• Eric Wintjen
    17
    Democracy is the most effective form of government for a society that values individual liberty, and it is certainly the most successful form of government in the world today. But it does have significant shortcomings that are not evident today. The largest of which is its dependence on peaceful diplomacy. Democracy is not nearly responsive enough to function in an environment where the first communication between two civilizations might be a declaration of war. This slowness also extends to domestic affairs, the larger the population, the less able democracy is to properly address needs and concerns of the people. These shortcomings will become large issues in a time when our population might approach a trillion spread out over light years, in an environment where there is no "humility" restricting any other civilizations from attempting to wipe us out.

    I would suggest some sort of feudalism-democracy fusion where planetary systems are governed by elected officials like a senate, congress, or parliament, and are given significant internal autonomy, and they are lead by an executive, with checks and balances of power, appointed by a Monarch. Democracy keeps people happy, and the Monarch acts as a strong symbol that can incite the nationalistic fervor needed when we are very much fighting for our survival.

    What are your thoughts on how democracy will fair in such a time?
    What do you think of my suggestion?
    Do you have a suggestion of your own?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    These shortcomings will become large issues in a time when our population might approach a trillion spread out over light years, in an environment where there is no "humility" restricting any other civilizations from attempting to wipe us out.Eric Wintjen

    In the absence of a new understanding of the basic nature of the universe, there will never be trillions of people spread out over light years. According to Wikipedia, the closest planet that could even possibly support human life is 12 light years away. Without faster than light technology, there will never a problem with interstellar governance.
  • fishfry
    1.6k
    So it's like Great Britain except that the king or queen picks the prime minister? I confess I don't see the benefit but I want to make sure I'm understanding your suggestion. Who gets to be queen of the universe? This is like some cheesy sci-fi from 1950. You will obey!
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    I think Democracy is the only system that can legitimately be just to its citizens.

    The value of elections in USA are hampered by the extreme amounts of capital that candidates have to spend to get elected, And, we end up with candidates that that represent special interests and their party line more than the citizens that elected them. Today, people who run for office have many multiple times higher incomes/net worth than the medium net worth of the majority of citizens in the country.

    The amount of money spent on a Federal position ought to be controlled by law, and if a candidate is qualified by lack of income/net worth, their campaign ought to be financed by the public. An amendment to the Constitution would be necessary to do this, since the limitation of candidates funding by statute was found unconstitutional. By giving candidates a limited budget the top 10% would not have such a huge advantage and candidates would not be so beholding to outside & party interests. We would also not have to listen to all that hot air for so long.

    Of course getting those in control to go along with something along these lines would be a difficult task, probably pie in the sky. But if we want truly representative democracy I think something like this is necessary.
  • BlueBanana
    920
    Democracy is only unviable if there's one centralized power in control of everything known to mankind. That's just not happening. We don't have one governing institute even on our one planet.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.9k
    What are your thoughts on how democracy will fair in such a time?
    What do you think of my suggestion?
    Do you have a suggestion of your own?
    Eric Wintjen

    Have you read the Dune series by Frank Herbert? It's all emperors and various competing power centers having no similarity whatsoever to democracy.

    There is a good chance that earthlings would be the aggressors. We tend to be kind of trigger happy, and unless we evolve better approaches, PDQ, we might not even be around for a fight with aliens.

    the larger the population, the less able democracy is to properly address needs and concerns of the peopleEric Wintjen

    Not necessarily. Larger populations produce more resources with which to respond to its needs and concerns. Very small groups have far fewer resources. If the islands in the Caribbean have to recover on their own, without any help from outside, then they are probably just totally screwed. With contributions from donor countries, they will recover -- eventually. (But... disasters are disasters and the effects generally can't be totally erased.)

    The US experience of effective governance in a large democracy is mixed. On the one hand, we have been able to mount incredibly successful large-scale projects. Mobilization in WWII is one example. Building the nation's nuclear defense system is another (if highly dubious) accomplishment. The interstate highway system, the air-transport system, railroads, etc. are further examples. On the other hand, our water and sewer systems are deteriorating; soil conservation efforts have pretty much stalled out; the American population is less healthy than it could be; the K-12 education infrastructure is in bad shape.

    What's the problem? Why is our performance so mixed? Doesn't democracy work? Sure it does, but to use a very, very tired expression, we do not have a level playing field. The field has been tipped in favor of major economic interests for a long time, and the interests of "the people" -- 99% of the population -- has gotten short shrift.

    Big projects get done when their is either an existential threat (WWII) or big money to be made. During periods of populist reform (like the Progressive Era in the early 20th century, or during the depression, or during the 60s--about every 30 years, and we're way over due for a reform period) the field is tipped back a bit to favor more democratic projects--think social security, medicare, medicaid, trust busting, better regulation of the financial sector, etc.
  • AlexGreat
    5
    You mean like the UK? Unfortunately except for English breakfast and some gorgeous rock music - both difficult to link to the monarchy there is nothing much to admire. Indeed, contemporary democracy is in a crisis and has shown its many deficiencies. Same as in the past - Socrates was democratically murdered, remember? And a communist country was the first to open space for humanity. Still democracy and free markets seem like the most capable systems to produce constantly improving quality of life and will continue to do so if "We the middle-class" keep those two systems in check.
  • Athena
    828


    "I would suggest some sort of feudalism-democracy fusion where planetary systems are governed by elected officials like a senate, congress, or parliament, and are given significant internal autonomy, and they are lead by an executive, with checks and balances of power, appointed by a Monarch."

    How about simply relying on a computer? That is the obvious choice isn't it? None of the human faults and far more capable of accumulating data and applying it to decisions. Isn't this the most efficient choice?
  • Athena
    828


    When the bottom line is the dollar, the decisions may not favor the people.

    When the bottom line is a healthy democracy, consideration of human needs and interest are more likely. The Roosevelt administration poured a lot of money into the arts and public buildings decorated by artists of all kinds, painters, sculptors, ironworkers and it poured a lot of money into a forest and national parks and protected this national resource for everyone, not just for those who can pay the fees. This is no longer a national choice and while children once had a time for singing together, and making music, and art classes, this has mostly been cut out of school budgets, along with PE classes once thought essential for a healthy nation. Education for a technological society has not been education for cultural development and love of humanity.
  • ssu
    3.3k
    Why on Earth, sorry, Universe you need a Monarch?

    This reasoning I don't understand:
    But it does have significant shortcomings that are not evident today. The largest of which is its dependence on peaceful diplomacy. Democracy is not nearly responsive enough to function in an environment where the first communication between two civilizations might be a declaration of warEric Wintjen

    Do you know how rare it is for democracies go to war with each other?

    Has happened, yes, but the occasions are very rare. And especially the distances are a quite natural reason for the diplomatic ties to be cordial. Usually countries that aren't neighbours and are on the other side of the Earth have not many problems with each other. I would suspect that different planets, especially one's in different solar systems, have not many reasons for conflicts.

    And anyway, do notice that even now when it comes to space, the Astronauts and the Kosmonauts have worked quite well together on orbit, even if the countries have their quarrels down here.
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