Difficult problems

This article, How Corruption Is Strangling U.S. Innovation, describes something we all know is happening—political campaign donations and lobbying deeply skewing American politics and social structure.

There is no simple way to fix this problem. There is no big fix that will make everything better. And each small fix usually causes other problems that need fixing. Here is a paper on how difficult it can be just to get reasonable disclosure regulations for corporations: Information Disclosure and Corporate Governance. Disclosure can harm long-term goals by giving away valuable information to competitors and it can cause CEOs to focus on short-term goals to raise their pay. Is there any way Congress would be able to figure out how to write good disclosure laws and then to implement them? The answer is no.

Congress may be able to do something in other areas, but “legalized bribery” will continue to come into play even when lawmakers know what is right.

It looks to me that the kind of government we have now is trapped in the past and will never be able to innovate or provide for the best interests of the population. My semi-realistic, semi-utopian hope is that we replace our “representative” Congress with a very large body of citizens—roughly 30 million—who will be better able to crowd source legislation that works. To be a member of this large “citizens congress,” all you will need to do is pass qualifying tests. There would be no age limit. There are many procedural systems that could be used to guide and funnel information to the right people, and many ways that we could figure out who the right people are. Here is a website, DAGGRE, that shows one way of using crowd sourcing to make better forecasts. Forecasts are fundamental to sound policy decisions. We have a long way to go, but I think the direction is more or less thataway.

Edit: Here is some more good reading on this topic: Why Do People Defend Unjust, Inept, and Corrupt Systems? The study behind this article can be found here: On Social Stability and Social Change: Understanding When System Justification Does and Does Not Occur.

The paper claims that people resist change in the systems they live and work within due to: 1) low personal control, 2) being unable to escape the system, 3) being dependent on the system, and 4) being in a system that is being threatened. This seems about right to me. From a FIML point of view, we might say that non-FIML interpersonal systems are profoundly dependent on static semiotics—system norms—because non-FIML interpersonal communication contains far too much ambiguity for people to effectively challenge those norms, or even to speak about them in many cases.

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