2006-01-21

Prekletstvo zakonov

[Prvotno objavljeno na mojem drugem blogu na straneh Libertarnega Kluba.]

Enega od osnovnih problemov modernih, s parlamenti in zakonodajo urejenih držav vidim v tem, da se s časom obseg birokracije in kompleksnost zakonodaje večinoma le povečujeta, kar omejuje svobodno iniciativo in duši aktivnost gospodarstva. Kaj je osnovni razlog za ta problem in kako bi bilo mogoče obseg birokracije omejiti in doseči, da bi ostala kompleksnost zakonodaje konstantna?

Osnovni razlog za preobilje zakonov je enostavno to, da jih je preveč preprosto sprejemati. Za sprejetje novega zakona je dovolj že polovica poslancev; za spremembo ustave, tega ključnega dokumenta, na katerem temelji stabilnost države, pa je dovolj že dve tretjini.

Pomislimo. Funkcija zakonov je, da prepovedujejo ali predpisujejo ravnanja državljanov. Vsak zakon torej že sam po sebi omejuje svobodo državljanov - zakon, ki tega ne počne, je le prazen zakon. In takšne - pogosto arbitrarne, neumne in nepotrebne - omejitve in prepovedi se lahko sprejme povsem proti volji 49% glasovalcev.

Drug problem zakonodaje je, da postane preobsežna, da bi jo lahko eno samo telo, kot je državni zbor, v celoti obvladovalo. Problem je podoben ekonomskemu problemu centralnega odločanja v komunistični Moskvi. V centralno vodeni Sovjetski zvezi je bilo ekonomskih odločitev bistveno več, kot pa jih je bilo mogoče obdelati, zato odločitve niso bile sprejete in gospodarstvo je stalo. Sistem prostih trgov - kapitalizem - ta problem rešuje tako, da postavi svobodo za sprejem ekonomskih odločitev v roke vsakega posameznika.

Ali ne bi bilo mogoče tudi političnih odločitev podobno decentralizirati in tako doseči bistveno povečanje učinkovitosti političnega procesa?

Predlagam, da bi v fiktivni državi Idealiji zakone sprejemali drugače, kot je sedaj v veljavi. Namesto poslancev in državnega zbora bi se zgledovali po spletni enciklopediji Wikipediji, kjer lahko vsak napiše, kar želi, vsak drug pa lahko to tudi popravi. V sistemu države Idealije bi bili prek sodobnih tehnologij vsi državljani povezani v politični forum, kjer bi imeli vsak svojo identiteto. Vsak državljan, brez izjeme, bi lahko predlagal nov zakon, ki bi bil takoj dan na glasovanje. Predpisan bi bil minimalni prag glasov, ki jih mora vsak zakon zbrati, da stopi v veljavo. Ta prag bi bil po eni strani nizek, da bi lahko tako sprejemali zakone tudi o stvareh, ki večine državljanov ne zanimajo. Po drugi strani pa bi vsak zakon, brez izjeme, moral zadostiti pogoju, da mora v glasovanju zbrati vsaj 80% glasov za in manj kot 20% glasov proti.

In, kar je ključno: tudi kasneje, ko bi bil zakon že v veljavi, bi ga bilo mogoče izpodbiti že s tem, da bi samo zbrali potrebno manjšino 20% glasov proti.

Takšen sistem bi poskrbel za nesporne osnovne potrebe državljanov, saj se glede nespornih osnovnih potreb (npr. da rabimo policijo in gasilce) gotovo vsaj v 80% strinjamo. Nekatere najosnovnejše koncepte, kot npr. pravico do lastnine, pa bi zapisali v ustavi, glede katere bi morala kakršnokoli spremembo potrditi vsaj 80% večina državljanov.

Ne bi pa bilo v takem sistemu zakonov, ki so pisani na kožo le nekaj več kot polovici prebivalstva, do druge polovice pa niso pošteni, jo ovirajo in dolgoročno škodujejo celi državi.

2006-01-06

The questionable value of anonymity

Anonymity may be necessary only if other people have it. If one has the ability to hide things, but another doesn't, the one who does has an advantage. But if no one has the ability to hide anything - then perhaps no one needs to.

In political terms, I don't think being able to be anonymous makes anyone safer. When confronted with bad rules, anonymously violating them is the chicken's way out.

If one who disagrees with a bad law can use anonymity to avoid it, one loses not only the incentive to have the law fixed, but also the integrity to influence it.

For every 1 good thing that happens in politics by way of anonymity, 10 bad things happen because corrupt officials, too, act anonymously.

A commentator on Schneier's blog wrote: "The advantages of anonymity grow linearly with the population; the disadvantages grow with the square of the population."

I believe this is true.

Malcolm Gladwell writes in The Tipping Point about the Rule of 150: a non-hierarchical community can function as long as it remains smaller than 150 people, because this is the number of people an individual can keep track of. In a community smaller than 150 people, everyone knows everyone else; no one is anonymous. When a community grows beyond 150, it starts to dissolve with increasing anonymity of its members.

The Amish know this: when a settlement grows beyond 150 people, half move out and form a new settlement.

Gore-Tex knows this: they function well in a non-hierarchical organizational approach without titles where each factory they build has 150 parking spaces. When people start parking on grass, they know it's time to start a new factory.

The military know this: the capacity of a functional fighting unit is 200, because "they have realized that it is quite difficult to make any larger a group than this to function as a unit without complicated hierarchies and rules and regulations and formal measures to insure loyalty and unity within the group."

Anonymity kills a community because it makes it possible to live a several-faced life: one can keep a good social life yet at the same time engage in behavior that harms and exploits the community. Ripping off the government for social payments one should not deserve. Engaging in lying, scheming, corruption and bribery. Engaging in criminal activities and fraud. All of this hidden from one's friends and family - or perhaps even condoned, since they are not impacted.

In a community smaller than 150 people, such disruptive behavior cannot work out because everyone knows everyone and word gets around. But in a larger community, it is quite possible to lead a harmful lifestyle indefinitely, and a large number of people do: we pay for disruption they cause through (often much) higher insurance and taxes, and only a handful of them are accidentally held accountable.

I am quite inclined to think that if everything everyone did was transparent, society would be more honest, straightforward, simpler and not quite so prejudiced. Just as long as there aren't any exceptions; especially not among any public officials.

[Added 2006-04-04: See also David Brin: The Transparent Society]