Posted by: tvoc87 | March 30, 2010

Of the People, By the People

The modern political system of the United States possesses certain elements vestigial from a bygone era.  One only needs to consider the first Continental Congress – consisting of fifty-six delegates from twelve of the thirteen, original colonies – and its intimate setting at Carpenters’ Hall to understand the drastic difference in which Congress presides today.  From fifty states, the Senate and House of Representatives now employ 535 politicians in delegation, who – contrarily to their historical counterparts – spend a major portion of their day campaigning for supportive funds, appeasing various interest groups, and abandoning their various individual interests.  The Federal centralization about a single, national President, and an inefficient system of disincentive requires, at the very least, a thorough audit of its structure.  As a genuinely novel perspective of behavioral phenomena, network theory reveals certain prospects for reformation of the current, political hierarchy to a more efficient network of autonomous nodes.

The necessary adjustments for our political system fall upon four pillars.  Firstly, the system must decentralize.  The deconstruction of the vertical model would substantially decrease vulnerability from presidential dependency, and disperse information across borders, as borders become increasingly artificial in the growing political, economic, and social environments.  Secondly, the political system must regionalize to reorganize.  Regionalization disperses political responsibilities along local relevance, and strengthens regional efficiency.  Within regional structures, allocation of government spending in accordance with social demand encourages support for taxation, and improves satisfaction in state production in readily observable surroundings.

Thirdly, the public must demand diversity in its representation by further limiting term durations of congressional officers.  Greater turnover eliminates the concept of political profession, and encourages proper representation of the people, by the people, and not by glib rhetoricians.  With diversity, then, comes the fourth pillar: autonomy.  The promotion of conviction according to personal prerogative, rather than factional status quo, generates greater potential for social movement by preventing individual nodes from incurring debts, devotion, or attachment to any specific group.  With public – or, at least, publicized – funding and caps on individual contribution, individuals possess the freedom from foreign obligation, and honest ability to obey their personal values.

I aim to address the current government, apply network theory, and to determine to what extent each of those four pillars affect congressional policy, efficiency, and accuracy.

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Responses

  1. This sort of change seems to be a long time coming. I think in my district the same representative has had like six terms which is ridiculous. I really don’t even know what he does for my community anymore. This is probably a social change that needs to happen but will be difficult to bring about. I don’t really have any further recommendations, but am only curious to see more of your recommendations/solutions to break the status quo.

  2. Sounds like this project could go a number of ways. I am interested to see how you will present this. I am initially inclined to think that a great presentation could be some sort of presentation/argument/plea to the house (as if you are publicly campaigning reform). It sounds like you are well versed on the subject material and obviously have passionate opinions about it.

  3. I like that you have offered solutions to the political system rather than just critiquing it. It is definitely a flawed system that needs reform and I am very interested to hear your final assessment of what should be done.

  4. Only read title so far, but what happened to for the people? And I always think of this as Lincoln’s idea, but was he stating the known at the time or offering a new vision of American Democracy.

  5. You have some very clear ideas organized around the four pillars.

    I am wondering how far and in what direction you will take this. FOr example, do you want to focus on political strategies for each? The legal or constitutional framework and possibility of each? The theoretical justification of each?

    It strikes me out of the blue that what you are writing sounds a little like the kinds of pamphlets or other short-form publications that were crucial to the 18th century era of revolutions and enlightenment. Thomas Paine comes to mind….

    Maybe the new information technologies and their capacity to enable self-publishing echo the spirit of radical (literally radical as in the root if things) thinking and tracts of three hundred years ago.

    This is a round about way of wondering what form the project will take.

  6. According to Rawls, inequalities of wealth and power can only exist if they are attached to positions available to all. Since campaigns require such large amounts of funds, the vast majority of the population is ineligible from running for political office. You touched on it in your proposal, and I think it would be interesting to see how other countries deal with this. In one of my other classes we talked about how the state provides people running for office with public funds and tv time for debates.

  7. I am also very interested in ways to restructure campaign law and financing to get closer to what Sean so eloquently describes. Yuo mentioned term limits to me In class I think. I see the appeal, but I worry that it also has disincentives to be attentive to voters. You also loose lots of valuable institutional memory when that happens.


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