Chapter 4 Model Framework of Economic, Legal and Political Institutions
4.0 Summary and Outline of a Proposed Constitution
revised/edited 6/2014, 2/2015, 11/2016, 6/2017, 9/2018
4.0.1 Summary last revised/edited 2/2015, 11/2016, 6/2017, 9/2018
4.0.2 Outline of a proposed constitution and its goals last revised/edited 2/2015, 11/2016, 6/2017, 9/2018.
18.104.22.168 Basic functions of government:
22.214.171.124 Federal and regional governments:
126.96.36.199 Largely independent government agencies:
188.8.131.52 Organizing and maintaining vital systems of the civilization:
184.108.40.206 Specific proposals and directives:
4.0.3 Human rights and laws
4.1 Utopias Versus Realistic Model Institutions
4.2 Economic Institutions: Money Supply and Industries
4.3 System of Taxation; Minimum Basic Income; Incentives for and Limitations on Economic Activities
4.4 Social Organization
4.5 Improved Democratic Governance
4.6 Ethics, Psychology and the Legal System; Crime Prevention
4.7 International Organizations
4.0.1 Summary last revised/edited 2/2015, 11/2016, 6/2017, 9/2018
Cultural institutions are not shaped by the character of the people, rather, institutions shape people, their character, and their interactions. We are born into cultures and few individuals are able to actuate changes. The goal of this model is to create institutions that improve human interactions and the quality of life of all people.
Incentive structures are a central problem in most democracies. In the USA, economic incentives encourage unethical behaviors by banks, corporations and governmental institutions; with risk taking in business decisions and political actions, the influential person may win or not win, but losses are passed on to customers, investors, workers and society.
Of particular significance are economic institutions and the study of natural ethics. Ethical principles must be integrated in all institutions and considered in all relevant decisions.
In this model, the economy is decentralized. Economic activities are supported by savings, interest-free loans and grants, issued by local branches of the central or federal bank and by local cooperative banks. Lending activities by banks are very limited. Production facilities are mostly owned by their workers and people directly involved with the products’ design, development and distribution.
Taxation consists primarily of sales and property taxes. Levels of taxation are designed to encourage economic activities that are ecologically sound and improve the quality of life; many products and production processes are discouraged through luxury and dyseconomy taxes (dys- means ‘bad,’ ‘painful’). All citizens receive a basic minimum income, which may be considered a return of sales taxes on basic consumption, and for the very poor, a negative income tax. This income varies according to location and is adjusted to the local economy.
The political system is a highly decentralized multiparty democracy. Governments usually contract with local enterprises to provide the services for which they take responsibility, to build and maintain the infrastructure, etc. Improved principles of voting are applied.
An independent government branch arranges elections and referenda. This agency is responsible for informing the voters on candidates and issues. It also determines basic qualifications for candidates (mainly educational), and who may vote; for instance, in a referendum concerning women’s issues, only women may be allowed to vote.
To halt ingrained unethical traditions and to avoid conflicts of interest, elected and appointed officials must not be citizens of the area they govern or of neighboring areas, they must come from distant places and/or cultures; as an alternative, important positions may be shared by a local politician and a person recruited from a distant area.
Human rights, important issues of international or global concern and ethical decision-making are taught at all levels and implemented wherever possible. Self-monitoring and peer supervision are broadly instituted. International cooperation is a high priority.
There are no courts that determine guilt and punish. Negative consequences of unethical and dangerous behaviors, such as fines, are to spoil rewards of the behaviors. Conflicts between individuals and conflicts between or within institutions are referred to public mediation and arbitration services. Persons who are dangerous for any reason are considered emotionally disturbed; they are generally treated as persons with a mental (psychiatric) disorder. Treatment of emotionally disturbed persons is comprehensive and includes different levels of services within the community or treatment in residential settings, short-term, long-term, or indefinite. While ending patterns of violence and protecting possible victims is a primary goal, perpetrators must be treated in a humane way.
Economic changes may appear most difficult. However, with a political will, disincentives to speculative investments, which threaten the whole world economic system, are possible. To summarize relevant steps: Separating conventional banking from speculation and investments in the ‘shadow banking system,’ and forbidding banks’ investing in complex ‘financial instruments’ such as derivatives and hedge funds, ‘synthetic portfolios,’ etc. All sales of stock, bonds and other securities and real estate should be taxed, slowing down transactions, encouraging long-term planning, and giving governments added income. Newly issued money should be directly moved into circulation rather than into bank reserves; conventional bank functions are maintained with people depositing savings and borrowing mainly to buy homes, enterprises mostly investing own profits and borrowing some from banks to expand and for research and development. Additional funding of enterprises may consist in bonds and stock that are only sold to people directly involved with the design, production and distribution of its products. Individuals and enterprises should own enough money to operate without significant loans from private investors and financial institutions.
A shift in thinking is needed: Owning capital, such as real estate or a business, gives people the freedom to work independently, doing management work, realizing one’s skills as farmer or in a business, etc, and it is valuable for added retirement income when later selling one’s assets. It is ethically wrong to expect that just owning properly should bring profits. Owners’ demand of rents above what is needed to maintain the property and pay taxes led to the incredible accumulation of wealth in very few families. Profits do not lead to progress, people with a drive to make improvements do. Managers and specialists do not deserve hugely higher salaries than unskilled workers who do needed work that nobody else wants to do. For the success of surgeries, cleaning personnel, infection control nurse and surgeon are similarly important. Financial “services” are not helping the economy by optimally allocating material resources; they sift profits off other people’s work. CEOs may have talents but in few civilizations are they paid incomes hundreds of times higher than salaries of average workers, as is common in the USA.
Progress is not guided by profits: ideas of visionary leaders and scientific-technological work do. Most scientists, engineers and inventors are paid employees who will not own and profit from the patents gained in their work. Investors hardly understand whether the money they lend will be well used but with very high profits from some investments, they can risk losing much money in other endeavors. Leaders in the field, many of whom work in universities, and peers who work in leading enterprises would be much more qualified to allocate money for research and the development of new technologies.
Profits distort directions of developments. What is simply good is usually seen with suspicion and may not attract investors. What is enticing and addicting is much more likely to bring high profits than what improves people’s quality of life.
Proposed changes in legal systems are less radical than they may seem. A move towards mediation, only minor punishments and a main focus on rehabilitation, rather than punishments, is taking place in many civilizations. Peace, not punishments or ‘justice,’ was the main goal in settling conflicts in ancestral gathering-hunting civilizations. Punishments that are much more severe than the crime, such as stoning people for premarital sex or hanging a thief, have been futile attempts to make people complacent and were embedded in religions; “an eye for an eye” was actually a move towards less cruel punishments and Christian ethics does not condone any punishment.
4.0.2 Outline of a proposed constitution and its goals last revised/edited 2/2015, 11/2016, 6/2017, 9/2018
220.127.116.11 Basic functions of government:
The government has the function of fulfilling all tasks of a society that individuals cannot fulfill or that should not be fulfilled by private enterprises because of significant conflicts of interest and other ethical issues.
Political and economic decision-making is highly decentralized with regional and central (federal) agencies having more coordinating, guiding and sometimes mediating functions. Governance is based on the principles of a secular multiparty indirect or direct federal democracy.
All political and economic decisions must be based on scientific data and the principles of science-based or natural ethics, and they must observe the intent and objectives of the universal declaration of human rights. Governments must rely on scientists who are to serve as consultants in all areas of government responsibilities.
Elections, referenda and political processes are adapted to local level of literacy and access to information and they are devised
– to prevent a disproportionate influence of the wealthy, of corporations and of powerful special interests;
– to prevent any form of corruption or favoritism and minimize conflicts of interests;
– to greatly reduce the propensity to elect extremist candidates;
– to avoid religious teachings over-ruling ethics and human rights;
– to encourage changing or eradicating ingrained unethical practices and traditions; and
– to assure a focus on most important issues.
Political units of federation: the federation (country) is divided into
– Communities (neighborhoods of a city, small towns or groups of settlements) with about 1,000 inhabitants.
– Districts (or areas), comparable to counties, e.g. a valley, mid-size city or part of a metropolitan area (typically less than 100 communities).
– Regions (comparable to a state, ‘province’, ‘Bundesland’ or ‘Kanton’) are relatively small and more defined by cultural-commercial centers and geographic, cultural and linguistic regions than historical political boundaries (e.g. the U.S. state of Texas could not form one region).
18.104.22.168 Federal and regional governments:
Federal and regional governments have parliaments with two chambers of equal power; the larger chamber consists of men, the smaller chamber of women.
Elected officials discuss and establish priorities and goals for government work including guiding economic processes based on goals of their parties and input from communities, grassroots movements, journalists, academic consultants, etc.
There is no separation of legislative and executive functions. When setting priorities, goals and plans and when working on implementing them, decisions must not be based on a simple majority vote but on seeking consensus or a ‘common denominator’ that is acceptable to essentially all. Representatives of each chamber meet regularly to seek consensus or mutually acceptable compromises.
Executive committees are created to work out details and implement plans of the parliament. Executive committee members are elected by the parliament and consist of members of the elected government bodies and outsiders. Committee members must be qualified, having broad education and knowledge in relevant issues. There are permanent executive committees and temporary committees that work on specific issues. Leading committees of up to 7 persons replace positions such as president, prime minister or governor.
Ethics committees oversee all work done by governmental bodies to assure that principles of natural ethics and human rights are always respected.
Members of regional government bodies and particularly officials with executive functions and ethics committee representatives must not be from the region they work for or its neighbors and they must meet specific educational requirements including courses related to human nature, cultures, ethics and economics; the leaders of a federation should be foreigners. Important positions may be shared between a local person and a knowledgeable, objective outsider with each of them having veto power.
The federal executive committee must work towards what appears best for the world community, the country and its regions, and it mediates between the interests of regions and districts. The federal government is to seek good relationships with all neighbors and the international community.
In politics, female perspectives are often more appropriate and relevant for a civilization than male perspectives. The genetically (directly by genes in Y chromosome) and hormonal determined anatomic and functional differences between male and female brains are significant and lead to different ways of approaching social and physical environments.
Generally, men are more dogmatic, logically consequent and legalistic, women more pragmatic and socially conscious. Men may look at a potential action in narrowly goal-oriented ways; women tend to simultaneously consider consequences for families and the whole population. Men tend to be more inconsiderate in competitive behaviors while women tend to be more concerned with creating and maintaining good relationships. Men are more likely to consider major physical violence, including wars, than women. In competition and hostilities, women tend to be more mentally cruel than physically violent. However, there is considerable adaptability of mental functions. In patriarchal cultures, women have often participated in pursuing men’s cruel goals, some worst examples include female genital mutilations, mothers participating in abuses and executions of by rape dishonored girls and women ‘breaking’ young girls to become enslaved prostitutes; many women still believe husbands have a right to savagely beat them and their children. Many women politicians and administrators have adapted to ways of their male colleagues, which may not feel natural to them and often appear inferior to more “feminine” approaches.
Scientists should participate in government functions as consultants, but they should never consider themselves or be treated as being on a higher level than ethics committees, since scientific expertise does not necessarily increase a person’s wisdom or ethical standards.
Reasons for provisions to utilize outsiders in government functions are: Inefficient, wasteful, unethical, even cruel traditions and practices are usually condoned and perceived as “normal” by local people, and local candidates are part of local groups with their specific biases and inherent conflicts of interests. Federal positions may also be filled by university professors who work temporarily part-time in that capital’s university (many executive positions are not full-time work and may not require that the person lives all year in the country or region that offers the position).
Community level: In the majority of the world’s countries, particularly in the Third World (in most former colonies and where a dictator was disposed), there is hardly adequate free journalism and literacy to allow a meaningful direct democracy. Instead of all inhabitants voting, communities of homogenous populations may elect or designate two representatives, one male and one female, that are widely respected and trusted, for one year; these representatives may be reelected without limits. If communities are quite heterogeneous, they may be broken down into 6 to 10 districts representing subgroups or parties, each having public meetings and electing a male and female representative.
The goal is that all places are represented and have persons who can serve as intermediary between governments and the people. These community representatives elect people for the governmental positions with administrative, legislative and executive functions, and they may be elected themselves.
In areas with adequate education and free, broadly accessible media, community inhabitants may determine if they wish to be represented by 6-10 representatives or have a direct democracy may allow essentially all community inhabitants to vote; however, voting is limited by age and mentally retarded or demented persons and some other groups must be represented by specified responsible adults. People without adequate knowledge of individual candidates are advised to vote for the party that best represents their values and views and party votes go to the candidates of that party with the most votes. Individuals may allow others to represent them, however no person may represent more than a few individuals (as specified at the community level).
On a district level, each community has one vote: if the community has two representatives, each has 1/2, if 8 representatives, each has 1/8 vote.
The constitution leaves much freedom as to how communities and districts are organized and governed but principles of ethics must be recognized and followed.
Parties are groups of voters who represent viewpoints that generally at least 10% of the population considers relevant. Parties may start as wings of existing parties but become independent when reaching a certain fraction of the population. Generally, districts are expected to have up to seven parties who do not form firm blocks but can align with any other party depending on the issue.
The agency for elections and referenda works largely like an executive committee; it includes members from all regions. This agency organizes elections and referenda and is also responsible for the ways citizens are informed about issues, parties and candidates; it may censor and/or add comments to private political announcements that are untrue or misleading and/or create associations that are not directly relevant and/or try to influence policies in support of corporations and special interest groups. It may determine who may vote: for specific elections and referenda, there may be a decision to allow only a specific segment of the population to vote, for instance women in referenda on women’s issues. It generally sets educational requirements for candidates such as courses in ethics, economics, cultural issues, human nature, etc.
22.214.171.124 Largely independent government agencies include:
– The central (federal) bank that creates the money supply and regulates financial institutions.
– The agency for elections and referenda (see above).
– The agency for ethics.
The federal government creates and manages the money supply, regulates financial institutions and establishes a system of taxation; it is responsible to guide economic activities and developments with support, regulations and targeted measures, including incentives that lead the economy towards improving the quality of life of all people and to protecting the environment.
However, local governments may also establish a local, not internationally tradable money supply (for instance to stimulate economic activities in agricultural areas and reduce the flow of money to the cities); and they may add or vary taxations as incentives or disincentives.
Other economic functions of governments include:
– The government has the responsibility to guide economic activities and developments with regulations, support and targeted measures, with incentives that lead the economy to improve the quality of life of all people and to protect the environment and disincentives (taxes) to discourage harmful or wasteful economic activities.
– The government has to foster and possibly support decentralized economic entities that are adapted to local conditions and needs.
– The government fulfills a role of stewardship and may regulate the judicious use of natural resources including water, minerals and fossil fuels, and the preservation of fossils, rare human artifacts and historic sites.
The agency for ethics, mostly works through local committees. They fulfill the function of legal system and law enforcement, they establish and coordinate preventive measures, and they monitoring governmental and private agencies.
Transgressions of ethics by individuals are not punished but must lead to corrective actions, particularly therapeutic approaches and mediation, restitution to victims as feasible (usually mostly symbolic), and preventive measures. Disincentives may include fines and required community work. Safe treatment may require long-term residential or camp settings that include the teaching of cooperation and compassionate empathy. Unethical behaviors of persons as professionals, employers, employees or government officials are primarily addressed through peer supervision with peers having enough distance to be objective and feeling free to criticize wrongdoing. The regional or federal government agency for ethics and its committees may intervene if there is indication that peer supervision or local interventions fail.
126.96.36.199 Organizing and maintaining vital systems of the civilization:
The federal government, working with local governments and private institutions, takes responsibility to establish, organize and maintain the vital systems of the civilization, particularly education, healthcare and infrastructure, including utilities and transportation. Otherwise, the federal government has more coordinating and mediating than powerful executive functions. Federal and regional governments share the responsibility for a safety net and they function as employer of last resort.
An army serves exclusively for peacekeeping missions and disaster relief.
Governments must work with academic consultants in all areas of government responsibilities, and scientists are encouraged to serve in government positions.
While clans and ethnic or religious-cultural groups may be important for people’s sense of identity, parties, representatives and executive committees must never represent the interests and biases of specific groups, such as clans, religious groups, ethnic and other local cultural groups, professional organizations, etc.
Parties serve to maintain awareness of special conditions and needs of groups. They must not seek advantages or preferential treatment of groups.
All government bodies and particularly executive committees must be secular. They are formed of a broad mix of different people, and, except in parliaments that have a chamber of women and a chamber of men representatives, both sexes have to be represented in all government bodies and agencies. All representatives and government bodies must work for the whole regions and country rather than primarily for interests of their electorate; they are to follow highest international standards of ethics and relevant sciences.
Resources are to a significant degree distributed according to needs. For example, rural, thinly populated areas need relatively high investments for infrastructure, but people may agree that depopulation trends are not desirable; some population groups with high diabetes rates need much more health care resources and disproportionately large investments in prevention efforts are advised.
The agency for ethics oversees all government activities. It serves mainly in an advisory, educational role, but it has the authority and obligation to veto decisions that violates ethics.
188.8.131.52 Specific proposals and directives:
Improving system of referenda and elections:
It is expected that usually a multi-party system develops, with many candidates and possibly many equal positions, as in case of representatives in a chamber of parliament.
• In elections, voters must ‘grade’ and rank all candidates as A, B, C (very good, good, acceptable), D (no opinion, unknown or questionably acceptable), F (not qualified for position, unacceptable), W (worst, likely harmful or dangerous if elected). Within ‘grades’, candidates are ranked as A1, A2, etc. A computerized system assigns numbers, e.g. A1, A2 and A3 receiving 93, 90 and 87; B candidates receive 77-83; C 62-68; D 47-53; F 27-33; W 7-13. To be elected, candidates must have high average numbers with less than half the population considering them unqualified and few considering them worst/dangerous.
In referenda in which voters choose between different possibilities or options, a similar system is used.
• When voting on a numeric amount such as a budget item, every voter gives a number; the median is the result (half voted higher, half lower).
• For complex decisions (for instance voting on rates of taxation and prioritizing budget items), either only community representatives or, alternately, a representative sample of the people may be selected and paid to study and discuss data before seeking consensus or voting.
Improving democratic functions:
– Cooperating groups with a required number of supporters may compel referenda to be voted on by the population or community representatives (or a representative sample of the people). Referenda may deal with people’s priorities, cultural preferences or artistic tastes, possibly interpretation of scientific data that differs from politicians’ predominant view, but not diverging from principal goals of global ethics and broadly accepted scientific understandings. Generally, preferences of a cultural or ethnic majority must not force their ways on minorities, unless minorities maintain unethical traditions such as suppression of women and girls, refusal of science-based treatment of illness and pain relief, cruel or health damaging forms of initiation, cruel ways of treating and/or killing animals, etc. Governmental agencies must work out compromises that are acceptable to all population groups, except for ‘dissidents’ that are apparently emotionally imbalanced such as people with fundamentalist religious, racist or supremacist views or by abuse-addiction disorders influenced priorities.
– People who lobby must represent groups other than their own; goals must be derived from social concerns and consciousness; there must not be conflicts between their goals as lobbyists and private gain. Paid lobbying is not allowed, except that social concerns’ groups may pay lobbying representatives’ expenses and replace some of their lost income, or employers may allow individuals to see government representatives during paid work hours.
– There are educational requirements for candidates and continuing education for all public officials (focusing on ethics and a basic understanding of human nature and cultural influences, on economic processes, ecology, etc.).
Improving economic functions:
– The central (federal) bank must provide an adequate functional, circulating money supply which does not depend much on loans and credit from financial institutions. The individuals, businesses and institutions must own most of the money they are working with; for most interactions, they should not have to borrow money from financial institutions. The federal bank works mostly through decentralized development banks. Private banks and financial institutions are highly regulated.
– Issuing money directly into the circulating money supply strengthens conservative, conventional bank functions: people can save while borrowing mainly to buy homes; enterprises mostly invest their own profits, borrow some to expand and to improve products and production processes, and may sell stock to people who work in or are directly involved with the enterprise.
– Governments may provide some services traditionally provided by financial institutions, mainly to accept short- and long-term savings and retirement accounts. Such savings are comparable to government bonds and they are used for public works; retirement funds are invested mainly for education of the younger generation and for maintenance of infrastructures and other work that serve communities for the future.
– Local governments may issue local currencies as complementary money supply to stimulate local production and local trade.
– The system of taxation creates incentives to move towards goals that are broadly perceived as positive. There are no income taxes; to collect revenue and positively influence economic developments, consumption/sales taxes and certain property taxes are assessed, with rates of taxation reflecting goals of the civilization (highly taxing luxuries, unhealthy and ecologically undesirable products to discourage their use/consumption, e.g. encouraging mostly vegetarian eating habits).
The economic system’s goals are developments that improve people’s quality of life with no marginalized people. It includes conserving and/or restoring natural environments as feasible because of its beauty, to maintain natural balances of ecosystems and for the benefit of future generations. A likely goal is that half of all land is maintained in or returned to a natural state, as recommended by Edward O. Wilson,
4.0.3 Human rights and laws last edited 2/2015, 11/2016, 9/2018
Until recently, there has been widespread open and hidden slavery, colonialism with disenfranchised and exploited populations, and severe discrimination of groups within most developed and rapidly developing nations. Thus modern political, social and legal thinking largely remain focused on the elusive terms ‘equality,’ ‘justice’ and ‘freedom’ as they were understood by 18th century thinkers; the broad mistreatments and misunderstanding of women and women’s special needs are still not adequately recognized.
The United Nations document on the universal declaration of human rights, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948, is very valuable but it is still largely based on those values. Only article 25 (2) refers to special needs of mothers and children. Formulations meant to outlaw forms of discrimination are formulated as if there was agreement that all people are ‘equal,’ essentially rational, having a conscience that is based on globally acknowledged morals and having very similar emotional and physical needs.
Treating two different people in the same way leads to very different results. Inherent temperaments, early cultural learning and many other environmental factors shape people’s thinking, emotions and behaviors. Girls are different from boys; they have different inclinations, vulnerabilities and needs for protection. Young women benefit from special considerations regarding opportunities to develop many of their potentials while possibly becoming and/or being mothers. Boys must be taught compassionate empathy and they must be taught to comply with ethics and societal rules in ways usually much less required for girls. When in groups, people, particularly males, often encourage extreme positions, e.g. men who aggregate to drink and talk about politics are likely to share more misconceptions and biases than educating each other. In groups, individuals’ inclination to be compassionate and empathetic is often suppressed.
People go through stages in which they may not want to participate in a democratic process and they should be discouraged to vote without studying options. Many people have emotional and/or intellectual weaknesses that preclude higher education and/or a meaningful right to vote, much less serve in governmental functions. Consequently, democratic processes may need more safeguards and adjustments than a rule of ‘one person – one vote.’
The issue of cruel practices and the condoning of many forms of abuse within cultures, subcultures and families may not have been adequately addressed even in highly industrialized countries. There is significant preventive value in the teaching of broad empathy and other aspects of ethics in the context of school education, games and entertainment. Adolescents must work on establishing an ethical personal culture. Protecting children from major abuse and addressing abuse experiences in therapy also helps prevent abuse in future generations.
Ethics transgressions may be dealt with in a peaceful way as, for instance, practiced by the Amish. In most situation, discussing conflicts may lead to a sense of resolution between victims’ and perpetrators’ families, if it includes making some reasonable amends and forgiving with an understanding that the whole community that raised the perpetrator failed. Human rights are advanced by avoiding punishments that vindicate wrongdoing.