Buddhist Anarchism

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby reddust » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:46 am

I refuse to debate the positive aspects of corporations and our culture, there is no positive and any debate will be useless with me.
The Corporations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation_(film)
An excellent Documentary and in my opinion why corporations cannot function in an anarchist type civilization:
The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those in the United States. One theme is its assessment as a "personality", as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite led to corporations as "persons" having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, General Smedley Butler exposed an alleged corporate plot against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt; the tragedy of the commons; Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; economic externalities; suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station at the behest of Monsanto; the invention of the soft drink Fanta by the Coca-Cola Company due to the trade embargo on Nazi Germany; the alleged role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust (see IBM and the Holocaust); the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of a municipal water supply in Bolivia; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.

I am on this thread to explore anarchy and Buddhism, the data I posted I have experienced myself and is the reason why I do not want corporations involved in my life. :namaste:

(http://siivola.org/monte/papers_grouped ... opathy.htm) Corporate Psychopathy
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance) Cognitive dissonance
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:01 am

:good:
Agreed on (nearly) all points!
Corporations are not necessarily evil but they have become so in modern capitalist societies.
Part of the reason is that their sole legitimate motivation is to make money for their shareholders. Nothing else. No social responsibility, no ethics, just make money ... and if that means cheating customers, lying to the government, bullying suppliers and exploiting their workers, they will go right ahead and do it unless (1) caught and fined or (2) caught and shamed.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:25 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Part of the reason is that their sole legitimate motivation is to make money for their shareholders. Nothing else. No social responsibility, no ethics, just make money

Statements like this just demonstrate that my model still has not been understood. :oops:

I am going to explain this again, and hopefully I can make it understandable this time.

You can't treat your subjects poorly if you're a king, you can only lose by doing that, you will make less money. People respond to stimuli, they will revolt, they will unionise, they will be disobedient. The argument being put against mine seems to be imagining that they'll be treated just like mindless objects. Moreover, my system doesn't create any incentives for property rights to be violated like democracy does - the worst thing a monarch can do is abuse his subjects, because his subjects create the value of his enterprise. Democratic governments have all sorts of pathological incentives to violate natural rights, but if you look for pathological incentives to violate natural rights in monarchy where the king is financially responsible, you may be able to find some, but you'll have to look a little bit harder and there are more counter-incentives in my system.

One can't conflate the way corporations mismanage to the way a government mismanages. It's very hard to know what good governance in the 21st century looks like, because government has been so lamentably bad for so many years, you need to go back to before the 20th century and look at a ruler like Frederick the Great before you're looking at what would good governance be. Ask yourself, what would Steve Jobs or Frederick the Great do with California if they were given absolutist powers? I think we would all agree that they would do something quite a bit better than what we are seeing now. This is because bureaucracy and mismanagement are causally related, because where there are more people negotiating a decision you have more opposition to central power. An example of this is a comparison between Apple before Steve Jobs returned, and after, where a level of order and direction had been obtained in a state of chaos - there really is no example one can provide of that happening in governments today. Inefficient components of the government are almost never removed, but in corporations they are vaporised on a daily basis.

A good example of this is The Corporation, a great movie which I have seen twice and recommend. In the current democratic government of the US, there's a widespread practice of corruption between bureaucrats and business corporations. You really can't do anything about this with the current system because the lobbying interests have bought off the politicians and bureaucrats, through the spoils system (which I mentioned before). Moreover, this has led to an immense amount of debt - the reason why we keep accumulating it is because it's helping to fill the pockets of interests who have bought politicians. If this were a corporation, the king would be able to vaporise all of these politicians and the departments which have been mismanaged and charter more efficient models. This is a glaring contradiction in the argument being put against mine. These problems reach their worst point in democracies, and are easiest to deal with in monarchies.

Moreover, the arguments put against mine have both continued to miss the definition of the term corporation and keep thinking of it as business interests who buy politicians. Let's get down to the point on this one, we're talking political philosophy, and philosophy is all about words, so it is necessary that if one person is arguing using definition X for a word in their argument, one cannot refute their argument by substituting definition Y for that word.

To further refine my definition of this monarchy I am proposing, I refer your to Chapter II of Thomas Carlyle's essay on Chartism, where he argues against government by statistic. You can't measure or govern according to joy indexes, either approximately like fuzzy undefined gut feelings, or by measures like Bhutan's Gross National Happiness. As for increasing GDP, as gross national sales, as the US government aims to do (which is fuzzy anyway because it's all fiat currency), is that good or bad for national happiness? That's a meaningless question because GDP doesn't actually measure national utility, a policy which increases GDP may be bad, and one which decreases it may be evil. The US only maximised debt by consuming more than its income - thus maximising GDP. Big mistake.

My solution is to make the king financially responsible to the beneficiaries of the national fisc. If he doesn't do well, the stockholders will just dump him. Even an average CEO of a minor business which no one has heard of will manage Massachusetts better than it is being managed now.
reddust wrote:I refuse to debate the positive aspects of corporations and our culture, there is no positive and any debate will be useless with me.

:consoling:
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby reddust » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:53 pm

No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets. The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet except against oneself, the persons one is supposed to love, or the revolutionary aspirations of pitiful, poverty-stricken marginal societies like Cuba or Vietnam. The conditions of the Cold War have turned all modern societies — Communist included — into vicious distorters of man’s true potential. They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them.


I would like to learn, explore and discuss ways that include anarchist and Buddhist social and economic systems. I don't know much about this, I read the article posted by the OP and I would like to continue the discussion minus the corporate model. :hi:

EDIT: also this
This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck. It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West. It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old” — the IWW slogan of fifty years ago.


I've already started a lot of this, civil disobedience I will refuse to get involved in systems that forces me to buy products or pay taxes that are harmful to humans and ecosystems, we live very simply, we don't create any garbage! I am all for people living as per their views of the world just so they don't murder, steal. lie, rape, and plunder. I belong to a community of mixed faith that are into building a self sufficient community, but where I live that's how we have always lived so it's not a big move. Belonging to the Grange Hall, being involved with the school system and going to community and county meetings. Staying in touch with those around you. That's how I grew up.

By the by, I am a West Coast Redneck and we are good solid folk that mind our own business!
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:50 am

The resolution must not be unchallenged!

If anarchy really doesn't imply social contract theory, or anything Hobbesian (the only logical form of which is monarchist), which I'll accept, then we really have tried anarchy, it's called Port-au-Prince. It equals pure chaos, and it means that aims will be achieved by means of terrorism (in case you haven't noticed, anarchist literature contains an awful lot of ingredient lists and instructions for how to make explosives, this isn't a coincidence).

The problems of listed by the OP are problems of mismanagement. If you're playing chess poorly by committee or elective decision making, the solution isn't to get rid of the rules of chess and declare yourself the winner, the solution is to get rid of the committee and hire a chess champion to play for you. This means, get rid of demotist forms of government (any popular forms, e.g. democracy, communism, socialism, fascism, republicanism), and hire one highly competent manager, or king, who rules not because a mob wants him to, but by the rule of law - legitimacy according to rules: i.e. legitimist.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:11 am

To add that: as I stated before, I propose that the optimal arrangement is one with complete freedom (duty) of exit. This means that each sovereign would be obliged to make its territory the most suitable and favourable to its residents. This means that the preferences which drives the OP to desire anarchy would actually be better met by my proposal, because you could also have the enforcement of those preferences in the form of the freedom of exit. The most preferable state will arise in a situation in which the king holds in good faith all agreements between the subjects and himself, enforces agreements between the subjects, doesn't restrict the subjects as evaluated per pareto efficiency, and doesn't tax the subjects except for restricted durations in the case of security. Alternately, the government can tax according to the laffer curve and reduce fees through a rebate to its operations - the recipients of which can treat it as a share, the shareholders can choose a King who has the authority a CEO has in a business corporation. This may turn out to be a better option because then the government has objectives, and also has an incentive to enforce the above rules: to not drive down its own stock prices. My belief is that governments 'would' look like this, but they instead have opted for government by Christian-derived religious faith.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:08 am

Basically Zhen Li, it sounds what you are saying is that the people should be the shareholders, which is a kind of communist utopia. Which in theory works great, but how to implement such a model?
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:54 am

futerko wrote:Basically Zhen Li, it sounds what you are saying is that the people should be the shareholders, which is a kind of communist utopia.

Well, I still stand by the idea I used earlier, which was,
Zhen Li wrote:My solution is to make the king financially responsible to the beneficiaries of the national fisc. If he doesn't do well, the stockholders will just dump him. Even an average CEO of a minor business which no one has heard of will manage Massachusetts better than it is being managed now.

This means the owners of the holders of the equity tranche, and possibly debt holders. Why? Because they have the highest incentive to ensure the kingdom is managed well, and loose the most if the kingdom is managed poorly. They put up the capital, and expose themselves to risk in lieu of positive returns.

Overlap between the subjects and the shareholders is just a coincidence. Some could be subjects, but some could be foreign -- which I would imagine is not a bad idea, since they'd be more detached from special and vested interests within the kingdom, even a foreign king isn't a bad idea. While it's dealing completely fictitious capital and not actually doing anything useful in the long run, the UK government recently went along the logic of choosing the available manager with the best performance for the job of governor of the Bank of England, without regard for his nationality.

More or less, democracy (where "people" own the gov.) is the same, except the enfranchised in democracies do not have the freedom to sell their shares, and their shares don't guarantee them any commensurate % of government revenue. The way democracy issues shares is more or less by wildfire, to kids, to immigrants who have been here for an arbitrary number of years, which has no relation to the actual value of the share. I am sure you are familiar with the fact that the expansion of the democratic franchise throughout British and American history have merely been the greedy attempts of political parties to get more votes and stay in power more than the opposition - the Whigs with the Reform Act, Tories with women's suffrage (since women voted Tory as they supported prohibition), Labour's immigration policies to force British electorate to move further left, etc. What this is, is a confusion (based upon democratic corruption) of the distinction between shareholder and customer - you don't grant customers the right to elect your CEO simply because they purchased your products, it's the age old nonsense of "no taxation without representation." And when the otherside can no longer be guaranteed their number of arbitrary votes, they proceed to extreme politics, hence the inherent tendency of popular governments to curtail liberties and commit genocide.

So, it's not communist, as you see, which is a form of revolutionary popular government. My proposal is reactionary, Legitimist/Jacobitist in spirit (minus heredity), and ordered.
futerko wrote:Which in theory works great, but how to implement such a model?

Well, pretending you're referring to my theory and not communism, this is a long story which I can tell you another time in full detail (as you can see, it's a bit more than a vague feeling for what works better than democracy, but it's also evolving as I read new stuff), but the short version is (and there's any number of ways you can spin it), assuming there's no military threat and people on the whole in a given polity agree that this is the best approach to government:
1. An immutable charter establishes the rights, limits, and responsibilities of the kingdom, including the prohibition of the confiscation of the shares of a minority by a majority.
2. The shareholders are identified as those who owns/is in charge of what at the time of the creation of the state.
3. The shareholders choose who they consider to be the most competent manager, i.e. the king, who has full authority to make all executive decisions within the charter, but can be fired by the shareholders, as with a CEO.
4. Government revenues are distributed equally amongst the shareholders who manage them according to the requirements of their holdings.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:45 am

It seems to me that if the subjects are not the shareholders, this raises a number of issues - the possibility of abuse for one, and also the incentives of those subjects to work for the benefit of others. Surely at some level, the subjects need to have some kind of investment in their own product?
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:49 pm

Zhen Li,
Thanks for your last few posts. Now at last I know what kind of government you believe in, instead of only suspecting it.
IIRC, Plato proposed the benevolent dictatorship as the ideal form of government about 2000 years ago. You've got a new twist on it but the crucial faults of the model remain: how to create such a state without enormous bloodshed, and how to ensure that the dictatorship remains benevolent. Can you solve them?

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:22 pm

futerko wrote:the possibility of abuse for one, and also the incentives of those subjects to work for the benefit of others. Surely at some level, the subjects need to have some kind of investment in their own product?

There is less incentive for abuse in my model than in the democratic one, where a fear of losing power can cause governments to repeal old freedoms and rights.

As for the idea of incentives for subjects to work for the benefit of others, I don't quite understand the catch 22 on this one. Unless they're volunteers or altruists, people usually work for their own benefit. What would change? That taxes go to a system which is efficient and coherent, instead of one which is corrupt, inefficient, and incoherent.

As for investing in your own product, you can invest with your money how you wish, I'm not sure why that's a necessity.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Thanks for your last few posts. Now at last I know what kind of government you believe in, instead of only suspecting it.

Maybe, but I am not so sure.
Kim O'Hara wrote:IIRC, Plato proposed the benevolent dictatorship as the ideal form of government about 2000 years ago. You've got a new twist on it but the crucial faults of the model remain: how to create such a state without enormous bloodshed, and how to ensure that the dictatorship remains benevolent. Can you solve them?

You see, I already addressed these issues:
Zhen LI wrote:I propose that the optimal arrangement is one with complete freedom (duty) of exit. This means that each sovereign would be obliged to make its territory the most suitable and favourable to its residents. This means that the preferences which drives the OP to desire anarchy would actually be better met by my proposal, because you could also have the enforcement of those preferences in the form of the freedom of exit. The most preferable state will arise in a situation in which the king holds in good faith all agreements between the subjects and himself, enforces agreements between the subjects, doesn't restrict the subjects as evaluated per pareto efficiency, and doesn't tax the subjects except for restricted durations in the case of security. Alternately, the government can tax according to the laffer curve and reduce fees through a rebate to its operations - the recipients of which can treat it as a share, the shareholders can choose a King who has the authority a CEO has in a business corporation. This may turn out to be a better option because then the government has objectives, and also has an incentive to enforce the above rules: to not drive down its own stock prices. My belief is that governments 'would' look like this, but they instead have opted for government by Christian-derived religious faith.

What is important here is that when subjects have "complete freedom (duty) of exit" they are free to leave and enter any kingdom they wish. This means that each kingdom must compete to provide the optimal conditions for its citizens. The mechanisms whereby this could be achieved are what I outlined above, a la pareto efficiency etc (just check wikipedia). So, like I said a dozen times before, there's no incentive for a king to molest his subjects - there's every incentive for a democratic government to.

As for creating a state, this is the same problem as with any hypothetical government model (communism, anarchism, futarchy, etc), my point is that this model works better than other hypothetical models. The question of how hypothetical models are put into practice is thus somewhat redundant, particularly if you're already willing to buy into the possibility of anarchy, that you question me on this point is somewhat ironic. But I think the question is a good and interesting one, and it raises the question as to why governments are supported. The reason they are supported (would take up ten pages on this board worth for me to explain in full detail), in short, is that they are 'believed' in by patriotic citizens who have been indoctrinated by the universities or the government (who listens to the public policy departments at universities) about what to think, the history of the current dominant ideology is an interesting one and it really is a descendant of 17th century Puritanism.

So, the solution for a reactionary coup? The anti-university. If the university is the power socket for the current government, we will unplug the citizens from the university, and plug them into the anti-university (no cuts or bruises incurred). How this can occur in details I can explain if you are interested, but the point is more that this hypothetical model works better than democracy.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:01 pm

Zhen Li wrote:
futerko wrote:the possibility of abuse for one, and also the incentives of those subjects to work for the benefit of others. Surely at some level, the subjects need to have some kind of investment in their own product?

There is less incentive for abuse in my model than in the democratic one, where a fear of losing power can cause governments to repeal old freedoms and rights.

As for the idea of incentives for subjects to work for the benefit of others, I don't quite understand the catch 22 on this one. Unless they're volunteers or altruists, people usually work for their own benefit. What would change? That taxes go to a system which is efficient and coherent, instead of one which is corrupt, inefficient, and incoherent.

As for investing in your own product, you can invest with your money how you wish, I'm not sure why that's a necessity.


What I mean is that if the subjects had a stake in their own future and their own "corporation" then fine, but if the shareholders were "foreign" then what incentive would they actually have to allow others to skim their surplus labour time?

I'm not talking about them investing their "own" money here, I'm talking about them actually working for themselves rather then working for other people.
Disposable spending money is irrelevant to this situation.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:48 pm

Zhen Li,
You are dreaming. There is no conceivable route from what we have now to what you propose, even in a "kingdom" (state) as small as a single provincial city.
And even if such a kingdom could be created from new (Pilgrim Fathers 2.0?), there is no protection for the powerless except leaving - which means there is no protection at all, because even if the whole world changed to your model (which it never will), you have a scenario in which the powerless or oppressed leave kingdom 1 but face the same problems in kingdom 2, 3, .... 150. And that's even if kingdoms 2, 3, etc, accept everyone who wants to enter.

Frankly, I think your undoubted enthusiasm for political improvement should be directed towards making incremental improvements in the real world rather than elaborating your dream world. There is one other possibility, though: could you design a strategy game (like Sim City) running on your theories? It could be interesting to play - and making it believable workable could be a great learning curve for you.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:14 am

futerko wrote:What I mean is that if the subjects had a stake in their own future and their own "corporation" then fine, but if the shareholders were "foreign" then what incentive would they actually have to allow others to skim their surplus labour time?

I'm not talking about them investing their "own" money here, I'm talking about them actually working for themselves rather then working for other people.
Disposable spending money is irrelevant to this situation.

The incentive is a coherently and efficiently run government, the same rationale people have for paying taxes in democracy, except in democracy they don't actually get it.
Kim O'Hara wrote:You are dreaming. There is no conceivable route from what we have now to what you propose, even in a "kingdom" (state) as small as a single provincial city.

The anti-university means promoting the idea of a better government. When the ideas have fermented there can be a party which can aim for election in the democratic system - except they will abolish both the democratic system and their own party upon achieving power. There's any number of examples for small ideas which were fringe one year, becoming mainstream and taking over 10 years later. I am sure you can think of a few dozen. It is conceivable if the ideas are presented well - which is the problem usually, transmitting the ideas down the IQ ladder to the masses while still not contradicting the basic premises of the model (think the popularity of Marxism, versus how many Marxists actually understand what transition from law of value to socially direct labour means, that they understand or not is irrelevant, so long as the simple model is consistent).
Kim O'Hara wrote:And even if such a kingdom could be created from new (Pilgrim Fathers 2.0?), there is no protection for the powerless except leaving - which means there is no protection at all, because even if the whole world changed to your model (which it never will), you have a scenario in which the powerless or oppressed leave kingdom 1 but face the same problems in kingdom 2, 3, .... 150. And that's even if kingdoms 2, 3, etc, accept everyone who wants to enter.

People won't be convinced if the conditions I listed (e.g. actual rules against the violation of subjects) don't exist. You see, the system only works when you keep in mind all of the parts - they work in unison, if the only part you are thinking of is the freedom of exit, but you are forgetting that I also proposed a charter which sets the rights of the system and wherein the crown must
Zhen Li wrote:holds in good faith all agreements between the subjects and himself, enforces agreements between the subjects, doesn't restrict the subjects as evaluated per pareto efficiency, and doesn't tax the subjects except for restricted durations in the case of security.

You see, like I said before, there really isn't a reason a king would abuse his citizens.

Fundamentally, there's nothing to stop democratic governments from abusing its citizens, after all, the US government approved and enforces dozens of acts and bills which violate its own constitution. It can do anything it pleases. It can enslave citizens as soldiers, spy on everything they do, imprison them without any trial, confiscate any property they own, make all businesses subsidiaries of it, and steal money from any citizen to pay whoever it wishes. My argument is that the system I am proposing doesn't give any incentives to the government to do that, since these actions are politically motivated by the mechanics and weaknesses of the democratic system among many other reasons I have listed (and more I haven't).
Kim O'Hara wrote:Frankly, I think your undoubted enthusiasm for political improvement should be directed towards making incremental improvements in the real world rather than elaborating your dream world.

Well, I don't believe the political world we live in can be improved, except by "reactionary" change. If you look at history, it's just a downward slope from around the reign of James II to the present, and the system which we live in increases in sophistication in the character of its mechanisms of self-deception. It moved from justifying itself through divine rights, to justifying itself because of the myth that history progresses to ever better conditions (Whig Macauleyism), and that science justifies the current world order.
[quote="Kim O'Hara]There is one other possibility, though: could you design a strategy game (like Sim City) running on your theories? It could be interesting to play - and making it believable workable could be a great learning curve for you.[/quote]
All government simulators where there is no elective system are effectively simulations of my model. So, The Political Machine, and obviously Democracy, are games which are not simulations of this model.

But, Sim City is a great example, because the Mayor is more or less a dictator. He never gets unelected, and the game makes you understand first hand the reason why the financial incentives behind government work - because the game has actual debt, and you can run into actual bankruptcy and not be able to build anything. This is how my proposal works, because in democratic government they just use fictitious capital, whereas in my model where you use a hard currency, such as gold, you can run into actual bankruptcy.

But imagine if Sim City had an elective system, you'd start promising stuff just to get to play the game, and then you play the game for 4 terms and build all sorts of stuff really quickly in that period in order to make the citizens happy so that you'll get re-elected again (especially at the end of the 4). But when you translate that to multiple exchanges of governing party, and you start to run into debt constantly, where you still allowed to keep building stuff, the debt will keep increasing and you'll see how nothing really works properly.

I can't really think of any other government simulators besides Sim City which really work to demonstrate how it works.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:46 am

Zhen Li wrote:the system only works when you keep in mind all of the parts - they work in unison,

That is precisely why your system could never be implemented in the real world.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:29 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:That is precisely why your system could never be implemented in the real world.

Not at all, the facets I listed you can count on two hands -- the facets of current governments you couldn't count on the hands of a legion. To use the corporation example, corporations have many mechanisms within their organisational structure which dictate what the CEO can and cannot do, and if he tries to over ride those mechanisms the shareholders will fire him - it's really quite simple, which is why it's much better than democracy.

And the same can be said for anarchy. What about people abusing one another? Some anarchists' reply to this is, first we need to educate and teach all parents never to hit their children again, and when we have a world without any child abuse people won't have perverse motivations. Not only is that unrealistic in the real world, but history has shown that it's far easier to get people to learn and support a political ideology than it is to teach them how to behave in society.

Moreover, young people these days have a feeling that the system is rotting and needs to be transformed. But they've been told growing up that monarchies and corporations are the bad guys - youths are rebellious, so naturally if they can support the opposite of what their parents opposed, they'll feel "cool." Just look at the way fashion has also been turning for young people, it gradually got more and more informal until the 90s, and now you see stuff like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Victorian and this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_punk , young people dressing up as the people who they were indoctrinated to believe were the evil imperialist capitalists, and since their parents are all liberal marxist hippies now, the idea of making neoreaction "cool" and attractive to future generations is not far fetched. When the movement is growing people can develop secret signs to recognise fellow neoreactionaries, they can wear special (but not too conspicuous) clothing to recognise fellow neoreactionaries in the office, and meet in secret gatherings where there is an entrance exam testing one's knowledge of the works of Thomas Carlyle. Of course, when it gets to be mainstream, it will be easier to join, but as it's growing it will be most fun.

In addition, the perspective of treating a kingdom like businesses, i.e. in order to have high efficiency and not run up an undue debt, is certainly Buddhist in spirit, as the early Sangha was run like business as shown by Gregory Schopen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GeZGFvbDzo . Kingship is also important in Buddhism, and in the Agganna Sutta the Buddha explains that society more or less exists because of the stability provided by a king, and that one of the main sources of the Sangha's wealth is in fact the king. In Buddhist kingdoms this is indeed the case. Money and capitalism are completely unrelated to avarice, in the suttas you'll see that money isn't even mentioned when the Buddha talks about greed - in fact the Buddha encourages good management of wealth, and not accumulating debts (with the kind of debts modern western people have, none of them would have been admitted into the Buddha's Sangha). It's not the external world that matters in these affairs, it's your mind. The external world is better when it is run well, and run coherently, and that's consistent with the Buddha's advice to kings and to lay people in regards to wealth. The real issue are idealistic western Buddhists, most of whom are Buddhists not because they found it to be a logical system, but out of rebellion, because they are counter-cultural and probably raised on Marxism also. So naturally, if they find something which is counter-their-culture, i.e. not western, they expect it also not to value capitalism and to share their utopian ideals. But as Gregory Schopen shows, that's certainly not the case, and we have no reason to be surprised when we find out that the Sangha is really a corporation which not only accumulates wealth, but stored it for lay people and returned an interest (that's how shrewd bankers the Bhiksus of the early Sangha were, haha).
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:39 am

Zhen Li wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:That is precisely why your system could never be implemented in the real world.

Not at all ...

You still don't see it, Zhen Li?
My assertion was not about the desirability or efficiency of your system but about the impossibility of convincing everyone in power now all around the world, that they were wrong, your were right and they should all just stand aside and let a bunch of your disciples take over.
:alien:

Quite apart from that, I still don't think your system is workable or desirable - but it is a complete waste of time discussing it anyway because it will never be introduced. Please put your energy into making the real world a slightly better place. However small the difference you make, it will be better than what you're doing now.

:namaste:
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:59 am

Well, it's pretty likely that it won't be put into action. But that's really irrelevant, since the topic is anarchism. My point is that anarchism is less achievable, less desirable, and that this model would promote the welfare of the world much more.

If you put yourself in my shoes, this is all it sounds like you're doing to me (please see why it's not very convincing and rather unproductive):

Kim, please stop doing what you're doing, and start doing something more productive. Like supporting a political system which will benefit the world, rather than cause mass chaos and killing. That's not very compassionate of you, and not very Buddhist of you, a big big shame on you young lady.* :rolling:

More or less, all I am saying is, it is never really helpful or productive to get personal with people in a conversation like this, and it's a bit rude to try to talk down to them or say that their casual interests aren't worth talking about. Sometimes people like to discuss interests, and debate the pros and cons of different solutions to problems. I would be surprised if you have no interests or hobbies, or if you don't from time to time like to talk about them, or talk about a book you've read. It's pretty normal, so I don't really understand why you are trying to shut the door on me, when I am voluntarily posting on a publicly accessible forum by my own choice, and where you can choose to look at what I write, choose to ignore it, or choose to reply to it as you please. It's not normal to pretend that you're the guardian or teacher of someone who you have never met, and tell them how to live their life without them asking you for that advice - which I might do somewhere else, but it's irrelevant to THIS discussion, which IS about politics.

* i.e. if you are not a lady, my apologies. I understand in Australia it's a sex-neutral name. Or young.
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Sherab » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:37 am

Reality check:
posting.php?mode=reply&f=42&t=12046

"12/19/2013

Effective corporate governance is, no doubt, an ongoing challenge among all companies but especially within financial firms. Conflicting incentives elicit stark agency problems among the various stakeholders. Of course, within financial firms, executives and their boards control virtually every decision the company makes, affecting multiple stakeholder groups. Milton Friedman once stated, "There are four ways to spend money: You can spend your own money on yourself, you can spend someone else's money on yourself, you can spend your own money on someone else, and you can spend someone else's money on someone else." Given that executives and boards operate within the province of spending other people's money (either on themselves or other stakeholders), it is very telling when management does indeed emphasize other stakeholders. But, according to our poll results, this emphasis is something of a rarity. According to 865 investment professionals, 65% cited executive management as receiving the top priority in decision making among financial firms, and only 2% believed customers were their top priority. Shouldn't customers be first? Coming in second place were shareholders, at about 31%. Very clearly, our respondents view many financial firms as having, at a minimum, a perception problem as well as suffering from a fundamental misalignment of priorities. --Ron Rimkus, CFA, Director, Economics & Alternative Investments, CFA Institute

Results are as of 5 p.m. EST Wednesday."
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:23 am

And yet, to use an analogy, the capitalist restaurant operates for the owner's benefit, and the communist restaurant operates for the customers benefit. Which makes better food? The problem fundamentally is that there's no way to define the subjective preferences of the customers from the administrative level. The qualitative definition of success doesn't translate into anything objective or quantitative. But, we have a reliable way of making a restaurant run: for the benefit of the owners. And that is defined with one simple quantifiable measure: money. The restaurant can only be accountable to its owners, there's no way to make it accountable to its customers. It is this quality of being accountable that makes the restaurant have a motivation for serving its customers well. Profitable ownership is straight forward for the joint-stock monarchy, because the return on each share is a function of the value of the country's real estate. How does the government maximise the value of its real estate? By making it a more pleasant place to live. Capitalist logic works in a way communist mentality never can, because there is one simple measure which translates well from executive to customer, one function of taughtness. There are many ways in which a rope can be slack, but only one in which it can be taught.

CEOs of business corporations may indeed be ineffective, and there is a bell-curve of business success. The corporations in the top 99th percentile depend on cohesive, decisive, proactive and intelligent leadership. If a corporation adopted a management structure of anything but a simple hierarchy, with one cohesive, decisive, proactive and intelligent person at the top, then they would easily do a very poor job. The ideal picture is thus a management structure which is small and simple, yet authoritative. But the US government is large, and unauthoritative - meaning its leadership is not cohesive, indecisive, not proactive, and the leadership is... well you get the idea. I am sure if you have been reading thus far, it is now clear to you that the real problem with the US government is actually democracy. Naturally, it should be obvious too that weakening government in fact functions to make it naturally expand, which is why libertarianism doesn't work, and why if you are proposing anarchy, your only route to it is not to gradually tone down the government but to violently crush it (which as a Buddhist I am sure you are opposed to). If we crawled back the state to the size it was in 1789, it would just naturally expand, because written constitutions are almost never adhered to. Only one of Montesquieu's three powers still has any power at all today, the judiciary. This is a function of entropy in government.

Division of powers, in principle gives a bit of power to everyone, but in practice gives ultimate power to the elites of the world who inform through the media, instruct through the schools, and organise the bipeds to vote - the masses of whom are highly unsophisticated and ignorant of the basics of economics and governance. As Sir Henry Maine said,
Sir Henry Maine, Popular Government, p. 53. wrote:In a pure democracy, the ruling men will be the Wire-pullers and their friends, but they will be no more on an equality with the people than soldiers or Ministers of State are on an equality with the subjects of a Monarchy.

Unlike a joint-stock-company, in which the shareholders all have one single goal, in democracy they're all divided. But it's not irrational to suppose that the more people you have in a room, the more likely they are to vote on something reasonable, and the more likely they are to vote on something reasonable, the more likely they are to preserve liberty (If I have not convinced you already, I assume you agree with this sentence). Unfortunately, history and practice show the converse, the weaker the government the bigger it becomes, hence making the citizens less free - and I am sure we will agree that a small government corresponds to a freer people. Why is this? It is because democratic government is constantly competing with itself, it has no direction so it just creates a mess wherever it goes. Take it to the extreme level of countries where authorities individually take bribes, and you have a situation where the law doesn't govern, because those who are supposed to enforce it have individual power. The more divided power is, the lower the authority of the state, and the further away you are from having anything coherent and civilized. Western democracies are divided not among every authority, but rather between agencies and departments each vying and competing for their own stake in the budget, hence they don't have high corruption, but hardly function in any directed manner. Each agency aims to increase its funds by increasing the number of individuals in charge of making every decision.

In such an environment, and indeed in the subconscious of people born in western societies, to suggest that there be any semblance of individual authority and leadership anywhere, creates immediate offence. Even where power does exist in the courts, there are only a small class of problems which are allowed to come before the courts. In Britain, even the courts don't have any authority any more, since people can appeal to the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, both of which can complete over ride any possible semblance of authority by any department in Britain, which is tantamount to allowing vassalage and giving up independence.

But the insane thing about democracy and the idea of diminishing and distributing authority, is something, if you are not yet convinced, you will support: that it tends towards its own destruction in anarchy. Not only does the weakening of state authority increase the authority of each individual who supposedly works for the state, such as lawyers and police officers, who increasingly become corrupt and take bribes, but society becomes ever more violent as civilians take on their own centres of power, leading gangs, forming terrorist cells, tending towards anarchy. To see what the US will look like in a decade or so, look at the UK.* To see what the UK will look like in a decade or so, look at Greece. There is nothing we can do about it, and it is only going to get worse.

Though I have attempted to offer a model of government which can act as an alternative, all I have really served to do is to show why authority is important and why anarchy, on the other side of the spectrum, is hell.

The point of government is to make life better for its people. We have been brainwashed into thinking that democracy and division of power is the best way of achieving this end. Unfortunately, this is a sure fire way of ensuring a reduction in liberty and the detriment and collapse of a society. Just like the restaurant, capitalism comes with an inbuilt mechanism which measures peoples needs and preferences and feeds back accordingly.

As for the question of what is the "most Buddhist" government, the measure is actually a lot simpler than in many religions: (1) What makes people suffer less (connection with the unloved, separation from the loved, old age, sickness, death). (2) What makes it easier for the Buddhist laity to support the Sangha? For (1), the main factors I'll consider are: low crime levels, no causes of war, efficient and effective healthcare, protection of property, lack of causes of anxieties, and the prosperity which allows one to have free time to study dharma, meditate, and post essays on dharmawheel :soapbox: . If you consider a joint-stock monarchy government that is motivated to increase property values by making their country a more pleasant place to live, all of these factors will be optimised. Moreover, the nation will not incur the debt of democracies, and thus anxieties will be minimised because people will have less uncertainties about their future. For example, I currently have no certainties about my future because the economy is not certain. I have zero motivation to get married (besides the fact that I view marriage as slavery and self-torture, particularly for males, non-Buddhists who normally would get married, increasingly are not - different topic but interesting one nonetheless), and am not confident that when I graduate there will be jobs available for me. As for (2), the simple answer is a capitalist laity. This is why from the beginning Buddhism solicited the support of the merchant class, and relied upon them for donations. Moreover, with the protection of property and the security which capitalist approaches take, sanghas can support themselves through their own corporate mechanisms - which is in effect what they always have done. In Buddhist countries like Burma, it doesn't matter what type of government you have, because the culture is oriented to always supporting and donating to the Sangha, but in the west, people can only support Buddhism, and Buddhism can only survive, if they have an income high enough which makes them consider giving donations. We should not be cynical, but the generous poor person who gives almost all of their income is a rarity, and donations will increase with income that is considered disposible, westerners are not going to think of donation to the monastery as an investment because they weren't raised in that culture, they will think of it as a donation - nothing more or less. The government which makes its country a more pleasant place to live is going to also make wealth much easier to attain than it is currently (there is a whole economic structure which I won't go into in this post), and statistically, one's willingness to spend money increases with one's income, and one's preference to save is correlated with a low income. Not to mention, the way most monasteries and temples in the west make their money now, is not actually through silently accepting donations but not soliciting, but recommending minimum donations for teachings and events, and through sales of books and goods. Remember, spiritual materialism is only a mindset, it depends on your individual mind - whether in the outside world you purchase X, Y or Z, or donate or not, is a separate matter, and can have either positive or negative motivation.

*Compared to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's day when the government had much more authority and crime was punished with serious penalties, crime in Britain has increased by a factor of 50, and prison populations have risen by 79% (though they're often quite comfortable these days). Despite this, there is an increase in police staff and new technologies such as DNA analysis and CTV cameras on every street. If you look at the way crime is both punished and enforced by courts and police, you will see that the more "enlightened" late 20th century tactics correspond to a weaker and gentler approach to crime, including tactics like treating criminals as victims and refusing to enforce laws which have serious effects on the cohesion of society, such as marijuana prohibition. Compare this to a quote of Conan Doyle, whose writing was remarked in his day as being highly successful for its close adherence to the true character of crime in Britain at the time:
A Study in Scarlet, Part 1 Chapter 2. wrote:"There are no crimes and no criminals in these days," he said, querulously. "What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or at, most some bungling villany with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it."

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