Go Straight to Jail

It is my belief that if we place you a position of public trust with all its honors and privileges we’re justified in holding you fully responsible. You break our trust and you go to jail. There will be no safety in D&O insurance. There are no plea bargains. Political connections won’t help. You can make a lot of money but break our trust and you’ll never enjoy that money. You know this before signing up and the justice system backs us up.

We do not define in advance what determines a breach of trust. We look at results. Whatever turns out to be a material cause for adverse results, as determined after the fact, will be considered a breach. It doesn’t matter whether an i- was dotted or a t- crossed on a regulatory document. You have adverse results, we dig in to find the cause, and it better not be you.

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Soak the Rich

Consider the role of good deeds. Do we do what is best for our neighbors or do we funnel money to a central authority who decides what is best for our neighbors? Think about it. Decentralized or centralized. Can I watch more closely how my money is spent by a charity or should I pool my money and let others pick the charity and take responsibility for watching?

With a decentralized approach I’ll focus charity on immediate neighbors, my white flight companions, to the detriment of those left behind in Newark NJ. We tend to notice needs close at hand more than those far away. With a centralized approach there’s an intermediary. There’s leakage. When others decide how to donate my charity we see loss to waste and inefficiency.

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The Fed

You give me a bushel of apples and I give you an IOU. This IOU promises to pay back your bushel of apples, or something else to your liking, in the future. We make this trade, apples for IOU, because you have too many apples and I want apples today. We’re both better off. Apples get consumed that would otherwise be left to rot on the ground.

Why would I take your IOU? Because I trust you. Or you put up some collateral. Or I have legal recourse. Or it’s the Christian thing to do. Or a myriad of other reasons. Why would you give an IOU? Because your apples have not yet blossomed. Because you need apples today to sell apple cider tomorrow. Or you’re hungry and have no other means to get apples. Or a myriad of other reasons.

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Watson

Watson is the computer system that competed and won against former human champions on the TV game show Jeopardy!. Why not use Watson for our judicial system? It’s logical, comprehensive and not subject to bias. We teach Watson all prior cases, decisions, legislation, rulings, opinions, legislative backgrounds, Bayesian decision trees, probabilities, potential biases and more. We enter the particulars of a legal case turn the crank and out pops a decision.

Watson eliminates all the undue influences we see in judges: politicians, public opinion, etiquette of working with other judges, political agendas, and career ambitions. It eliminates judicial activism. It maximizes consistency in decisions. It minimizes lawsuits: litigants have access to Watson to assess their chances for winning. Of course Watson will be error-prone at first and will take some getting used to, but over time He will far outperform human counterparts in accuracy, speed and cost.

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A Chit Economy

The rules for our chit economy are as follows:

  • Each member of society receives a fixed number of chits per year which are used to reward others for goods and services they receive
  • There are only as many chits in the economy as there are individuals (i.e. # chits = # individuals x fixed # of chits per individual per year)
  • Chits expire. Use-’em-or-lose-’em.

I exchange chits for goods and services received. As others receive my chits they in turn can use these chits to compensate others. Chits are transferable as long as they’re unexpired. Individuals who receive many chits provide goods & services highly valued by others, and vice versa. We are a nation of traders in chit.

No cheating by jumping ahead, but chits are probably not what you think.

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A Theory of Justice

Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (1971) is a book of political philosophy forced on hapless undergraduates in our institutes of higher education. Rawls employs a ‘veil of ignorance’ — he derives principles of social justice by placing everyone into a state of ignorance as to what hand they will be dealt later in life. You may be born into wealth or poverty, into a loving or an abusive family, into a rich or poor country. Rawls argues you chose principles of justice minimizing distress on the least advantaged individuals because once the veil of ignorance is lifted you may turn out to be disadvantaged. “Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do it for me.”

Rawls’ theory is not only wrong it’s dangerous.

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The Antonine Dynasty

Today’s federalist nations share the business of government differently between central and local levels (e.g., The U.S., Canada, Australia). Why not follow the template of the Antonine Dynasty of the Roman Empire (96–192)? In that very successful reign the central government was responsible for defense, common currency and foreign affairs. States were responsible for everything else. Religion, the arts, business, morals, infrastructure and all other government business were financed and administered at the state level. This is an historical simplification, obviously, but the reach of Roman central government was much reduced over what is common in all modern federalist nations.

What has changed in 2,000 years to justify the vast expansion of the central government’s share?

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Political Principles

Hayek in his essay Why I Am Not a Conservative  states as his main objection the conservative’s lack of political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own. I am not a conservative, nor a libertarian like Hayek, nor a progressive liberal (in the U.S. a ‘lefty’). Being all alone, dead center, I find myself in a position of having to lay out political principles for working with many disagreeable others. My principles are based merely on my experience and eclectic readings, rather than any accepted ideology or worldview. Each will be explored in more detail in future blog posts.

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How to Game an Election

We use Google.

Search out independent voters based on their search histories or self-identification. These are our targets. Our goal is to set up algorithms, automated rules, that serve up biased search results to these individuals and move them toward our candidate. How do we do this? Massive data farms. We categorize individuals based on their search histories (e.g., ‘loves the outdoors’, ‘has libertarian leanings’) and develop messages for those categories favorable to our ‘product’ the candidate. Next time our independent voter performs a search he is served up results catering to our interests. It’s advertising 101 applied to politics at a very personalized level.

But we can do even better

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Gerrymandering

This is by far not the biggest issue facing the nation. But it’s fun. You apply rational thought and come to a definitive conclusion without having to worry about too many subtleties. Our goal? To define a method of voting that cannot be “gamed” by manipulating the boundaries of voting districts. We provide a mechanical solution that has the following outcomes:

  • Voters chose from among a limited number of candidates vying to represent their voting district, using a ‘first past the post’ voting system
  • Voting districts represent geographic areas that are subsets of the state geography (except perhaps in the case of sparsely populated states, e,g, Alaska).

We gather up names and locations of voters within a state, input this information into a computer, turn the crank, and out pops voting districts and assigned voters. Simple, elegant and foolproof.

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A Jobs Proposal

A massive federal Jobs Agency with broad authority as to the means to create jobs. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Patronage. Special Interests. Bureaucracy. Waste & Inefficiency. I’m afraid I’ll look back one day and hang my head in shame at what is written here, given my libertarian leanings. What are the chances for making this a success? Probably zero. Piecemeal solutions. Half-hearted implementations. Cherry-picking. Dumbing down. This proposal will die a thousand deaths in committee before it ever sees the light of day. At least I provide ammo enough to kill the many inferior solutions being offered.

So why even care?

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