2011-12-24 A proposal for governance in the post 2011 world

Optimism is a political act. In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience. - Alex Steffen
The world is long overdue for a completely new system of governance. The need for political representation or a paternalistic and opaque authority has been removed by technology. Governance by nation states is now as arbitrary and illogical as city states were earlier found to be. Corporations have the freedom to live in a world without borders or social responsibility, to own property no individual can claim and to control a one world government and legal system, with insupportable consequences for the world's resources and individual rights. To effect the change we require in 2012, to give individuals control and responsibility, to bring regional systems under regional governance and protect the heritage of future generations, we need a new political model.

Individual Rights

In any system where groups have power, individual rights are always at risk. Both pure democracy and communism have brought human rights horrors every bit as reprehensible as fascist states; in order to guard against genocide, torture, and other persecution of individuals in the name of the greater good, a system must safeguard individual rights above all other authority.

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifies that individual rights are to be applied equally without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. With the addition of age, this would prevent discrimination against any group. Groups are not individuals and no group is entitled to special and further rights or protections under individual rights.

A recognition of individual rights will include life, liberty, security of person, access to the basic essentials of life including knowledge, privacy and personal autonomy in matters not affecting the rest of society, free development of personality and potential, and a fair legal system which does not promote wishes of the group over rights of the individual.

Autonomous peer to peer user groups for systems

Governments up till now have been run by hierarchical groups, which act as the final authority on all topics for an entire region for an arbitrarily specified length of time or until they are overthrown by another group. What these authorities govern is a series of systems, controlled by the state or corporations, and run as dictatorships where workers' individual rights are exchanged for the basic necessities of life. These systems have profit for the top of the hierarchy as their objective; they are not set up to provide an efficient or superior service or product to the users.

If these systems were organized as autonomous, transparent, porous, peer to peer user groups, they would be far better governed by themselves. The current political structure does not recognize that every system is not of concern or interest to everyone in the region, or that some users have far greater knowledge and expertise in specific areas than others. We need a system where responsibility and control rests with the entire user group and expertise is acknowledged and put to best use.

Autonomous: each user group should consist of all people affected by the system and no people not affected by the system.

Transparent: all information related to the system must be fully transparent in order for users to participate in tasks or auditing.

Porous: contribution at all levels of each user group must be open to all users with acceptance by peer review.

Peer to peer: each user group should consist of users: audit and provide feedback, contributors: interested users who periodically present work for acceptance by the members, members: have acquired expertise and been accepted as full contributing members by the user group, and a core group: recognized by the group as having the necessary level of expertise to provide direction for the system.

Meritocracy: A side effect of these user groups is that they provide workers with the three motivators which provide the greatest job satisfaction, autonomy, mastery and purpose. People can work on anything they like, they are not required to submit resumes, acquire accreditation, seniority, or approval from an individual authority. If their work is good enough it will be accepted by the user group. Everyone can work on the system that interests them, doing the jobs at the level they are capable of, with as much or as little involvement as they choose.

Systems should be organized by user groups, not by nations or treaties. International systems would include things such as the internet, telecommunications and knowledge, local systems would include things such as transit, food production and social services, and in any situation where only one family or an individual is affected, the responsibility would lie with only them. Each local user group or individual would have access to outside user groups for trade, shared knowledge, disaster relief, etc., autonomous but networked.

Global commons

Anything which is not only of global interest but also does not belong to any one generation cannot be destroyed and cannot be claimed as the property of any individual, group, corporation or government. Global commons would include space, the atmosphere and electromagnetic field, deep sea ocean, land and water masses of sufficient size to have global impact, areas of the biosphere which are rare or important enough to be of global concern, and knowledge. Knowledge includes discoveries, history, creative works, and the information people require in order to govern themselves and excludes personal information regarding individuals. There should be no restriction on the use of ideas, although creativity needs to be compensated and credited.

Anything belonging to the global commons must be held under stewardship of a porous and transparent peer to peer organization set up for the purpose, and the mandate for all global commons must include the protection and preservation of the commons. All systems which affect the commons must work with the commons in their design and implementation.

2010 we woke up. 2011 we stood up. 2012 we take over.

Continuing articles:

The Financial System


Needed now: A News Commons

Privacy and Transparency

Groups and Individuals

Concentric User Groups and Epistemic Communities


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation - TED Talk

Bettermeans: How does an open enterprise work?

P2P Foundation

Cooperative Economy in the Great Depression

Image credit MauroB


The financial system. More coming on other topics as well. http://wlcentral.org/node/2411

Bitcoin bogus

June 9, 2011
Bitcoin: Just Another Bogus Medium of Exchange
Posted by David Kramer on June 9, 2011 03:00 PM

I'm sure by now many of you have heard about Bitcoin. The fact that it's called "virtual currency" gives you an idea about its actual value as a real medium of exchange. While many people who are touting it on Facebook are enamored with the fact that it was voluntarily created by the marketplace (i.e., is not forced down our throats by a private central bank), I'm afraid that those people are losing sight of how a real medium of exchange arises in a free market. A medium of exchange arises from something that had a material use/value in the market prior to becoming a medium of exchange, i.e., it was also a good being bartered for other goods and services. Over the centuries, the commodities gold and silver won out as the two most preferred mediums of exchange—with gold holding the number one position due to its being more scarce than silver.

What was Bitcoin's prior material use/value? Zero. It is just bits in a computer. And what's with the "fixed" amount of Bitcoins? Who/what determined the "proper" amount of 21 million for Bitcoins to top out at? A computer program? (Next we'll find out what the proper minimum wage should be.) Only the free market can voluntarily determine how much of a real medium of exchange is needed in the marketplace over time. While the idea of attempting to get rid of the Bankster monopoly on creating money out of thin air is commendable, Bitcoin is also money created out of thin air. Bitcoin is just substituting one bogus medium of exchange for another.

UPDATE: I've been getting a lot of reader response trying to "explain" to me the economic virtues of Bitcoin. Some responders have even mistakenly used Austrian economics to rationalize their views. I would suggest that before you write to me about the Austrian economics view of a medium of exchange, you should read the two books by one of the two giants of Austrian economics, Murray Rothbard, on what a medium of exchange is. Here is the pdf for Rothbard's What Has Government Done to Our Money and here is the pdf for Rothbard's The Case Against the Fed. For those of you who have not yet read any Austrian economics, please do not waste your time writing to me trying to explain the "scientific" breakthrough of the bogus Bitcoin computer program. (There already was a REAL digital currency, e-gold, that was backed by a real commodity until the Federalistas shut it down. Eventually, Bitcoin will be shut down too because of its anonymity capabilities.)

Here's another expose about Bitcions;


And don't forget the Bitcoin system was already hacked and the value went to zero.

I'll tell you what....you try and pay for food during a crisis (or any time for that matter) and I'll pay with Silver ounce Eagles and let's see who goes hungry!


You assume in the first sentence that there already is global governance- there isn't and we don't need it. Democracy is Mob-ocracy and there's no hope of individual "rights" being protected by any system that gets devised in the future.

"Global commons"? No thanks- communism was tried and failed. Only individual private property is supreme.

The best we should strive for is for a non-central government in each nation which is very much like the US had BEFORE The Constitution was chained to the American people.

Nations and the people of that nation can best govern themselves without an overall governing authority as they can best know their own culture, prejudices and interests.

The overall arching problem that you can't solve is the restraining of Human Nature which always has a tendency toward brutal self interest.


I meant the world needs a new form of governance as an option, not compulsory, but are we really still pretending that the world does not currently have global governance? Really?

Of course democracy is mob rule, my first point. Hence the individual rights.

"Only individual private property is supreme." Seriously? Dibs on the Pacific Ocean then, who gets the atmosphere? And communism was applied to nation states not world resources.

Governance by user group is as non-central as you could hope for I think. What is your idea of non-central? My point in getting rid of governance by land mass is it is arbitrary and meaningless and results in governance by people not affected by the system ... I think my version is very close to the early ideal of the US.

But the biggest question I have for you is what is your solution? We all know the problems, this is a year for solutions ... yours is?

Copied from n-1 for discussion

Heather this is really exciting.Thank you.

Not had time yet to take in all the detail of this impressive proposal. Just one initial thought - the addition of age will mean that children will also be included, which is very important, to give those regarded as children equal rights in decision making about things which affect them.

Hi Heather,

Now that I have had a little more time I would like to clarify some of the details. My comments must be seen within a context of admiration for the work gone in to putting this forward.

Both Bettermeans and Daniel Pink's TED talk are viewing more self direction and autonomy as a means for business enterprise to get better worker engagement and better productivity from their employees. The three motivators -Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, give the greatest job satisfaction* within the constraints of the capitalist system. *In other words they are tools for manipulating workers, because alienation is found to be less productive, ie less profitable. Perhaps your thinking is that these 'tools' would be helpful in justifying a more 'democratic' system. It all hangs on what Daniel Pink calls the larger purpose, which can be an improved product, seen as serving the people, or a different social organisation which truly serves the interests of the people. It's a fine line.

Autonomous: each user group should consist of all people affected by the system and no people not affected by the system.

Transparent: all information related to the system must be fully transparent in order for users to participate in tasks or auditing.

Autonomy and Transparency both restrict decisions to group users. So for example, I cannot have any influence on the military behaviour of my country, and in fact I may not even know much about it, because Transparency is specifically restricted to those who are directly affected by the system. Perhaps we would need to define 'people who were not affected by the system'

People can work on anything they like.........with as much or as little involvement as they choose.

I think it is pretty clear that there would need to be a basic income, or some way of assuring that people's primary needs were provided for, (as you have hinted at in saying there would be access to the basic essentials of life) .before such freedom of choice would be practicable, at least in a transition period. And it would be good to spell out how that would work. (see my reply to Mark Barratt's article on The Right to Work http://righttowork.org.uk/2011/07/real-democracy-and-the-future-of-work/)

Best wishes, Anna

Hi Anna

Thank you so much for all the detailed feedback, it is really appreciated.

Re Daniel Pink and Bettermeans, yes, it is a very big leap of faith to bring corporate motivators in and hope they will work in real life. I am hopeful they will because the model initially came from volunteer internet projects.

"Autonomy and Transparency both restrict decisions to group users. ... Perhaps we would need to define 'people who were not affected by the system'". That is the huge one and needs a great deal more thought and discussion. Professional military would be in violation of individual rights as soon as they began to practice, but before? What would be the purpose of a military that was not there to defend 'us', making us part of the user group? But there are other examples as well ... It all hinges on the individual rights and global commons I think, those would define what systems were acceptable to develop. Much more thought required.

Income and currency in general is left completely out of this model to keep the ideas at a basic level, but yes, they have to be resolved. It is my personal opinion that money (as well as a lack of money!) ruins everything ... Bettermeans credit system may be workable, but my experience is that as soon as one person is paid $1, no one is happy and everyone stops working ... the one person will only do $1 worth and the rest nothing. Money requires a completely different article, but I think this system could work with or without?

Loved Mark's article, thank you for the link, but I cannot see your reply to it?

My reply to Mark's article http://righttow (awaiting moderation)

There are many activities that are carried out now which are not considered work because they are not paid employment, eg child rearing, cooking cleaning, mainly women’s work you’ll notice. So to start we have to think of all the activities that go to providing the necessities of life for us, as work. This starts in the home with children being nagged to help with the washing up etc. and goes on to growing food, building bridges, setting up alternative energy, driving trains, etc. etc.

So the question ‘how do you make [or what would make] EVERY job, or work, a path of, and to, fulfillment????’ (comment posted to above article) is very relevant. We don’t need to go back into history or delve into mathematics, to see the importance of work not becoming drudgery. I have experienced washing up in a summer camp as being a delightful experience because it went along with having the opportunity to meet and chat with new people and because it was part of a collective project which was itself worthwhile to me. So it is not as far away as George (above) would seem to think. What applies domestically to taking out the garbage, can apply to social necessities, ie waste disposal. That is both can be performed with joy when they are experienced as part of a project in which I am creatively involved.

What makes work ‘alienating’ is when it is imposed. So I agree with Jones (above) no group, even a People’s Assembly, should have the right to impose work on an individual.

Hi Anna

Agree completely with all of this. Writing financial system thoughts this week (as paid work allows) and I would love to talk further soon.


Hi Heather,

I was pleasantly surprised to see that you accept bitcoin donations and was happy to be the first to donate to your posted address. :)

I'm curious to hear your take on how crypto-currencies fit into this new socioeconomic model. Do you see bitcoin becoming a useful exchange system in a new peer-2-peer, systems-based world, or is it perhaps just a means of liberating ourselves from the existing sovereign structures in order to create an entirely new (money-free?) model?


Hi Willie

I will be posting more detail in coming weeks and first up is my opinions on the financial system. :) Re bitcoin, the best thing is that they provide a crowd sourced alternative to this.

Thanks for my very first bitcoin! That address has been there so long I forgot I had it!

Bitcoin- fiat "money" by another name

Bitcoin is phoney money created out of thin air on a computer! A computer can create money?! That's exactly what the Federal Reserve does and look at the horrors it has created world wide! It has none of the characteristics of sound money which are;

historic desirability

Bitcoin FUD


I encourage you to do some research on bitcoin because it's clear that you have read very little about it. It certainly is not fiat money and it does indeed possess all of the characteristics of sound money. Here is a great FAQ to get you started: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/FAQ

But you shouldn't stop there; Satoshi's white paper and the bitcoin source code are also available from that site.

Operating outside our financial system is perhaps the only way that we will ever bring down the establishment in order to create a new political model.



This proposal has much to commend it, but it seems to be anti-hierarchy.

Let's not throw out hierarchy because it has been abused, if it is useful, or possibly even an essential component of good governance.

I'm not saying how it would be part of a new governance, but that I'm suspicious of its absence because I suspect it is being excluded unconsciously because of its habitual abuse, disregarding its equal habitual value (e.g. in family).

Merry Christmas,

Mark (in London)

Hi Mark

There is a hierarchy of sorts in a meritocracy, with the most interested and expert users in the core group. The biggest difference is the porous nature of the hierarchy, anyone can be part of the core group if they have the expertise, and the transparency which enables all users to audit the system.

Meritocracy / Hierarchy

What is described isn't a hierarchy so my point remains, although re-reading the section on meritocracy I don't understand how this can be applied without a hierarchy. For example, who is to determine the level at which the individual operates? The users may not have the expertise to make that judgement, so they will need to establish an authority for that purpose, and there is the hierarchy.

Or are there other ways? (If you wish to elaborate, perhaps an example would help, so how about someone wanting to practive medicine?)


Hi Mark

The users determine the level. Some tasks are open, so anyone can contribute: in medicine, that would mean giving advice, ie, if you had a chest infection, you could describe your symptoms, and anyone could post suggested remedies (welcome to the internet :D). Those that were consistently ranked the most knowledgeable could be nominated by the users for membership (in a field as big as medicine, probably into a specialty). The user group could also decide an educational or assessment level that a member would have to achieve before being considered. Formal training is usually no guarantee of knowledge, and lack of formal training is usually no barrier, but some users (including members and core group) would have formal training and professional experience and be able to provide information the user group needs to assess performance. The 'experts' would not have the final decision though.

"The users may not have the expertise to make that judgement" - can I have an example for that? As a user, I can say that I would like to nominate certain people I trust to a decision making body or core group, and I would feel much more comfortable if I had the ability to also remove them, but I cannot envision a situation where I would be incapable of assessing (with the help of the user population and full transparency) whether they were doing a good job.

A simpler user group would function more like web systems now - anyone can make a youtube video, write fan fic, code a drupal module, but if it is no good, no one will use it. Free market without the paid advertising, monopolies, government interference, etc. And the difference between that and what we have now will be in a post on the financial systems.

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