Democracy 2.0

A simple, legal way to put power in the hands of the people.

Tag: decentralize

Using adhocracy.de

There is finally some useful decentralized decision making software! Naturally, it was made in Germany. While it has been around for a while, but only recently has it been translated enough for the average American to make use of it. It doesn’t have many of the proposed integrated features of the democracy 2.0 system but it’s the best we got right now. Identity verification could potentially be accomplished by providing a social network page and a voter registry page with corresponding data. There’s still not a whole lot of people (almost zero Americans) using adhocracy and I think that’s partially because the tutorial they provide is not super helpful. So I made one. Here we go:

Click the green button!

This is the first screen you should see on adhocracy.de

Fill out your information and create an account

Fill out your information and create an account

Log in

Log in

Some things are still in German however

Change your settings to English

You need to create an instance for your community if it doesn't already exist

You need to create an instance for your community if it doesn’t already exist

I chose the city of Carrboro, but this can be any organization of individuals

Continue setting up your community

Access the instance of your community

Access the instance of your community

Create a new proposal for your community. You don't have to follow the format outlined in the D-2.0 patent, but it might be easier to deal with larger community if proposals are more standardized.

Create a new proposal for your community. You don’t have to follow the format outlined in the D-2.0 patent, but it might be easier to deal with larger community if proposals are more standardized.

Fill out all necessary fields for your proposal.

Fill out all necessary fields for your proposal.

View, edit, and vote for proposals made by you and other community members.

View, edit, and vote for proposals made by you and other community members.

Get others to join your community or become a member of a community started by someone else.

Get others to join your community or become a member of a community started by someone else.

Finalize becoming a member of an existing community.

Finalize becoming a member of an existing community.

That’s all for today! There will be more posts later detailing the advanced intricacies of adhocracy. But that should be enough help to get you started. And please, if you still need help with this, don’t be shy about contacting me!

Explaining Democracy 2.0 to Authoritarians

Authoritarianism is a form of government in which a small group of people makes all the decisions in society. There is no accountability to the people they rule over, and there is no constitution or set of rules these leaders must abide by. It might initially seem like authoritarianism and democracy 2.0 are completely incompatible, but remember: democracy 2.0 is a decision making system, not a form of social organization in and of itself (although it can be). It’s entirely possible for a group to make the decision to relinquish all power to a small group of politicians (or even a single individual). Look at how much power we’ve already let Obama have! Philosopher kings haven’t existed in the past but who’s to say they won’t in the future in the form of artificial intelligence? And let’s not forget that many adults really don’t want to have any responsibility or control over their environment. It’s certainly easier to live that way. I think it’s extremely likely that at least some portion of humanity would actually prefer authoritarian societal organization, although I personally would not.

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how authoritarians would implement their ideal society from the existing system using democracy 2.0. First, individuals running on the D-2.0 platform must be elected to the majority of political offices. These individuals must at least initially abide by the results of D-2.0 voting. They aren’t authoritarian at this point. The particular individuals representing democracy 2.0 don’t even have to even be authoritarians. Once democracy 2.0 is securely in place and influencing most of the state, the authoritarian individuals (who are also citizens in society) can propose legislation that eliminates the constitution, eliminates voting rights, and appoints authoritarian leaders to positions of power. Of course, the constituency would have to pass these bills in the D-2.0 system, but if they did they would no longer be able to vote in new representatives. The democracy 2.0 system would still exist and the authoritarian leaders could even utilize it to make decisions, but those leaders would no longer have accountability to the people they rule over. The only way to change the system peacefully now would be if the leaders relinquish power and set up a new system that allows for society to have control over what happens to itself, although this is unlikely to happen.

Democracy 2.0 can be used to do anything theoretically, even allow citizens to remove the rights they already have. Our government already does this. The supreme court removed the right of states to secede from the union, something actually guaranteed in the US Constitution. Technically there’s nothing stopping elected politicians right now from passing authoritarian bills, and they do. We should have the ability to take away our own rights! Keep in mind that there are plenty of examples where taking away rights doesn’t solely harm the citizenry. Although it’s a divisive issue, many citizens want to take away your right to own guns. Almost everyone agrees that children should not have the right to have sex with older people.

I leave you with a comical criticism of authoritarianism:

By authoritarian, this comic is referring to the existing US federal government

Remind you of anyone you know?

What does a politician do?

A criticism I have heard a lot about this democracy 2.0 idea is in defense of politicians. The criticizers claim that politicians are good at one thing, decision making, therefore they should be allowed to make decisions for the community. They cite Giuliani’s successful reduction of crime in NYC, Lincoln and more than half of Congress at his time outlawing slavery against the common people’s wishes, and FDR saving America in the thirties. They claim that not all politician’s are going to be good, but that’s no reason to give decision making power to the retarded common folk who gorge themselves on fast-food, reality TV, and are barely literate. They claim that important stuff happens in Congress or even in their mayor’s office. There are meetings and the kind-hearted politicians persevere in order to protect their constituents from their power-hungry, villainous colleagues.

People seem to have a pretty vague idea of what politicians do after they win the campaign battle/race. Most of politics these days consists of running and getting re-elected. The people who donate campaign money will influence you the most. When was the last time you actually sat down and read through the public records you are provided with? It looks intimidating with all of the unnecessary legal jargon, but it’s really not that difficult to get through. I’m going to save you the trouble, but please, go ahead and look through these minutes yourselves.

I’m not going to post the highlights and try to cover up the good things politicians do. I’m just going to give a general sampling of the minutes from 2-26-2013 for Carrboro, NC:

-MODIFICATION OF AGREEMENT WITH EL CENTRO HISPANO FOR COMMUNITY OUTREACH SERVICES (increasing the amount of money given to a community outreach program)
-CONDITIONAL USE DISTRICT REZONING/CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FOR 201 NORTH GREENSBORO STREET (permitting a construction company to build a two story building at a particular address)
-PUBLIC HEARING TO AMEND STORMWATER VOLUME CONTROL PROVISIONS OF THE LAND USE ORDINANCE (changing the legally allowed amount of stormwater runoff allowed on a property in order to prevent erosion)

Here’s a sampling of the executive orders and proclamations executed by the current governor of North Carolina:

SAFE DIGGING MONTH (the month of April 2013 is officially recognized as “safe digging month”)
TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT SERVICE
(state departments and agencies must begin using the state-run temp agency instead of third party temp agencies to employ temporary workers)
DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY (state and local government agencies must obey the plan outlined in the NC Emergency Operations plan, stores cannot jack up their prices in a declared emergency area, and a secretary must obtain from the US government reimbursement for executing the NC Emergency Operations plan)

Here’s a sampling of the bills being proposed in the senate:

STOP ONLINE AMMUNITION SALES ACT OF 2013 (make it a criminal offense to sell ammo online; no punishment is specified)
PANDEMIC AND ALL-HAZARDS PREPAREDNESS RE-AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013 (outlining the duties of the assistant secretary for emergency preparedness and response, outlining measures to improve bio-security, outlining the distribution of medical supplies in the case of a bio-emergency, and outlining plans to accelerate advanced medical research and development for countermeasures; it’s important to note that while there is some detailed information as to what to do in this bill, for the most part the specific products and procedures that are to be used will be explained by medical professionals at a later date)
HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF BILL (increase the amount of tax-payer money in the National Flood Insurance fund by 10 billion USD)
RESPONSIBLE HELIUM ADMINISTRATION AND STEWARDSHIP ACT (amend the Helium Act to complete the privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a competitive market fashion that ensures stability in the helium markets while protecting the interests of American taxpayers)

As you can see, some of this stuff is complicated, some of this stuff is not. In the democracy 2.0 system the complicated stuff would be explained by knowledgeable individuals and presumably the citizens proposing the legislation. Few will vote for what they don’t understand. For the really boring stuff, people will have to explain why voting on their boring legislation is necessary. Politician’s are just people, and most of them don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re just rich and charismatic. Why do they deserve power? Again, please consider going through your government’s legislation. Endure through the ridiculous legal jargon. It’s mostly reasonable stuff that anyone would agree with. You deserve to have a say in what happens with your money in the place where you live.

Legal precedent for the police state

This is pretty old news, but last month a New York congressman proposed a bill abolishing term limits for the government position of president. It might be a little hard to believe, so here’s the bill itself. This is a reintroduction of a bill proposed two years ago that did the same exact thing. Throughout the 90s this happened several other times. One of these bills will go through eventually.

Obama is passing (I guess the correct term here though would be forcing?) executive orders left and right that effectively strengthen the dictatorial powers granted to him by his predecessors (mainly JFK). Now his buddy in congress is trying to give him to power to remain president indefinitely, clearly because Obama himself could not propose a bill like this without being impeached. The reason for all these executive orders is preparation for war. This includes World War III as well as Civil War 2.0. The people with power want to have the legal precedent to prevent any group from taking their power. This is (one of the many reasons) why violent revolution would fail. Having legal precedent makes actions morally right in the eyes of many, regardless of what those actions are.

But let’s get real: these executive orders are nowhere close to the scariest legislation passed. NDAA 2013 is worse than many of these executive orders for the simple fact that it gives the government the freedom to kill or imprison people without trial. Obama didn’t even need to pass an executive order for that: it got through congress no problem. It’s generally accepted that US citizens no longer have their first, second, fourth, eighth, ninth, and tenth amendment rights. It seems that the people with decision-making power right now do not have the best interests of the people they claim to represent at heart. It’s time to do something. It’s time to hack democracy and take back what should have been ours to begin with.

PS: A while back there was a list of “tyrannical executive orders” Obama had passed circulating the internet. Type “obamas worst executive orders” into google to see what I mean. While still scary, these were not signed by Obama but rather JFK, Ford, and Johnson during the Cold War. Get your facts straight people, otherwise no one will take you seriously. There’s enough real scary shit going on right now that no one should have to embellish the truth to get people’s attention anyway.

Why Hacking Democracy has mass appeal

People are clearly frustrated with the existing system. Sure, many are placated with smartphones, a non-stop stream of addictive media, and freely available drugs but the number of people who are starting to question societal structure is increasing exponentially as existing governments consolidate their power. Just look at your facebook feed. Anyone who followed the 2012 election period is well aware that the existing system is pretty much a farce at this point. Republicans were claiming women couldn’t be raped and democrats are defending the Obama administration selling guns to Mexican drug cartels.

The economic crash of 2008, and the subsequent bailout of “too big to fail” banks is what set off many people questioning the status quo. Obama’s first presidential term proved to the world that it was possible to have a president worse than Bush. This shook up the few paying attention even more. The technology motivated, Arab Spring was the first clear expression of this growing tide of dissent. Then Occupy Wall Street. Now there’s riots in Egypt again. It’s gotten to the point where many die-hard liberals have started questioning societal structure. Die-hard conservatives aren’t even really taken seriously anymore. The congressional approval rating is at an all-time low, and for good reason. Congress keeps putting off resolving the budget crisis due to partisan politics, while bills that strip US citizens of our rights get passed unanimously. All news media and many top government officials worldwide seem pretty certain World War III is imminent. No wants a war though other than power-hungry politicians and corporations that are part of the military industrial complex.

People want a solution to the cancerous system taking over the planet but don’t know how to direct their energy, or their votes. Most rational people think that public servants should serve the public, not the other way around. Democracy 2.0 is an elegant solution anyone can wrap their head around. There’s little risk, as nothing about democracy 2.0 is illegal, difficult, or dangerous. It’s just a more efficient version of the system we claim to have that utilizes a ubiquitous technology roughly a third of the entire world (including children and tribal societies) have access to.

Probably the best part about democracy 2.0, is that other than the elected representative, no one has to even leave their house to participate in this plan. Posting links, drafting legislation, and upvoting good ideas can all be done from the safety of your own home. This is even easier than peaceful protest, let alone violent protest. Democracy 2.0 is the first revolution that actually appeals to people’s laziness. For the first time, “liking this post” will actually have a tangible effect on society.

Another revolutionary component of democracy 2.0 is that it integrates completely with the existing system. For instance, a strategy that can be implemented for the acquisition of mainstream support is getting the D-2.0 representative to run as a democrat or republican. Many people don’t vote for a third party out of fear that the “enemy party” will win the election. There’s no reason why a D-2.0 representative shouldn’t run as a member of the two-party system. People who can’t see past the two-party system will vote for the D-2.0 rep so the other “team” doesn’t win the election and because they think it will maintain the status quo. Hopefully they will also see the D-2.0 rep, accurately, as a democrat/republican who has a closer tie to his constituents than any preceding politician. Why would anyone in their right mind not want that? Every politician in history claims to know what his constituents want. For the D-2.0 rep this would be literally true. Unlike the failed direct democracy party of Australia, any citizen can participate in this system, not merely members of an obscure minor party. Democracy 2.0 is the first revolution your complacent parents can get behind.

And don’t forget that anyone can use the D-2.0 system. Once democracy 2..0 gains enough momentum, citizens can begin publicly pressuring politicians to use this system in conjunction with traditional legislation methods. Instead of interns in the Obama administration providing “official” responses to some petitions, Obama himself could propose legislation using this system and connect more directly with the people who elected him. Why shouldn’t our leaders have some accountability? Why should our government be hiding the legislation they want to pass from the people? Why should it refuse input from any citizen? If our existing leaders have any credibility and good ideas, the D-2.0 system would actually give them more power. Keep in mind that the D-2.0 system gives power to popular, useful ideas, not individuals. There’s no reason why our existing representatives couldn’t be full of good ideas. But the truth is, they probably don’t have many more good ideas for improving society than the average citizen. Wearing a suit doesn’t make you smarter, it just makes you look smarter.

Democracy 2.0 will also appeal to the many individuals who think they know the best way to run society. D-2.0 gives everyone the freedom to change the existing system to something better. Don’t like taxation? It can be removed and a crowdfunding system can be used in it’s place to fund specific government projects. Don’t like being part of the United States? Now you can secede if you get enough support. Want to ban all weapons or give every man, woman, and child mandatory firearm training? Either way, it’s quite possible using D-2.0, unlike the current system that has so much red-tape and bureaucracy many politicians have difficulty navigating it.

Everyone gets a little power instead of a few having all of it. Decentralized systems work. Decentralized leadership will happen. And it all starts with posting links from the comfort of your office chair.

It Works for Valve

Valve is a wildly successful PC game company. They use a version of the democracy 2.0 system in their business model. Here’s a paraphrased excerpt from the Valve employee handbook:

Welcome to Flatland

Hierarchy is great for maintaining predictability and repeatability. It simplifies planning and makes it easier to control a large group of people from the top down, which is why military organizations rely on it so heavily.

But when you’re an organization that’s spent the last decade going out of its way to recruit the most intelligent, innovative, talented people on Earth, telling them to sit at a desk and do what they’re told obliterates 99 percent of their value. We want innovators, and that means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish.

That’s why Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to steer—toward opportunities and away from risks. You have the power to green-light projects. You have the power to ship products.

A flat structure removes every organizational barrier between your plan and the customer enjoying that plan.Every company will tell you that “the customer is boss,” but here that statement has weight. There’s no red tape stopping you from figuring out for yourself what our customers want, and then giving it to them.

Below is a set of graphs demonstrating how Valve and the direct democracy system work. You can read the full text of the Valve employee handbook here. If this sounds reasonable to you, join the movement. We want to implement Valve’s system in society. It works extremely well for Valve, and almost anything is better than the bloated, stagnant, immature system we have today. Hacking democracy is the first non-violent way to actually alter the course of society. Hunger strikes and occupation might have worked in the past, but no longer.

Flatland map

Problems

1) As silly as it is to type this out, the biggest problem with digital direct democracy would be that old people don’t trust the internet. We want everyone to have a say in society, but they won’t know how to use this technology and will use their current control over society to suppress this system. Even worse, the people with a lot of power may try more violent tactics to suppress this system if it grows too powerful. This is the point where we must hope the police and military stand down. It’s not like anyone can suppress a truly good idea anyway.

2) The second biggest problem is probably people not quite understanding how the system works. Everyone fears what they don’t understand. Hopefully the FAQ will answer any questions people have. If there are any others, please leave them in the comments. The most important concept to remember is that D-2.0 is a tool to decentralize decision-making power to entire communities, not a new government in and of itself.

3) As for people gaming the system, that’s always going to happen. Fortunately D-2.0 counteracts this by firmly giving control of each piece of legislation to its creator while still allowing others to edit and comment on edits. Then it firmly gives control over whether or not to pass the legislation to everyone who cares enough about the issue at hand to vote. There are no middlemen, no wealthy lobbyists. Just people and their ideas. I think it will be pretty difficult to game a transparent system where emotion can be completely removed from the conversation.

4) It’s sad, but another possibility is that no one steps up to the plate. No one fixes society’s problems and entropy transforms our place into a wasteland. I doubt this will happen, especially if you can do it in the comfort of your own home, but it’s still a possibility. Then I guess we really deserve whatever fate we are given by stronger people, or whatever the puppet leader decides to do. It’s important to remember that D-2.0 is flexible. It can be used by anyone alive who claims to be a citizen of a given place, including current leaders. In fact, it could help them do their job more efficiently. Or it can be used by small, tight-knit communities. When it is demonstrated to work in small communities, D-2.0 can be used with larger and larger states until the world is unified, and divided, in the manner most people so chooses.

What is the best way to govern?

This question has been asked time and time again throughout history, but let’s just start with what our founding fathers said about it. They wanted a government for the people by the people. They wanted the ability to amend and constantly rectify their laws. They wanted a democracy in which votes are used to determine the best choice of action, but they only considered wealthy white, male landowners to be capable of making intelligent decisions. They wanted congressmen to be elected to represent the interests of all the people who had no time for politics. Why did they need congressmen to represent the people, even the small amount of official citizens they had? Because it was logistically impossible to hear from every citizen, amass a huge database of their preferences, and respond accordingly. Entities in the US government now have that capability, but they’re using it to spy on their own citizens. And even without the Utah data center, these problems are easily solvable with instantaneous global communication and a couple of servers. In fact, it could start as a subreddit.

We know what politics looks like nowadays. A bunch of people in suits arguing. Talking heads. Talking points. People making “power plays.” Politicians with warchests of money. Attack ads. Alliances. This is not government. There’s no governing involved here. There is a childish game being played called politics. As strange as it may sound, we need politics out of government. When people say they want “money out of politics” they mean they want bribery out of government. This of course is not what our forefathers intended, nor what the majority of society wants: individuals with the most money controlling all of society. Direct digital democracy takes the power away from the rich and gives it to everyone participating in the system. The rich still have wealth, but they can’t control an entire community using bribes nearly as easily as they can now. Furthermore, there is no time or energy wasted running election campaigns. People with good ideas can immediately get them realized without needing to be charismatic or rich. All anyone needs is an internet connection and a computer.

Inject crowdsourcing into the bottom of the pyramid

With D-2.0, all of these organizations still exist, but society does the governing of society instead of these wealthy institutions

Once society is run using D-2.0, communities can begin experimenting with different governing systems. D-2.0 is not a utopian system in and of itself. It does however allow decision making to be more fluid by putting decision-making ability in the hands of society. If you are familiar with thermodynamics, you probably are aware of the phenomenon known as diffusion. Diffusion is the random movement of particles in a system that causes that system to naturally reach an entropically favorable state, without the input of any additional energy. In order for diffusion to occur, one must remove barriers that keep particles in a given system. Diffusion isn’t just for thermodynamics though. A bee randomly “diffuses” through its environment to locate flowers. It doesn’t matter what direction it moves in; the longer it diffuses through its environment, the higher the likelihood that it will find what it wants. If you contained the bee in a small environment, there’s a low chance that it will find the flower it needs. In a similar vein, imagine civilization is the bee. The movements the bee makes in search of the flower correlates to the legislation civilization passes in search of utopia. By removing the barriers to creating laws, civilization will eventually diffuse into utopia. Keep in mind that legislation that benefits one society by no means is the silver bullet that benefits all societies. We need to have the freedom to choose how we want to be governed.

Different laws work for different groups of people. The title of this post is a trick question: there is no one best way to govern. D-2.0 isn’t a government system so much as a way for society to create and agree on its own laws. It can be used in any existing government where leaders are elected or even appointed. All the “leader” has to do is pledge to execute any legislation passed via D-2.0 in the existing system. If this decision-making technique proves to be useful, it will spread naturally. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be used in the first place.

Look around.

OWS. The Black Bloc. Clampdown on internet freedoms. Indian and muslim women speaking out against their oppressors. Every country with military is flexing their might heavily right now. Deutschland is demanding its gold back from the Federal Reserve. Alternatives to the Petrodollar exist. The passing of NDAA 2012 and 2013. The legalization of marijuana in America. A military suicide rate of at least a soldier per day. An unemployed percentage of 40%. Drone strikes. A god-damned The Punisher style superhero in real life.

There’s an exponentially rising tide of unrest worldwide. Ask any expert in societal structure or any average person on the street and they’ll tell you: the existing system is simply not sustainable. The writing is on the wall: something will give and a global revolution, whether fascist, anarchist, communist, or something else, is about to unfold. Democracy 2.0 is that something else. This idea is basically open-source legislation + internet voting tied to physical identity = democracy 2.0. This is done by decentralizing decision-making power to everyone the community who is willing to be held accountable by providing their physical location and real identity, something we all do for the existing government anyway.

This means there are no leaders in hacked democracy. Then who makes decisions? Every citizen in the state entity that votes. Then who makes the legislation that we vote on? Any citizen in the state entity that wants to. Then who does all the physical tasks like city maintenance? We pass legislation to privatize the whole thing. Using the democracy 2.0 system, we can use the system we were born into by electing new leaders that are part of the D-2.0 system. I like to call this “democracy 2.0” because we it’s the next logical progression in how humans govern themselves.

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