What will we do with transparency?
What follows are some very rough thoughts about liberating current society from all the ‘reforms’ and ‘austerity’ that have made US society (as an example) increasingly unbearable.
Transparency as liberation
This new web of trust will be based on transparency. What can we do with that? This transparency may well provide endless political capital to be used by the public itself. It can be used to end the increasing supervision by the state and end the toxic micro-managed workplace where people go to an accelerating cubical conveyor belt hell 40 hours a week for less and less in return. It can stop the increasing percentage of fake jobs and fake schooling and people being increasingly pitted against automation with no escape. It can be used to end oppressive legal and political regimes like those in IP, trade and labor law. Peace through trade has turned into a road to serfdom, and serfdom through globalization is another road to global war. Isolationism is vastly preferable.
Getting our Voice back
People complain about money in politics drowning out their voice and the ability to have their needs met and their rights respected but they remain unaware of sponsorship in media as the most fundamental conflict of interest in ensuring that we have a media that is actually set up to censor, silence, spin and oppress. It has nothing to do with informing the public, it’s a supply side info union set up to misinform the public about its interests. It has some loss leaders, but it is there to divide and distract and confuse so that needs don’t addressed and the exercises of rights gets nullified. SAFE with its better mechanism of distribution, non-conflict payment system, and transparency applications like SLUR will help us shut off the money megaphone.
We can get the money out of politics and start having the political system work for us instead of against us . The first point to apply the power of transparency to is the sponsored media which stands in the way of useful public consensus and motivation to act. With transparency and making everything every sponsored media entity does behind closed doors transparent as its happening and even before it happens we can finally get rid of sponsorship by properly equating it in everyone’s mind with bribery and censorship. In short we discredit it and then criminalize it for the grave threat it represents to liberty. This gets the money out of politics- it means the rich cease to be in control and we get a very different much more livable society with the potential for a radically higher standard of living and quality of life.
What matters is a good life for most people in society. The rich are a kind of liability, if we have truly poor people, we cannot afford the rich, they are a luxury not a true check on state power. Getting rid of the sponsored media is the key to empowering people. It will end the the rhetoric about money being speech, which is a conflation of speech with censorship. Getting rid of sponsorship gets the money out of politics, it will also end the micromanaging supervision society, returning a huge amount of liberty to everyday people. Use transparency directly on sponsored media to expose and kill the sponsor filter. No more supply side sponsored media, it needs to be prevented with exposure, technological replacement and the criminal code, it’s the way we will get our voice back and our rights back.
Language and Labels
’Reform’ and ‘austerity’ will always be countered with “liberation.” A lot of this is making sure incumbent concentrated private wealth is not able to socialize risk and costs and also making sure it isn’t allowed to rot capital and diminish opportunity. If the rich gained their money constructively, they will be the most adept in society at addressing risk and will have the most disposable resource with which to do so. We recognize that the rich are not a protected minority in any way, they are simply members of the majority who have at least temporarily acquired more wealth. Concentrated private wealth will be viewed as a power externality and liability as the wealth of a wealthy minority would not be a actual counter to state power, rather the wealth of society taken as a whole is a counter to state power. Inequity is always a measure of instability. Money is power and those who acquire it or retain it by socially destructive extractive means (making others worse of) will lose it through the tax and criminal codes. Instead of discussing what the wealth and corporations actually pay taxes it will discussed in terms of what they actually pay. Wealth ceilings and higher estate taxes are crucial checks on crucial problem of rule by inherited money.
Americans think they have a special destiny. Aside from their diversity they don’t. More humble aspirations are needed. Economic competitiveness doesn’t matter, it’s a nuclear age we can provide for the common defense and put food on the table without meddling in global affairs or over valuing trade as a tool for peace. Trade has become a huge distraction from a society that isn’t working. Trade has become a race to the bottom. We don’t need to try to control other people and cultures through money and a race to the bottom. Forget reserve currency status. Let go of primary school global test rankings. We can tax capital flight to the point of preventing it and we can tax the superrich at 5% of their assets and income annually as Pickety suggested without needing global cooperation to do so- if they don’t like it they can get out and we will take the market share vacuum they leave behind. We don’t need to be pushed around by the rich or continue to allow them to turn society into their tool. It helps to remember they are the arbitrary rich and increasingly extractive even as they are dependent on a skewed means of distribution. We can surely limit the transfer of inherited wealth and strongly limit its political power.
Citizenship and Treaties
Citizenship and power belongs with us again. This isn’t to support nationalism, we are all cosmopolitians, nor is it to reject crucial stipulations like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and those attempts to bind all nations and peoples too it, but there will be no more watering down and confusing of citizenship with the fakery of corporate personhood even for limited purposes. People taken as individuals are the only possible application of rights. Citizens have rights, countries and organizations do not. There are no rights of the United States or “needs of the Navy” just the needs of everyday people and their rights. No one really represents us but us, and we don’t delegate the power to bind us in treaties. This means vacating all current and future trade treaties- they are a violation. No politician or group of them should ever be able to contractually bind the US population into something that will undermine it. Former trade treaty law and agreements need to be vacated. We may continue to follow some of the most important general treaties in a non-binding way, like agreements on nuclear non-proliferation but trade treaties all of them need to be gone and we would never be bound again by such agreements. Treaties are generally a mistake, even war treaties- definitely not the highest grade of law. Peace is always implied as we always prefer peace. The globalism prior to WWI helped lead to WWI and WWII see Tony Judt on that, trade is not necessarily a road to peace but it can be a road to serfdom.
Back out of GATT, NAFTA, TPP, IMF, World Bank- create rules that bar any future treaties on trade and commerce. Forget super power status. Its a useless ideology that enslaves the people both domestically and abroad- a useful media doesn’t constantly prattle about this. The wealth and strength of a nation is a really about the health and quality of life of its people and environment. If we aren’t pursuing silly super power status it would be much easier to reach international agreements and a record of follow through (matters more than paper treaties) on crucial environmental aims and cooperation.
Labor the Workplace and Ownership
A change in the work place rules will be the most telling and important of results. We need the national minimum wage indexed to inflation. 20 hours per week needs to be full time and anything over it paid at double time with no exceptions. There should be at least 2 days back to back off per week with any change triggering double time- along with a month guaranteed paid vacation per year in addition to federal holidays- all of it budgeted with no ability for an employer to interfere with it or when it is taken. In every conflict with an employer the employee should have the benefit of a salary, contract or wage framework whichever is more advantageous to the employee (not the employer) in the situation. The tax code should encourage telecommuting but keep employers out of employee households. Tax and labor code should maximize trust and reduce as much as possible direct supervisions situations. Employers that can’t figure out how to minimize these direct supervision regimes shouldn’t be in business. If you can’t trust employees , it means you shouldn’t be in business. We have to change the language in the law and code as well so it doesn’t imply that people are tools or a mere means to an ends for people with ‘status.’ Replace ‘employee’ with something like “associate” and employer with organization. Devolve HR into payroll or compensation.
‘Unemployment’ should just be indexed social security which would be available without limit and without hassle and without tax (never any eligibility means testing (means testing is criminal nonsense) available retroactively) it would be just enough to avoid having to work if one chose not to. There is no better check on the abusiveness of the work place than this and no better protection for wages. If work in this automated age has dignity taxing away the entitled delusions of the idle rich has more dignity. It would be available whether one chose to quite or was let go. Not going to allow ‘fired,’ it’s needs to be term of stigma and libel. We have to begin to prioritize wages over profit and make that prioritization absolutely permanent. That means strongly protectionist trade policies and bars to outsourcing. No permanent decreases in the Social Security indexing to inflation would be aloud and any decrease however temporary would trigger an increase in the AMT for the wealthy and corporations of at least 10x the rate index rate decrease. The wealthy need skin in the game. Their wealth is the result of other people’s purchases, labor and concessions and they need constant reminder. Just like it says in the US tax code, most of it is unearned income- which they simply steward.
Most large firms should be wholly employee owned and better tax code can ensure this. The board positions would be reserved for retired employees and elected by current employees. Executives would be hired consultants barred from having any kind of equity in the firm. Managers and executives would be evaluated for retention by the employees and board, not the converse- the managers and executives are there to serve the employee owners not the converse. Co-workers would control hiring decisions and never delegate them to manager/execs. Anti-nepotism measures would ensure the majority of new hires were came from fresh social circles.
Public Schools K1-12
The toxic workplace environment begins in public K1-12 which exists to perpetuate a system of slavish assembly lines and cubical worlds. That needs to end. Public K1-12 can follow the Waldorf model. Compulsory schooling would end. We can use virtual schools where kids learn at their own rates with adaptive instant tailored feedback and interaction cycles more like the video game model. Or the Waldorf model of instruction which would consist of very small class rooms with 2hrs of instruction per day covering one subject at a time for 6 weeks at a time. There would be no tests, and no homework, and no grades. Feedback would be bottom up based on the input of kids and parents. Kids and parents would be free to shadow a teacher through the grades or switch teacher class rooms at will.
The rest of every school day would be free babysitting where the kids played and engaged in healthy social activities. This is the experience of the children of our current rich overlords its good enough for all children.
Cease Alll Enforcement of Intellectual Property Claims
We need to accept the idea that no one owns ideas and that there are other ways to encourage and recompense people for innovation than state enforced monopolies. That means no more court enforcement of any kind of patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark or IP contract or ownership. This goes for foreign firms as well. If they don’t like it they can choose not to trade in the US. Couldn’t matter less if Target steals McDonald’s trademark, what matters is that people know where the store is and we have some face to face relations or regular course of dealings so we know who we are paying.
Obviously US firms trading abroad would be subject to IP laws in the markets where they traded. Fine, that means many horrid corporate entities would be forced out of the domestic market by makers that chose to operate domestically only who did not have the burden of IP notions holding them back. Again, those forced out can check their wealth at the door. US governments would be barred by criminal code from every kind of attempt to prostitute their constituents to keep businesses in their districts. The US itself would actively seize enough capital in flight efforts to dissuade efforts. There is nothing more useless or backwards than society for the sake of business. Better not to have technology than a society for the sake of business.
Monopoly & Fair Markets
Regardless of having built out domestic market, firms will not able to outsource. Monopoly sized foreign firms will be broken up or ejected from the US market. Monopoly sized domestic firms and banks will be broken up. Board officers will not be allowed to serve on multiple boards. When we deal with firms a better means for dissuasion and compliance should be attaching future percentages of after tax profit for specified years along with more common disgorgements. Fines don’t work very well on large firms. These other to elements back up by injunction and criminal code would be much better.
Returning the Domestic focus.
No more protecting US citizens abroad, if they want the benefit of the society they can live in it geographically or travel at their own risk. No more fear of completely protectionist policies, if you want a quality of life you cannot strip mine your own backyard. The US may lack some important rare metals but it can trade for them if need be and develop recyclable stock piles. If that means another Toyota called Toyota USA as as spin off that pays taxes only in the US and enjoys the IP free zone then so be it- that Toyota would be competitor to its parent, possibly even in the same market.
The courts are going to be cleaned up because settlements will be transparent and that will affect all other aspects of law. Conservative federal judges will not be able to act like the old time Supreme Court getting in the way of every liberating effort. I expect they will start to be removed from the bench rather regularly until they get the point.
Stop Subsidizing the Stock Market
Of course, bring back the capital gains taxes for stocks and get rid of the Caymen Islands and other tax evasion schemes. Do a Tobin tax and get rid of hedge fund exemptions. We need tax policy and rules that are more logical with regard to retirement type investing, no more pensions or mutual fund investment in stocks. Stocks simply aren’t a stable enough instrument even if the returns are more attractive. We won’t need to subsidize risk and innovation as much if we get better IP policy. No more derivatives or opaque off balance sheet risk in any form, these run counter to transparency, even if opacity helps mitigate some types of risks- we don’t want those risks… We need an economy that will never crash if the stock market does. The stock market is largely BS and it needs to be recognizes as such. It doesn’t create real ownership or vestment it’s a casino scam. No more shorting and no more leverage, no more executive options.
Get Insurance Companies Out of Health Care
A single payer system is the obvious next step, the wealthy are free to go to their special Drs.
So much economics seems like sports casting or booking. The economy is a complex system. We can’t let feed back systems based on fear stop us from simply pursuing the political ends and real life aims we need for each of us to have a good life. Getting lost in the confusion of economics won’t help us with peace and sustainable stability. We don’t ignore economics by any means but we come at it with the right aim with bottom up techniques using distributed, decentralized systems to intelligently empower everyone. Economics can be used to provide context and humility but it shouldn’t be allowed to discourage us.