Governance Solutions Strategies
Stage 1 – Reform
The American political system is corrupt and crippled. Change in this sector is key to implementing solutions in all other sectors. We can only generate the changes that are needed – such as economic reform, an audit of the Federal Reserve, new energy solutions, labeling of GMOs and more – if we have accountable politicians who can be expelled if they fail to meet the people’s demands.
Clean Up Elections
As long as we are dependent on representatives, we need to make sure politicians we choose are actually elected. In the U.S., electronic voting machines can be hacked and it’s too hard for people to vote.
What can we do about it?
Transition to a paper ballot system in all voting precincts to ensure accuracy and have a verifiable paper trail.
New Mexico has already successfully transitioned to a state-wide paper ballot voting system, proving that it can be done (see our success story to learn more about it).
Change the voting day and make it easier to vote.
In the U.S. we vote on a Tuesday, which makes it hard for a lot of working people to make it to the polls. Shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible to vote? An organization called Why Tuesday? is working to bring this issue to the forefront – check out their work and spread the word.
Adopt Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Runoff Voting
Ranked choice voting gives third party candidates more of a chance of getting elected. It allows voters to rank candidates in order of their preference, by assigning #1 to the most preferred candidate, #2 to the next preferred and so on. If your # 1 choice doesn’t receive a majority vote, then they move on to #2. This system has been successful elsewhere. It’s already used to elect the President of Ireland, members of the House of Representatives in Fiji, members of the Australian House of Representatives, and the Parliament in Papua New Guinea.
Campaign Finance Reform
Campaign costs in the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent years, not just for Presidential campaigns – with Obama raising nearly $750 million – but for Congressional seats, State Legislatures, and local offices as well. It seems the more money you raise, the more likely you are to win. This results in a flawed election system. Political candidates spend most of their time raising funds, rather than debating the issues and getting to know their voters.
Corporations are some of the biggest contributors to political campaigns, which buys influence. For example, the major Wall Street Banks who were bailed out with taxpayer money after the recent financial collapse are among the top all-time donors from 1989-2010. A study by the Center for Responsive Politics revealed that among the top 100 donors are most of the major banks who were bailed out. The rankings are as follows:
|Rank (1-100)||Organization||Total Contributions|
|28||JPMorgan Chase & Co||$19,396,748|
|40||Bank of America||$16,569,591|
The list of top donors ranges from media moguls, to labor unions, to medical associations, to oil companies. The result is corrupt leadership, working for moneyed interests rather than the people.
What can we do about it?
In Stage One we can level the playing field so that political campaigns aren’t just fundraising competitions and so everyday people have a chance to run for public office. Public financing or “clean elections” currently offers the most potential.
Clean election systems have already been adopted by 7 states including Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Vermont and the cities of Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These programs have been very successful. 77% of Maine’s Legislature was elected with public funds. The next step is to implement clean elections at the Federal level.
Redirect Funds from Wasteful Government Programs to Ones That Need Funding
This is key to success in other sectors as well. Much of the THRIVE three-stage solution strategy relies on redirecting funds, especially from the military budget, to other programs that need funding such as state schools. This is not meant to make government programs bigger, but simply to make them tolerable and function better with the transition to Stage 2, and less government control, always in mind.
Take Action to Audit and End the Federal Reserve
This goes along with solutions in the Economics Sector, and is linked to campaign finance reform since politicians are heavily funded by bankers who control the Federal Reserve. Americans may support an audit of the Federal Reserve, before actually choosing to abolish it. We’re confident that once the actions of the Federal Reserve are exposed, there will be a movement to end the corrupt central banking system. To join in Critical Mass Actions to audit and/or end the Federal Reserve, click here.
Restore the Constitution – Hold Government Officials Accountable to the Law
Both Republicans and Democrats have supported legislation that undermines your rights. For example, the Patriot Act – that allowed the FBI to search phone, email, and financial records of American’s without a court order (among other violations) – was enacted under President George W. Bush and approved by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Expose Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, and Council on Foreign Relations
Stage 2 – Limit Government
Taxes are collected without our consent and we have no say in where they go. In Stage 2 we would limit taxes to only support government as a manager of the commons. This would free up enormous funds for everyone to support their lives as they see fit. Estimates are that citizens would have between 6 and 10 times what they now have while working the same or less when income tax and inflation are eliminated, both within grasp if we abolish the Federal Reserve and the income tax that was instigated to support it (both established in 1913).
Taxpayers pay for corporate subsidies. This gives corporations an unfair advantage over other businesses. For example, oil companies receive roughly $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks, even though they are making record profits. This makes it harder for others in the energy industry to compete. In Stage 2, any business that is unable to compete in a truly free market would be allowed to fail without government bailouts or subsidies, while those with real virtue would succeed.
Set up Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs)
DROs are one private possibility to deal with violations and give everyone protection. They are similar to insurance companies and would be in the business of insuring contracts – agreements between people. If someone breaks a contract, the DRO pays for it. To learn more about DROs, click here.
Stage 3 – Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
The key in this stage is to do away with coercive, involuntary systems. Stage 3 is based on protecting the individual, their property, and their right to choose. It is no longer about trusting the government to take care of us, but one of personal and collective responsibility. In this Stage, there would be no more involuntary taxes, so everyone would have more money and they could spend it as desired, including helping others in need and supporting the commons.
End Involuntary Taxation
People will no longer be forced to pay taxes to a government they don’t agree with, and will not be threatened with jail if they fail to pay. People can decide what to do with their money, whether it’s supporting private charitable programs, funding voluntary governing bodies, contributing to neighborhood associations, insurance, education, or whatever they deem valuable enough to pay for.
Set up Voluntary Communities
The beauty of voluntary communities is that they will vary in form depending on people’s needs. We can be creative and pave a new path for ways to live in harmony with the planet and eachother. The Freestate Project in New Hampshire offers an example for making the transition. They are obviously operating under much different circumstances than what we are envisioning for Stage 3, but they are a valuable resource for gaining insight.
Murray Rothbard and Stefan Molyneux have done a lot of work envisioning what voluntary communities would look like. This is an exciting stage where we can truly create sustainable, resilient communities. We will experiment and figure out what does and doesn’t work, and adapt accordingly.