Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Go-ocracy: An Alternative Republic

When we begin to redesign democracy we see that majoritarian systems are an accident of history.

A republic can be conceptualized as a game consisting of three parts;
Constitution = rules
Elections = the game
Supreme Court = the referee

Typically, we think in terms of three branches (executive, legislative, judicial) and rules, (habeas corpus, equal protection, rule of law, separation of powers, etc.), but the UK has no real written constitution, and its supreme court does not have real power like the US version does.

We may add to this the fact that a republic is based on the consent of the governed, but there is no reason the game has to take the form of elections. It can be based on the Chinese game of Go.

Yes, seriously.

The Constitution of Rules, 
and the Game Itself

First we must understand how Go works. To quote Wikipedia;

The playing pieces are called "stones". One player uses the white stones and the other, black. The players take turns placing the stones on the vacant intersections ("points") of a board with a 19×19 grid of lines. Beginners often play on smaller 9×9 and 13×13 boards,[8] and archaeological evidence shows that the game was played in earlier centuries on a board with a 17×17 grid. However, boards with a 19×19 grid had become standard by the time the game had reached Korea in the 5th century CE and later Japan in the 7th century CE.[9]
Once placed on the board, stones may not be moved, but stones are removed from the board when "captured". Capture happens when a stone or group of stones is surrounded by opposing stones on all orthogonally-adjacent points.[10] The game proceeds until neither player wishes to make another move; the game has no set ending conditions beyond this. When a game concludes, the territory is counted along with captured stones and komi (points added to the score of the player with the white stones as compensation for playing second, which is normally either 6.5 or 7.5 depending on the rule-set being used) to determine the winner.[11] Games may also be terminated by resignation.

Go-ocracy, pronounced go-ock-ra-see, adapts the game of Go to serve the function of elections within a republic, with little else changed constitutionally.

Imagine that each parcel of land is a square on the board.

Imagine that the inhabitants who own land (or mortgage it if mortgaged) constitute the "squares" that need capturing.

Then you capture them by getting them to sign a literal social contract to obey the laws defined by the player who is soliciting their permission. Basically, instead of political parties and congressmen you have players. Each player has his own legal code written by his firm. The player goes house to house in meatspace asking the inhabitants of a parcel for their delegation, (not their vote), or calls them on the phone, or whatever. He basically campaigns for delegations, the same way a congressman campaigns for votes.

The inhabitant is defined as the person, (not bank) who pays the mortgage on a property if the property is under mortgage, and the owner of the property if it is not under mortgage. With apartment complexes this is the landlord, and with houses this is the person who bought the house, the mortgagor. It has to be this way, otherwise banks would determine the legal system and control everything.

If one gets a series of delegations of properties that are adjacent to each other, with adjacent being defined as either (a) the property lines touching, or (b) the property lines being across the street from one another, then he begins to build a "ladder" which he can eventually use to encircle some parcels. Once parcels are encircled they are "captured" and fall under the legal jurisdiction of the the player and his laws.

To prevent gangs from terrorizing people into delegating to one player or the other, players are not allowed to have armies or police forces, and the cops are a separate part of the government. Players make law but do not enforce the law.

Also, to prevent the endless harassment of home owners by campaigners for their delegations, each home owners fills out a card which rank orders his his preferences like this;

First choice: Mayfield's legal system

If I am in jeopardy of being captured by any of the following;
Jim's legal system
Bob's legal system
Jack's legal system
And If it will get me uncaptured then my second choice is;
Mark's legal system
If the above is not available, and if it will get me uncaptured, then;
Ethen's legal system
Etc., etc.

This is a simple version, but basically one can program a whole flowchart of alternatives which says, "to avoid being captured by X, Y, or Z, I will choose automatically Σ, Φ, Ψ, Ω in that order."

Every parcel of land on the board is like this, with rank ordered preferences of alternatives.

This makes the board fiendishly complex and can set off cascades of territory change.

To prevent the police from being confused, a snapshot of the arrangement of law-territory is taken once per year on September 1st and that becomes the configuration of the law for 12 months until August 31st of the following year. The game is played in real time 4 hours per day, 3 days per week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but the territory of law changes one year at a time.

No one player may capture more than 20% of the territory in a given county. In one state, up to 25 players per million inhabitants may play the game. If there are more than 10 applicants, new players are added on a first come first served basis.

A homeowner may update their rank ordered preference at any time with their local brokerage office. If a person does not make a decision by the cut-off date one is automatically assigned to a player by lottery.

The Referee

Someone needs to enforce the rules.

Instead of a single supreme court there are multiple competitive supreme courts. A supreme court is a private entity funded by whomever wants to fund one. A single one can be corrupted, but a competition cannot. Let me explain.

Whenever there is a dispute between two players one brings suite against the other. But first they must determine which court it shall be tried in.

Say there are 100 supreme courts. Then each fills out a card with a rank ordering of 51 preferences from most preferred (1) to least preferred (51). There is always at least one guaranteed overlap. The number of rank ordered preferences is equal to 50% plus 1 if the total number of registered supreme courts is an even number, and 50% rounded up if it is an odd number. Thus, there is always 1 overlap.

The highest ranked preference, which is shared by both parties in the dispute, is the court in which the case is tried. All decisions are final. If there is more than 1 overlapping preference the highest mutual preference for both is the one chosen. If there is a situation where both parties have a total of 4 highest mutually agreed upon rank ordered preferences, then a coin toss decides. For example;

Now you may object and say, "but what is to stop someone from being tried in a biased court?" Competition. Think about it. Let's us say that you run a terribly biased supreme court. Well that will get you ranked at the top of someone's list, but it will get you ranked at the bottom of their political opponent's list. The overlap is the one who gets the business, and so every court is competing to be as unbiased as possible in order to get business. The court that gets the business gets a voucher from the state, and gets paid. The one that does not get the business does not get paid. Thus, all referees compete on neutrality.

The Way Rules Get Made

Right now we have a House and Senate. The Federal government is only allowed to make game rules, and not laws themselves. The competitive supreme courts ensure that because they compete for business. Game rules are proposed in an elected House, but then they go directly to the people for voter approval. All approvals are temporary since they are additions to the existing constitution of rules. The length of approval depends on the level at which they are passed. Like this;

For each percentage above 50%, take the percentage above 50%, multiple by 100 and divide by 2 to get the number of years the new game rule is in effect, and round up.

For example;

A game rule passes with 65% of the vote.

65% - 50% = 15%

.15 x 100 = 15

15/2 = 7.5

7.5 rounded up is 8 years.

The new game rule shall be in effect 8 years, and then automatically expire.

This assumes you even want new rules to be possible. A different configuration is possible with owners rather than voters making the rules.

New rules are tested out like this. Rules that work well are resubmitted for voter approval whenever they expire.

Modeling the System with AI

Because this is a game it can be modeled with AI, and modeling it is a strength rather than a weakness. No doubt players will use AIs to model strategy. The benefit of this is that the results of game play can be anticipated in advance of creating any system, and the constitution of game rules can be adjusted to produce any kind of outcome or equilibrium we desire. That is the point: stability. Since game play can be simulated a game can be designed that reaches a stable but competitive state. The system remains dynamic without producing a single winner, and since both the players and the game rule makers use AI to model everything they can anticipate results of rule changes in advance. This means that whoever makes the rules has a pretty good idea of what they are doing.

The Ownership Alternative

There has to be some sort of point at the top where game rules get made. If that is a democracy then you still need a congress and a president, and that means you will still have a minimum of majoritarian politics. The alternative is to have congress elected by share holders rather than voters, or to have a king unify the whole system. Why would a king or share holders let ordinary people determine the laws they live under? Because they have an apolitical desire to create regime stability by invoking the consent of the governed. Granted that is a stretch though. A bad king may just destroy the game and opt for direct control. A congress will probably exceed its authority. Shareholders may put greed above the good of the nation, or serve private agendas. I have not figured out how to guarantee territorial unification without the federal government potentially over reaching its authority. If the federal government is nothing but the competitive supreme courts this would work, but how to maintain competition? How to prevent invasion? As usual the threat of eternal enemies presents a problem to internal freedom.

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