How To Replace Democracy – Choose Your Price
There was a report recently stating that if automobile makers want to reduce the weight of their vehicles, they will have to use more plastic parts because they are lighter. What is a key ingredient used to make plastic? Petroleum, the main ingredient in gasoline. So to reduce the amount of fuel vehicles use, they need to use parts made from the stuff needed to make gasoline. There is a price to pay for progress. Ironic. Or is that coincidental? I don’t know. English isn’t my mother tongue.
The same irony is valid when applied to democracy. To make it more useful, relevant and effective, you need more people to come out and vote. But participation rates in democracies have been going down for lots of reasons that I won’t speculate on here, largely, because I will employ far more profanity than usual, and after all, profanity should be reserved for use in the home, classrooms and inside your motor vehicle, where it’s best applied.
Furthermore, of those who come out to vote, most probably aren’t informed on all the issues and vote with their hearts and not their heads. Or they vote against someone or something rather than voting for someone or some idea. We can identify what and who we dislike more easily that what or who we like. Yet, if they knew the price of not voting, or voting with their hearts, maybe they’d reconsider. Or maybe not.
Solution: Price Democracy
Let’s apply some speculative and questionable pricing theory. Democracy needs to be priced properly for it to have relevance and value. You see, when you put a price on something suddenly you give it value you can calculate. Can you put a price on free speech or freedom? Well, it’s hard, but I’d say it’s worth at least $100, before taxes. Maybe a little more if I can print profanity-laced t-shirts and hand them out randomly. But I digress.
Conversely democracy could be priced in an inverse sense — meaning, if you don’t go out and vote, it’ll cost you some real cash. Like $20. OK, maybe that’s too low. Make it $30. But negative incentives tend not to work. Even if you got a tax break for voting in municipal, state or national elections, most people would skip it anyway because the outcome would suck anyway.
Bundling Democracy at the Right Price
What if democracy and voting came in a packaged bundle? Much like mobile phones and cable TV subscriptions, if you could sign up for the democracy bundle that meets your budget and needs, you maybe be encouraged to vote.
Sure, right now, I get the right to free speech, and other services like health care, fire and police protection and sanitation. But what if I could get a free movie every month along with my right to vote? Or if I pay more, I could get 5 or more votes for any given election.
I bet if voting was tied to having your Internet connection cut or maintained, people would come out in droves to vote. Vote or we’ll cut off your Internet. That would scare the piss out everyone. On the other hand, if you could get increased upload/download speeds on your Internet connection if you went out an voted, that might be a good incentive. Or free dope.
Or better yet, you get a discount on your cable/TV/internet/mobile phone bill for each vote you make AND you get to kick someone at the cable/TV/internet/mobile company where you’re subscribed right in the privates for the crappy customer service and time wasted on hold when you need help with your erroneous and unjustly exorbitant bill.
What about loyalty voting points if you vote for one party every election? You’d get a loyalty card that could trade for privileges like a plane ticket to a warm vacation resort, or your street gets paved before the others in your neighbourhood. That happens now anyway in a lot of places, but you have to be intimately linked to organized crime, and that means having to fill in my calendar with even more appointments at brothels and cheap motels than usual, and I’m too busy for that.
And if all else fails, we move to a democracy pricing model based on the single model that has shown itself to be more reliable and accurate than any other since academics and computational models became all the rage: We guesstimate the price like on the The Price Is Right.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert Druker of NDG