In my previous post, I went into exhaustive detail about the problems facing the world. It was a very pessimistic post, and this post is won't be much better, mainly because the way we are going to get out of this mess is going to be very difficult, messy, and unpleasant. It will require us to turn our backs on thousands of years' worth of status quo, and take a gigantic leap of faith into an unknown future. But I have no doubt that if we do so, we will emerge far better than ever before.
There is a storm coming. In 2011, we heard the first cracks of thunder, witnessed the first flashes of lightning. There had been rumblings for years, decades before, but that year really saw the storm loom over the horizon. We can actually see it now. Even the wealthy see it. This is a storm that will tear our global civilization to pieces, and while we will survive as a species, how much of our progress survives with us greatly depends on what we do about this crisis.
Maura Pennington of Forbes believes that all poor people have to do is "do something." Of course, she doesn't specify what that something is. At all. Instead, she spends her entire post demonizing communism and socialism — using the Soviet Union, North Korea, and Venezuela as "evidence" when their systems are actually twisted forms of communism, not true communism — and espousing the virtues of wealth and capitalism. Again, I'd be inclined to take her seriously if she had gone into any specifics as to how the poor could get out of their predicament. But she didn't. You can take a look for yourself.
John D. Sutter of CNN is much more specific. He outlines a seven-point plan, including having rich and poor develop more of a dialogue, unifying and increasing funding for schools, restore wages to 1960s levels (not literally, but purchasing-power), tax the rich at a higher (but reasonable) rate, giving workers a greater voice by creating more employee-owned companies or increasing union membership, limit campaign donations, and randomly give money to the poor. Josh Kraushaar of The Atlantic argues that our priority needs to be improving education. While I disagree with pretty much everything he said in the article, finding it to be as vague as Maura's Forbes article — except for an intriguing blurb about New Orleans schools —I absolutely agree that education needs to be improved. Jack Fischl of PolicyMic contends that higher taxes for the wealthy as well as eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for major energy, agri-business, pharmaceutical, and financial companies are essential for reducing income inequality.
While this applies mainly to income inequality in the United States, the same principles apply around the world. We need to create policies that improve the financial and educational quality of life for poor nations in Africa and Asia. Even Charles Kenny of Bloomberg Businessweek believes a little wealth redistribution and educational assistance for less fortunate nations is in order. If we could reduce poverty in Africa and Asia and stop supporting brutal dictators, then their citizens would become better educated and not be reliant on the prejudiced brainwashing of their priests and ministers, emirs and imams. Ignorance and apathy is the greatest weapon a dictator has, religious or otherwise.
Ending income inequality in the world will not be easy. In fact, I believe it will be impossible without a complete overhaul and restructuring of our society. The wealthy are simply too entrenched, too drunk on their money and power. Right now, we have a representative democracy on paper, but in practice our government is absolutely an oligarchy. The members of the Supreme Court are in place for life. Even most members of Congress are in place for life, simply because they have money and resources their opponents often lack. It takes a supreme mistake by a sitting Congressperson for them to be voted out of office. We vote them into office time and time again, then just sit by for two or four years while they call all the shots. We grumble and whine about the laws they pass that take away our freedoms, such as Citizens United and the Patriot Act, and then keeping voting for the same parties over and over. And honestly, moving our support to third parties won't solve the problem. The Green Party and Libertarians, in twenty years, would just become the new Democrats and Republicans. This system simply does not work, and needs to be replaced. It's better than North Korea or Russia, definitely, but that's like saying being struck by a parent is better than being molested by them. We need to take back control of the process, be more active in it, and make sure this disastrous system never, ever returns.
This is where demarchy comes in.
Demarchy, or lottocracy, is a system of government in which representatives are randomly selected from a pool of eligible candidates. Replacing our system with a demarchy-centered one will not be easy, at all. We can't just replace our governments with demarchies, we have to do the same with our businesses. Otherwise wealthy interests will always corrupt our governments. But if we take away the wealth, spread it across the world so everyone has a more or less equal amount, then there will be no wealthy interests. Having term limits for governmental and business leaders, I'm thinking two years and then booting them out, will prevent anyone from being in a position of leadership long enough to be corrupted by it.
We'd still have pay stratification to motivate upward mobility, it just won't be sheer cliffs anymore. There won't be CEOs making millions a year while their lowest workers make 12,000 a year. Instead, the lowest pay tier will be roughly 36,000 after taxes and various deductions (deductions toward a Hardship Fund in the event of layoffs or technological replacement, one-month paid maternity/paternity leave, etc); the highest pay tier will be 100,000 dollars after taxes and deductions. The pay rate will be tied into cost-of-living, so when that rises, the pay rate will too. The pay rates will be automatic, and not tied to the whims of a potentially sexist or racist hiring manager. Thus will pay be equal for all, regardless of gender, race, orientation, ethnicity, or nationality.
Companies will be run by rotating Worker Assemblies, while the executive, legislative, and judicial branches will be run by rotating Assemblies as well. Individual business locations will be run by rotating monthly Worker Councils instead of managers, and new businesses will be funded through national public investment funds. Ethics Delegations will be assigned to each business location to ensure they follow the new laws, and be switched out every month to avoid familiarity and corruption. The Ethics Delegation will also ensure that Worker Councils do not turn prospective employees away on discriminatory grounds. They will shadow the Worker Council members at all times to make sure nothing, and no one, falls through the cracks.
Until education completes its overhaul, all selected Assembly members will receive an intensive education curriculum that will last the year between their selection and first day on the job. All Worker Council members will attend an intensive curriculum for the month between their selection and first day on the council. This way, no matter who is selected, they will be qualified by their first day.
If businesses are forced to layoff workers, the workers will be compensated for between three months and four years while they return to college in preparation for a new career — though they can leave the school early if they find a new job within their chosen field. Either way, when they enter a new job, their compensation from the old one will cease. Anyone who does not return to school or enter a new job will not only be ineligible for these benefits, but be jailed for slothfulness until they decide they wish to reenter the workforce — unless an emergency or other hardship is the cause.
Having everyone make roughly equal pay will be an enormous boon to the economy. Shopping will skyrocket. Stress levels will decrease by an enormous amount. Crime rates, while not disappearing, will drop dramatically. Prisons will hold only the most dangerous criminals and lazy citizens. They'll be separate, of course. Maximum security prisons will hold murderers and such, while minimum security prisons will hold those found guilty of corruption, laziness, and so forth.
This new system of government will not be perfect. But I genuinely believe it's our best chance to turn the tide.
If I left anything out, by all means, let me know. I'll go into more detail as to how this new world will likely come about, and how other world problems will be tackled, in my next post.