TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What would your ideal government system look like?

What would your ideal government system look like? Is a two party system such a good idea?

  • Nov 25 2012: I think an ideal gouvernement would be à goverment wich understands THE cause of THE curerent global crisis and works on connection beween all THE countries in THE word without taking advantage of eachothers situation.A goverment wich works for THE benefit of society and welbeing for all people by providing them all basic needs like food, shelter,éducation,healthprogram.Instead of power and money they could use their qualities in à very positieve way and help THE word towards peace and mutual garantee.
    • Dec 5 2012: It's a really nice idea, just like the Anarchy, but maybe even a little bit better.

      I see some similarities between those two ideas. Like, Anarchy requires that people living in community are all just perfect: caring, wise, compassionate .... so, our idea just requires the same perfect people, but instead of all community being perfect you just need those perfect people in government.

      Yeah, just your utopian system have the same problem like Anarchy. From where the hell will you get those perfect people? Surly you need much less of them but still... from where will you get them?
      • thumb

        Tao P 50+

        • +1
        Dec 5 2012: Treat a person as well as you know they can become and they will reach their potential.
      • Dec 8 2012: As you know in this word perfect people dont excist, since we all are born with an egoistic nature.
        But WE see that we dont get to solutions when governments of all the countries just think about how their connections with other countries can benefit just their own people and maybe worse : just their own high society. Im not talking about anarchy but about changing our mindset in the first place.Like in whole of nature we can only survive if we garantee the wellbeing of the whole system.Whole of nature is altruistic although to us people it not seems like that.How we ever be happy if we just exploid others while they are suffering?
  • thumb
    Nov 13 2012: For me it would be having no government at all. but collectivism...something similar to Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen Denmark or something more ecological and egalitarian as Murry Bookchin mentions in his book "The Ecology of Freedom"...Perhaps a ecologically based libertarian socialist society.
    • Nov 14 2012: With reference to the youtube link to Chomsky's refutation, well... Chomsky is presenting straw-man arguments, and then "refuting" them.

      Chomksy: "Here, libertarian means extreme advocate of total tyranny. It means power ought to be given to private unaccountable tyrannies, even worse than state tyrannies." And then he goes on about a few more very inaccurate portrayals, without giving any concrete examples of his so-called "corporate tyranny". Tyranny can exist only when some entity can justify their use force, like the police, courts, etc. Corporations, left to their own devices, never could justify force.

      I'm afraid Chomsky is the one who is confusing issues and could be said to be lying. For example, he claims that in Europe, libertarian means something other than what it means in the US. Never does he mention where the word "libertarian" was first used. He claims it, automatically, for his ideology. He mentions Adam Smith. Adam Smith was a "classical economist". However, consider John Locke, Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, William Godwin, Carl Menger, and more, who were also called "classical liberals" earlier, and were later associated with the libertarian school of thought. Some of these guys were influenced by Adam Smith too.

      Chomsky: "Unsubsidized capitalism... exists only in the third world, that's why the third world looks the way it does. It has never existed in any developed society."
      I don't know where Chomsky gets his "facts" from, but that is plain wrong. Just one example, the entire silicon industry... Intel, Fairchild, etc. to HP, Dell, etc. to Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, etc. came to be without any state subsidies.

      I'd be happy to listen to proper academics of the field talk about left-libertarianism, in the hope that they will be less prone to distorting what is plain to see around us. Chomsky's field is linguistics, and he has become largely irrelevant in that too.
      • thumb
        Nov 15 2012: Hi John,

        haha nice one, you put a lot on the table:

        The purpose of the video was to show how Chomsky, who at this time was an anarchist, did not think that anarcho-capitalist qualified as being true anarchist as someone else on this forum mentioned. That was the intent of the video

        Chomsky's statements are indeed true. especially if you look at G.W. Bush's presidential track record: tax cuts, elimination of social programs, privatization of government operations, deregulation, environmental destruction for the sake of private profit...Also read the Oct 17 2004 New York Times Magazine by Ron Suskind in relation to George W. Bush's administration and how they viewed politics and the U.S. place in history.

        If you looking for sources you should research other Chomsky material.The man is full of facts and I can give your links and information if your willing to know more. These criticisms are also some of the basis on his analysis of anarcho-syndicalism or what he calls "Libertarian-Socialism".

        It is also true that ideologies in Europe (especially in N. Europe) differ from that in the U.S. although some terms may be similar. An example of this is also found in his distinguishment of American anarchist from those from Europe. For the sake of not making this sound like an anarchist argument I'll say this: Europe has a radical tradition. There have been many revolutions, civil wars, conflicts, injustice, etc in Europe, so their response to critical issues is much more lively and radical than that in the U.S...

        Chomsky in fact admires Adam Smith and has openly admitted that if capitalism was practiced in the way that Smith stated in the "Wealth of Nations" then he'd have no problem living in a capitalistic system.

        I would rather hear someone like Chomsky than the "proper academics" being most of those deemed "proper" serve the intelligentsia. Chomksy's theories on language are theoretical and philosophical. His wife would be more scientific if that's what you want.
        • Nov 15 2012: I don't quite get why you bring up Bush's (or Obama's) presidential track record. The US (like most other countries) is a mixed economy. Not a capitalist or a market economy. This mixed economy has turned the US to what is called "corporatism". Not capitalism of any sort. And, I agree, there is "corporate tyranny", where senators (Chris Dodd, famously) are bought and run by corporations. But no one, neither in the US, nor in Europe, calls that "libertarianism", except Chomsky in his straw-man argument. "Here, libertarian means extreme advocate of total tyranny...".
          But look at corporate tyranny in the light of what I said earlier "tyranny can exist only when some entity can justify their use force, like the police, courts, etc."

          I am not primarily interested in Chomsky. I am more curious about left-anarchy and left-libertarianism. I'd be happier if you could give me pointers to some large companies (more than 500 employees) that are run on those principles -- where there is no concept of private property, internally. It is easy to find examples of tiny companies (less than 50 employees) that are running well on any principle at all. Larger companies, the kind that can buy an MRI machine, or a CAT scanner, need to be run in a manner that respects private property. But I am willing to reevaluate my attitudes towards left-libertarianism when I see things working in a left-libertarian manner.

          Every continent has had its share of "radicalness". :-) South and Central America tried various kinds of statism, some even experimented with greater liberalism (Pinochet). Some Asian countries, esp. the South Asian ones, seem to be experimenting with democracy like there is no tomorrow. :-) The US (historically) is unique in its, what some would consider radical, strict adherence to the Bill of Rights. Sadly for the US, democracy had trashed the Bill of Rights. And, as you pointed out, Europe too has had its share of radical ideas.
      • thumb
        Nov 15 2012: chomsky repeats these statements like mantra, and does not even attempt to reply to criticisms, which pretty much raises some doubts about his honesty.
        • Nov 15 2012: I agree. The video of Orlando Hawkins was the third time I heard Chomsky deliver the exact same speech. Though Orlando's was not really a video, I have seen videos in which Chomsky was wearing very different clothes when delivering exactly that speech.
        • thumb
          Nov 16 2012: Ahh, you both must expand your horizons. Not once have I seen Chomsky repeat himself in any of his books or videos. That's just my experience but I cannot say more about yours. I'm done discussing the video since the original point of it seems to have been ignored or forgotten..moving on

          Not once did I mention Obama in my original post. The reason for bring up G.W.B. was to show how the government supported corporate and justified corporate tyranny. You honestly cannot separate the two (at least during G.W. Bush's term).

          I agree, as would Chomsky, that the U.S. does not have true capitalism but the U.S. does value the profit motive, wage labor, private ownership, division of labor etc...you may not call that capitalism but you can't deny that this is not something that is practiced in the U.S... I'm not going to debate the specifics of the term libertarianism.. You have your opinion of it, its clear your not changing your mind and I can't force you to. If you think its a straw man argument then that's your criticism of Chomsky.

          Instead of focusing on companies (which I would find perplexing as to why any anarchist would value that in the first place) you need to focus on communities, which is most important to anarchist. There are many bread factories that run democratically but I'm not sure if they fit your standard of 500...If your concerned about people working together in a collective community there are many examples (one that I laid out in my original post)..I'm happy to provide more examples for you if you would like..as for your last paragraph as I'm going to talk about that in another post along with finishing my point with this one but I'm running out of characters
    • Nov 16 2012: It was not my intention to discuss the video with you either. Or even Chomsky. I'm happy to not discuss that. That is why I asked about left-libertarian companies, etc., exactly to expand my horizons.

      I agree, you did not bring up Obama -- I did, because they are all (not just these two) the same to me. Reference http://www.theblaze.com/stories/obama-fact-check-bush-responsible-for-bailouts-and-gm-is-number-one/. I did not even deny that corporate tyranny is practiced in the U.S. What I did deny was that all big companies are tyrannical, and I gave examples for that. I brought up Chomsky's use of the term because I have not heard anyone else use it in that manner. I could even claim that the Nazis are now commonly believed to have been "libertarian" -- but that would not agree with anyone else's usage of that word, and all conversations would be meaningless because I have chosen to redefine words arbitrarily. It is even worse to claim that some unspecified people misuse the term.

      As far as I know, left-libertarians do not believe in private property or property rights. (http://www.infoshop.org/page/AnarchistFAQSectionB3)
      One aspect of bread factories is that each of these equipment would be fairly easily affordable to each person who works there. There never needs to be any "over-seer" to keep track of the usage of equipment. That is why I brought up the MRI machine -- almost no doctor can afford to buy one, and yet, most doctors use it. In a system without private property, but only personal property, one doctor can keep using it for his patients, and deny its use to other doctors who need it, by claiming "well, look at these cases that I have. I really do need it, and as long as I am using it, this machine is my personal property". Can that doctor then be fired from the hospital for not playing nice? Not according to what I know of left-libertarianism.

    • Nov 17 2012: With bread-making or other such tasks, one doesn't need to know too many different kinds of things: baking, maintaining equipment, maintaining inventory and accounts. All of which, each person could learn with a few weeks. All employees can, conceivably, be homogeneous, despite one person preferring to do the baking while another prefers to maintain accounts. However, in most larger companies, people specialize in things so deeply that jobs are no longer interchangeable. When a diverse group of people have to use limited resources at the disposal of a company, there is then a need for someone to prioritize the use of these resources. A mechanical engineer who is very competent at designing mechanical gears might not have no "vision" at all about what kinds of products the people are looking for, or how useful (or useless) his skills are to a particular group of people. If the hierarchical nature, that is common in companies now, were absent, this mechanical engineer might just squander his time at the communal equivalent of Adobe Software. I am explaining all this to communicate the importance of a hierarchical corporation. And this is also why I asked for examples of bigger companies where they manage to build products that are cutting-edge in this day and age. I am also of the opinion, which can be changed with real-world examples, that left-libertarian communities (and methods) will result in products that are about a hundred years behind our time. Of course, anything is still achievable in smaller companies. If I were working alone, for example, I could be working on the latest quantum computing device, almost irrespective of my economic ideology. Economic ideology becomes more and more important when working in bigger groups, with more limited resources, or more diverse technologies.
  • Dec 6 2012: I think if you want to improve government the first task must be to dismantle democracy as we know it and rebuild it from scratch.

    First of all, political parties must be replaced by ONGs not linked to any particular ideology, but committed to find the best candidate for a given government position. A different ONG will organize campaigns similar to what we know, except that candidates will campaign together, that is: if one of them speaks one day at a certain town the rest of the competitors would do the same, and at the end of the event all they will debate. Unavoidably, if one candidate brings up personal issues of any other candidate he/she becomes automatically disqualified. All candidates will appear on mass media exactly the same amount of time, and always one after the other, making sure each one appears first an equal amount of times. There must also be a law to force radio and TV to synchronize political propaganda, so no matter what channel you are watching you see the same candidate speaking, forcing people to listen the message or turn it off.

    On election day, you have one vote per candidate, so you can give all your votes to one candidate, divide them among the two or there you like more, take away those votes from one candidate or removing them from the two or three you dislike more. That is: you ought to have the power to vote in favor or against a candidate or a group of candidates.

    The legislative power must be divided into 2 chambers, as it is now, but one integrated by citizens and capable of discussing and voting bills, the other integrated by specialized constitutional lawyers with the sole propose to reject any bills that don't fully meet constitutional criteria.

    Laws must have an expiration date based upon on consent, that is: is a law is approved by 51% then it will expire in 2 years but it is approved unanimously it will expire in a 50 years.
  • thumb
    Nov 16 2012: Ian,
    Start with a slight revision of first principles. A declaration of interdependence as a declaration of trust, and collective purpose. Global constitution. (No corporate or privileged rights above individual human rights to life and liberty.)

    And no right to pursuit of happiness. Mistake, Rewrite as artistic freedom and rights to promote the greater good. (For that people can be given immense resources, to be spent on community benefit.) Caps on income and accumulated monetary wealth. Nobody is elected to any representative office for longer than two years.

    Everyone votes. Everyone. Every person is responsible for growing some food, providing some voluntary contribution, developing social and technical designs that contribute to the greater good. A community economy of shared values blends with the common currency. I could literally owe you a back scratch and you owe me baby-sitting time to barter and trade for agreed values. Possibly equal time as a shared value. Institutions or giants of business or complexes of corporate structure will be dismantled so that no non-human entity has more power or more rights that any person.

    Cultural context is key. A culture of open acceptance of change, open acceptance of diversity, open acceptance of our need to constantly become more human, more of what we are capable of as caring joyous thriving entities. The culture is key for attitudes within a fully democratic, participatory, transparent, accessible governance.

    That good for starters?
    • thumb
      Dec 5 2012: Trust is gained by faith not by law. Matters of faith are of no concern for governing bodies. You can not coerce me into trusting my neighbor. Trust is earned. Character is controlled by self, not Government. Behavoir is controlled by self, not Government. Economically speaking, trust is acheived by a stable currency When you have stable currency, you need no flow control to smooth out bumps that do not exist. All the things you state are well and good and can be acheived through honor and character. They will never be acheived though coercion.
  • thumb
    Nov 13 2012: Hmm .. "ideal" and "government" seem to be mutually exclusive terms.

    Would you accept "good enough" and "community dynamic"?

    If so, then a community dynamic that's "good enough" would have to focus on the intrinsic issues that the community faces. By definition, it would have to keep potential adaptation in high-priority - and be acutely aware of trade-offs affecting that adaptabilty.

    2-party systems are a disaster - they mutually promote for the benefit of the system that systains their micro-community - the "electorate" becomes only tangential to the dynamic - it becomes no more than the "medium" through which the micro-community promotes the advantage of the micro-community.
    It is not only the 2-party system that creates a micro-community, all forms of "government" do this in the nano-second that they regard themselves separate from the wider community.

    There remains the problem with large communities. These tend to fragment and stratify. We react to this stratification in a knee-jerk response by constructing formalised hierachies that serve to deepen the stratifications and separate themselves as micro-communities feeding on the environment of the whole.

    The simplest alternative would be to allow fragmentation to occur, then devise a systemic dynamic by which these sub-communities negotiate mutual advantage. Such a system would disallow the congregation of community negotiators into a stratified micro-community. Closed-door consorting between sub-community negotiatiors would be a capitol offense.

    Military violations between sub-communities would be supressed through natural aliegences - a rogue sub-community would be completely wiped out through the actions of alliies to ensure total eradication.

    Apart from the collusion taboo, there would be only one law - the construction, growth and maintenance of adaptability. All community decisions would be made in this frame and would be the only government/religion.

    All else takes care of itself.
    • Nov 14 2012: In my opinion once the US narrows it down to two people, it becomes more of a battle to best the other person and not to win votes based on good ideas that benefit a nation. Unfortunately some people are ignorant enough to not listen to the proposed ideas, and instead vote based on who wins a debate, not what was said in the debate.
      • thumb
        Nov 14 2012: What I've observed is that any dynamic that demonstrates a surrounding "membrane" is an organism. Or you could say a "self".
        When you look at all things politic, you see that people agregate into "cells". Once a boundary is formed, all teh resources within that cell begin to make decisions and do actions that promote the perpetuation of the cell - the principle of survival kcks-in.
        When humans do this, they create meta-creatures that use the environment of humanity for energy required for survival. This energy is sourced from the potential agency of individuals, and eventually overloads the capacity of that resource.

        My proposal (above) is to create an environment that is toxic to meta-cells but retains the advantages of the super-cell that is "humanity".

        I am pleased to see that many states in the USA are pettitioning to seceded from the union. However, the secessionists are in for a rude awakening - they will be leaving the nation, but not the corporation. If the states succeed in regaining sovereignty via their own commercial laws (the nullifaction of national debt) then it will be a good thing.
        Many in the world have been working to the dissolution of power concentrations with the USA first, then China, then Brittain, Then India. The overview being the removal of elites.
        However, there remains the task of interim structures that are self-terminating - with a final stability on 200-person tribal cells with rigid rules of interaction.
        Exactly what that structure will be is up to progressive adaptation.
        This is a new politic - it is not socialist, capitalist or anachist.
        Interesting to see it panning-out. The main levers to achieve this were pulled about 10 years ago. Never expected it to happen this quickly!
  • thumb
    Nov 12 2012: The best form of group decision-making I've ever been exposed to is consensus decision-making. I was exposed to this at Columbae House, a dormitory at Stanford. University dormitories sometimes have to make decisions, where the residents of the house, about sixty people, have to make a decision about something related to the house. Consensus decision-making means when the house makes a decision, they keep batting the matter around until every member of the house agrees with the decision. People say doesn't that take a long time? Sometimes it can take three hours, but sometimes it can be reached in a few minutes. When I interact with family and friends, I always encourage consensus decision-making on anything we might do together. What I'm not sure of is how you implement it on a large scale, like a country. Any ideas?
  • thumb
    Nov 12 2012: My ideal form of government is none at all. Small town and city councils. Only the community knows what's best for the community, and not all communities have the same priorities.
    • thumb
      Nov 13 2012: Absolutely each home should be free to run itself according to its own beliefs. But, as a neighborhood and a community we need an HOA to see that certain agreed upon rules are observed by all, for the good of all. Government is that HOA.
      • thumb
        Dec 5 2012: No pink flamingos in the front yard? What else can't I do?
    • thumb
      Nov 13 2012: I agree with everything you mentioned..that is sort of similar to what I said in my post but perhaps not as elegant...good to know that I'm not the only one on TED who has the collective spirit.
  • Nov 11 2012: Government is necessarily about the use of power, violent power when necessary.

    This question is somewhat similar to asking what would your ideal war look like.

    Ideal by what measures? Level of crime? Some combination of crime and jail time? Perhaps the contentment of the citizens? Social mobility? The number of people attempting to immigrate? What would be the measure of foreign relations?

    There is also the variable of the people being governed. It is very unlikely that any form of government is ideal for all populations. Another variable is scale. Some forms of government can work well on a small scale, but do not work for large populations. Perhaps the ideal system would require a world of countries with a maximum population of one million people.

    I think we should allow different forms of government in the USA, and let each citizen decide which form of government is best, by voting with his feet (or her plane ticket). After a lot of trial and error we might find the ideal government system.

    I suspect the ideal system will be a hybrid of constitutional republic and meritocracy. Suppose that, to run for the US Senate, you had to have a PhD, plus have a record of successful legislation in one of the larger states.
    • Nov 12 2012: Having not read your comment, I wrote down a very similar comment, myself. I like the idea of voting with feet. The other trouble with massive governments is that they have a massive amount of money and resource to screw other countries with. This is what the US does with its war-machine, and what the USSR did across eastern Europe.
  • Dec 5 2012: There are a few things I wish were in my ideal government system.
    I think first two points can be added to any of your ideal government system. At least first point.

    One. There are no election days. Election are handled via network. You are free to change your support to any politic any time. Your political power is measured by how many people gives you there support at this time. This would stop the bargaining at the election days (one of the biggest democracy problems)

    Two. There are no equal people, especially if it comes to election days. There should be some system witch promotes more wise and educated people over those who don't give a fuck until election days. It's a point to discuss should a Professor from University should get 2 or 100 votes. Should there be a test which checks your knowledge about what is government what is budget and a few political topics - something like do you know what this people from TV are talking about? It's a controversial topic, surly for a big discussion. But I stand to support this point.

    Three. There should not be one great main government with almighty power. There is a place for a great main support council, which supports the national governments and give them there idea of unified rules. This will bring slowly all national countries together, but too much power in one institution might be very wrong move.
  • Dec 2 2012: I do like the idea behind the US government and its constitution of laws. and really any True form of any government is actually ideal. Meaning no actual human influence involved. So no government is actually ideal.

    What should be done is have the governing taken out of the hands of the overseers (the ones with the big picture in mind so to speak). And hand it over to local governments within certain guidelines. Take the funding for our current government and reverse the funding. The amount of money we pay to the federal government should go to our local, and the amount of money to the local goes to the federal government.

    This has many upsides, our local government can keep the local area in much better repair, safety would not be a concern as police and fire could be properly funded. Local governments are more easily reached by the people that they serve. Local ordinances can be upheld and voted on and enacted by the citizens that actually wanted them, and not an all powerful federal government that needs to do everything for everyone.
    If things are not going well in the local area, it would be much easier to get rid of those persons if things get bad enough. Each individual would have much more say in what can and can't be done in their local area.

    States and Federal Governments will go back to being what they were initially intended to be, part time jobs that representatives went to after hearing from their own constituents 60% of the year on what they actually need. There wouldn't be as many laws, lawyers, criminals, crimes, monopolies, Wars, debt, politics. Do we need a federal government, yes we do. But in such a limited capacity that they can't and won't be able to affect every living person in the country because some PAC bought them an election. They should have funding to provide for a strong defensive military and some other international needs but nothing more than that. Local and State Bodies should be the ones that handle the needs of people.
  • Nov 25 2012: The perfect form of government is the government that leaves room for evolution of the three branches comprised of the executive, legislative, and judicial. Governments are living entities which grow with the times; while this is paramount I fill that I must mention what I see as some good adaptations to any government. First there are no longer governmental parties such as democrat or republican, just platforms supported by the people and politicians that pick and choose from platforms elected by the people. Second the executive branch is compelled to enforce the law and act on the law giving no exception to any man, group, or country. Third, the judicial branch will be comprised of individuals who rise above platforms and politics, but rather act on the noble pursuit of protecting the people from those who wish to rob them of their civil liberties and rights even if it is the people of the country. Finally the government would utilize a system of hiring individuals on meritocracy and not on the terms deviating from skills or knowledge. I have found that in many governments money is thrown at situations which would have been better handled by leaders or advisors with a deeper understanding for the issues.
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2012: I am for a ban on all political parties. Politicians should be elected by their position on issues (top 10) that concern the public and then be accountable to the public to represent those issues. If their record shows that they maintain 7 out of 10 of their stated platform positions, then and only then, can they be allowed to run for another term. Congress and the Senate should be limited to two terms as well. I believe our government should be about "we the people" not about "we the party"... and who ever else funds them.
  • Nov 16 2012: "Ideally" - no government at all. a close knit community which spontaneously comes together in times of sorrow and in times of celebration. a community whose shared concerns are so ingrained that there is an almost psychic connection between the individuals and a self-empowering commitment to the welfare of others. Governments are neither good nor bad, even the most extremely autocratic government could be a blessing if the autocrat in charge was a supremely enlightened being. Governments are largely irrelevant. They only have as much power as the individuals of a society chose to imbue them with. Governments don't matter, people do.
    • Nov 17 2012: While I strongly agree with you, the last part of your comment makes me raise a question.
      Don't governments matter? I think governments do matter. People also do matter.
      Despite all its shortcomings, a government can be relatively better than other governments or worse--there's no perfectly good one obviously.
      What so many people are trying to achieve is to weaken their government's power and strengthen their power with active participations. If a government doesn't matter, people wouldn't even bother standing up to the corrupt government and fight for their rights.
      • Dec 4 2012: Governments do matter because human beings are not "ideal". The best government in a less than ideal world involves minimizing the intrusion into the affairs of the individual while providing for the common weal. We agree to settle for an average amount of tyranny, whatever form it takes.
  • Nov 13 2012: A good democracy is for the people, by the people and of the people, Good democratic systems include welfare, good education, Jobs, excellent health and food for people and top of it, Good democracy ensures security of it's people.
    During the regime of Democracy, Institutions work with each other collaboration and develop with prosperity and justice. Development and betterment goes on rapidly in side country and it's GDP gets higher, Good democratic organizations have excellent policies with other countries and respect the integrity of others....
    • thumb
      Nov 13 2012: the same can be told about a good monarchy. the question would be how to ensure we have a good one as opposed to a bad one. whether the system itself tends to be good or bad. what is the expected time evolution of a system.

      alas, democracies tend to get worse and worse with time. they tend to start good, after they are established, and slowly deteriorate from that point on.
      • thumb
        Nov 14 2012: "alas, democracies tend to get worse and worse with time. they tend to start good, after they are established, and slowly deteriorate from that point on."

        I strongly disagree. The democracy in which I live is far better off since its beginning in 1867
    • thumb
      Dec 5 2012: The fallacy in big government is simply this. People are different. People are interested in different things. The only way you can represent all the people is through small governement and free trade. We should not be obstructed by government to persue our individual dreams. Acheivement is not earned on the merits of others, It's earned by the individual. If I'm working towards a goal there should be a clear path to it. I should not have to worry about what the prime rate is tomorrow or what new regulations were signed behind closed doors.
  • thumb
    Nov 10 2012: The kingdom of God. Where there is peace, justice and righteousness.
    • thumb
      Nov 25 2012: Kingdom of God? The last time I checked humanity was expelled from that kingdom for being curious, having a desire for knowledge and having deviating eating habits (apples). The same curiosity that is the driving force behind TED is what allegedly got humans exiled from the kingdom you speak of.

      Your comment is as valid as writing “utopia” in regards to this thread.

      And do you really believe the Kingdom of God the best political system for all? What would life as an atheist be under this rule?
      • thumb
        Nov 25 2012: We strayed from the presence of God and he made efforts to bring us back through his son, Jesus Christ. The bible did not refer to any 'apple';
        "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness."
        Knowledge is only good when it is guided by wisdom.
        Now the kingdom of God is within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
      • thumb
        Nov 25 2012: We strayed from the presence of God and he made efforts to bring us back through his son, Jesus Christ. The bible did not refer to any 'apple';
        "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness."
        Knowledge is only good when it is guided by wisdom.
        Now the kingdom of God is within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
        • thumb
          Nov 26 2012: I apologise for making the assumption that you believed in the old testament. However I fail to see how any of this is relevant in discussion about the ideal governing system. If you're implying that the key to the ideal government is that we all adopt your belief system, I not only disagree strongly; I would call it naive at best.
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Nov 10 2012: A strictly adhered to constitution that allowed government to legislate within specific areas. Beyond those specific and defined areas, individual or locally defined laws could be enacted - again within specific areas. The theme of "my rights end where yours begin" would be predominant.

    No Supreme Court would be allowed to establish laws or override the intents of the ratifiers of any part of that constitution.

    My ideal government would not be a power hierarchy. There would be no elected (or otherwise) king. The goal would ALWAYS be concensus, and if concensus is not achieved, no law restricting individual freedoms would be allowed to be enacted.

    But, as Thomas Jefferson so famously said (paraphrased here), "In a state of civilization, those who want to be both ignorant and free, want what never was and never will be.

    When we are no longer ignorant, we will not longer depend on idiots to lead us. Until then, Direct democracy will always split a population apart, making neighbors enemies of neighbors.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2012: "I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe— "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." Thoreau

      Personally, in my fantasy world, the government would be the nations largest not for profit entity, and all funds contributions would be voluntary... Outside that, it would be similar to the one you describe and the one that our founders envisioned in rhetoric, but never really brought into reality.
      • thumb
        Nov 13 2012: The founding fathers left it to us to bring it to reality. If the cause is lost it is not their fault.
    • Nov 10 2012: That leads me to another question, Is it really possible for ignorant people to be come open to ideas. After all over half of the population of Texas believe that humans lived with dinosaurs, they are being ignorant to the truth. I think it's easier said than done.
      • thumb

        Gail . 50+

        • +1
        Nov 11 2012: Unfortunately, you can blame Christianity for that. And thanks to Christianity, you can blame the state-sponsored indoctrination programs that we call schools. If we fix education, and make it more complete, so that people can connect the dots and see the obvious solution to all of our cultural ills, then we can fix it. For as long as "education" remains a corporate subsidy of the military industrial complex, i don't see how we will get there.
        • thumb
          Nov 13 2012: Things should start looking up soon if your expectations are valid because the influence of Christianity is circling the drain. Religion and the temporal church have become self-serving as they enjoy the benefits of tax exemption. What will you blame everything on as this post-Christian era progresses? Will you continue to blame the previous administration?
    • thumb
      Nov 13 2012: I guess ignorance and error are pretty similar. I think there is a real difference though. Ignorance means a lack of knowledge. Error means an incorrect understanding of truth. If you answer "3" to the question what is 2 +2? you are in error. If you answer "I have no idea, nor do I have any idea how to figure it out" you are ignorant. I think both have remedies. Ignorance and apathy are profoundly serious problems in America. We have so many "idiots" holding elected office because of those two malignancies. But they can be treated and the symptoms reversed. It is not hopeless.
  • thumb
    Dec 9 2012: First of all i think that the government system depends strongly on the "nature" of a population. Europeans and Americans have adapted to democratic systems. I think that there should be more than two parties, add more stringent prerequisites for politicians and encourage, start building an international school system.
    However there will always be some flaws and we need tools to fix (that should be the constitution). We need new tools to work together with the political class, to solve practical problems.
  • Dec 9 2012: Americans and Europeans tend to think that their government systems -- modified democracies -- are the best. I would submit that their certitude is chauvinistic.

    Democracies have a lot to be said for them. But the problem is that they leave decision-making to the masses. By definition the masses are, well, not exactly elite in their intellectual ability. Or their willingness to work hard, or think hard, or do much of anything that requires exceptional talent or ability.

    Ben Franklin famously said “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” We are on the verge of that. People have discovered that rather than earning money, they can simply vote to take it from those who earn it.

    A better system might be one where the decision-makers advance on the basis of their productivity, and not on the basis of their willingness to "spread the wealth around" as Mr. Obama put it in a candid moment.
  • Dec 5 2012: Since the average age of a democracy is about 200 years before its collapse; the query is even more relevant. I assume most who will read TED conversations have an understanding of the basic function of government. Generally, simpler is better. Modernize the Constitution. The three branch form can still work well, but there must be significant changes. The Executive branch (President and Vice-President) would use a much smaller cabinet comprised of a Director for each of the following areas: National Affairs, International Affairs and Military. The Legislative branch (Congress) would be a one party configuration and operation. Call it the Senate or House of Representatives or some other name, either way singularity is needed to eventually drive efficiency. No democrats, no republicans. Simply citizens who are willing to be governed and empowering those who govern with clear expectations and limitations. The Judicial branch (Justices) would shrink in numbers and have very strict limitations on how they conduct business.
    Our government is too large and is involved in too many aspects of the citizens’ lives. With 50 states represented in the Senate and House of Representatives, much can and does get lost. So, combine the states and use regions based on time zones or other reasonable criteria with a little nudge here and there to adjust areas for simplicity. There may be other possible combinations but the overall sense is we would use a regional representation as opposed to state specific. Since the number of representatives would shrink drastically (maximum of 12), government would become much more transparent and accessible. Holding our government workers accountable could also be a little more straightforward.
    Many details would need to be worked out, but success is in the details.
  • thumb
    Dec 5 2012: off the top of my head i say:

    As a recovering victim of public education firstly I say a government would be limited to encouraging public education, as our founding fathers intended and not managing/controlling as is being done currently.

    Secondly the government would be limited to work with the private sector to “Start” new public projects, like roads, phone and electric services, space exploration, etc. and establish for X number of years. But must turn over all management to the private sectors at the end of that time, this is to prevent stagnation. Look at what happen to the US phone services before and after the government turn it over and compare that to public education, the US roads, trains, and space program where you have stagnation. With national forest being the exception, because that is the one area you want stagnation.

    I would add something about preventing the political parties from turning into the current situation where we have a ruling party and a puppet party, but if public education was taken out of the hands of the single party government the public would be able to return to a two or more party system.

    Thirdly taxes can not be used modified the believer of its citizens.
  • Dec 5 2012: A world government. It would be a democracy, no single president, more like the UN general assembly. All current or future political boundaries would stay the same. All countries have at least two representatives. Would have a constitution and international bill of rights. One worldwide currency. No political party affiliations allowed (if possible, unlikely but still). International trade and resource laws. If a country wants to separate it would be allowed to. Complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons (no need for them). All disasters and famines and acts of terror would be considered a worldwide issue, thus resources and military would be deployed faster. Local/national governments still in charge of there own people. However all military would be under world government control. To help keep government from becoming to powerful, all leaders would have a 4-8 year term limit and a simple majority can overrule any decision making. World court would have term limit too and only decides on worldwide issues.

    Am I dreaming, probably, but a system like this could work, if we all put aside our differences. Think, all the things the smaller governments could put money to instead of their militaries. Think of the money that could go to scientific advances and medical breakthroughs. The international transportation systems that could be established. A world wide space program. It would indeed be interesting.
  • thumb
    Dec 5 2012: A list of educated and qualified Subject MatterExperts are selected by a judiciary commitee based on their track record. A minimum of three Candidates for each Subject. The people elect from this list of eligible candidates to run and manage each goventment office. ie. Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Energy etc. And the Subject Matter Experts/Senate/Council (what ever they may be called) along with the head of the judiciary commitee elect a leader based on expereince, intellect, unbiased and fair thinking.

    Each government office shall be held accountable for it transparancy with regards to handling public funds, and executing thier policy and works. Ineffecient offices will have a 3-6 month process of continuous evaluation. If objectives are not met, the second best electoral candidate shall assume the office.

    The constitution shoudl be rewritten every 20 years to adapt to current needs and developments upholding the founding principles and core values. Needless to say the constituion should be based on secular, unbiased, fair and free thinking yet confining to core values and moral conduct.

    A clear and firm time bound process of pettition should be established to hear peoples concern and address them in a timely manner.
  • thumb
    Dec 5 2012: One Party. The Constitution Party. My Government would be very limited. It's simple purpose would be to uphold the laws our original Constitution and to provide military defense against outside threats. It would have no say whatsoever in matters of economics or religion. It would operate as a non profit and any surplus would be rebated back to the taxpayers. All Anti monopoly laws will be reinstated. All imigration is subject to the laws of the constitution. Anyone whom does not agree with our constitution will win a free trip to the country of their choice and remain there.
  • thumb
    Dec 4 2012: Instant runoff elections that abolish the electoral college and use the popular vote would better represent the citizens and enable more than two political parties to have a chance.

    Separation of private finance and state would be a constitutional amendment as sacred as separation of church and state or free speech. The media presence of campaigns would be limited to live debate. The right to petition would be preserved but the practice of paying lobbyists would be banned.

    A mandate for schools to teach civics would ensure that citizens are informed about the way the government works.

    Citizens who wish to vote would first have to pass a test of their knowledge of current events and the platforms of the candidates. Study guides would be provided.

    These structural changes to the way the democracy functions are nonpartisan and would lead to better representation of society's values. I believe that my liberal agenda of higher taxes, more social support, education, health care, guaranteed food and housing, less incarceration etc. would follow because they are actually in line with majority values.
  • thumb
    Dec 4 2012: A Global Scale Geniocracy Building a Global Scale Paradism
  • Nov 26 2012: Like China!
  • Nov 25 2012: Best of Breed / Eclectic. Look around the world and see what is working. To my mind the Swiss and their "direct democracy" with initiatives and referendums coming from citizens is the best place to look to. But I am not totally sold that it could work as well in the US - witness states such as California which have an active initiative and referendum process but seem "screwed up" (anybody out there from California?). So in the mean time I lean more toward a "directed democracy" for the US with citizens using the internet for "advisory" initiatives and referendums deliberated over by an actual Board of Directors that is small in number , to promote actual deliberation - and nonpartisan, perhaps elected at large to single terms and inclusive of third parties. The Swiss have a federal council which essentially does this "Board" function while in the US we have temporary adhoc super committees that don't seem to work. The "political class" which sits atop and controls the current US system - and likes it that way - might go for this since it is a simple addon to the current system. - and most people understand that modern organizations run with a "Board of Directors" - why shouldn't our US government have one also.
    To my mind the other factor that weighs in on the side of a Board of Directors approach is that the job of president is too big and difficult - Democrat or Republican, even super man/woman would have a tough time. As in any organization, the Board represents the people (shareholders) and augments the executive function.
  • Nov 17 2012: In an "ideal" world, governments don't matter. In the "real" world, human frailties require safeguards for the rights of the individual and an enforcement mechanism to protect those rights. Governments are run by people and the relative benevolence of any government is dependent upon the character of those who comprise the government and so, in that sense, it is the people running the government who are more important than the nature of that government. It is possible that a benevolent dictatorship could be much more supportive of individual rights than a tyrannical democracy. The advantage of a democracy is that it tends to flatten out major bumpy spots. You have fewer extreme abuses of power, but you also have fewer extremes in a positive sense as well. You settle for an average level of abuse and avoid the extremes.
  • thumb
    Nov 17 2012: Today it is very hard to find people who MUST satisfy 2 most important criteria to be a member of the government. these two things are HONESTY and SUFFICIENT INTELLIGENCE TO GOVERN. This is my personal opinion, that it is very hard to find such people, especially honest ones.