The site uses cookies that you may not want. Continued use means acceptance. For more information see our privacy policy.

Reorganizing a Government

Looking (and leaning) forward, toward the America America America Act of 20??.

After the second world war, the military of the United States got an overhaul (1947). It realigned the military structures, including splitting off the aerial force into its own department outside of the army. (The act, The National Security Act of 1947, also established the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and a subsequent amendment renamed the then-named National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense.)

Businesses reorganize from time to time, as well. One of the features of reorganization is that they almost always come later than they should have come. Another of the features is that they invariably piss off more people than they should (aside: most of the people initially pissed off find out that it wasn’t actually painful, and those suffering real pain from the changes mostly do so in silence).

But it is past time for some realignments of the overall government of the United States. Indeed, we’re reaching the springtime of this century and there’s nary a peep calling for a wholesale spring cleaning.

Looking at the facts of this nation’s development, it was never devised as a superpower. It was never envisioned as the major economic powerhouse it has grown to be. The founders expected the nation to prosper, but it has done so beyond their wildest dreams.

And that’s a bad thing, because? Because when you build an engine that you intend to be a workhorse, to serve its people for as long as you can foresee, you build it one way. And when it turns out that engine is now expected to (eventually) steward in a new world order on its back, carrying not just its own people, but the people of the whole world, that engine will turn around, punch you square in the nose, and trample off to the nearest bar for a nice long drunk.

Not that this nation does need to carry the whole world. It shouldn’t and can’t.

The point is merely that the country wasn’t built for its current purposes. And the sooner we admit that and actually look to change it or change our purposes, the happier we will be for it. We don’t want to be half way to the beach only to figure out that our luggage rack is now shaped like a satellite dish.

How do we realign the government, with such dire inability to do anything as it is? Ah, that’s the beauty of the thing. We don’t really have a choice. If we wait long enough, that is. Sooner or later, the wheels come off and we’re in a ditch. And then who can say no? That’s how it usually seems to work. But maybe we can agree that we’re headed for a ditch and pull over, fix things, and then throw a nice party for ourselves.

In the future I’ll try to drum up some specific ideas for each of the branches, specific ways (some old, some new) to realign the government. In the meantime, feel free to think about it yourself.

Conflict and the Demands of Protests

With the Occupation of Wall Street by the dissatisfied masses, the media poses: what do they want?

With the Occupation of Wall Street by the dissatisfied masses, the media poses: what do they want?

But examining the impetus for the protest requires a larger context, of conflict in general.

Conflict represents an imbalance in resources, always.  Whether it’s a dominance fight in the wild, where the resource of control needs allotting, or in warfare where the resources vital to the function of society need equilibration, conflict means forcing a decision.

When protesters take to the street, they seek redress.  They do so in a fundamentally civil fashion, though, which separates protest from riot.  Where protest erupts into riot, the cause may be found in the fact that yelling and amassing of people also occurs during violent outbursts, and police conditioning makes them wary, while protester conditioning shows authority to have reactionary tendencies to lash out.

But, again, the question of what the protest wants.  What do they demand?

Excepting the most radical views, conflict wants only a fair shake.  They may believe in one set of outcomes, but they will accept less.  That less is simply a compromise.

Some of the protesters want environmental concerns to be addressed.  They may truly want the end of fossil fuels, for example.  But they will accept a more modest move to minimize the fuel use.

The unemployed want full employment, but they will accept more minor concessions and a general shift in the ambiance of the job market.  For example, they would be glad to see employers begin to give them more feedback regardless of the hiring decision.  They want work, but even a simple response that they are on the right track would be immensely helpful.  Instead, they typically hear nothing, and the lack of reinforcing their behavior is discouraging.

The people with bad mortgage debt would like nothing more than to be free of their bindings, but would feel much better if the banks would simply agree to a refinancing and would set them up with a single point of contact that would provide them with a sense of certainty that their concerns could be voiced in a reasonable manner.

When you go in for surgery, the surgeon is responsible for not only the actual procedure, but for explaining it to the patient.  There’s an accountable party.  But the fact is it doesn’t have to be the surgeon, as long as it’s one particular person that you reliably deal with.

As it stands, the business culture has become disconnected. And that’s no magic.  That’s just bad, collusive dealings.  Dealings that shouldn’t have happened but for irregular leverage.

When you buy a product and have feedback, if you contact the manufacturers, the vast majority of the time they are very helpful, going so far as to give you highly technical details and explanations. They know their products, they work hard on them, and they like to hear unsolicited feedback.

The exceptions are restricted to a few high profile organizations that are more trouble to deal with, typically banks and wireless carriers top that list.  They are service companies, which rely on lock-ins and the like, for continued payment.  Often their service does not require their ongoing diligence to guarantee your satisfaction as a means to ensure payment.

That creates a malformed relationship, much like that between prisoners and guards.  The bank’s loan to you represents a dominance over you, so they feel entitled to bother you and push you around.  See also the Stanford Prison Experiment.

What the protest represents there, is a call against that sort of dominance.  Wall Street represents a continuous tweaking of our entire economy.  When they say jump, we all brace for impact.  But we know that’s an imbalanced relationship.  We know that the government gives them preferential treatment to our detriment.

The same thing with the oil companies, where accidents in natural environments mean they try to escape with as little pain as possible.  We recognize that as a domination of our system, which calls for a change.

So what’s the outcome?  What’s the demand?

A fair shake.  Period.  That the people in charge of writing the laws and understanding/improving the system as a whole (both inside and outside of government) actually pay attention, like the manufacturer when you give feedback.  That Wall Street recognize the vitality of Main Street to their existence.  That the oil companies recognize that Main Street is why they exist, and not the other way around.

It’s really that simple.  They just want a level playing field.  They don’t want profitable companies to be subsidized.  They don’t want socialism, which a major imbalance of wealth represents.  That’s right, having a minority hold a majority of the wealth is just as destructive to capitalism as central-planning by government.  Proper capitalism requires and thrives on distribution of wealth.

I apologize if these ideas are not clear enough.  They are still developing/forming.  I will try to refine them in future posts.