People who run for office are — I suspect — most likely doing it out of self-interest. Their universal message is: “Elect me and I will straighten everything out.” But they know very well, that single individuals cannot do much for the good of the people — even if they want to. They have to have the cooperation of a whole bureaucracy and the sources of money. So, a candidate who says that he will fix everything is either naive or a fraud. And if he says that he will fix things by laws, you know he is bullshitting.
I suggest that all politicians when running for office acknowledge that the following three things are required to improve the condition of the government.
1. Eliminate Corruption
2. Alter Voting
1. Eliminate Corruption: I do not have to give you concrete examples of corruption (bribery, extortion) to convince you that corruption exists. To me it is almost self-evident that if a person is in a position to be bribed or for him to use extortion, these tactics will be used. And they will be used in secret.
As I see it, the problem is to eliminate the possibility or likelihood of both bribery and extortion. This requires, minimally, that at least two persons are required to make a decision or carry out some action. This is simply the principle of dividing power.
In ancient Republican Rome, the executive power was in the hands of two consuls, elected for a year, and each had veto power over the other. One would be in charge of making decisions for a month, while the other had veto power over him. Two kings also ruled ancient Sparta, followed by Ephors to ensure their dutifulness.
It is because of the vulnerability of a single individual to being bought or threatened, that I am against the offices of a President or Prime Minister, but favor a collegial executive as they have in Switzerland. In Switzerland there is a Federal Council of seven individuals, nominated by the four dominant political parties and conferred by the joint bi-cameral parliament. And such councils should exist on all levels and departments of government.
Consider the expose of John Perkins in his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman. He tells us that as long as a country has a king, a president, or prime minister, such a person can be bribed or threatened, or assassinated.
Here is the audio production of the book:
2. Voting and Democracy: But there is another problem: the nature of voting. Given a system of voting in which thousands or millions vote for a candidate, the candidate with the most money is likely to win. Why? Because when large masses of people are voting, what is needed are techniques of persuasion — sophisticated advertisement in term of quality and quantity, which money can buy. Or, as is sometimes said, votes can be bought with some kovbasa (sausage).
So, the problem is how to get money out of the electoral process, and I cannot think of any alternative but a complete change in the system of government from a top-down one — as exists almost universally — to a bottom-up one.
The unit of government should be something no larger than a village of, lets say, 100 families — a size allowing everyone to know everyone else — face to face. These communities or territories elect a council of, say, five members who execute the will of the people through direct democracy.
This council chooses a delegate to a higher level council of some workable number of delegated– let’s say 20. These in turn choose a delegate to a still higher council — until we reach the highest council.
Such a system of government has been proposed by Stephen Shalom by the name “participatory politics” or “parpolity.”
3. Decentralization: You may not know it, but Ukraine has the features of a democratic dictatorship. It is symbiotic dictatorship of a President and a Party. The President is elected by a national popular vote. His powers are the following:
(1) He appoints and dismissed all the Governors of the Oblasts. In other words, the Governors must do the will of the President.
A former Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was given Ukrainian citizenship by the President, and appointed by the President as the Governor of the Odessa Oblast; and then, because of not having the power to fight corruption, he resigned. Subsequently, by fiat of the President, he was deprived of Ukrainian citizenship and forced to leave the country.
(2) The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Military. He nominates the Minister of Defense, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the head of the Security Service.
(3) The President also nominates the Prime Minister. Here the President is almost forced to nominate the choice of the dominant Party in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament). This is so because any other candidate will not be conferred by the Parliament.
(4) The Prime-Minister, in turn, nominates all the remaining Ministers.
Thus, between the President and the Prime-Minister (who represents the interest of the ruling party), the whole country is ruled.
If a Council-System of government is not chosen (i.e., parpolity), then I would recommend that the country adopt a decentralized system in which the Governor is either elected by the residents of the Oblast (or, better, that the Oblast council elects an executive council to act as the Governor).
Also, each Oblast is to appoint their own Procurator and chief-of-police, answerable to the Oblast government; not to the national government.
Also, on the Municipal level, the mayor, or a mayoral council should appoint a Procurator and a Chief-of-Police. Unless these changes are made, a mayor with good intentions, such as Michel Terestchenko of the city of Hlukhiv in Ukraine, will be paralyzed by the system. Listen to a podcast with the mayor, titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.”
Unless these measures listed above are introduced, a country will be ruled by oligarchs or an Oligarch.