How do we apply the three financial rules for civil society to our governments? What we value in civil society, voluntary relationships, transparency, honesty, and respect for others’ values doesn’t seem to translate to politics. We allow the government to violate them all.
The rules for a civil society that Joe and Money settled on are as follows:
- All monetary transactions are voluntary and exclude the use or threat of force.
- All transactions are transparent and honest.
- Each individual determines the value of every transaction for themselves.
Governments violate all three rules. If you give this a moment’s thought, you will realize that all three rules Joe and Money devised are totally always violated by all governments throughout history, and this is unlikely to change.
All governments threaten or use force to ensure compliance. Try not paying your taxes, and you will experience force. Resist, and you will be physically subdued or killed. Sounds dramatic, but imagine ignoring all rules and then resisting law enforcement. Even though this isn’t part of our conscious thinking, we know it to be true, and we act accordingly.
So, how do we apply these rules to the government? In our model, almost everyone wants to live in an orderly society that has a rule of law, equality under the law, and enforcement of the law. Few people advocate anarchism or want to live in that world. Every day, we implicitly agree to the rules by obeying them.
The level of restrictions that is best for any country will vary widely. We have seen examples of the success and wealth in Hong Kong with a minimal government after the devastation of WWII. The British established a rule of law with minimal interference that allowed its citizens to transform a rock in the ocean, with no natural resources, to a wealthy society. We understand what it’s like to live in either North Korea or South Korea today. If we recognize both the value of these rules and people’s need for some consistent economic structure and process, then we can ask the right question:
How can we apply these rules to every governmental structure as completely as possible?
- How much process can we move from the force of government to the cooperation of civil society?
- How can we best create a government process that is transparent and honest?
- How can we give each citizen as much agency as possible over their own lives and allow them to determine their own values and what is of value?
- How do we measure the cost of violating these rules against the benefit?
By asking these questions, we will come up with a world of creative cooperation.