Discover more from Panocracy
Thomas Kuhn introduced the idea of a paradigm shift in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Wordnik defines a paradigm as “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.”
The paradigm of our western liberal democracies is that the government is a set of individuals of impeccable reputation and integrity who are elected by the citizenry to represent their interests in all its affairs. As I pointed out in Panocracy 1 this ideal is unrealistic and anyway, we've strayed a long way from it. Our interests are only represented on the rare occasions when they coincide with those of the elite.
Our job here is not to dwell on our current woes – lots of people are doing that and very good they are at it, too!
The Current Paradigm
Let’s look at what happens now.
Every so often (depending on where you live) and with grave solemnity, pomp and circumstance, an election is called by the great and the good. You are reminded about how lucky you are to be able to cast your vote and that your freedom and that of your nation depends critically upon it. In a sense this claim is true, just not in the way most people interpret it.
The candidates are usually sponsored by one or other of the main political parties so you find yourself with a choice from a few hopefuls most of whom you haven't even heard of. These wishy-washy wannabees have been chosen precisely because they will do their Party's bidding without even being told. This is the price they pay for the sponsorship of the Party and the price you pay for the convenience of being represented.
The mudslinging that is modern politics begins and each side produces a manifesto with a promise-fest and entirely fictitious costings. There are photo opportunities to be grabbed, and public sparring matches to be held where each candidate shows how skilful they are at selling themselves.
Come the big day, you troop along to the polling booth and mark your X against the candidate whose political biases you think lie closest to yours. Because you sort of feel it's the right thing to do, like putting money in the charity box. It makes you feel a little better about yourself.
Whatever happens afterwards: whatever vast sums are wasted; whatever power is abused; whatever fairy tales are told; whatever fictions are repeated, the claim of your 'representatives' is and will always be that you have sanctioned it.
There are no political Parties and no 'elected representatives' so there are no manifestos, no salesmen's promises and no polling booths.
There is also no more mis-spending of your tax money on hysterical and ineffective health measures; no more cosying up to Big Pharma, Big Tech or Big Money; no more vanity projects that you didn't vote for; no more fake accounting to bury over-spending; no more globetrotting politicos in private jets lecturing us about the evils of CO2. There are lots of 'no mores' but I'm sure you don't want me to labour the point.
Your role in the panocracy will be to appoint an agent and give them your political views, perhaps by means of an infrequent conversation or perhaps by filling in a form. Or even some high tech way like for example allowing them to copy what Facebook already knows about you (which is a lot!). From this information your agent builds a picture of how you would vote on any issue if you had the time or could be bothered. You won't ever waste your vote again because your opinion will count day in and day out. How intensely you want to manage that is entirely up to you.
For each issue that is voted on (and there will be a lot) your agent will cast your vote according to your beliefs. You needn't even be aware of these votes if you're not especially interested in the Affairs of State. If you feel really strongly about some issue then you can easily override your agent.
There will be lots of agents and they will effectively be in competition for your patronage so they will need to be good at what they do. You'll have to pay for their services (see below) but you don't have to appoint one if you don't want to. There will be no penalty if you don't but you will have to personally vote on issues that concern you or your opinion won't be counted. This will suit the politically enthusiastic amongst us (though they may sometimes be disappointed at the result).
For the bulk of people life will go on much as it does at present – not much effort will be required of them to keep the state clockwork ticking over. If you’re really keen then you can even get involved in that via the RFC system.
How much will it cost?
All cost estimates from salesmen– especially those from political parties – are no more than guesses conditioned by what they want to sell. We are no different. We believe costs will be a lot less than people pay now partly because there's no political layer to pay for and partly because things simply will run more efficiently under a panocracy. Future articles will estimate the total costs of this once we've established a more detailed picture – the basic structure in Panocracy 5 plus, for example, a communications network, a police force, a military and others. All that will be paid for by taxes of one sort or another but the total tax burden will be a lot less.
To kick this off, here's an estimate for the cost for an agent to vote on your behalf. We guess that there would be several thousand agents for a country the size of the United Kingdom with an adult population of around 50 million. An agency would typically represent several thousand citizens and might be expected to devote a few man hours per year to each one. So an agent will cost us £100 to £300 per year (2022 money) – some agencies will be 'Aldi' and some will be 'Waitrose' but all will do essentially the same thing. A typical agent would have a turnover of £2m, employ 10 people and have a little IT – enough to vote 10 times a day, say. The cost of all this to us would be around £10bn.
We'll see in a later post how this compares with what we spend on other things but this graph from the Institute for Government shows the kind of costs that happen when politicians lose control of themselves and of their spending.
Would you have approved the £400bn splurge in 2020 (that's an extra £8000 for each and every adult in the UK) with its entirely foreseeable socio-economic catastrophe now hitting home?
“A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking real money” - as someone is supposed to have said.
A reminder that our aim here is not merely to moan about things the way they are but to apply a new set of principles to get us where we want to be.
So where do we go from here? Well, next time we're going to look briefly at health care. Most of our institutions have been compromised by safetyism and bureaucracy - resulting in covid hysteria - and health care is no exception. This article is a short, amusing and poignant reflection on where 'health care' has got to.