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QP Parliament


(Michael Hrenka) #1

Today I thought about the issues of crony capitalism and lobbying in parliament. Direct democracy would solve those problems, but direct democracy has its own drawbacks, and people mostly prefer having their representatives which mostly take over the job of dealing with politics.

What if we removed those politicians who can be easily influenced by lobbyists from the game? Well, that’s probably much easier said than done. Why not use reputation for that, then? We could use Quantified Prestige (in a perhaps slightly modified version) to implement a reputation-based representative democracy in the following way: Every citizen belongs to the electorate and can allocate their 12000 Esteem Points to anyone who volunteers as official candidate for being a member of parliament.

There is a fixed number of MPs, let’s say N. With N candidates with the highest Prestige scores are MPs. Because Esteem Points can be allocated and reallocated at every point in time, the set of MPs is highly dynamic. An MP can be voted out of parliament within a second, and others can replace them just as quickly. The MPs vote on political issues, but the voting strength of each MP is proportional to their Prestige score.

Parties are optional. Each party can act as Esteem Point allocator that forwards them to its members and MP candidates according to its own policy. But the MPs are still the primary entities in this system: It’s them who get the Esteem Points.

Good idea or bad idea?

The advantage of this system is that MPs who are immune to lobbying and corruption can be supercharged, while the others can be quickly removed from parliament. A disadvantage might be that the decisions of MPs would become very populist, because otherwise they would be punished by getting their voting power reduced, or even kicked out of parliament. Those who hold most power over popular sentiment would have the greatest power in this system: In other words the media would effectively rule the system, and whoever controls the media, effectively controls the nation.

Another problem of this setup is how to create a stable government, or any government at all. Would the president be the MP with the highest Prestige score, which could change at any second? Why not? For a while the nation might have a different president every day, but sooner or later people would get sick of that and decide not to switch out presidents so often. The presidents in such a system wouldn’t very strong anyway, because at any time they make a seriously unpopular decision, they get demoted to regular MP status. Should that be moderated by making the status of president sticky for a certain time, for example a year or so?

Even in that situation getting a stable government would be a problem. What if the governments gets out of favour of the people and the party of the president doesn’t hold enough voting power to do much? Having a minority government would be quite frustrating.

Alternatively, the voting power of MPs is determined each x years via a snapshot of the current Prestige scores. The Prestige scores could still change all the time to reflect the sentiment of the people in real time, but the voting power would still only change every x years. That would be a system that’s pretty similar to the system we currently have, and might not be as disruptive as the unmodified version.

What do you think? Which version, if any, would you prefer? Do you have any better ideas?


(João Luz) #2

This sounds like an interesting idea.

One of the greatest challenges of political science has allways been concilliating stability with popular representation. The regimes that manage to do this better are the ones more likely to stand the test of time.

I suggest that we split the parliament in two. The first half would operate like the first model you described, while the second one would be elected every x years (either through your second Prestige-based system or through normal elections).


(Macius Szczur) #3

Hey. I didn’t disappear, I’m simply devoting time for some education, updating my world view, and before that process finishes I can’t really speak :slight_smile: But, in this particular case…

The question here is how can specific problems be mitigated in system that by definition is flawed. Or, rather, the system is what it is, capitalism corrupts because in its very nature it disregards principles it is advocated to be based upon, like free market, etc. Capitalism supports changing or breaking rules if they stand in way of profit. That’s a fact. Players powerful enough can make playing field itself more friendly to themselves and less friendly to competition (where competition is everything that can have negative impact on profits). Seeing it in different way is basically sugarcoating and not being honest :slight_smile: What can be seen in politics now, and what was seen throughout centuries is more or less hidden marriage of money (business) and force (government). Any attempts of mitigating that are doomed by definition. Well,it is not impossible to maintain separation, but it always requires energy and awareness. Once you stop looking the system will get back to being a form of feudalism quickly and surely. Also, the system absorbs and degenerates mechanisms of control implemented to help with money/force separation, and people are quite ingenious in circumventing control when they want to (or are paid enough to). Therefore, as much as I like the idea of QP, I think it would not be sufficient. What would? If everyone, or at least significant part of humanity, attained enlightenment and became immune to lies of politicians and corporations - if half of us became whistleblowers interested in keeping the world in good shape, well, then it would be easier. But it’s not going to happen any time soon, is it. What’s left? How about starting with the basic questions, like for example why the hell governments have so much power over individuals, why do individuals are willing to obey the rule of money/force complex (although it’s obvious), and how can we reduce the playing fields from both ends (take back power and money from whoever took it from us). And also, one specific question is whether we need politics at all, and, us being XXI century creatures, can we not think about replacing governance (based on people who, as each election shows us, just want to be slavemasters willing to promise everything just to get their paper crown) with cooperation (based on algorithms and technology)? Can it be done? Would it be correct to assume that after all majority of people do not want to either rule or be ruled (well, people generally prefer to be shown directions instead of choosing themselves, true), but they would be more willing to cooperate within some, um, framework/network? That could finally implement the idea of free market as advertised, not the behemoth painted in cheerful colours with flowers stack in its rear end pretending to be what, by definition, it can never be?


(Michael Hrenka) #4

I mostly agree with your general analysis. Separation of money and force / power is hard to establish in practice, but at least it might be worth trying to disarm the worst forms of corruption and collusion. In a reputation society (huh, a new concept?) both money and power would stem from positive reputation, so they would be naturally positively correlated (and determined rather democratically and meritocratically).

Yes, if it stops being an effective strategy to “buy” politicians, then the rich influencers will try to focus on influencing popular opinion. They will try to secure as much share of the media landscape as possible – well, they are already doing that, but it would in all likelihood become even worse. That doesn’t mean that they will be necessarily successful, especially when citizens become more vigilant against that kind of influence and manipulation.

Yes, it would indeed be easier. I think that prospect is not too unthinkable, though. If technological unemployment actually happens, and if people get basic incomes, they might focus on becoming more enlightened and playing whisteblowers. That’s a lot of "if"s and "might"s, though. I mean, even if people get basic incomes, most of them will still remain relatively egoistic. And they will work for their own egoistic goals, which often conflict with the egoistic goals of others. If all knew how to cooperate in a really good way, they would probably find superior solutions that satisfied the interests of everyone better than following a straight egoistic path. But there are difficult coordination problems that need to be solved. Aggregating the resources for public goods is such a difficult coordination problem, and so far taxes have been one of the few viable approaches in that area. It would be nice, if people paid for public goods voluntarily, but if enough people do that, the rest has decent incentives to play free riders by not paying. In a reputation society reputation would create a serious incentive to pay anyway, but that’s not guaranteed to work.

My views on those questions have changed / evolved quite a bit. My most recent conclusion is that governments are a necessary evil to mediate the pathological dysfunctions of societal coordination problems. In other words: We need governments, because we as human individuals and groups are not smart enough to coordinate our efforts in a satisfyingly effective way without the use of governments and force. That also means: If we become smarter, or find better solutions to certain coordination problems, our need for governments will be lessened. Technological tools can indeed make us smarter, whether that’s on the individual level, or on the level of collectives.

Humans don’t really like having to follow certain rules, but it’s usually better if they actually do, at least if the rules are sufficiently well made. It’s not like humans wouldn’t prefer to be free, but they mostly prefer having a functioning society, good stuff, and reliable services, much more than being able to do what they want.

From this point of view it would make sense at least to have strong rules in the field of economic activity, but governments also limit personal freedom quite a bit, even though that wouldn’t be necessary economically. I guess the reason why governments interfere so much with personal freedoms is that most humans are psychologically weak and can’t deal well with a world full of dizzying diversity and different lifestyles. Reducing that diversity by force has a lot of value for these individuals. The world is much easier to conceptualize, if everyone at least pretends to follow a universal standard for good behaviour ™. It’s surprisingly hard for people to admit that their own ideas and standards might be wrong, or arbitrary. Fighting against all those who disagree is psychologically easier.


(Macius Szczur) #5

Short answers :slight_smile:

It could be actually not bad, they are egoistic now, they will be egoistic later, with one small difference: instead of egoistically worrying about survival they will have more energy and time to worry about their environment. You know, Maslov’s pyramid, etc. Also, it is true that goals might collide, because not everyone is aware or willing to follow the Golden Rule, but it’s more, as you said, coordination problem. Ideally people should be able to work out differences for themselves instead of hiring higher instance, and, if independent opinion is needed to solve a dispute, it would be awesome if it could be done without additional humans - AI, algorithm, law… It is tricky subject, I agree :slight_smile:

About public goods, technology can change payment method for that. Taxes are, well, one approach, but if you look at budget of any country, you will see that our money fund not only parks, roads and healthcare, but also wars, bureaucracy and politicians, and you have no say in the matter. You just have to give some of your money to the taxman and hope that it will be used for some good. What would be better? I wonder what part of the budget could be exported as some sort of DAOs, collecting “taxes” on its own? Say, you have a road, funded by a separate DAO, which allows only drivers who paid road tax, and one higher level DAO splitting the road tax as necessary. It could be done even now I suppose, not easy project, but not impossible. And excluding people from the process would bring enormous savings, and make road repairs faster and probably better. Or I might be dreaming :slight_smile: But it’s nice to think that most of the things that are really useful can be funded that way without central “authority” that extorts money from people and does not provide any meaningful way of control over what it is being spent on.

…created by governments in the first place. And I have to say I find the rest of your response quite scary :slight_smile: First, I believe that it is possible for people to “behave” and cooperate without being held on a leash, especially when artificial scarcity is mitigated (scarcity being the cornerstone and most important thing capitalism requires to survive, so it is happy to create more scarcity if possible, thus generating inequality and problems), and second… reducing options is not a good thing. Reducing options by force?

You are actually advocating slavery… Like, real slavery. It is never a good thing. And of course a slave could be happy, but he would never transcend. Comfortable as a cage can be, it makes evolution impossible. And growing pains, well, it is said that learning happens outside of comfort zone, but comparing comfort to endless possibilities of evolution is comparing death to live. And the worst part of slavery is that you can’t opt-out, as we can’t say “dear government, from now I’ll take care of myself, thank you for your service, I’m out” - it is not possible anymore. It never really was, unless one wants to depart to some cave and withdraw from the world completely.
Actually, there is one more thing here. Using force to keep the lid on and steer society does exactly the opposite, as we can see on live examples - it increases entropy and ultimately makes people unhappy. The more control, the more force, the less happiness.


(Michael Hrenka) #6

The idea of DAOs seems to be one of the latest iterations of attempts to make privatization of public goods and services work nicely. Indeed, I do think that with some fancy automated technology we could expand the set of goods and services that can be delivered without the direct involvement of any government, but I wouldn’t set my hopes too high. What your system amounts to is a system of opt-in services, with people somehow revealing whether they have joined that service, or not. Such a system sounds ideal, at first, but you to be aware that no system will eliminate the need for at least some kind of governance and conflict resolution. For example: Who is allowed to build what where? Who is allowed to demolish something in order to create free space for building something else? The quality of those answers determine the quality of governance.

Let’s investigate the opt-in system further. The interesting question is: What happens to the people who don’t pay for specific services?

  • Do those who don’t pay for health services get denied any health services, even emergency services?
  • What about those who don’t pay for police services? Do they get blocked, when they want to call the police?
  • What if you don’t want to pay for the law services? It is only that you don’t get an attorney, and can’t sue others? Can you even be sued in such a case, because you simply reject the whole system?
  • Not paying the military services will probably be a popular option. It’s easy to imagine that the army won’t bother defending you, or your house in case of a military conflict, but such micro scale differences probably won’t make armies actually make significantly other tactical or strategic decisions. However, with opt-in funding, they would be less able to defend anyone – that could be a very good thing, or it could be very bad, if conventional governments decide to overrun their voluntaryist counterparts.
  • Should welfare be denied to those who don’t pay welfare services? That’s mostly not a very good deterrent, and also people are quite irrational, and discount the possibility of requiring welfare services in the future.

It would certainly be attractive for freeriders not to pay for many of those services, and still get a lot of value out of society, simply because it’s hard to actually to withhold that value from those who don’t pay for everything. That’s a big coordination problem. Perhaps this could be solved with reputation indices, for example the fraction of your income that you spend on opt-in services, or charity. Freeriders exist in every system, in nearly any position, and to some degree their existence needs to be tolerated for the sake of stability and humaneness of the overall society. Only if freeriding gets really rampant, people get totally angry and demand severe solutions – something like a government with an iron fist. :fist:

Like what? Example? Governments do cause secondary problems, which they then try to fix with more “governmenting”, but there are primary problems that are not caused by governments. People need to decide what rules they give themselves, for example. Or they need to decide who owns what. It’s not like those problems are caused by governments. And it’s very hard to solve them without the involvement of at least some form of governance.

I’m trying to be realistic. If reality scares you, then that may be an appropriate response. It would be nice, if reality was more benign. I believe that things are the way they are for reasons that are deeply rooted in real problems that lie deeply rooted in the structure of reality, rather than in the seemingly arbitrary hiccups of certain ideological systems. Reality is complex. Deal with it. :sunglasses:

People always behave in certain ways. But how they behave depends on the environment and the incentive situations they find themselves in. Artificial scarcity is of course a real bummer, but people need to deal with actual primary scarcity, first. How do you think people should deal with real scarcity? Most people living in industrialized nations live lives that are better than those of medieval kings. Capitalism and democratic governments made that possible. Apparently, that’s not enough. People always want more. It’s a really crazy situation.

I was referring to laws. Laws reduce the number of practical options. People still can decide to act against the law, but in many cases the cost of doing that would simply be too high. Law is held up by force.

I’m not advocating slavery. I have merely described my interpretation of why governments exist and why they do what they do. The governments we have are a reflection of the mindsets of people who bring them forth. That should allow us some deductions about those mindsets – with not always the most pleasant conclusions.

I guess this is the same as saying that the only way to use true freedom responsibly, is having true freedom in the first place, even if you don’t use it responsibly at first.

Which invites the question why not more people are deciding to live in caves, or at least in “isolated communes”.

Hmm, I think that people actually try to minimize the use of force. Monarchies use less force than competing warlords. Democracies use less force than monarchies. Anarchists try to use less force than democracies, but anarchism can end up in failure modes rather quickly. It’s not easy to minimize the use of force, without resorting to force to fight against greater use of force. Revolutions are messy. People try avoiding them for good reasons. The smarter we are, the better we can become at minimizing the use of force, but individually, and as collectives, our smartness is still pretty much limited. That’s why we still in a world, where the use of force is still pretty much a thing, even though it has been mostly sublimated into structural violence.


(Macius Szczur) #7

It’s not privatization as we understand the word now - it’s not about multiplying capital to make the board of owners happy, it’s about providing service that needs to fund itself - not for profit, only for being a better… service. Roads need repairs, etc.

That’s coordination, not governance. Governance starts with need to make someone cooperate nicely if they are not willing to. But it is important to see that the problem is how to ensure voluntarily cooperation, and it is more general problem than might have more than one solution of overseeing government.

They don’t get them. However, your examples are rooted in current state of things - which is all we have, true, but we can aspire and dream of a better world. After all if we don’t dream, how can we make a better world come into existence?
So anyway, health - that should be free for everyone. Scarcity in health department happens because someone wants to profit from illness, no? And looking from the other end, cost of inventing new meds and techniques would be easily covered if appropriate prevention was used, like, hey, how about not eating that much sugar? But then again, someone profits from people eating sugar, so.
Police services? I wonder how much of it do we really need. Fire brigades would be better example, as we definitely need those. But, as in all cases here really, if people funded fire brigades directly, the cost per capita would be marginal. Affordable to everyone. And if someone doesn’t want to pay, because… they want to pray for protection to the gods of thunder (today’s society can be irrational like that), that’s their free choice, and if their house burns down that’s their problem too.
Law services, don’t get me started on that. We hardly need 1% of what we have now, and even that we need only because we don’t cooperate voluntarily - I know that’s the harsh reality, but refuse to agree that cure for lack of cooperation is law and governance, at least not in its current form.
Military services - this is one service that humanity can live without. Period.
Welfare - we’re talking about basic income provided to everyone regardless of anything, so it’s even now a non-issue.

Then, freeriders… I’d like to think that the same way as basic income will cancel the idea of “welfare”, there are other solutions that will make the idea of “freeriding” obsolete and ridiculous.

Oh, wars. Wars are waged by kings, rules, governments… Who’s behind them could be speculated about, but ultimately when you watch TV there will be someone telling you who the current enemy is and why we need more weapons. Examples are abundant.
Then, how about all kinds of bans, licences, restrictions? War on drugs, artificial, government-created problem that cost humanity thousands of lives lost, money and resources completely wasted, thousands of humans branded “criminals” for possession of pinch of grass, etc.
Then embargos and duties. I saw some interview with some African, trade minister or someone official saying that they don’t need help, do not need any money, do not need pity or anything - the only thing they need is to be able to sell their products (it was about food, crops, etc) for fair money.
Then, well, corruption, that’s precisely because some people have authority and other people have money to buy their services.

That’s how toys are shared in kindergartens. And yes, I see very well that most of people are still mentally in that place, but it doesn’t mean that they need to be governed by iron fist of the babysitter. They might need to be guided, educated, taught, shown better way, but they do not need to be ruled like children. Generally, there might be specific cases when education should come in form of a slap (not that I’m advocating beating as form of guidance)…

Find ways of eradicating it, or meditating upon why it is a real scarcity, topic of meditation should be something like “Mona Lisa, and why I don’t need to keep her in my house”. Some of the scarcity is present in the world because people are told they need to be all young, pretty, rich, etc. We don’t need to be all astronauts. Then, coordination and cooperation, not necessarily with law and government.

What makes them want more? It makes no sense to possess more than two cars in most cases (heehee), and again, advertisement (the basic of market after all) makes them want, because all they need they already have. Capitalism eating its own tail.

Practical or possible? Law should codify options that are rational and sensible, so options that are irrational in harmful way are… well, forbidden. But ultimately the only law should be not causing harm to others, respecting their freedom to live and be happy. The fact that we need more than that, or even the fact that we need to define what it means to “harm” it only shows that we are immature, not that having laws is somehow inevitable and required for us as a species.

Hard to disagree :slight_smile: However, this is description of what there is, not what we aspire to.

More or less yes. But it can be careful and slow process of reducing laws/restriction - evolution, not revolution. The opposite is unfortunately happening in the world right now.

Two reasons, they are happy enough in their little cages and, even more importantly, they have neither time nor resources to think of a bigger cage :wink: If your primary worry is what to eat today and tomorrow, you can’ really think of stars.

Oh yes. Violence brings more violence, and we definitely don’t want anymore of it. Now, people make governments (or decide to obey kings) and what kind of governance they have depends on how free and aware of their rights they are. Amount of violence should decrease (inverse proportionality) with increase of enlightenment among the people - from direct beheadings to structural violence of law to internalisation of norms, especially the golden rule… :slight_smile: I mean, two (or more) individuals willing to cooperate and coordinate do not need government and do not need law and violence would not be present, neither direct nor structural.