I’ve been thinking a lot of these things since the early 90s:

I’m obviously not the only one. This is salutary.

I think there needs to be more than just this. I think we need to rein in corporations to the point where they’re in service to human beings. I think it should be illegal to run a company where a percentage share of the profit, and of the responsibility, goes to every employee. Maybe not a huge percentage, but a percentage. We like the idea of democracy: it’s time to apply it to corporate structure, too — that is, to make it an absolute condition of incorporation that corporations follow this structure — not just the votes of shareholders, but also the votes of all participants in the company. And I know whose votes should count for more.

And guess what? It’d probably wake us up to political participation again. So it’s going to be a hard fight to get that through. But it should be done.

Then again, I think the notion of solely for-profit corporations is monstrous. (Companies, like people, should not exist solely for profit. They shouldn’t have to pretend social responsibility — they should actually have social responsibilities, and serious consequences for not carrying them out.)

And, likewise, we should abandon the idea of democracy-as-voted-temporary-pseudo-monarchy, replacing it with democracy as an opt-in life paradigm. You can be a fiscal conservative or even a libertarian; you will be tax free and social safety network-denied for the next ten years. Or you can be a hybrid economy/socialist-type; opt-in and pay taxes and get benefits for the next ten years. Other systems can be devised, too.

Opt in, get whatever benefits you believe. Let political systems compete on the open political market, the way companies do.

But we like to pretend we’ve reached an endpoint of political and economic development. So did those folks in the Middle Ages.

They were wrong.

2 thoughts on “Movetoamend

  1. Ian of course on facebook, about how he won’t believe a corporation is a person until it is executed in Texas. What social responsibilities will corporations haves?

    I think I’d like your to write a story about democracy as a life paradigm to flesh that idea out. Right now it feels too good to be true. Our opt-in-ecoomic paradigms would certainly be monetary choices that could discourage corruption of capitalists not wanting to pay taxes. It certainly works in efficiency. However would their be a social benefit to it, beyond money? I hope it probably would if people are financially stabile enough to be build communities again. However, that would be changing the technologies we ahve to foster communities again that exist in person rather than over the internet. What would it mean to the system? And what would happen if corporations had social responsibilities? Would our society collapse if corporations could no longer make a profit that involves the extraction of reources which historically in civilizations has always been exploitative.

  2. Greg,

    Not sure I understand a lot of that — there are a lot of typos and malapropisms — but I probably will work these ideas into something or other. I’m not sure what, but I’m certainly not the first SF writer to think of next-gen poltical systems where different ideological associations crop up and coexist. Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age is one example, though it’s mainly about (steampunky, neo-Victorian) style in that book.

    My sense is that there would be benefits beyond money, but those would develop organically over time. I don’t think society would need to collapse, though sketching out how and why that is the case would require much more space than a mere blog comment allows. In the end, though, the point is to apply an actually democratic structure and understanding to business and economics, as well as to politics. We have, sadly, made very little in the way of progress in either of those areas, and are stuck with a conception of democracy mostly as temporary monarch-selection, albeit with somewhat (in certain ways) hobbled monarchs. It’s progress, but only a step… we can do better.

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