Sunday, June 19, 2011

A proposal for a replacement for government

I feel finally ready to release this brain-child to the world.

The concept is simple - why not create a social network to replace government? Such a thing these days is badly needed but governments themselves are not very open to the idea of putting themselves out of business. No dubt wars will be fought before such things become reality - but it doesn't hurt to start thinking about this now.

With that, here follows the text of a document I have constructed on the idea. My hope is to some day implement a prototype for people to play with.

Sandy
Download RTF version
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Micro Republics


A replacement for traditional government structures.

Introduction

With the rise of the World Wide Web, a powerful social force has been born. The legitimate function of government is the administration of justice, the protection of the weak and poor, and the protection of its people from external and internal enemies. It seems quite possible to create a social network for the administration of government that can far out-perform existing government frameworks and hopefully protect us all from usurpers and defrauders at the collective level.

The goal of such a system would be to disperse power as broadly as possible by soliciting the participation of the maximum number of people for short periods of time on specific tasks. By removing the cumbersome and abuse prone system of law generation by a legislative body and instead depositing the law into the conscience of randomly selected juries, the rules begin to truly reflect the beliefs of the people. By restricting jury participation to people that have met a minimum bar of qualifications, irresponsible and incompetent individuals are hopefully prevented from perverting the system over time.

Functional Elements of a Micro Republic

A truly natural government is one of the people, by the people and for the people. The essential functions of a government for a free people are really quite simple and are the same at all levels.

· Certification of:

o Documents

o Individuals

o Relationships between documents and individuals

· Storage of and access to public records

· Management of officer and jury selection

· Management of cases of dispute

· Management of credit and money

· Accountability for all members

· Administration of force where necessary

To maintain the government within its proper boundaries there must be in place checks and balances and accountability of each member to the republic and to each other. In this design, these checks are provided by lot selected juries.

Members of a micro republic must be people of integrity that can be relied upon to support the republic, administer justice fairly and respect the rights of others. Citizens of such a republic must meet a minimum bar of competency and interest, judged by a jury, to be accepted as such. The micro republic is designed to use the people often to perform government functions thus helping to keep them responsible and familiar with natural and common law practices.

Weaknesses of existing governmental systems

Most governments are merely systems of control administered by a minority of people over others. Students of Natural Law have attempted to improve this with the creation of republican forms of government using written laws and social contracts, division of powers and checks and balances to attempt to keep government inefficient and self regulating in order to protect the rights of its citizens.

The problems that seem to persist throughout history even in the best republics are:

· Corruption of the language and the law over time.

· Finding an equitable method of representation and suffrage.

· Judicial Sophistry also causing corruption of the law.

· Guaranteeing protection from foreign powers without growth or corruption.

· Long term containment of the size, cost and reach of government.

One aspect of government in general demonstrates why it tends to corrupt over time. That aspect is the inherent specialization of government management into the hands of a minority of people. The kinds of people that are attracted to government work are the power seeking and the lazy. Because the average citizen naturally has little interest in the workings government, over time, less and less of the people in government represent the real social fabric of the citizenry. In addition to this natural tendency, powerful interests, both internal and external, tend to attempt to grow and corrupt government in order to use it to their own ends. This process of attack from within and without uses the most advanced methods devised to corrupt the government and citizenry. Once achieved, the government becomes a powerful tool of the few over the many. Such processes typically span multiple generations and at first proceed at a pace so slow as to be imperceptible by the majority of citizens.

A possible solution

What is needed is broad participation of society in government operations at all times with a fully transparent process which tends to support knowledge of the principles of Natural Law and self government. The body that historically epitomizes the participation of the citizen in government affairs is the Jury.

Juries are difficult to corrupt because they are chosen by lot, only meet for a specific task and for a short period of time.

Juries are large enough (12 people) to represent a good spectrum of the society while being small enough to efficiently conduct the administration of justice.

Juries are selected by lot making them independent of bias and more likely to represent the average citizen’s perspectives.

Juries are composed of non-specialists who rely on common sense, existing documents and evidence to make judgments.

Juries are not as susceptible to bribes as are judges and other government agents because they do not derive their livelihood from doing government services, their services are restricted to that of a single case, and the duration of their work is of a very short period of time – ideally only a few weeks at most.

Juries cannot tolerate unclear and voluminous law or conflicting precedent cases and will instead tend to judge with more common sense than judges do.

The weakness of juries is their inexperience. However with proper tools available to the jurors via the micro republic’s web resources, they should be able to quickly look up pertinent law and cases relevant to their current case, making the process of rendering a consistent judgment attainable without too much effort in most cases.

Law on the other hand tends to corrupt over time with language and bulk and complexity despite strict requirements as to passage, form and publication. Under a jury, law becomes a recommendation rather than a mandate. A system of minimal written law where a jury has total power over the plaintiff, the defendant, and the law and precedent cases with accountability for their decision yields a more common sense administration of justice. Because juries over time will gain more relevant past cases to consult, it is expected that a more stable system of government will also result over time.

Bad juries can only affect one case. The offending jury can itself be held responsible for its actions by another jury should this become necessary.

Any citizen can virtually call a jury to analyze a complaint at very little cost. The plaintiff can however be judged guilty by the jury should the complaint be frivolous or harassing in nature.

By holding jurors subject to being brought before another jury should their decision be irresponsible, all parties involved are held accountable.

Such a system removes the unjust powers of the written law and the legislator and holds it in check to the spirit of truth as seen by the jury for the case.

With the process of selecting and calling a jury well understood and automated, it becomes an easy affair to apply the jury to all kinds of jobs requiring judgment that used to be performed by elected or appointed officials. The people empower and call the jury and the jury moves the republic one step at a time.

Republic rules

The Micro Republic is a web based system of software that is open sourced and freely shared for any body politic to use as it sees fit. It is assumed that the system will be run within a VPN for security and that every precaution will be taken to ensure the integrity of the software and system components.

The basic unit of power is the jury which is called by the system whenever a plaintiff or the system itself requires one. The jury meets in a virtual sense and can often accomplish all its work without the need to physically meet. The system provides a secure form of communication via the website itself. Citizens can be notified by the system when changes happen that affect them or require their attention via email. Once the user has signed into the website he/she can then obtain what information is needed and perform communication in a secure manner.

Rules

The system consists of the following rules which it is encoded to enforce. These may be modified with newer versions of the software.

1. Micro-republics are established by a founder.

2. A critical number of users are necessary to create a quorum to create a jury.

3. Two witnesses who are citizens are necessary to validate all facts.

4. Citizens join the republic with jury review and approval.

5. All users must be verified as real by at least two existing.

6. All citizens must have on file a minimum amount biometric data (a photo, finger prints, eye scan, etc.) to uniquely identify them as unique physical human beings. Citizens meet a higher standard than users.

7. Potential jurors are citizens that meet founding document criteria for a juror and must be approved by a jury. Jurors meet a higher standard than citizens.

8. A founding jury may consist of founder approved verified users.

9. Verified users are users who’s identity information has been verified by two or more citizens or founder approved verified users and who’s email has been verified by the system.

10. Juries may be called automatically by the system or by any citizen of the micro-republic for any reason.

11. The founding jury creates the founding documents of the micro-republic.

12. The founder validates the initial quorum of users who thereafter validate each other.

13. The initial quorum of provisional citizens selects the founding jury.

14. The founding jury approves provisional non-jury citizens to become full citizens and full jurors.

15. Founding jury members do not become full citizens until approved by a non-founding jury.

16. All citizens must have a trail of validation that traces back to the founder. (no independent co-authorized subgroups are possible.)

17. Once a full jury of full jurors is established, the founder no longer holds any special powers. He simply remains the top nexus for validation of all members of the republic.

18. Juries hold all power over the case, plaintiff, defendant, precedent and the law.

19. There is no appeal to a jury judgment. All jury judgments are final for the case in question.

20. A defendant cannot be tried more than once for the same offense.

21. A jury may hold the plaintiff or defendant or both or neither guilty.

22. A jury is unlimited in what judgment and sentence is so determines.

23. A jury may bring to a case any extenuating evidence it so desires, even that not directly related to the specific charge. Anyone before a jury thus becomes fully accountable for their history and actions.

24. Compliance with jury judgments is voluntary but coercion for enforcement of those judgments can be accomplished by outlawry. While a person is under judgment of a jury he/she may not exercise the privileges of citizenship until that sentence is carried out and the jury releases that person from obligation status.

25. Any jury or member of a jury may be indicted by a plaintiff, defendant, or an agent of either for his/her/their judgment of a case. This kind of counter suit holds the jurors responsible for their decision but the counter suit cannot affect the outcome of the initial case in question.

26. A jury may require one or more public, physical meetings of the jury, plaintiff and defendant to collect evidence or pronounce a judgment and execute sentencing.

27. Any punishment is generally carried out immediately upon public dissemination of judgment.

28. A jury has at its disposal the entire wealth of the republic to enforce its decisions as necessary.

29. All jury pronouncements must be made public at the time of judgment of the case.

30. All jury proceedings are recorded and kept by the micro-republic.

31. All jury proceedings become public upon the pronouncement of a judgment but are private to the jury until such time.

32. No document ever having become public is destroyed. All public versions of a document are kept for the life of the republic and are open to searches and reading by all citizens of the republic.

33. No public document may be made private.

34. Documents may not be destroyed unless strictly private for the duration of their lifespan.

35. Only private documents may be encrypted for security.

36. All citizens must sign the entrance contract established by the founding documents and approve of all founding documents at the time of joining.

37. Founding documents can only be changed by jury approval but the changes are only binding on citizens that have ratified those changes. Thus, multiple versions of the founding documents may apply to different persons. Changing founding documents is highly discouraged by this policy. It is thus critical that founding documents be well thought out and only contain basic philosophical ideas that hold the republic on its desired course. It may be better to start a new republic than to change its founding documents unless full ratification can be achieved.

38. Personal identification information is never removed from the system so that new members cannot be separated from past membership history.

39. Citizens may leave the republic at any time provided they are not under judgment of a jury or exercising the duties of a juror

40. Rejoining a republic requires the same approval steps as required for a new member.

41. Ambassadors cannot be jurors.

42. Foreign Ambassadors cannot exercise the rights of a full citizen of the micro republic.

43. A non-citizen (jurors are also citizens) can only read and search globally public documents.

44. Only owners or persons assigned by the owner can view private documents.

45. Citizens are free to transfer credits between each other.

46. Credits are created by the republic and are never destroyed.

47. Credits are created as payment for jury duties only. Thus the only tax on the republic is inflation of these credits.

Persons

A person is a living breathing human being with the single exception of the republic persona which represents the entire micro republic. Persons have the following information associated with them:

Name

The name is simply the way a person wishes to be addressed by the republic. It holds no legal identification value like the biometric data. It must be unique across all persons in the micro-republic.

ID

Each citizen is assigned a unique ID number which is determined at the time of first sign in. This number is used internally to associate persons with documents and other republic entities.

STatus

From a micro-republic point of view, a person is in one of the following states:

· Guest – when a person gives his email address to apply for citizenship in the micro-republic. This is obtained at initial sign-in. Guests generally only have access to globally public document.s

· Validated Guest – a Guest who’s email has been verified by the person clicking on a link sent to the email address of the account – the email address is proven to be legitimate.

· User – two or more citizens of the micro-republic have verified that the users biometric and address/contact information are correct and unique. Any citizen that renounces or is removed from citizen status revert s to a verified user which has non-citizen status.

· Founder – the status of the first person to sign into the micro-republic. There can only be one founder in the republic. All person validations in the republic must have a validation path back to the founder to have full citizen status whether or not the founder is still a citizen of the republic. The founder is also granted special permissions during the initial stages of republic formation until a sufficient number of citizens exist to man juries. After formation, the founder is only identified for the purposes of validating verification chains. This state is in addition to other states and acts more as a flag.

· Founding Citizen – a verified user who’s verification chain links to the founder and the founder has approved them for founding citizenship. This state is dropped once the republic leaves the formation state.

· Citizen – a Verified User who has been approved for citizenship by a non-founding jury.

· Juror – A Citizen who has been approved to serve as a potential Juror by a Jury or Founding Jury.

· Founding Juror – a founding citizen who has been selected to be a member of the founding jury.

· Ambassador – A Juror who has been approved for ambassadorship by a Jury. Ambassadors are members of multiple micro-republics or are Citizens of other nations that can act as representatives for the micro-republic. They are used to assist jurors in cross-republic negotiations and treaties. A federated form of government could be connected via ambassadors.

· Outlaw – Any Citizen that refuses to comply with any jury judgment against them obtains this status. Outlaws are not allowed access to the micro-republic’s services and are not protected by the laws of the republic. Credit usage is suspended for outlaws. All republic members are encouraged not to do any business with an outlaw. Outlaws may only be reinstated into the republic by a jury confirmation of submission to all judgments against them.

Office

Persons can be elected to an office by a Jury or by an open election, depending on the requirements of the office. Offices must conform to requirements of the founding documents which should define the duration, limits and requirements for the office. Offices should be few and of short duration if possible and should only be created where jury oversight is impossible.

Biometric Data

Biometric data consists of unique and comparable data derived from physical characteristics of a person. Biometric data must be verifiable to a person for the life of the person and impossible for another person to counterfeit. It must also be unique for every person including twins. It may consist of several different sets of data combined to meet these criteria.

Users must have on file biometric data (typically a fingerprint or eye scan) that uniquely proves them to be physically who they claim to be. Once biometric data is submitted to the micro-republic by a person it can never be changed or removed. Biometric data is saved for the life of the republic regardless of the status of the person.

If it is not possible to reliably produce unique biometric data for persons then there will be a heavy dependence upon the process of becoming a citizen to ensure adequate examination by real people to verify the person. In this case, the name or an assigned number becomes the unique identifier for each person.

In rare cases it may become necessary to update biometric data (ie loss of body parts that were used for verification) by the approval of a jury.

Profile

A person’s profile is any contact data or identification data the person wishes to make public to the republic.

Email address

This is the primary email address used to communicate with the person. It is used by the micro-republic for official notification and communication with the person. Citizens are responsible to this email address for legal purposes. All email is processed within the micro-republic system – normal SMTP email is not used by the micro-republic for official communications.

There is only one fictitious person in the micro republic representing the republic itself. Only Jury’s can act on behalf of the republic persona outside of standard processes which are hard coded into the system.



Documents

A document is simply a file of data held by the micro-republic. Documents are search-indexed, optionally encrypted and compressed for storage. Documents can me in many formats but generally follow HTML or plain text conventions.

Read Status

Documents may have a read status of private, public or global public. Documents that are public are read-only to all citizens of the republic. Documents that are global-public are read-only to any guest. Private documents can only be seen or changed by the owner. The owner may add access keys to persons allowed reading or writing of the document – these become document users but ownership is not changed. Ownership of a document may be transferred to another user by the owner.

Write Status

Same as read status but for write permissions. Documents with multiple person write access are collaborative.

Checked out status

If a document is checked out by a person for writing purposes, it cannot be written to by others even with write permissions.

Name

All documents must have a name unique among all documents owned by a person. The name of a document cannot be changed once the document is created and is used for reference by other objects of the micro-republic.

Author

The author is the name of the creator or original owner of the document. The author cannot be changed.

Owner

The owner is the person currently most-responsible for the document. It may change over time if necessary. Owners must have at least user citizenship status to create or take ownership of a document. Owners have permission to change changeable aspects of a document.

Type

Documents can have one of the following types assigned to them:

Memo – a simple document with no extra attributes associated with it.

Attestation – a document stating or certifying any fact. It must have verifications from at least two other citizens to hold legal status.

Place – a document holding a lat-long-altitude set of numbers describing an exact location on earth.

Deed – a document describing a piece of physical property on earth. It contains a list of place values listed in clock-wise-from-the-sky order delineating the boundary of a piece of property. Deeds must be properly attested and filed with the micro-republic for them to hold legal value. A deed is a specialized form of an Attestation.

Verification – an attestation that links a person with a document indicating that the person attests to the genuineness of the document. All documents used as evidence in a case require at least 2 verifications from different persons.

Founding – a document containing guidelines for juries written at the creation of the republic. Founding documents must be filed topically by the micro-republic. Founding documents become owned by the republic pseudo person and can only be changed by jury process. Founding documents do not carry authority with them except as enforced by juries.

Collection – a document referencing other documents – like a folder.

Case Collection – a forum document used to document the process of a jury case.

Communication - a document sent between persons of the micro-republic. This is the element that supports the micro-republic’s email system. Communications are generally private but may be used as evidence in a jury case but must be made public by the owner before such use is possible.

Profile – a document that holds data used to identify a person. Ambassadors can use their person document to copy their attributes to other micro-republics.

Backup – a document that is an encrypted and compressed copy of the entire micro-republic including source code and documents. Backups can be created by any citizen of the republic and can be compared with other backups or with the current state of the republic. Differences can be analyzed to detect tampering of the republic. The republic automatically creates backups and compares them periodically to detect tampering. A tampered republic issues a priority 1 warning to all citizens of the republic and indicates a security breach in the republic. Backups can be partial or whole.

Snapshot – a document that is a smaller version of a backup. This cannot be used to restore a republic’s data state but it can be used to compare with other snapshots or backups to detect tampering. Snapshots can be partial or complete.

Lot – a document generated by the system using the precise (to the millisecond) time of generation and a standard algorithm to select a random number from a given set of bounds. This selection method is used to select jurors for the jury pool of the republic. A lot is strictly deterministic based on the time of its calling.

Jury Selection - a document that takes a lot document and applies it to the jury pool in existence at the time of the lot to form a jury of 12 persons.

Election – a document that records all votes and aspects of an election for an office of the republic.

Solicitation – a document used to request help from other citizens for any purpose.

Jury Call – a document used to call and form a Jury.

Judgment – a document used by a jury to declare a judgment upon a person and to document the conformance of the judged party to the requirements of the judgment.

Group – a document consisting of a collection of persons.

Image – a document that is a still image of something. The micro-republic supports the following formats: PNG, JPEG, GIF.

Video – mpeg1 and mpeg2 video files are supported.

Audio – mp3 files are supported.

Procedures

The micro republic has encoded within it the processing of the following described procedures.

1. Republic Creation

a. Founder Login

The first user to log onto a micro-republic automatically becomes the founder. The founding citizen is responsible for creation of the republic’s founding documents, for recruiting the founding members of the republic, and to assist the founding members to form a founding jury with co-authentication of each other to establish the lawful kernel of the micro-republic.

b. Founding Membership creation

Founding members can only join if invited by the founder via an email with a member signup key URL. A micro-republic must have at least 11 founding members and a founder to be created.

c. Founding Member Authentication

Once the founding members have joined the micro-republic they must authenticate each other so that there are at least two affidavits of authenticity for each member including the founding member. This allows for human verification of biometric and profile data of each member.

d. Founding Jury Creation

The founder then calls for the creation of the founding jury which then has the official business of creating the founding documents.

e. Founding Document Creation

The jury forms such founding documents as:

i. Core laws for republic operations IAW basic maxims of law.

ii. Core requirement documents for citizens and jurors to agree to in order to be accepted as citizens or potential jurors.

iii. Any other pertinent documents such as republic jurisdictions, land boundaries, etc.

f. Founding Member to Jury Citizen conversion

Once the business of the founding jury is completed including all members signing (and cross witnessing) the founding documents necessary to become a citizen and juror, all founding members and the founder are converted to non-founding normal citizens with appropriate rank (user, citizen or juror) based on what founding documents have been signed.

All citizens of the micro-republic must then ratify the founding documents by signing all of the documents created by the founding jury.

Every new citizen must ratify the founding documents by signing them, agreeing to be morally bound to follow the documents.

A republic is now born.

2. Jury Selection

Juries are created by the request of a plaintiff who must be a citizen or juror of the republic. Once requested, the system uses the date and exact time of the request along with the current eligible juror person pool to select jury members via a random yet deterministic process. This process is fully documented in the jury formation documents created for the called for case so that anyone can see that the process was done legitimately and it can be audited. Person pools can be reproduced at a later time using stored logs which become part of the republic’s permanent records.

Selected jurors are notified via email and must follow founding document procedures for processing the case.

3. Self Audit

Of critical importance is the ability of the micro-republic to audit itself. This involves a check of data logs to verify that all information in the database lines up with log entries and that all log entries and actions meet republic maxims. Audits use snapshots or backups to check activity between any two historical points in the republic. A self audit occurs at a frequency specified by the founder and amendable by any jury assigned with the task of updating founding documents. By design, all data in the database is linked with CRC checks with records and previous CRC checks to make tampering of data extremely difficult. The CRC checks create a gridlock that all data entries must conform to pass security checks.

4. Site Backup

A site backup can be made by any republic citizen and contains the ability to be applied to an un-initialized micro-republic website to create a copy of the original micro-republic including all persons and documents in the republic. The restored site will have a different unique serial number so members know it’s a copy. This is a way of protecting the republic from malicious attack by providing for frequent and dispersed copies of all records needed to recreate the republic should the need arise.

5. Site Snapshot

A site snapshot is similar to a backup but does not contain sufficient information for restoring the site. It is used for self or manual auditing and generally just includes key database CRC values.

6. Document Export

This is an encrypted export process used to transfer documents from one micro-republic to another. These are typically done by ambassadors for intra-republic business. It allows a secure method of cross republic document transfer.

7. Document Import

This is the complement function to a document export and is used to create documents for a micro-republic that came from another micro-republic or other outside source.

8. Case Initiation

A plaintiff can easily call for a jury to handle a case. The plaintiff creates a complaint document and this becomes the initiating element for the jury selection process to process the complaint. Juries can hold the plaintiff guilty for misrepresenting the facts or for frivolous jury calling. There may or may not be defendants in a case. All republic business is conducted by juries and must be started by case initiation.

9. Document Search

Full text searching of all public republic documents is inherent in the system and usable by citizens and jurors. Documents may have keywords associated with them for searching. Searches can also be filtered by various document attributes such as persons or types.

10. Person Search

Similar to a document search, all persons can be searched by biometric data or by profile data or by documents associated with them.

Suggestions

It is impractical for a republic to remain in existence for very long simply because it generates an ever increasing number of documents in its normal running. To keep the system from failure due to overload, it is suggested that periodically a new republic be created and members of the old republic join the new one and start over. The old republic remains intact for historical reasons and ambassadors can be used to bring needed documents forward to the new republic from the old.

The name republic is a misnomer due to the fact that this system shuns written law. Perhaps a better name can be found.

3 comments:

Sandy Staab said...

Some weaknesses I see:
1) The distribution and creation of credits is unclear.
2) How does a micro republic defend itself collectively?
3) Should a Jury be allowed to recall or alter a published judgement? What do we do with the case of new evidence? (I think I would just call another jury to re-review the case and allow juries of this type to alter judgements of the case in review.

ME said...

What is your opinion of the collective decision-making system being developed by the folks at http://www.upworldgov.org ? They have a couple videos that explain their process that are worth watching to get the basic idea.

Sandy Staab said...

I took a quick look at their prototype and it is merely a system to help build consensus via democratic principles.
I do not believe democracy works or is right because the majority means nothing when related to individual rights. Democracy simply supplies an excuse (majority likes it) to impose collectivist scheems on all the people. This is counter to my goals.
This system of juries assumes that 12 people can make a common sense decision over any dispute people have. Law is established by common usage and is not written down but is rather absorbed by the collective by custom.
I support upworldgov trying to solve our problems and I laud their efforts of the prototype but I disagree with the philosophical basis of thier tool.
My system is more a framework to support attestation of people and contracts, to provide a cheap and easy way to call juries to help resolve disputes, and to provide communication services to support self-government.
I hope this answer clarifies the differences between these two systems.

Sandy