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An idea to bring America closer together

2 like 0 dislike

Hi,

I am launching a discussion on Reddit on 10/14. You can find it here.

 

BACKGROUND

 

At the moment, American politics is broken. It is clear that representatives at all levels do not listen to its' constituents. They have no idea what people are thinking. Further, I am seeing from the Tea Party and from the 99% / Occupy movement that the people have no way of having their voices heard. Frequently, polls suggest that the majority of Americans favor a particular position but politicians are choosing to ignore the voices of America.

These people think that by being on the streets that change will happen. The governments and corporations generally do not properly accept the input of protestors on the street. Police agencies see mass gatherings as a threat and their output is the opposite kind of input that the organizers would expect. Similarly, corporations would simply pick up the phone and dial 911 if they see mass gatherings outside their door. No one else within the corporation would properly respond to mass gatherings of people waving pieces of cardboard boxes.

However, there is clearly a problem within America. Business insider has a detailed summary of how we got to where we are today and why things are so bad and why its’ not going to improve anytime soon. Also, politicians recently brought America within days of a default and this action terrified the markets and the world.

I believe that there is a way to fix this by modernizing how we communicate between the voters and the representatives as well as the corporations. I believe the problem is the lack of visibility by all concerned into what is going on.

THE IDEA

“…and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1

I would like to support the creation of an Open Source, Transparent/Audited system that connects the Americans with Government and Corporate Boards and their largest shareholders. The organization behind it would be a non-profit and neutral company. All aspects of the organization and the system would be completely open.

THE PROCESS

What this system would do is to provide a means to actively seek out the positions of each and every registered voter in America through an online portal. From there, the positions on a particular topic would be aggregated and sent to the local, state and national lawmakers. In addition, their positions on the activities of corporations would also be sent to the various corporate boards / largest shareholders of those corporations. These positions would be sent by US Mail and Email and by in-person visits.

This system would also provide an interface to monitor the activities of the Governments and Corporations as well such that we can then hold these people accountable. Should the elected representatives or Corporations begin to not represent the people, petitions or complaints can be delivered to the other government agencies. All the responses by these agencies will be posted online as well.

WHAT THIS WOULD DO IN ACTION

As an example, with the recent millionaire’s tax idea – each of the Republican Representatives voted against the measure. Americans (including Republicans) were clearly for the measure. This system would provide an interface to gather all of the data from every single registered voter and to communicate this data to each of the local Representatives.

As another example with the BP Oil Spill – there was no way to properly gauge the economic impact of this disaster. In addition, BP was actively delaying or stalling any kind of responsibility for this disaster. This system would gather data concerning the impact of this and relay it to the following groups of people:

·         Local and State officials

·         Representatives and Senators

·         Governmental agencies managing the response.

·         Board of Directors of BP

·         The Largest Shareholders of BP

WHERE I NEED THE HELP

This system is quite large in scale. However, once built and utilized, I believe that it would bring our ability cooperate with each other into the modern age. I need help on just about every level with this. My first question with this to everyone is, “Where do I go from here?”

 

initiated Oct 12, 2011 in Economics by Jefferson Nunn (180 points)   2 2 3
   

1 Response

2 like 0 dislike

Definitely an interesting idea.  Amusingly I remember suggesting a very simplified version of this in my 7th grade social studies class in which we had an assignment to rethink how we would set up government.  I added a "peopleocracy" branch to the government which would poll every citizen on certain issues.  I got a bad grade, because the teacher (Mr. Kemp) said that the legislative branch was already representing the people.  I still think I deserved a better grade.  :)

Still, I do wonder about some of this.  There are times when what people say they want is not actually in their best interest.  There are risks of resorting purely to majority rules at times -- especially if you're a minority on certain issues.

Related to that, on certain issues, there are clearly going to be many people who just don't care.  And the people who do care may not represent what's really best for everyone else.  We see this all the time with certain laws, which is why certain aspects of lobbying are so distasteful.

Second, while the concept sounds simple, the semantics of the system are tough to get right.  We see this all the time with political polls and surveys, where the exact wording of the question can influence the answer.  Do you call it an "estate tax" or a "death tax"?  I recently answered the phone on a political survey about government funding on things, and I got choices where I agreed with none of the choices.  For example: "do you think schools should get fewer funds, more funds or the same."  My answer is that I want the money that is put towards education to be spent in much smarter ways.  If they're just going to throw the money away on bad programs, then I want less money.  But if they can spend it wisely, then perhaps I'd switch to the "more" camp.  So how issues are framed in such a system is a HUGE challenge, and one that I'm not sure can ever really be worked out.

That's not to condemn the whole idea.  I think it is interesting, but I'd be curious to see how you deal with some of these issues.

response added Oct 12, 2011 by Mike Masnick (22,930 points)   58 99 160
@mmasnick

Thank you for your feedback. I really, really appreciate it.

With regard to the second point that you brought up -- within the idea/model I intended to address this using the transparency and the audit areas. The idea is to not frame issues but simply address them. I recognize that the economy is rather broad but so is our society. However, taxes are taxes and we have to determine how to balance the budget. I sincerely believe that if you had the greater majority of America focused on an idea we can solve anything, quickly.

On the first point, democracy has to be balanced and I agree with that as well. But I think that on the majority of the topics that faces us today...people "framing" the issues are actually changing the intended outcomes. It is to the point that the newscasters, I think, are in disbelief sometimes about what it is that they are reporting on.

So I think if we had an open and honest discussion about all these topics and we were to have a "real" national discussion I sincerely believe that we would end up with a better outcome.

For instance, if we were asking every single American (or as many of them as we could find) as to what they thought about an issue, we would have a better idea as to what is really going on. Right now, polls are only asking about 1,500 folks sometimes as to what they think. That is 1,500 out of 300 million. I'd like to get closer to say... 100 million and present that to our Representatives and Corporations.

I will endeavor to make sure that the whole picture is included and not just a selected part.

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