The perfect government PDF Print E-mail
Utopia - Government

Introduction

We are all subject to government in one form or another. There are no places on Earth that are free to live and which are uncontrolled by a government. Not even Antarctica. This means we are more or less stuck with whatever government we have. For some of us, who live in the more democratic societies, this can be a good thing. For others, government can be their first problem in trying to live a normal life.

The government layers most of us have to deal with are local, like city, county or state, national or federal and trans-national, like the European Union. Government is not a bad thing in itself. We need people that are educated to regulate society, take care of our safety, keep the economy in balance, protect our environment and so forth. Make rules and regulations that are to the general benefit of the majority as well as protect minorities.

But we all know that many governments are not doing their job right. They seem to be more involved with themselves than the citizens they are supposed to be serving. More common these days is that governments sell out to large national and multinational companies, thinking that these companies can help improve the economy, which is only partly true. More often than not, the only economy that is improved is that of the bureaucrats themselves...

So what then is perfect government?


Government evolution

Leaders and rulers

From the earliest headman or headwoman human societies have had one or several rulers. Being boss is a natural phenomenon on planet Earth whether you are a human animal or any other kind. Those of us that live in groups or masses all have a ruler or ruling class or caste. That's just how it is. We are all equal as human beings but definitely not all the same.

But what makes a good ruler or leader? In general terms it takes a combination of skill, experience, attitude and personality. These are not traits that are necessarily hereditary so why are so many rulers simply there on the basis of their genetic disposition, such as kings or dictatorships? It doesn't really makes much sense.

A democratic system was devised many years ago to overcome this hereditary deficiency. People were tired of having a bad ruler undo what his or her predecessor achieved simply because it was the ruling bloodline and they inherited all power. A good leader, male or female, can be born in any class or position. Unless we actively start to breed for a line of good rulers (See also Utopia: Population Control and Eugenics) hereditary ruling is folly, as history clearly shows us. Good rulers should not be made on the basis of inheritance but on the presence of the traits described above.

But even our modern democracy have become a farce as our choice of leaders is limited to a small number of people with either the financial means or the connections to stand for election. This system can never produce the best leader. And if it wasn't for the checks and balances most democracies have in them we would continuously end up with one dictator or tyrant after another. At best, and this is more prevalent every day, we are stuck with people totally inept to their office.

Still, the system we have now is far from perfect as the politicians and bureaucrats are basically all of the same mind and intention - personal advancement and wealth gathering rather than genuinely serving the public who, presumably, elected them.

Luckily, there are better ways.

(See also Utopia: Education.)

Government

Government needs to be flexible, adapting to changing conditions, as well as stable in its foundations.

This means that its leaders need to be the same; able to adapt to the ever changing conditions of the national economy and culture, while keeping a positive overall trend. Assisted by a number of equally selected advisors and second-level decision-makers we should be able to construct a government that is both reliable and trustworthy. So why aren't we? What makes it so difficult in so many places to actually have a fair and representative government?

When things go wrong it is easy to blame the leader for any or all ills but often it is the second level that needs to be held accountable as they do not necessarily change with the election of a new leader. And a leader is not alone in the decision-making process, surrounded by advisers, who may or may not have different interests at hand, any leader in him- or herself is usually not solely responsible. However, s/he is accountable as the highest authority.

So, to avoid incumbent or inherited special interests, perhaps government should consist of people that are there only temporary, at all levels but the most basic. Like military service we all get to be bureaucrat for a number of years after which we must relinquish our position to the next person that was selected for the job.

In this manner it will be less easy for anyone to consolidate his or her position over any real length of time and thus build personal networks that would have negative influences. They can also be held fully accountable for his or her actions during their term of service and afterwards as the next person will be obligated to learn and understand what has gone before. As no one would know beforehand who is to follow it would be in the best self interest to do the best job possible.

Behind the times

By popular definition, government is usually ten years behind the rest of society in its development and understanding. Bureaucracy is generally not the fastest turning wheel in the mechanism and can be a real burden or hindrance to personal and professional development.

That's not to say government is either unnecessary or superfluous. Hasty decision-making is not desirable either. But if the system is made to be adaptable rather than stagnant this gap can be closed significantly and government would be far more effective.

A regular change of guard keeps the attention alert and ready.

 

Failed government

The current main system of government, democracy, seems to have had its run. It's become much like all the other ones; an elite controls the masses, enriching themselves, catering to their own needs first and foremost, if not completely and totally. In this respect modern day democracy in most countries is no different than any previously failed system of government. Failed in the sense that if we are aiming for a way of life which is positive for the highest number of people.

There are several variations on the theme of democracy around the world today. Many of them can be written off as democracies almost immediately. A choice of one is not democratic. Neither is no choice at all. But whether it's a choice of none, one or many, most democratic systems today still make it impossible to truly select someone best suited for the role of leader(s). Anyone not in the political system already, for example, stands no chance in many places. Nor does someone who has no money or too little to make himself or herself known enough to be voted on. In most places the choices are limited between those already in power, who are simply vying each other for the highest office. And it really makes very little difference who you vote for, the outcome is the same.

We have seen how communism failed, ending up pretty much the same with an elite in control, and now we are seeing, and living, in a time where capitalism is running to much the same end. For a while it seemed that capitalism tempered by socialism worked well, mainly in Northwestern European countries, but eventually the money won out and they are now rapidly transitioning into a market-led, bureaucrat-controlled, capitalist form. Doomed for failure, in other words.

The inner beast

Try as we might, human nature seems inherently incapable of balancing rights and wrongs properly where it concerns governing. Looking back through history there have been patches of brightness in all that bloodshed and suffering we have inflicted on each other. Our animal self, the inner beast, is never far away it seems, and without constant self-control it is a raving monster without limits. Hardly the type of characteristic we would want in our leaders.

Civil service

The bureaucrat

First and foremost, government is civil service. It's an ideology, to devote your mind and energy to improving living and working conditions for your fellow countrymen. As a government official you are not important in who you are but in what you do.

The ruler or leader of a government is not the whole of the government. It's a temporary position at most, regardless for how long. This goes for most of the top layer of government.

The mainstay of government are the workers, the bureaucrats, that hold position regardless of who is ruler. These middle level bureaucrats can stay in their position for an entire working life, anywhere up to forty years or more. While reliability is admirable, ingrained power is not.

Bureaucrats and money, spending

While we all know or suspect government corruption at the top levels, the corruption at the middle and lower levels is often overlooked or underestimated. Unfortunately, this lower level corruption can be the most destructive of all, even if its monetary value is less.

This middle level is a constant drain on resources and often the reason why taxes are continuously increased. It is common practice in many places that yearly budgets are automatically increased by at least 10% regardless of any planned future or past expenditures.

Why? Because it is also common knowledge that if you budget less for next year you may not get any increase the year after that when you may indeed need it.

The result of this typical bureaucratic behaviour is that far too much tax money gets spent on unnecessary, even frivolous items, positions and procedures. Because, unless you spend all of your budget - and declare a deficit - it would again become clear that you are getting too much. As Oscar Wilde said: "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy." And it's not a good thing.

Businesses that deal with governments know this very well and equally increase their prices every year for any government department that has a contract with them. This results in huge price differences in what a government department would pay as opposed to a regular business or a consumer. Understandably, government projects are highly sought after.

Some governments install watchdogs that make sure they do not pay more than market value for any goods or services acquired, but this is rare.

In wealthier governments an attitude of "unlimited" money and special interest (let's hire uncle John and split the profits) cost the tax payer amazing amounts of money.

What we need here is serious attitude adjustment.

The right stuff

Should there be tests to determine who is civic minded? There certainly should be some kind of aptitude test to determine who makes a good leader or not.

In a true democratic society we should try and find the best person for the job of leader, not whoever can put out the most cash and who has the most influential friends. In fact, these are two factors which should be considered as a negative when accepting candidacy for the top job.

Is it really acceptable that anyone can become a leader?

Many professions have strict regulations, preceded by years of study and exams before they can call themselves professional and are allowed to practice. Why then are we lacking this trajectory for one of the most important positions in society?

Shouldn't our candidate leaders be subjected to rigorous testing to ensure their qualifications and qualities are suited to the job? Yes, they should be. Then why isn't it done?

Why is the democratic principle of "allowing anyone to stand for office" made a mockery of when reality shows that "anyone" is certainly not able to do so. In fact very few are, or are even allowed in some places. When you have a choice of one, as in Iraq under Saddam Hussein or in Belarus, you cannot speak of democracy.

When you have to bribe or coerce people to vote for you democracy is equally non-existent. When you send out hoodlums to terrorise people at the voting booth this is also not democracy nor is miscounting of the ballots or replacing them.

Most people are not fooled by these fake democracies, "it's so unlike our own". Yet many are fooled by supposedly democratic systems where the choice is to have to choose from the best competent out of a group of incompetents. That's not good enough, is it?

They're not listening

Election time is the only time we actually get to hear what we want - less taxes, less unemployment, cleaner environment, fight corruption, better health care, etc.

Unfortunately, once election is over our opinions are completely ignored until the next election comes around, and any decision-making is completely out of our hands.

Those we elected are supposed to follow up on their election promises because this is why we voted for them. So why aren't they doing so?

Simple, because they never intended to. Except for promising what you want to hear they are not interested and return to business as usual with the only difference is that we have maybe different faces to look at. Political parties and leaders become dynasties with families alternating power and control, as in the case in Greece. In effect, they have become royalty of old and care little for the ordinary citizen.

Shouldn't there be a system of control whereby failed election promises result in jail? Maybe.

What is sure is that our elected leaders certainly need some kind of incentive to stick to their promises.

Old men

And why are leaders not required to retire? Are people in their 80's really aware enough of what goes on to be good leaders? No, they're not.

The elderly are not encouraged to drive a car beyond 80, why on earth do they think they can still rule a country?

The elderly make good advisers but are certainly not capable of proper decision-making at the complex and ever-changing level of high office. With a global population of which half is under 25 we need younger leaders, able to understand and react adequately and correctly to a fast-changing political and global environment.

What we need is an age limit on candidates, perhaps 60? At 60 you are still young enough to be active and at the end of your term, which will be between 4 and 7 years later, you have the right age for either retirement or an advisory role.

If everyone else has to retire at around 65, surely we wouldn't want our leaders to be feeble old men?

 

Government qualifications

Our leaders should be qualified to lead. So what does this mean?

- Education: our leaders should at least hold qualifications in economics, ecology and sociology and law. A good sense of business acumen, negotiation skills, social skills, awareness of the natural world, geopolitics and a basic understanding of the main scientific principles as well as basic accounting. Anthropology, history and cultural and religious studies are also required.

- Character: character tests need to indicate a balanced and stable psyche, not prone to excessive self-centredness nor altruism. Able to work effectively under stress, proven ability to make balanced decisions based on facts and advice. Incorruptibility and someone not interested in money as a goal.

There are numerous personality tests available to determine anyone's tendencies. A rigorous set of exams need to be passed for any candidate to be accepted as such.

- Experience: as with any high profile position that comes with great responsibility experience is a must in any candidate. A proven record of ability is a good indicator of future expectations.

Sex or sexual orientation, religious affiliations or marital status are neither required or ignored. Excessive interest in any need to be evaluated. After all, a leader's focus is the job, not the personal life.

And please no ex-secret service people. Leaders need to have a balanced mind-set, not trained to be paranoid and see enemies in every corner. The world is crazy enough without putting them in power.

So why don't we use our technology to build a database of people who hold all the right qualifications to make a candidate selection prior to election?

Duty to perform

We can take this a step further to ensure we have the right person for the right job. Once we have a database of everyone in the country, which we do for a large extent already anyway, we can simply select out the ten best candidates, regardless of where they are from, and have them stand candidate. A sort of mandatory draft, you could say, so that we can have the best chance at the best person.

Apparently, those with lifetimes in the bureaucracy seem to be the least capable of leading it. Perhaps bureaucracy should be a draft like the armed forces. Everyone gets to do it for five years - within their own field or capabilities - and then leaves again. It would give people both an understanding of how government works, what it should be doing, as well as minimise graft and corruption, without leaving people - current bureaucrats - incapable of functioning in the private sector.

 

Too many bureaucrats

The real question however is "How much do we really need hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats?"

With so many applications, forms and documents requiring mostly computer related activity why not let computers do the work?

Do we really need an army of people, who's lives get paid for by the taxes collected, when many of these positions can easily be done by computers? One of government's biggest expenditures is itself. Just think how much more money would remain in the population if government weren't so expensive by its sheer number of dependants.

The bureaucracy would be much more efficient and productive without the constant interference and problems of too many people doing pointless paperwork when these same people can be taxpayers rather than tax receivers.

Job for life

Being a bureaucrat should not be a guaranteed job for life. This idiotic rule only promotes laziness and incompetence. Things any organisation would want to do without. Companies do not retain workers that are incompetent, lazy, or otherwise incapable of performing properly, why should governments?

 

Government requirements

If you could decide what government should do and what it should not do, what would you want from your government and the people that make up that government?

It is easy to criticize government but how easy is it to be part of a government? Would you be able to control yourself?

Often it's not the lack of intentions that make bureaucrats slip, it's the environment in which they find themselves. Peer pressure is a bitch, we all know that, and to withstand it you need more than good intentions.

So again, what is the best way to ensure that bureaucrats actually achieve what they promise or what their job entails?

Government and politicians' rights

Government should be concerned with controlling itself rather than the citizenry.
Governments should be concerned with spending as little money as possible, and stay within their budgets.
They should be open about all policies and spending.
They should defend freedom and privacy as much as the citizens do.
Politicians must retire at pension age just like everyone else.
Government spending should bear no relation to any personal liaisons of any government official.
Much of bureaucracy is routine, these procedures should be automated and not handled by people.
All government purchases and spending must be freely accessible to the public (transparency).
Pension funds are untouchable.
Public sector wages should be well below or at par with the private sector, never above. And no golden handshakes.
Bureaucrats involved in crimes should be fired and not allowed to run or return to office. Jailed whenever possible (accountability).
Illegal migration should be strictly controlled with illegal migrants immediately deported and traffickers jailed or executed. Anyone found to be employing illegal migrants should be fined heavily.

Government and politicians' wrongs

They should not make it difficult for anyone to know what they are doing (transparency).
They should not be busy with designing new taxes to take more money from the people (spending).
Politicians should not cling to power and position well into their eighties.
There should be no secret projects. None, not even military that at least one watchdog doesn't know about.
Projects and jobs are often handed out or made easy for relations rather than being objective. (Cronyism, Graft)
Billionaires should not be allowed to stand for office as citizens aren't employees.
Governments should not "float" their countries on international financial markets, but should stay within their budgets.
Vote themselves wage rises, privileges and benefits.
Exempt themselves from prosecution when involved in crimes (immunity).
Have other incomes besides their principle wage. All other paid appointments are immediately cancelled upon accepting governmental position.

Utopian government, the future

After having tried every form of human government and seeing each one fail miserably eventually, it's time to try something new until, inevitably maybe, that will fail too. But the one thing we have now that we didn't have before is advanced, smart, technology. Theoretically we can switch off the power tomorrow and pretend to still be a civilisation. Realistically, we can't. Doing so would result in immediate global warfare and a return to the dark ages.

Ever since our first ancestor picked up that branch to defend itself from a predator, be that another human or a wild animal, we have been using technology to aid us in many ways. But never before have we had machines that rival our own thought processes and without the bias of a personal point of view, though that is debatable (See also Artificial Intelligence, Ethical Issues...). And no matter how intelligent these machines may become, we need to ensure that they serve us, not us them. As we have always done. If they do take over because we have programmed them too well to take care of us, well then, that's our own fault. It is always our own fault.

But a future where machines control humanity, be it in an "I, robot" by Isaac Asimov style, or as in "The matrix", is still some way off, if ever. And we have massive problems to solve on all levels of human civilisation now, our current methods of government being one of the main problems. So let's have a look at our shiny new future government.

No political parties

- no need for political parties as governing is approached from a needed point of view with all aspects of society taken into account; social, environmental, financial, religious, etc.;
- government will exist of council of nine and one president who has no vote but is mediator and facilitator;
- the council will comprise of candidates 2 through 10.

Elections and campaign

- no private money; candidates have a budget and certain services available to them;
- candidates have a pre-determined schedule for live appearances around the country;
- each candidate is allotted equal media access; television, radio, internet, print;
- several debates are arranged; voters can request topics and pre-vote on which to be discussed;
- campaign time is limited to one month before elections.

Candidate selection

- candidates are selected from national database according to required specifications and forecast of needed capabilities. anyone wanting to be candidate can apply and will be tested for suitability according to criteria;
- candidates are no older than 60 or younger than 30;
- candidates are rigourously tested on qualifications;
- term of office is seven years for both council and president, of which the first two years will have emphasis on finishing or continuing programs as set out by previous, and the last two years will have emphasis on concluding programs and instigating new ones for next term;
- candidates will forego any wages except those belonging to the position.

Government expenditure

- Civil service is not a career choice motivated by financial gains.
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