This website is stuffed to the gills with problems. The world’s got problems. Every country’s got problems. You and me… we got problems. Russia wants Ukraine. The bankers are doing us wrong. Politicians and corporations are screwing us over. The media is owned by powerful entities and regularly lies to us. This bill or that bill only benefits a select few at the expense of many.
Well, yes. There are many people offering solutions. Ideas for solutions to society’s ills might come from—in descending order of usefulness—journalists, think tanks, your drunken uncle, or even a politician from time to time.
But even the solutions are rife with problems. Who does this benefit? Who does this screw over? If the answer is not: “benefit the wealthy, corporations, banks and/or politicians,” good luck with that. It has now been scientifically proven that America, for example, is an oligarchy and not really much of a democracy at this point.
So, the problem is: How do we get legislation passed that specifically addresses the so-called oligarchy problem? It’s particularly difficult because it basically asks politicians to vote against their best interest. How would you convince a wolf to not go on a feeding frenzy while in the midst of a flock of sheep? You wouldn’t.
What’s interesting about this study, though, is that it also shows the power of special interest groups.
None of this is surprising. We’ve long suspected that the entire world—for the most part—is an oligarchy. And it’s plain to see that powerful groups—professional associations, business lobbies, well-funded think tanks, etc.—have power. The group is the political unit that counts, not the individual.
But “the people” is a group, and if we take the study’s premise as a baseline, “the people” is 90% of the populace. It’s a HUGE group, numbering in the hundreds of millions in America’s case.
So why are they not getting what they want? Because money. That’s your first instinct, isn’t it? It’s fine, but not the whole picture. It’s also because they’re not properly expressing their group power.
Express the power of the people
Showing up to the ballot box is not going to help anything. You’re simply designating who will pass laws in favor of corporate and elite interests. Not helpful.
Here’s what we need to do. We exclude the 24 interest groups highlighted in the above-linked study (and maybe a few more) and create an umbrella interest group that poses referenda to every other interest group in the country.
Almost everybody belongs to something: a church group, a gun club, a volunteer association, a bird watching society, a professional organization, a community organization, an amateur sports club, etc.
Almost every one of these groups must engage to some degree with the political infrastructure. They have to get permits or funding or tax breaks or a charter. Thus, every one of these groups has a political agenda and it almost inevitably gets subverted by red tape or de-prioritization or otherwise locked up in the political apparatus.
It would take a fair amount of initial work to seek out (which could easily number in the millions) and convince all of these groups that it would benefit them to join said umbrella institution. But it can be done if their political frustrations are played upon.
Next, via an annual convention or even a social media website, referenda are presented to all of these organizations. They have one vote per organization per issue. And effectively, they would represent the will of the people in a much more real way than voting a politician into office.
After said umbrella organization is established and the nation’s many organizations are contacted and catalogued, it would only take a shoestring budget and a small secretariat to run it, costing each member organization as little as, say, 50 cents or a dollar a year to be a member.
The question being begged is: What issues could overlap the interests of so many disparate organizations?
They’d have to be completely non-partisan for one, mostly financial in nature. The benefit would have to be apparent and almost immediate. And they would have to send a clear message of solidarity to the power structures. Let’s brainstorm some ideas. Feel free to chime in with some ideas of your own in the comments.
(Many ideas taken or adapted from a list of possibilities generated by Warren Kinston’s scientific inquiry into political maturation.)
1) Hold governments and government agencies to the same accounting standards, with annual audits at the very least, as private businesses and other private entities or NGOs.
2) Abolish pork barreling.
3) Either term limits for all tiers of government, including bureaucrats, MPs, Senators, Representative, Mayors, etc. –or- representation by lottery/sortition.
4) Dismantle any company that has been, or could be, deemed “too big to fail.”
5) Hold senior bureaucrats/officials financially accountable for discrepancies in their respective agency’s balance sheets.
6) Set a firm debt ceiling and if the ceiling is exceeded, dissolve the government with immediate ad hoc elections.
7) Limit legislation to, say, 20 pages with a one-page summary including a projection of how it will affect future generations.
8) Immediately abolish any double standards for politicians, i.e. insider trading exceptions for U.S. Members of Congress.
9) Rewrite the tax code in 200 pages or less.
10) Regulate the ratio of money banks can loan vs. money they have on hand. It currently stands at over 50:1 on average. Ideally, it would be 1:1. Perhaps initially, a more reasonable ration like 10:1 could be acceptable.
11) Set targets to reduce the number of bureaucracies being publically financed.
All of these proposals are perfectly reasonable (I think) though they would be considered totally radical if proposed on the Parliament or Senate floor. And the passing of any one of these would have dramatic, reverberating effects throughout society.
Of course, every one of them either directly limits the power of those who would vote on it or drastically reduce their access to wealth. So it wouldn’t happen.
But, if every interest group in any given country, effectively representing upwards of 90% of society’s population, were to definitively say, for example: Government agencies should be held to the same accounting standards as private businesses! The media would jump all over it, the electorate would have something solid to point to come next election, and politicians would have no other option than to be held accountable to it.
Think about it. Tell me what you think. And if you actually are interested in pursuing such an endeavor, let me know. We’ll brainstorm together.