Political Thoughts

Gibbering inanely so that no-one understands...

Living in the UK (note: this is no longer the case), I suppose I should start with what I don't like about the political system here. The 'democracy', in which you may only run for parliament on payment of a largish sum of money. So only rich people can do it. Then there's the fact that the two main parties, Labour and Conservative, aren't actually liked by most people. People vote Labour because they don't want Conservatives in, or Conservative because they don't want Labour in. I think a negative-voting system would work wonders for the country; You can place as many votes against parties as you like, (maximum one per party). Most people would vote against Labour or against Conservative or against both, which would produce the interesting effect of the obscure parties that no-one has anything against getting in.
Monster Raving Loonies would probably win, which, in my opinion, would be no bad thing. Or, at least, no worse than the current situation.

Anyway, the real point of this bit is for me to explain the politics of my ideal state or country.
Firstly, there is no solid currency. All 'money' is stored in a central computer system, and is in the form of 'hours'. Stored as 'hours' so that whatever work you do, you can't have a greater rate of pay than anyone else. When you buy things, the 'money' doesn't go to whoever you give it to, it simply disappears. Similarly, when you work, the 'money' doesn't come from anywhere, it simply appears.
'Work' can be anything that you want to do that serves a purpose. Creative things are included in this; artists get paid by the hour. Obviously this system involves some reliance on people's honesty. A part of the system would be that people are interviewed in some form before coming into the society.
At this point, the question people might have in mind is "What about all the crappy jobs? Binmen etc.?"
You have to deal with your own crap, basically. Wheelbarrow your rubbish to a tip, how hard is that?

Regarding buying things, things must, by law, cost less than the work-hours required to make them. For example, a loaf of bread... The growing and grinding of the quantity of grain-flour that goes into a loaf of bread takes probably about 0.02 work hours. A whole field of corn is grown and harvested, after all, using only a couple of hours of actual work time, and only a tiny amount of a field is used in a single loaf of bread. The work of the baker used in turning it to a loaf of bread would be about 0.08 work hours; It may take half an hour to cook a loaf of bread, but how many are cooked at once during that time? So the maximum cost of the loaf of bread would be 0.1 Wirr. (Wirr being taken from a fictional society in the Stainless Steel Rat series of books, by Harry Harrison; my society is, in part, based upon these ideas).

I didn't work that out in advance, but it turns out to be equivalent of working for 3 pounds per hour, a loaf of bread costing 30 pence (maximum, remember).

Perhaps a minimum price would need to be established also, since there's no advantage to the salesperson for charging highly.

Er... My memory has failed me at this point. If you want to ask any questions or make any comments, email is fine.

Since the page went up on my old site, a few questions have been asked. Here they are, with their respective answers.

Are we expected to make our own electricity and things, then?
Sort of. Wind power and solar panels take control of this (yes, I know, there'd have to be a lot of them). Also Free Energy, if it's a reality.

Dumping stuff on a tip's all well and good, but won't it rot and get infested with rats and things?
Ah, I forgot to make it clear. Rottable things would go into compost heaps, there to be used for growing food. Quite a lot of people would like to grow food in their garden, of course.

Science isn't going to get very far after a few generations of people doing it as a hobby, is it?
How many major breakthroughs in Science have been made by people who do it and don't choose to do it? Einstein and Newton were both hobby-scientists.

Fair point, but most of those have been made with the help of other people, and research, and complicated machinery, which you really need a hierarchical substructure to maintain over a few generations.
What's to prevent a hierarchical substructure existing within my suggested society? It's no less reasonable there than in society as it stands.

How do we decide who runs the Central Computer, and how can we trust them, and how can we stop people hacking into it for their own ends, and whatever?
The computer would pretty much run itself, once implemented, much as cash-machines connect to bank's central computers. There would be no reason for anyone working with the computer to cheat, and no reason to hack into it, because decent amounts of 'money' would be attainable by doing enjoyable things anyway. Anyone with the intent to hack could use their abilities to program things, which would presumably entertain them and would pay perfectly well.

With everyone doing work as a 'hobby', whatever they feel like, people would go for easy, simple things unless they've someone to urge them to nuclear physics or whatever.
I don't think so. (Some) people choose complicated technical jobs because they enjoy the challenge. I'd choose to program rather than paint, at least some of the time. I know people who enjoy tinkering with biochemistry.

Apathy would eat away at society. A lot of people would just walk out of jobs and go and do something easier - general production of complicated scientific things would fall.
People would be doing jobs they enjoy; Apathy arises from society as it is, forcing people to do things they don't enjoy.
Repetitive tasks like circuit-board production; Two things would solve this. Possibly some people would enjoy it (I know not), if not, it's the sort of task that could (and probably should) be automated. And construction of the facilities to automate tasks is an enjoyable thing to some people, I'm sure. (I'd almost like it myself, even).

What about repairing technical things? You can't automate that.
Some people like fixing electronics, so that's dealt with.

We'd run out of drugs and trained doctors after a few generations.
No. Some people want to be doctors, they'd learn. Drug production would automate in the same way as electronics.

If so much is automated, we might as well all stay at home.
Yes. Problem? Seriously though, creative work is the preferred work of most people, and you can't automate that.

It sounds like society would tend back towards medievalism a bit, bringing the joys of disease and stuff with it.
Some aspects of medievalism were good, I think. Disease wasn't one of them, but it's technology and cleanliness, not the form of society, which has reduced disease.

[ Think back... ]

Send me mail : raven@ravenblack.net