Jul 10, 2007

The Current State of Theory

As I mentioned in an earlier piece, the initial focus of Edan was on creating a model of how government can remain as direct, local, and (really) comprehensible as possible. Modern nation-states are too distant, too centralized, and too dependent upon a faceless, unaccountable bureaucracy; the average citizen has literally no contact with leaders and little chance (or incentive!) to understand the size and scope of government.

With the goal of keeping the government as personal as possible while maintaining social cohesion and the ability to grow (the goal is a real-world nation, eventually) and have the potential for a strong, central response in times of real crisis, I was at a bit of a loss at first. The initial idea, a Constitutional Monarchy, was not a solution; there are dozens of CM’s in Europe that are currently stable and easily as impersonal as the massive Federal systems of places like America or the Party Systems of China and its clones.

After reflection, I realized that at least some of the stability of a CM comes from the monarch, themselves. This pushed me to modify the constitution and create the Nobility – embodiments of the government. A name, face, even family that was both personally responsible for and to the people they governed. Add in the ability of the King to revoke nobility for failure to fulfill the responsibilities of leadership and a Senate of elected representatives, and I felt I was almost done. Local, direct leaders for the people with clear chains of responsibility and appeal with the King and Senate watching the nobles and each other for abuses. The King is the focal point of the nation as a whole, creating cohesion, and with emergency powers could use the resources of the entire nation to deal with threats.

But it isn’t quite done. I fear that a large legislature will lead inevitably to a large bureaucracy. I am also concerned with power ‘creeping up the chain’ and becoming more centralized which will, eventually, mean a large, impersonal Crown government and a faceless bureaucracy. Further, large corporation can and do have serious power within any society and they are the business world’s incarnation of federal government and impersonal bureaucracy! Toss in my acting Minister of State reminding me of such things as the need for a central authority to create roads, canals, airports, and lay utilities and I realized that even the Third Draft of the Constitution is too much Business and Government as Usual.

What to do? The constitution can’t cover everything. So: the constitution will deal with the King, the Nobles, the Assembly, and the Courts. Everything else must be codified into law or, even better, made a societal norm. Certain functions of the government, especially roads and utilities, must be centrally controlled, but in a way that maximizes efficiency (like business) but avoids placing profits over people (the government is about serving citizens, not making a profit).

About this time I learned of Distributism, the ‘third way’ economic theory from the end of the 19th Century that was quite popular until WWII. Eschewing the collectivism and tyranny of Communism and Socialism, the authoritarianism of Fascism, and the self-destructive aspects of laissez-faire Capitalism, Distributism shares many of the goals of Edan in the economic sphere – keep business as small as possible, as local as possible, and as personal as possible. Voluntary private restrictions are preferred over legislations. The primary goal is weal, not profit. To fit the ideas of the semi-Feudal structure of the government together with the idea of natural monopolies for certain functions and a Distributist economic outlook, I devised a tentative framework I am currently calling Feudal Technocratic Distributism.

I will go into more detail in future pieces, especially since I am still working out the details!

Post a Comment