Monday, August 31, 2009

Futarchy, Cybersyn, and Assasination Politics: Playing for the Odds

I have recently been researching futarchy. For those who are not familiar with the concept, it is probably summarized (and oversimplified) by saying that in a futarchy system, voting is done via betting pool. The darling of several anarcho-capitalist would-be technocrats, the idea (in my relatively shallow researches on it) is limited by the fact that it depends upon the existence of an administration to implement the 'winning' results, making this more or less the same as a government run by publicly traded corporations. This is something I, personally, would not like, though plenty of anarcho-capitalists may be a fan of such things.

However, in reading Assassination Politics (written by a crypto-anarchist, who later defended himself by arguing it was merely a thought experiment), a solution appears. Amusingly, in this thought experiment, the people wagering on possibilities are expected to 'cheat' -- the system exists for the sole purpose of people with a vested interest in the outcome actually causing the outcome. In the context of Assassination Politics, the outcome is the annihilation of the standing government, something I personally don't agree with in terms of method (I have a long-standing issue with the idea of anarchists as inherently violent, an unfortunate media-promoted idea that I would take every chance to counter, but that is something for another blog post), but the form is extensible.

The Cybersyn project was the pinnacle of technocracy, a computer with a neural net planned to do the day to day of governance. It has never been finished, and along with the administration that started it, the concept has been discredited. However, in a new, people-centric futarchy, perhaps an Execution Politics can form: the central computer is the whole government, yet is functionally little more than an online betting system. The executive functions of government are implemented by individuals with a stake in the outcome of given bets. A slight improvement to pure democracy is thus achieved, along with a major improvement over representative democracy, a vast minimization of overhead, a vast maximization of effectiveness and nearly zero hard and fast laws. If politics is a strife of interests pretending to be a parade of principles, then Execution Politics is a strife of interests with no mask, neatly managing the unmanageable though a functional and universal anarchy with no more violence than the most peaceful republics.

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