Improving Our World

Improving Our World

Democracy  ~  Economic Moderation  ~  Self-Improvement
 

Improve Democracy


Improve democracy by conducting advancing experiments with it. First conduct them at local levels, and conduct the most successful of these at higher levels. In all experiments, conduct a public poll on results. In some experiments:

As part of public selection of representatives, randomly select them from eligible (screened) candidates.

Have a $100 per year (per economic entity) maximum limit for gifts (given or promised) to officials, especially when the gift is to influence (lobby) representatives.

Ban past representatives (and high-ranking appointed officials) from seeking biased decision-making from current representatives and officials, for 10 years after leaving office,


Require term limits for more offices.

Require representatives to advance through each in-creasing (local to national) level of government. Their local peers can first assess their character and service. This requirement broadens their experience.

Require the chief executive (having authority over more than 500,000) be a chief executive council instead of one chief executive officer (CEO) because: use of a council is more difficult to corrupt than using only one CEO (it is trusted in many parts of government); and technology reduced reasons for having only one CEO (e.g,, when quick decisions are needed, remote members of a council can consult and vote by telephone).

Randomly select using machines of transparent materials), witnessed by audiences of randomly selected, volunteer, registered voters. Televise live broadcasts of the selection and witnesses — and publicize their identities.

Vote using verification of eligibility to vote and anonymous voting. Use paper ballots, and store them for duration of the longest term of office, for possible recount. Require ballot handlers to be randomly selected from volunteer, registered voters — and publicize their identities.

History’s first major experiment with indirect democracy (using representatives) began in Athens, Greece (~600 BC). It trusted and used random selection (sortition; selection by lot) of eligible (screened) candidates to select representatives for government — and jurors for public trials. It distrusted the use of public elections to select representatives, because its results are far more easily influenced by wealthy entities. Today many nations still use the process of screening followed by randomly selecting to select jurors for public trials.

Since recent experiments with democracy began in the 1700s, their improvement has not kept pace with social changes resulting from technology, globalization, large-scale overpopulation, growing concentration of extreme wealth, and mass media). Many of these experiments are degenerating into police-states, plutocracies, oligarchies, and forms of despotism.

About two-thirds of the world’s people are governed by some form of democracy. Many democracies (that select representatives using only costly election campaigns and public elections) are degenerating because:

- most people lack the wealth needed to successfully campaign; so most representatives are wealthy or receive large campaign contributions from wealthy entities; many help their wealthy friends or repay campaign contributors through biased decision-making, which sometimes harms the public interest;

- the wealth gap is growing; a two-class economic order of society is forming;

- wealthy entities are growing in worth and number; of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 are corporations; about 1 in 5 million of the world’s population is a billionaire (about 1,430);

- election campaigns are expensive, due to emergence of mass media, which influences most voters;

- mass media is often controlled by only a few wealthy and/or powerful entities;

- in some places, there is growing voter ignorance and apathy about social  issues and candidates; and,

- some governments are becoming police states as a way to control growing social problems; they are increasing their powers of surveillance and law enforcement — and reducing public rights (to privacy and speedy, fair trial) and freedoms (of speech, assembly, and travel).

"The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes."

"It is thought to be democratic for the offices to be assigned by lot. For them to be elected is oligarchic."

"One would have thought that it was even more necessary to limit population than property; and that the limit should be fixed by calculating the chances of mortality in the children, and of sterility in married persons. The neglect of this subject, which in existing states is so common, is a never-failing cause of poverty among the citizens; and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime."

"In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme."

"Democracies degenerate into despotisms."

~ Aristotle (384-322 BC), Founder of Western Philosophy
 
 

Improve Economic Moderation

Reduce the economic extreme of poverty, by reducing its main causes, which are *overpopulation; corruption; inadequate opportunities for education and employment; and, some welfare incentives.

Reduce the economic extreme of wealth, by having a wealth (net worth) limit of $500 million for every person and $500 billion for every corporation. Allow two years to give away excess wealth before enforcing the limits, using only fines and imprisonment.

Arguments against wealth limits include:

A limit will reduce incentive for people to manage creating, maintaining, and expanding businesses. This is false, because there are many who successfully manage these things; they don’t need to also fund them.

A limit will remove all incentive for people (having the maximum wealth) to improve the well-being of society. This is false, because the incentive of altruism remains, which is gaining good feelings from practicing unselfish concern for the well-being of others.

A limit is communism. This is false, because communism is when the government owns things used to make and transport products and there is no privately owned property, except for minor personal belongings.

Only extremely wealthy people are able to afford starting and expanding businesses. This is false, because many ordinary people can securely combine their money for this; corporate charters enable this.

Only extremely wealthy corporations can lower prices, through economy of scale. This is false, because extreme wealth enables some to be inefficient and to reduce competition — which reduces incentive to lower prices. (In addition to having a wealth limit, have corporations’ primary duty be protecting the public interest and their secondary duty be making a profit — as was done in the first corporate charters of the 1700s.)
 
 

Improve Yourself


Self-improvement begins with using the power of thought.

Thought is a form of energy — as all things are.

You are a physical and intellectual form of energy that is part of the changing, mostly unknown, and intelligent energy field that is the source of all things — including powers to create and self-change. Your intellectual form includes the powers of: will, awareness, understanding, emotion, reason, introspection, expression, imagination, and inspiration.

Your thought energy changes into electric energy moving through your brain. This changes into electric signals moving through your nerves and chemical signals moving through your veins. Thought energy impacts every cell, atom, and emotion of your being. Your current and stored thoughts form much of your identity.

You choose thoughts that you: create/imagine; express; seek; receive; store/save; retrieve/ recall; remember/re-experience; forget/ discard; ignore/ block; and avoid. Use this to improve yourself and our world.

Humility. Be humble about how much you know, relative to the unknown. Admit when you’ve been wrong or ignorant. Avoid feeling superior to others because of your knowledge, beliefs, or membership in an ideology group.

Question. Question everything, especially authorities and ideologies based on unproven things.

Avoid giving unquestioning obedience to an authority — such as a leader or book of an ideology group. As more give unquestioning obedience to a government, society becomes more vulnerable to tyranny.

Gather facts and use reason. Avoid excessive emotion, especially fear (which is powerful and contagious, because it’s a major instinct for survival). Use facts and reason and facts instead of faith (belief in the unproven as fact). Doing the opposite increases dishonesty with self and others.

Education. Go to school, and learn by yourself using re-sources such as books and the Internet.

Demonstrate and promote a desire to learn — throughout society and at home. Encourage children by learning and reading in front of them.

Donate resources to schools, especially those that offer free to low-cost education to the public.

Learn from many sources. Avoid people who limit this — especially when the knowledge opposes, questions, or undermines an authority — such as a leader or book of an ideology group.

News. Receive news from diverse sources. Assess their motives, owners, and controllers.

Much TV, radio, and print “news” is cheap-to-produce commentary and speculation — instead of more costly investigative reporting of facts. Of the actual news reports, many are made needlessly dramatic and scary — to increase audience appeal.

Limit your exposure to negative news, but remain informed. You can be adequately informed without being flooded with news.

Thought programs. Use thought programs (self-commands) to improve yourself. To speed making a lasting neural path from a thought program, use it repeatedly and use several forms of input — recall, read, say, hear, and write it. Use thought programs appropriately; get help from a doctor if you need it.

- Use short sentences to avoid confusion.

- Use commands about things happening in the here and now, such as those that include I am, I have, I do, or I feel. Avoid commands about things happening later, such as those that include I should, I will, or I would.

- Use commands that focus on good things you want. Avoid commands that focus on what you don’t want, such as those that include avoid, free, reject, or stop.

- Avoid commands that sound unsure. So avoid commands that include I could or I might.

- Avoid the words no or not, words that begin with dis, non, or un, and words that end in less, free, or out — because often we overlook small things that reverse the meaning of bigger things. If you must use these words, emphasize them.

- Visit improvingourworld.com for program examples.

Mass media is paid to repeatedly broadcast thought programs to influence thoughts, emotions, and actions of public audiences. Since the 1950s, television has become the main way to influence the public. When you passively watch TV programs and passively listen to radio programs, your mind accepts things without question. In this passive state, your thoughts are changed without you knowing. Hearing programs while you sleep increases the programming effect of passive listening. So hear recordings of healthy thought programs while you sleep.

At times, avoid all mass media for at least a few days, and tune in to your own thoughts.

Boycott violent, angry, and scary entertainment.

Increase mass media broadcast of uplifting and happy music, movies, shows, etc.

Reduce excessive fear in your life and society. The following entities gain from excessive fear: abusive authorities, the military industry, money lenders, and some leaders of governments and ideology groups.
 
  

*Overpopulation

Overpopulation is mainly due to ignorance and out-dated ideologies on voluntary birth control. It is often the main cause of poverty. Other causes of poverty include:  corruption; inadequate opportunities for education and employment; and, some public assistance incentives.

In most countries, the poor produce more children per family than any other group. Three billion people live in extreme poverty and live on less than $2 per day.

We increasingly impact each other in our global society. For example, overpopulation in some nations is contributing to the economic decline of many other nations (due to the transfer of jobs to nations with lower wages and less regulation) and the increase of global prices for life-sustaining, limited resources, such as food and fuel (due to the increase in consumption).

Consumption grows fastest in overpopulated, rapidly industrializing nations, including China and India, which have growing populations of over 2.5 billion (combined) and increasing disposable incomes.

The transfer of jobs from industrialized nations to over-populated, industrializing nations lifted many out of poverty. Some gained extreme wealth in these and other nations. China has over 100,000 millionaires and 122 billionaires. The world has over 1,420 billionaires.

The transfer of jobs contributes to the decline of many other nations. Often, the decline is also due to consumerism, excessive government spending (typically on military forces and social assistance), growing export-import imbalance, and compounding debt. There is no quick and easy way for many of these nations to fully recover. It took several decades to decline; it will likely require the same duration to recover. These nations must increase export of products and raw materials.

Entities that gain from overpopulation include:
- governments and ideology groups that gain more people to give them wealth and power — including people desperate enough to give unquestioning obedience;
- businesses that gain cheap labor and more consumers; and
- those that gain from fear and conflict, such as the military industry and its money lenders.

To reduce and prevent overpopulation, increase the use of voluntary birth control (through education) and improve the means for this control.

"Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), Civil Rights Leader