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Technocracy: Stakeholder Electorates

One of my single most shared articles has been Balancing Tyranny In DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). In it, I detailed some of the shortcomings and other issues in networked societies, the most prominent among them being the revolving door stakeholder. This individual is a danger to any DAO because they exist simply to trade value, not to acquire a stake in the long term. This exact problem also exists now in western democratic governments, though many don’t realize it. The problem? Citizens who have no stake in the future of their nation, and as a result have more to gain from the destruction of the nation than its long-term prospects.

Unlike a DAO, you can’t opt in or out of where you live with a few simple steps. Anyone who is not coming from wealth (and thereby has no stake in the country) has both reason and instinct on their side to justify extracting what they can from where they live. This is not in end of itself an immoral act. They are working to survive to the best of their abilities inside the environment they are placed in. It’s simply nature. This citizen though is far worse than a mere parasite in an ecosystem. They not only can leech off the society and country around them but also can vote to expedite the very process of doing so. Never before in history have people with no stake in society been vested with so much power. Citizens who can’t even balance their own budget have a vote equal to someone with a degree in economics on who they want to balance the government’s budget. There are far more people who have no stake in society than those who do. For the one person who has a home, there are a hundred who rent. For the owner of a business, there are a million who work and neglect even basic accounting. As a direct result of this power and their sheer numbers politicians now pander to the desires of this much larger portion of people. The political atmosphere is entirely designed now to prioritize those who contribute the least to the nation and to punish those who do the most. In case it wasn’t obvious where things go from there, consider the wise words of the American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin:

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power.

Benjamin Franklin

This quote has proven to be prophetic. In many nations not just his own United States democracy now is nothing more than a brief contest of which political platform promises the most to the percentage of the population who contributes the least. While infrastructure crumbles and debt rises money is generously thrown into the endless void of social welfare programs. What if they can’t pay for such promises? Inflation! Oh magnificent quantities of worthless paper, thrown into the population like a torrent of petroleum into an inferno. Such inflation makes worthless the currency and that’s a good thing! A politician can make the savings and investments the middle class accumulates in a decade worthless in a single year, further making them dependent on the government and the political platform promising them the most value! Inflation was never a bug. It has been and always will be a feature. A mighty tool of the corrupt and immoral who would rest the power of self-determinism away from those who want to make something of themselves and turn them instead into nothing more than a voter helplessly dependent on support to survive.

Both the politician and the people they represent know where this cycle ends: the downfall of their country. However, as they never had a stake in that country to begin with was the country truly theirs? By the time the full wrath of inflation and the erasure of wealth is realized the generation it hits has nothing. They were not alive when the country was wealthy, they were just born when the politics began, and they were mere children when the last gasps of the middle class and the prospects of a good future for them died. For this generation, there is truly nothing. The romanticized era of free articles and a strong economy never existed for them. All they are given is a hopeless dependence on the governmental system only to watch as that system itself begins and inevitably fails.

These problems are all ultimately created by voting. For the platform and our movement, the path forward is clear: for a society (and indeed a country) to thrive in the long term, it must have a citizenry that has a stake in the future of it. This is not an advocacy of unabated control by a minority impossible to depose. The system I propose is one of hyper-democracy, not oligarchy. For those who actually have chosen to invest themselves in the society it represents, there would be control over the future never before dreamed to be possible in a governmental system. So impressive would this be in fact I’ll wait to detail the governance apparatus in a future article.

Perhaps more importantly, such a system would not be designed to keep people poor and uneducated. In the current system, there is an active incentive for politicians to keep people poor and under-educated, simply because that’s the majority of their voting base. To educate the lower classes would provide a chance out of poverty, and every person out of poverty is one who would almost certainly vote against such political platforms as their interests would no longer be aligned. You can begin to see now why a lot of politics function the way they do. Be the issue left or right, most politicians have a huge incentive to keep people oppressed and on many forms of government welfare. Such people exist in abundance, many relying on governmental programs in some way which makes targeting them fairly simple: offer or expand a program that directly impacts them. To not pander to such a massive body of people may well be political suicide when a country has regressed past a certain point.

Technocracy however couldn’t be more different when it comes to such politics. A Technocratic society where only the stakeholder can vote does not gain anything from an under-educated population. Unlike current political parties and methodologies, a meritocracy is actively incentivized to educate and uplift people of lower societal status. In fact, it loses from failing to do so! By encouraging education, you uplift people out of poverty. By lifting them out of poverty what was once a net negative on society is now a positive, contributing to the overall economy and eventually joining the ranks of those who have accrued a stake in society and therefore can vote. More people with active stakes in the society means increased unification, economic productivity, and wisdom in allocating the finite resources available to any nation where they will be most beneficial to all (another entirely separate thing politicians fail to do that Technocracy accomplishes with ease). It completely flips the incentive around on its head in a multitude of ways. With the proper framework in place, the country would not discourage class mobility and education because it would be designed to tremendously benefit from the exact opposite. Those who wish to better themselves will do so and help assume control over the direction of the country. Everyone has a chance to educate, inform, and improve themselves to attain this model citizen status. The lower class then becomes not a large group of people helplessly tied to the machine, but instead a minuscule portion of the population that only exists out of laziness.

Ultimately the concept of stakeholder governance alone if implemented could resolve half of the issues plaguing western civilization. As demonstrated there are many problems (inflation and education as examples) that the current political landscape is directly at fault for propagating, be they incentivized to do so or not. The current system where anyone can vote regardless of stake in society has been around for less than two hundred years. It’s effectively a failed experiment, and rightly so. Permitting someone who owns nothing and lives in a trailer to dictate to a first-generation homeowner what economic and welfare policy should be is utter lunacy. It is my hope as people now have begun to realize this fact that they will embrace stakeholder democracy. It is my fear they will turn their heads and hearts to authoritarianism.