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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

What features would an ideal political system incorporate?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16558points) February 21st, 2010

Every political system around today is flawed in one way or another. We all know the huge problems faced by dictatorships and communist/socialist systems. Someone once pointed out to me that capitalist based democracies have a finite lifespan, because they rely on growth, and growth can only go so far before it is crippled by overpopulation etc. I think it is time we start looking for a new political system to combat these problems.

What features should this new system have? Is it more important to promote equality, or to reward people for their work? What level of influence should the system have over day to day life?

Just brainstorming here.

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19 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

No people involved would probably be the only answer – a fully AI system.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Equality and honesty. I know, LOL.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Minimal involvement in day to day life.

grumpyfish's avatar

A benevolent dictator is the most efficient and best government. The problem is (1) finding a benevolent dictator, (2) finding another benevolent dictator when that one dies, (3) finding another… and so on.

Usually #1 is the hardest part, but has been done, then you fail on #2.

@DarkScribe doesn’t that usually end in the AI deciding that the solution is to have a much smaller population and just killing of 90% of the people?

ETpro's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille As much as that appeals to my libertarian leanings, experience teaches me that nations are far less likely to control themselves rationally when left rudderless than are speedboats. The nation will no more drive itself successfully than will a typical automobile. Just like a driver-less car with the accelerator jammed down, it will soon end up in a catistrophic wreck unless steered.

I think a system that incorporates the best of what capitalism and socialism have to offer would be as good as we are likely to get at this stage in human development.

Capitalism and private enterprise are the best answer for innovation. Market pressures have the effect of guiding free enterprise toward providing what people want and need, whereas bureaucracies often get ossified providing what they provide simply because that is what they do and change is troublesome.

Socialist systems are best for delivering things everyone must have for any sort of decent life—defense, justice, police, fire protection, health care, roads and bridges, air transportation control, electric power, utilities, education. If these necessities are privatized, the urge to maximize profits is coupled to delivery of a resource it is difficult or impossible to live without, and prices go through the roof. Soon, only the wealthy can live at anything like a decent standard. We are seeing that now in heathcare.

Focusing on really educating our young would be a vital part of making such a system work. Our biggest obstacle right now is that the wealthy have controlled politics long enough to have sold the general public on a series of memes that are false and are designed to preserve and improve the lot of the elite class. We are heading for an oligarchy. Without a well-educated public capable of understanding why a flat tax will turn America into a banana republic in a short time, voters will vote for the flat tax. It’s easy to work. They will not be able to calculate that it will soon transfer all that they own to the very wealthy.

Nullo's avatar

But that benevolent dictator needs to be extremely competent at handling massive numbers of people without employing that greatest of evils, the bureaucracy.

SeventhSense's avatar

A socialized democracy as practiced by the northern Europeans seems to produce the most benefit to its members
The Scandinavian people- Norway, Sweden and Denmark have some of the highest standards on earth. There is virtually zero homelessness or hunger, people are healthy, accepting of themselves, social nudity is hardly an issue, they have universal health care, pregnant women are given extensive time off, almost everyone has a home and a summer home, the environment is well cared for and efforts are consistently improving in reducing the burning of fossil fuels. They are happy people. Not to mention amazing scenery Sounds like heaven. So maybe Grandpa Ole should have stayed? But the GDP wasn’t nearly what it was in early 1900s as it is today. Back then the US was booming. Who knows..I may hop a boat to Oslo one of these days

DarkScribe's avatar

@grumpyfish doesn’t that usually end in the AI deciding that the solution is to have a much smaller population and just killing of 90% of the people?

And? Your problem with this is? <G>

No, an AI system designed to follow the best and most beneficial of human ideals. One that would be hard to argue with on any moralistic or humanistic grounds.

If it fails we can get Arnie to come and destroy it. (Once he has finished overseeing the destruction of California.)

Nullo's avatar

Good luck getting everybody to agree on what those are…

Nullo's avatar

I think that I’d be okay with @grumpyfish‘s benevolent dictator if we could throw some infallibility in there, and whatever superhuman powers would be required to prevent the onset of bureaucracy. Until then, I’d rather they leave me alone.

Kraigmo's avatar

Any system should have a Bill of Rights and also be flexible to allow good ideas from other systems.

No pure system is good.

jerv's avatar

@DarkScribe But who gets to program the AI?

I think that the biggest thing you need is an informed populace that actually gives a shit and cares more about the issues of the day than about the latest drama in Hollywood and spends at least as much though on their vote for political office as they do voting for their favorite American Idol.

In theory, the system we have isn’t that bad really. We have a system of checks and balances (ignore for the moment that it’s abused; the system is still there) and the citizens are allegedly represented and all.

However, in practice it leads to intense polarization since, while third parties are free to run, we rarely even consider voting for them. With the exception of Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, we really don’t have any high-profile politicians that aren’t either red or Blue.

It also leads to special interests taking over since politicians follow the money, secure in the knowledge that we are so apathetic and jaded that we probably will still re-elect them. I wonder how many Congress-things would ignore the lobbyists and follow the wishes of their constituents if they knew that doing so would certainly get their ass tossed out in the next election!

So my ideal political system would involve the voters taking a little responsibility for running this country, and taking it seriously enough to actually think about issues instead of just agreeing with Glen Beck or Rachel Maddow and voting accordingly. Hell, we put these incompetent, bickering buffoons in office, so shouldn’t we take at least a little of the blame for how things turned out? This country doesn’t belong to Washington DC, it belongs to all Americans!

DarkScribe's avatar

@jerv But who gets to program the AI?

You would probably have to vote on that. (Whoops…)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Thanks to everyone for the interesting answers.

@DarkScribe Wouldn’t the AI have the same flaws as the humans who programmed it, and therefore need to be reprogrammed every few years as our understanding of political science progresses? I read a paper once showing that advanced robot ‘eyes’ were just as susceptible to optical illusions as humans. I tend to think the same would be true for AI making decisions for us.

@grumpyfish Maybe there would be one person out of every ten million or so who would be cut out for the job, but how could we ensure that they are the right person? A selection committee, who would then have a big chunk of the power?

@ETpro and @jerv GA. An educated public is probably a key feature, and we certainly need to find a middle ground rather than all this extreme rubbish. I guess this would place the power of directing the political zeitgeist in the hands of political science researchers.

@SeventhSense I have always wanted to visit Scandinavia, but I know little of their politics. I’ll check it out.

ETpro's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Thanks and BTW, Great question.

mattbrowne's avatar

The admission that an ideal political system doesn’t exist and that currently democracy is the best system we could come up with.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@mattbrowne The point is that democracy still isn’t good enough. I readily admit that its the best we have, but that should not stop us from looking for a superior system.

Cruiser's avatar

Term limits, limits on campaign contributions AND spending, limits on lobbyists ability to influence policy, all candidates should wear paper bags on their heads until after the election…too many dumbasses are elected into office on their looks alone.

mattbrowne's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh – Absolutely. We should keep looking. What I meant is that so far it’s the best we have come up with. But I think whatever improvements might be possible they will never become ideal.

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