needs to be learned to speak with a subsection of the populace.
WikiHowTo: Websites that allow people to post instructions on anything they want, and (as above) are not censored except for the most extreme things (ie. how to make your own nuke).
WikiCourses: A centralized database of lecture-style presentations, fully interactive with accompanying quizzes, worksheets, and appendices, available for free download from a central website, as a further extension of Wikipedia. This would allow people who want to expand their knowledge to do so easily using a prefabricated lesson-learning curriculum made by professional teachers so that they can learn this stuff as fast as possible, rather than having to look up articles on the internet without a good idea of what they're missing out on from their curricula. This is seen as "secondary education" beyond the mandatory schooling (see education section), and the source to go to for anyone seeking a career change or seeking to rise up the career ladder.
Ocular overlays: Small devices worn over one eye would act like a computer screen, but for just the one eye, that can detect shifting in the pupil and respond appropriately by shifting the text/info of the overlay around for easy reading. Would allow people to access the internet at all times, which is very good for staying entertained and staying up-to-date. Not exactly a driving hazard either because of the lack of driving (see Transportation). These devices wouldn't pierce the skin, and would be more like glasses (but probably considerably thicker and one-sided).
Centralized polling: A centralized polling organization has access to interrupt regular flow of content on computers (and ocular overlays) to bring polls to the billions of people around the world simultaneously, asking for immediate feedback. The poll would be accompanied by background info. This can be used to evaluate popular opinion about an event as well as informing them about it.
Revised word definitions: Words will be redefined so as to mean the definition most people who don't know what it means will expect it to mean by looking at the parts of the word, if possible. Then new words will be added that more closely reflect the meaning reasonable people would expect. This will go a long way to making contracts much more understandable and straightforward, without the need for lawyers to ensure that there's no use of possibly deceptive vocabulary. It will also help improve debate and intelligent discussion by preventing misinterpretation of the word. Furthermore, since the words whose meanings are flipped in this way become confusing, many of them will fall out of favor and the rest will be temporarily phased out for a decade or so, allowing for current legal contracts to expire and allowing for people to adjust to the new meaning of the word.
No long contracts: Contracts (and various other kinds of legal documents) will be required to be limited to a certain number of words (in the range of a few thousand) and may not legally become any longer. Contracts that are even longer are not legally binding. This will make loopholes and caveats less of an issue and everyday citizens can actually be expected to read disclaimers and such. This will solve the current problem of really long disclaimers/notices/contracts on many software/websites/leases/trades/contracts which consumers have to agree to in order to finish a transaction or gain access to a good, but which have such a long contract that no one in their right mind (except a lawyer and the most extreme of vigilantes) would ever read. This is essentially a consumer protection policy.
WikInjustices: A publicly accessible site where people are encouraged to post instances of obvious social or legal injustice (one article for each), with commentary and evidence on the discussion pages, urging for action. Of course, these topics will have multiple articles supporting different resolutions ("is unjust", "not unjust", and points of view in between). The aim is to make social injustices in Society transparent to all members of society, and to make these matters really obvious to the representatives. The representatives will for their part want to resolve matters widely seen by the community as being unjust, as doing so will score them public support. Posting reports of injustices, and posting evidence related to these reports, will not be limited or censored in any way. People may also post things online anonymously, and the site will be set up so that anonymous posters may not be trackable.
Internet ID: Particular websites (usually government ones) require users to sign in using a unique internet ID that only they have access to. They are only used to prevent people from being able to log in as multiple individuals, rather than associating people with any particular ID. Therefore, the government doesn't know who is logging in as any particularly identity.
- How exactly to do this, I have no idea. Potentially could be done using iris scanners, which are stored in a central database and thus can be referenced to obtain the matching internet ID, but the government (and any other organization for that matter) is strictly not allowed to match iris info (and hence the internet ID) with a person's identity. Whenever there's a new iris data that doesn't match the database, it gets added to the database and is paired with a new ID.
- This is primarily useful for polling. These ID's would be used for ballots (for voting for representatives) and for online petitions (for appealing court cases).
Anti-virus computer virus: Someone could create a computer virus that would be transmitted in the same way that popular malicious viruses are transmitted (ie. via 0day exploits), only these particular computer viruses do nothing except to eliminate that particular vulnerability, transmit themselves to other computers, then erase themselves from the original computer. In this way, each version of an anti-virus computer virus would make all computers safe from a particular computer virus vector, since it would affect all computers that a malicious virus could have affected. In this way we dramatically reduce cybersecurity risks.
Preloading likely websites: In the future websites will have a lot more still and moving graphics. In order to load them quickly, your browser will preload websites you're likely to go to to a cache whenever you're not actively browsing the web. These web pages will be sourced in one of two ways: Websites that you regularly go to and websites recommended by other websites based on their cookies' information about what you do and their predictions of what you will like. Then if you open such a website the loading time could even be 0 sec for even very large websites. Of course this will eat up bandwidth, and so you will get to specify exactly how you want to take advantage of this browser functionality.
Secure sandbox area: Almost all external applications and data files will be opened on your computer within a secure sandbox area so that they cannot take advantage of various security flaws to hijack your computer, unless you choose to give it special access privileges. This does mean that a lot of applications will be substantially weakened from what they could potentially do, but it would eliminate the need for antivirus software constantly checking files before opening them.
Shared processing power from computer network: Particular functions that require tremendous processing power (such as those related to government activities or those of various companies) can be hosted on your computer in exchange for granting you a bit of money for each packet of calculations performed by your computer. Of course, calculations need the rapid sending of information (all the numbers being crunched), so this will eat up bandwidth and be necessarily limited by bandwidth and hence only certain limited types of situations can take advantage. But in those cases that can use it, one could ostensibly use the full processing capacity of every computer on the globe to do these calculations, dramatically cutting down on the need for producing dedicated supercomputers (which are prohibitively expensive). These calculations will always be performed in the background as a secondary process, and essentially only activate when you're not doing anything intensive, so that the computer will not appear to slow down. For this purpose it is assumed that people will keep their computers on and on the network at all times. Internet usage will cost money but ostensibly you would be more than compensated for this by whomever is running the calculations.
- This will be done in the secure sandbox area (see above) so that it never poses a threat to the hosting computers.
Color intensity: Digital appliances involving pictures will involve fourth and fifth bytes of data per pixel (in addition to RGB). The fourth is transparency. The fifth is intensity of the color (not how white it is), where 0 is no light at all (black), 25 is normal strength, and 255 is as bright as possible. The digital appliances’ normal operation will use intensity 25 (such as for word processors and internet browsers) and you can change the overall brightness for the overall screen at will. The computer can however get many times brighter, to the point of it being dazzling bright, for the very rare situations where a pixel calls for 255 intensity. This would be particularly good for pyrotechnics (the fireworks, explosions, sun, reflected sunlight off of water or metal, and sky in movies) and would give a better overall experience. Additionally, this system could be applied to image capture appliances (cameras, recorders) so that, for example, bright red lights don’t appear as white dots on the image, but as the bright red dots they actually are.
Increased volume intensity ranges: Digital appliances involving volume will allow you to continuously increase the amplitude a lot more than the range current appliances allow. When you first buy the appliance, and whenever you want, you get to set the range of acceptable amplitudes for the final electronic output, so that this doesn’t blow out your eardrums. This resolves the problem where certain music files are just so soft that even at highest amplitude you can barely ear anything.
Independence of rating agencies: Rating agencies will be prohibited from obtaining any money, rewards, or other perks from what they rate. Their sole source of revenue will be from the people who rely on their services to make decisions. In the case of financial rating agencies, they will receive payment from investors. This is to prevent conflicts of interest. Furthermore, rating agencies will be by law invulnerable to what they rate (ie. they can't be sued for rating improperly/wrongly, or for giving a low rating). Since investors will go to another source if the rating agency proves itself inaccurate, the rating agencies will have a strong interest to make the right call on everything they rate.
Massive Indexing Project: The Massive Indexing Project is a system by which everything is indexed using categories (a la wikis), folders (a la computer file system), and tags (a la web picture galleries). The ultimate purpose is to make it a lot easier for people to find what they're looking for. And by everything, I mean everything; the following gives a sense of the detail and scope involved:
- Tags for every focus of a website's pages, so that you can easily find every website that focuses on discussing topic X, excluding those that happen to have the word X in it.
- Names for every conceivable kind of pictorial arrangement, so that you can easily find "every picture with two people in the foreground and greenery in the background".
- Names for every conceivable kind of story plot, so that you can easily find "every movie or novel taking place in a magic academy in a world where magic behaves systematically rather than erratically".
- Names for every conceivable kind of human gesture, so that you can easily find "every picture where somebody is making the V-for-victory gesture".
- Names for every conceivable kind of musical/tonal quality, so that you can easily find "every song that has a part that sounds very, very similar to this part of song X".
Science and Innovation
No patents: Considering civilization is based off the idea that all knowledge ought to be shared if we as a society are to advance, the idea of patenting/plagiarism/copyright rules and restrictions is clearly anti-civilization. Hence in this model there will not be such restrictions. The moment a person has an idea, that person can use it to his own ends. Government will support the adaptation of an idea by providing funding, and government will issue rewards to people who develop the ideas (see below), but no one person may preclude the rest of society from a good idea. Since knowledge (and ideas) is a non-rivalrous good, it makes no sense to arbitrarily limit access to its use. (Imagine that the inventor of the internet patented it and then just sat on it without developing the internet, then prevented anybody else who came up with the internet idea from using it. Where would we be now?)
Anti secrecy: If enough people can give enough of a good reason why a person should not be allowed to keep something a secret (such as a formula, a computer program's code, a technology, or a chemical process), and there are no security-related concerns, then the person who holds this information will be required to post on a public forum this information. Thereafter, anyone can use this information to their own advantage. However, they will be required to pay a royalty per instance that they use this revealed technology. This would allow for enhanced information sharing within a society.
- Problem: How will society determine the proper amount of royalties?
Ideas Office: Government will establish an Ideas Office (similar to Patent Office), where people can post ideas for society to adapt. Unlike the Patent Office, posting an idea to the Ideas Office will be free, and very simple. People will post ideas and include tags for what the idea is relevant for (ie. "communication") and a telling title. The database will be free for people to search through, and the use of these tags and telling titles will make it easier for people to search for ideas that may be similar to their own. People will be encouraged to sift through the database and come up with spin-offs of their own, to add to the database. Because money will be rewarded to the person who first posts the idea on the database (see below), people will be encouraged to stretch their imagination and post all their ideas on the ideas office first. Mediocre ideas will be listed as well, since the cost of listing is free.
Reward cap for ideas: Periodically, the government will have officials sift through the database and evaluate whether these ideas have gained acceptance on the government level, as well as issue polls for the general public to decide whether these ideas have gained acceptance in the private world and in the marketplace. Based on the responses, the government will issue a monetary reward to the person who came up with the idea. There will be a cap of, say, $2500, which bad ideas will not get to but good ideas will quickly hit. This amount is the remuneration of the inventors and innovators who come up with a good concept.
- This means that people who don't have the means to run a business off of their idea will still have an incentive to share that idea with society. It also means that people who come up with a good idea but aren't interested in turning it into a business can allow others to turn it into a business, while giving them a reward for their benefit to society.
- The idea is that all ideas only need a spark of mental insight to be uncovered, and no person should be rewarded the equivalent of more than a month's pay for just coming up with an idea, esp. since someone else could have just as easily come up with that idea, and the cap is still a good amount of money.
- Of course, they can become an entrepreneur, taking the idea and running with it, for much greater profit.
- If you think $2500 is very little money, consider this: if I were thus rewarded to the cap for each idea I present in Vision 2100, I'd be a millionnaire. And it took me just a matter of days to list out these ideas of mine.
- Ideas for which development required R&D will be more lavishly rewarded according to the amount of R&D money needed. This will still be government-determined, but it will be set at levels conducive to further development of R&D-demanding ideas.
Funding set aside for non-mainstream research: A certain portion of the scientific grant money will be set aside for use only in ideas that run contrary to mainstream scientific thought, since this kind of research injects new life into the disciplines and allows the discovery of truly novel ideas, inventions, and discoveries. However, even these proposals must still be properly logically argued so that they are not totally out of the blue.
WikiTechnology: Websites that have constantly updated information on the state of Society's technology, including "military-grade/sensitive" information. (After all Society is the only government in this scenario.) The sharing and constant updating of this information would reduce the amount of reinventing-the-wheel that takes place, allowing innovators to work on things that don't exist yet in any format, and drawing upon resources and how-to's of all other inventions ever invented, and innovations ever innovated, and discoveries ever discovered. This would thereby allow technology to be improved upon faster.
Revised PubMed: Instead of having PubMed only providing articles published in science journals, the future PubMed would publish anything submitted by scientists (scientists would be expected to have a Scientist Filter qualification of some sort though). The current publication system overemphasizes "interesting", "positive-finding" articles and de-emphasizes "mundane" and "negative-finding" articles (by negative-finding I mean articles that conclude that X does NOT affect Y, which is also important to science). Also, this would make it easier for scientists to put forth claims that another article's results are incorrect, which are usually de-emphasized by the current publication system (and thus make for flawed science). This also allows scientists to retract their own findings more readily (in the current system the retraction will be read by far fewer people than the original article). Also, with government support, all the articles will be freely available for reading, and references to other articles will be links to those articles (just as with Wikipedia).
Detailed study data released: All individual sample data obtained over the course of a study (minus the name, and as long as it isn't obvious who the individual is from the data sample) will be made available for download over the internet by a government-sponsored website. Additionally, there will be websites that provide tools for sifting through the data to make sense out of it in various ways. This prevents the meticulously accumulated study data from being lost (currently, this data is essentially lost as the only data reported are the conclusions and a few tables). The benefit to doing this is that we can potentially draw additional conclusions from a set of data that maybe the original authors did not see, and we could analyze cross-study data for time series or differential conclusions, or pool data from multiple related studies, all of which are impossible if only the conclusions are reported.
Lax patent laws: Society (the government) pays inventors and innovators money for their inventions (and to a lesser extent the same with discoverers for their discoveries) based on an amount determined to be fair by a special assembly of the Legislature (one that specializes in patents) - one amount upfront, and another amount on a per-use basis, to some extent. To make up for this, a person's patent rights are weakened. This allows other people to follow up with other patents which may be "another step up" based on this first patent without having to secure rights to do so using a contract or waiting for the patent to expire, both time-consuming and highly inefficient methods. Of course, this system, by not being wholly market-based, results inevitably in loss of information in an economic sense, since it is difficult to ascribe values to inventions. Instead of patents allowing for exclusivity of the inventor, patents give royalties to the inventor, so that while anyone else can exploit that technology, they are legally required to give some money to the inventor (say, 5%, though this depends significantly on the type of invention) as recompense, and this of course puts the inventor in a somewhat better position to profit off of one's invention, as well as rewarding the inventor directly. By removing exclusivity, this system removes the monopoly-making power of a patent which is good for technologies that have already been introduced seeing widespread use, but hampers development of new technology.
WikiOpenSource: Online sites allowing people to post open source computer programs. The government would also take a role in paying subsidies to people who programmed based on submitted requests, which would themselves be determined by poll among program-users on the site. Since the government's money will be originating from the people, projects funded using its money will be accessible by all people everywhere. (Copyright problems involving other countries are a non-issue since Society is the only country.)
Wiki Creative Commons: All works released on wikis (and many open-for-sharing internet sites in general) will be available under some version of Creative Commons, so that anyone is free to use a product that is legally released on such a website provided they give credits and don't try to commercialize someone else's stuff, and so that uploaders retain rights over their submissions.
Grants for positive-externality projects: The government will have a large department (Department of Funding) whose sole purpose is to evaluate proposals for projects that will be to the benefit of all humanity, and if those proposals are good (economically profitable and technologically feasible), to give grants supporting it. Proposals submitted to this agency will include:
- Scientific research
- Software development
New grant system: The Department of Funding will be staffed by numerous independently operating teams who will compete with each other to find the best project proposals from the millions the department receives every year. After the project is done (or periodically, if it's a long one), another government agency will then evaluate the project for the results and how those results may benefit all of society. Based on this, the second agency will reward the first with "merit points" which will lead directly to those teams who do the best scouting out projects receiving more money that they will have power to allocate. The objective of the Department of Funding's funding teams is to fund the projects with the lowest per-benefit-unit cost, so that the same amount of money that a team can work with will on average result in higher benefit yields, more recognition and hence more fame and more power.
For example, if project A requires $3M and project B, C, and D each require $1M in funding, and project A has either 1) twice the chance of success of the other three, with successes of all four benefiting society equally, or 2) has the same chance of success as the other three, but twice the beneficial effect should it succeed; then one would be wiser allocating $1M to each of B, C, and D than to allocate $3M to project A, but if project A cost $2M, then any allocation would be equal.
Customizability: Programs of all different sorts will be fully customizable and moddable. Upon first installation, they will be a very simple but efficient and easy-to-learn version (such as Google Chrome for browsers). Users can then upgrade to the standard version (such as Internet Explorer for browsers). After that, users can apply addons and plugins (such as Mozilla Firefox for browsers). Advanced users will be able to apply full overhauls (mods) and upload them to program-related central databases for sharing (such as the Mozilla Firefox website). After all, creating programs that can handle these three modes won't be that much added effort, but gearing a program to the needs of each individual can result in significant benefits to consumers. link title
No plagiarism rules: Our whole civilization’s greatest advantage is plagiarism – to build on the products of the people who have come before. To wit: discoveries, inventions, innovations. To be strictly anti-plagiarism is thus to be anti-civilization. However, there must also be institutions to encourage the innovation to happen in the first place. Hence we should allow anyone to "rip off" any ideas, discoveries, and technologies they can, and to encourage people to do so, but require royalties to be paid in retrospect. Since in this system most of the ideas will be owned by the government, the government will collect on these royalties, though there may be exceptions, such as for older ideas. The government will also be responsible for fairly determining the correct amount of monies to be paid for the royalties. The idea is to take others' ideas and works as you want, but give due (monetary) credit to them in retrospect.
Limitations on trademark names: Considering the number of people in the world, if we allowed any sufficiently simple or short name to be trademarked, there will not be nearly enough such names to go around, which will not be fair for latecomers who introduce newer products. Therefore, such 'pseudogeneric' names will be available for everyone to use without having to pay royalty to anyone else. Instead, trademarkable names will be limited to the following:
- A unique ISBN-like alphanumeric name for a product, at least 12 digits long;
- A unique, very long, somewhat descriptive name for the product (at least 25 characters long), so that other peoples' products won't readily result in a name conflict.
Public support for business-starting: The public (either government or other organizations) will provide a variety of services to those who want to start a company, including:
- Free updates on recent market developments and products offered by competitors;
- Guides for what you need to know to start a business (thereby reducing the risk/anxiety from not knowing about government rules/regulations);
- Help matching wannabe-entrepreneurs with potential financiers who are interested in a particular class of venture capital.
Acceptance of labor-reducing technologies: Unlike the Luddites of the past, who have hampered the acceptance of technology (such as because it reduces employment), society will be fully accepting of such technological improvements for reducing manual labor as well as the supply of a variety of other goods and services. This will be fostered with government providing aid for people who need to seek new jobs (see Education section) because their old profession was summarily wiped out by a new technological development. These government-sponsored types of education will primarily gear people for the fields which can't be readily automatized, such as scientific research, innovation, computer program development, and various other thinking-intensive fields (such as philosophy, economics, etc), jobs that won't be supplanted by technology in the foreseeable future because of their non-repetitive nature and hence will be able to last those individuals for a long while. The upshot of all this is that eventually society will become <1% oversight and >99% thinking-intensive, non-repetitive, original work (and 0% agricultural, 0% manufacturing/industrial, <1% services).
Expanded space program: As this is the final frontier, and there are potentially useful resources, the government would expand its space program by sending missions to mars and other planets, potentially constructing a rudimentary moon base powered by massive solar panel arrays (if only to power a mass driver for other space explorations; this would cut down on fuel costs of the other missions tremendously), and reinstate the international space station and add more modules for use in research, as weightlessness is necessary for certain scientific research projects.
Sex matching service: A website where people can post anonymously asking for sexual favors of various types. People can post certain attributes they may have and what service they're looking for so as to attract the right kind of respondents. Payments could be included in the description as well, though in many cases it could simply be free for both parties (no money changes hands). The other person's identity and location will be revealed only after both people agree. Because of its information-sharing advantages and cheapness, this system could render pimps/prostitution/brothels outdated and uncompetitive to the point of vanishing entirely.
Nutrition stamp: The old "nutrition facts" box is clunky and arcane for almost everybody, and hence isn't used. To increase the chances of any nutrition facts about a product being noted by the customer requires a much more straightforward way of presentation. Hence instead of the "nutrition facts" box should be a little box with just one bit of information: percentage of daily recommended diet (%DD). The %DD is calculated as being the highest of any of a variety of negative nutritional qualities contained in the food relative to the amount tolerated in a daily diet. For example, if 2 tablespoons of peanut butter consist of 30% of all the fat that a person should have in a day, and if this were the worst (from a percentage perspective) among various issues (ie. cholesterol, high-density cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, calories, sodium, etc.), then the %DD value for this product will be "30". People will be advised to not eat more than 100 %DD worth of food per day, and as long as they follow this rule, they'll be okay. It's a lot easier for a person to keep a running tally of just one number as they eat their meals over the course of a day; this "%DD box" favors simplicity over accuracy. In addition, depending on the unit of the food, a serving size may be specified. For example, a cake may have "35x12" indicating that the cake, if considered as 12 equal slices, is worth 35 %DD per slice, and people will know not to eat more than 3 slices on any given day.
Extended parental responsibility: In the future, the amount of education/knowledge required for a person to successfully compete for a job will continue to increase much as it has for the last few centuries. This means more of one's early years will be spent studying. Because of this, children cannot be bothered with working to keep themselves alive in the meantime, and hence parents will be stuck with the enhanced responsibility. Parents will have to provide all of their children with enough money for reasonable living conditions until their children turn 24. This additional requirement will also put a damper on peoples' desire to have children, especially if they are poor and believe they might not be able to support their children (in which case they really shouldn't be having children, and if they do, it's incredibly irresponsible to their children).
Astroturfing illegal: Astroturfing - here, meaning the practice of doing anything to seem as if it's the masses or the populace, or popular opinion, or the majority, support/refute anything, when you're actually someone/something with a vested interest in the matter - will be illegal, and should something like this be discovered and proof ascertaining the guilt of any party benefiting from such an operation, they will be severely punished, forced to unwind their astroturfing operation, and forced to state a public apology.