I have decided to re-write portions of the original go-ocracy post in order to make upgrades to the design. For the original article, click here.
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.
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, 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Someone needs to enforce the rules.
Instead of a single supreme court there are multiple competitive courts, each of which can fulfill the role of a supreme court according to a process of selection. The rest of the time when an individual court is not fulfilling this role, it fulfills the role a district court might normally fill. There is no circuit court level.
A supreme court is a private entity funded by whomever wants to fund one. A single one can be corrupted, but a competition cannot. Allow me to 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 94 district courts. Each player fills out a card with a rank ordering of 48 preferences from most preferred (1) to least preferred (48). 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 one overlap, and exactly one.
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 someones 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
Federal laws, aka., game rules are proposed in a parliament, 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. New constitutional rules may be created but the original ones may not be repealed. 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 a number of years n, to which the integer 2 is added, and then rounded up.
A game rule passes with 65% of the vote.
.65 - .50 = .15
.15 x 100 = 15
15/2 = n
n + 2 is 9.5
9.5 rounded up is 10 years.
The new game rule shall be in effect 10 years, and then automatically expire.
New rules are tested out like this. Rules that work well are resubmitted for voter approval whenever they expire. Any formula can be used. The point is to make federal laws temporary so that meddling in game play is kept to a minimum, and system diversity preserved.
How The Federal Government is Appointed
Using a process similar to the one described for the supreme court, a selection process occurs for who shall be appointed to a unicameral elected House of Game Players.
One player files a "Notice of Argument" against another. The two players fill out rank-ordered lists of who they would chose as a neutral third party. Instead of having players vote for federal representatives the format is like a series of fights where a third party is chosen for each argument. One does not seek power in this system, one cooperates with another player to choose a neutral player for power. Typically, strong players will choose weak or distant players as their third parties.
Just like when choosing an arbiter, when each player is choosing a representative, each of them makes a list of rank-ordered preferences with 50% + 1 of the members in the system. Each time a player is selected for a seat in the House a vote is recorded for that player. No more than one notice of argument may be filed per player with any other player. The 100 players with the highest number of votes fill the seats of the House. Law making then proceeds just like it would with a regular parliamentary system, except that bills must be approved by the direct vote of a majority of the population in accordance with the procedure outlined in Part III.
Discovery of a Method
The definition of a republic has never been fully clear, and has always relied on some assertion that republics differed from direct democracies because they upheld the ethical principle of individual rights, and that republics have representative rather than direct rule. While this distinction is technically correct, (rights vs. majority rule, representative vs. direct), it lacks precision and specificity. It is much simpler to say the difference between a democracy and a republic is that the former is simply a game-based form of government, while the latter has the game subject to a referee and rules. Viewing republics as systems built on games brings a remarkable clarity to political science, and also shows the way forward to developing other designs for systems, possibly even communist republics that actually work. It also allows the introduction of predictive elements, since games can be modeled with AI, can be played at a small scale before being played at a large scale, and can be designed iteratively. This opens the door to knowing in advance whether or not your communist revolution will work, or at least knowing that it has a pretty good chance of working. For ethical reasons complex systems must be simulated beforehand, and game design bridges the gap between theory and praxis. It is not morally acceptable to try a system without proof that it will work, and games modeled with AI can provide that proof. Marxism could never be as ethical as this, since no amount of words can compensate for observation of game play. The Founding Fathers were on essentially the right track before being derailed by the charlatan or Trier. If the deadbeat had known what he was doing he would have given us a constitution instead of a manifesto.
Furthermore, the whole point of a game-based political system is the rules. Having a game that decides how power is allocated suppresses the natural tendency of humans to engage in a violent struggle for power, since the power hungry do not really want to risk their lives to get it, and the game itself provides an excuse for the much more important introduction of constitutional rights, since rights are limits on game play, and keep them game working by limiting its viciousness. Seen in this light the game itself is simply the brilliant excuse for the rule of rights. Laws are restrictions on the people, but game rules are restrictions on the state, and that is wonderful. Games give you an excuse for rights.
With all of this knowledge we now understand that the correct way to seek a greater perfection of government is an iterative method that involves a sequence of events. First a literal game is developed, and it is played at a small scale with different individuals forming the three elements of any republican game; (a.) players/parties etc., (b.) referees (supreme court). and (c). the people who give their consent to be governed. The game is played in real life so that the kinks can be ironed out and the rules perfected. This is done for any new republican design. Ideally, the first step would involve a massively multiplayer online game that includes things like virtual currency and allows for bribes and side economies in order to predict the effects of corruption on the system. Once this is done, the second step is building a city-state to perform further real life analysis. And once that is done then, and only then, can you implement things at a larger scale. But something tells me revolution will never be necessary if your system is truly an improvement over the status quo, since it will be wildly popular by then anyway, and have proven results.
A form of patchwork is the ideal outcome of this. That is, a world where a thousand city-states compete for citizens, operating under a hundred different forms of government. Not a utopia of some worldwide monolithic communist dictatorship, from which no one can escape, but a series of competing systems where escape is the very essence of it all.
Republics are political systems controlled by a game that decides who gets power. The game is elections. The Supreme Court is the referee. The Constitution is the rules. The whole thing is worshiped by the American right, proving that anything becomes sacred if there is enough dust on it.
Capitalism is an unconstructed game — by unconstructed I mean that it has no designer because it self-assembles. Near as I can tell there are only three types of political systems on Earth; (1) hierarchies, (2) "games" (republics), and (3) "anarcho capitalism."
In other words,
- Pure hierarchies (dictatorships)
- Games controlled by a hierarchy (republics)
- Games not controlled by a hierarchy (anarcho capitalist markets).
Left and right are spooks; there is only degrees of game. There are communist societies that act fascist, just like there are "liberal monarchies." The reason you apply the concept of left and right to the world is because the game of democracy produces two players as an inevitable consequence of its internal game rules. Two is the number that accrues the maximum amount of power in a competitive game without merging with the last remaining enemy. If there were three parties one of them would eventually consolidate into one of the two parties, since a larger party would co-opt it to get more votes. Thus, the number of parties is always exactly two, and no more. All other parties either don't matter or are in the process of being absorbed. In parliamentary democracies the third parties always join one faction or another. There are two major parties in a democracy for the same reason that if you played a Chess game with three parties one of the players would join with another against the third, eliminate the third, and then go on to battle each other, leaving only two in the final round. In contrast to a majority rule system, players govern their clients directly, and do not share power with anyone else, and in contrast to the layers of majority rule that comprise a federal republic, the only place majority rule exists is the top level, and there are no elections to get there, unless you count being in "the top 100" of non-threatening preferences an election.
Meta Rules of Republican Game Design
There are essential principles that govern the development of all political systems based on games. These principles are meta rules, meaning "rules governing the construction of rules." The first two of these are that (1), the system must be based on the consent of the governed, that (2), the people must not be intimidated by power, and that (3), no permanent winner must ever emerge. From these three meta rule all other rules flow, for example;
In a democracy the consent of the governed is obtained through votes, while in a go-ocracy it is obtained through delegation. Consent is essential, otherwise you do not have a free society. Even anarcho capitalism contains an element of consent by creating a transferable property in justice.
Next, you must prevent the usage of coercion against individual citizens by players or political parties of the game. In the past, political parties would beat up voters and send them to the polls to vote over and over again. Voter registration combined with the secret ballot was used to put an end to this practice. Political parties still use handouts to buy votes, and immigration is used to manipulate the outcome of elections. One particular political party in America has even at one time in history or another used gangs to ethnically cleanse Whites from their neighborhoods, or used White supremacist organizations to intimidate Black voters!
Ah, the good ol' Democrats.
The problem with introducing a game where the pieces on the board must give their consent is that a dynamic tension is created between the needs of power and the laziness of the citizen. This problem exists in all game-based systems, whether democracy or otherwise, but manifests differently depending on the system. In a go-ocracy it will be more necessary than usual to prevent political players from having their own police powers or armies, since territory is what is being argued over rather than positions of power. Thankfully, in a go-ocracy it is unlikely that immigration would be used for political purposes. A go-ocracy should be free of majoritarian politics, and thus, of a two-party system. With multiple players on the board it is unlikely they could get away with manipulating demographics, and with the consent of the governed being defined in terms of space rather than popular will, the individual citizen can delegate for immigration restrictions to prohibit illegal immigrants on their property, the property of anyone who delegates to the same player, and all the public property of streets and thoroughfares in between those parcels. This aspect of space over leadership shifts society from the stated preference system of democracy to a revealed preference system. A liberal might vote to bring in immigrants to someone else's neighborhood, but never his own backyard. Go-ocracy is therefore a form of republic based on revealed preference rather than virtue signaling, since all delegations concern one's own property, taxes, and benefits. It would probably be substantially libertarian.
Lots of other rules are actually restrictions on intimidating the citizenry. If free speech is compromised then the voter has an incentive to vote for the violent overthrow of the government. The right to bear arms raises the cost of violating the rights of game players. If you think guns are fruitless against modern armies then you have not been paying attention to Americas foray in Afghanistan, and the success of the Taliban at holding back the worlds most powerful army.
Rights are economic; they raise the cost of overthrowing the game (the right to bear arms), or prevent the development of perverse incentives (free speech), or get voters to behave more rationally (separation of church and state), prevent black mail (right to privacy), keep certain things neutral (eliminating the spoils system), etc.
Lastly, no permanent winner must be allowed to emerge, or the system will convert to a dictatorship. A one-party state eventually captures the referee, (the Supreme Court) destroying the game, and foreclosing the possibility of a future challenger to power. The first aspect of democracy is there there are elections at regular intervals. A government seat is never held permanently. The second feature is term limits. A nation should have party term limits as well, just to be on the safe side. If a party holds power for too long it should automatically lose the majority after a fixed period of time. In a go-ocracy similar procedures will be needed. The game will need to have a "partial reset" every year, where all territory not held through delegation or capture is uncaptured and played over again, and a "hard reset" where all territory is released once ever four years. It will also need "player term limits" where no one player can hold a piece of territory for more than, say, 12 years concurrently, and where after 12 years someone else must capture that territory for at least 2 years. Both parties and players themselves should be limited, so that every 75 years a political party/player is dissolved and new parties/players given the chance to enter the board.
Any other game-based political system will need analogous rules for its design. These problems will spontaneously emerge as a consequence of game play, and you will need to develop rules and rights to fix that. Every set of constitutional rights will differ based on the game chosen for selecting leaders, but similar patterns will abound with all of them.
The point this entire article is to demonstrate one possible configuration for the design of an alternative republic, in order to fire the imagination of the reader, and encourage them to develop their own alternative designs.