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We the People: Toward a Fair and Just Society and How to Get There
In 1991, after over 30 years of research and original thoughts, I published my theory of the future democratic society in “Technological Democracy: A Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society”, and presented its more refined structure in my later publications cited below. Because of the global economic crises forcing people to look for a new societal system to replace the old corporate dominated one, I decided to publish a simplified and short version of my theory, in a manifesto form of only 64 pages for general public as a guide for taking action toward changing the system. I firmly believe this is the system of the future world which will materialize within this century. It will save many lives and opportunities if we understand it now and take action to materialize it before it gets too late to stop wide-spread violence and bloodshed.
The economic concept presented here is a part from a new scientific theory of technological democratic society which is thought, sooner or later but ultimately, to replace the present two centuries old chaotic and outdated system of, so called, representative democracy. People in nearly all developed and some developing countries are earnestly looking for a modern but just and fair system to replace it. The total and detail structure of this new societal system, which is presented in three books (over 1000 pages), obviously cannot be properly presented here. The reader needs to have this in mind when some questions arise. However, understanding it with a little use of logic and reasoning is quite simple, since the scientific base of the theory rests on the application of a single principle of equality of opportunity.
Our Constitution literally covers the principle of equality of opportunity but suppose, to clarify it, we pass an amendment to our constitution recognizing equality of opportunity as an individual right in every aspect of daily life. This immediately expands democracy to cover the whole system of the societal life: economic, political, as well as social. Let’s see what happens to the economy of the country and along with it to individual liberties, political process, social order, employment rights, and equality regardless of race, gender, culture, and religion. Here is a very brief account of it..
The New Economic Theory
The manner by which property is produced, owned, and used, determines the economic structure of a society and, to a substantial degree, its social and political characteristics. A necessary condition for economic democracy is the equitable distribution of capital among the people and dispersed control over its use.
The Principle of Unjust Enrichment
The principle of equality of opportunity prescribes that every person has full authority of control and management of whatever he or she owns during his lifetime, but no one in a technological democratic society is allowed to gain opportunity over others through accumulation of wealth by profits achieved by exploitation and subjugation of others, or free transfer of assets. This principle is known as “prohibition of unjust enrichment.” Such accumulation is allowed only through individual’s own labor. Thus, no one can be enriched through inheritance or receiving property or assets without a comparable compensation. The reason is that such enrichment will disturb equality of opportunity by increasing one’s opportunity, without his personal efforts, over those of others. Inheritance is allowed only to the extent that it does not affect equality of opportunity. Profit is another form of unjust enrichment since the capitalist receives it through exploitation of workers as well as consumers. It unjustly enhances the opportunity of the capitalist against workers and others. However, a nationally specified amount of return from the use of capital is justified.
Capital and Capital Accumulation
While capital is still one of the main forces of production, its characteristics is quite different with that under capitalism or socialism. Besides the capital accumulated through savings from a worker’s own earnings, in order to attain equality of opportunity, each worker has also another source of capital accumulation. It is a determined number of shares of his employer’s firm he receives every month along with and as a part from his salary. This process gradually and peacefully transfers capital from the capitalist to the worker allowing him or her increasing voice in the operation of the firm. A unique and fantastic result is attained by this process of transition; the distinction between the capitalist and working class disappears and both join together into one. It is important to note that the working class under this theory embodies anyone working in any production process from its top managers to its least qualified one.
The accumulated capital by the workers under this program stock-holding is non-transferable, but it remains under the ownership and control of the worker. It replaces the present Social Security system, providing him or her with income sufficient for a modest but comfortable living standards after retirement. Like Social Security, after the death of the owner, this non-transferable capital reverts to a public organization known as the Public Consumption Fund responsible for providing free health care and free education for all. However, in order to diversify his or her non-transferable holdings, the worker may exchange part of his or her firm’s non-transferable stocks with non-transferable stocks of other companies in the stock market. In reality, these stocks are a part from the social capital in circulation providing a variety of beneficial functions, all under individual and private control. In addition, of course, the worker has capital accumulation by savings from the salary, income from capital investments in production firms, income from nontransferable stocks, and inheritance. The worker has full control over all these assets during his or her lifetime.
The Working Class, Shared Opportunity and Employment Right
The application of equality of opportunity creates a new mode of production eliminating exploitation and gradually making the worker a full participant in production and distribution process. At the workplace, it creates different opportunity levels based on each individual’s education and experience.
Under equality of opportunity, employment is an individual right because there is no such equality present between those employed with those unemployed within the same level of competence. Each institution must provide employment for any applicant corresponding to his or her level of competency through the use of the principle of “shared opportunity” derived from the equality of opportunity principle. It requires that each employed person within the firm at the same level of competency as those unemployed applicants, to give up a small portion of his employment opportunity (e.g. 1-4 hours out of 40 hours per week) to provide the same employment opportunity for the applicants. The concept of supply and demand at each level of opportunity stabilizes the employment market for this and any other level of work nationwide. Shared opportunity causes full employment and lifetime job security for anyone desiring to work.
Work, Education, and Pay System
The general level of compensation is determined by a general position classification at the national level calculated and established by the National Economic and Production Council (NEPC) by the assistance of the Technodem, which is a national independent, self controlled electronic system and indispensable instrument in proper application of equality of opportunity, also known as the people’s best and trusted friend. The Technodem by having access to prices of all goods and services and the cost of living, calculates and reports to NEPC the amount of minimum wage required for a minimum living standard. The NEPC designs a model position classification and pay system accordingly. This is fed to the Technodem equipped to supervise its application in every institution hiring workers. Each production firm then, following the national model, establishes its own position classification and pay system and feeds it into the Technodem which instantly compares it with the national model, and reports back discrepancies, if any, to be corrected. The position classification within each firm does not have to be exactly the same as the national model but it has to fit into the range specified by that model.
In technological democracy, after twelve years of general education, the work system and education merge together. Everyone is required to complete the general education program. It consists of four years of preschool education starting at age three up to seven; four years of elementary and four years of secondary education. It contains a condensed curricula from grade one through twelve. After completing this educational program, the person who is about fifteen years old, begins to work part-time while starting his higher education full-time. His study program is equally divided between general-humanistic and professional-technical parts. The first part, develops him as a democratic person, deeply devoted and committed to the principle of equality of opportunity. However, the core part of his humanistic education is achieved through his or her 12-year of general education. By the age of 22, he or she achieves the knowledge level of an MA degree under our present system, and starts to work full-time and continues his studies part time for the rest of his working years. Every worker at the time of retirement, which arrives at his early 50s after 30 years of work, accumulates knowledge, far beyond the Ph.D. level, the highest degree in higher education offered today. This higher level of knowledge is required and necessary in a highly scientific and technological and ever-changing life environment at work as well as at home. This part-time education is a part from the worker’s required working hours; for a 40 hour-per-week work program, he works 32 hours and studies 8 hours. Everyone starts the life from scratch and gradually moves to a high position and high income by the time of official retirement. There remains still two or more decades of active life left for each individual after retirement to enjoy life without worry spending it in leisure, art, music, travel or other creative and desired ventures.
The technological democratic society is based on the concept of the least government being the best. Accordingly, the national government has no domestic line functions. All national departments except for defense and State, all regulatory agencies and welfare programs are discarded. The state governments are down-sized by about 40 percent; while the size and responsibilities of local governments are increased by about 20 percent. The Technodem, production firms and local social organizations carry out most of the needed public functions. Under this system there is an incredible expansion of individual rights and freedoms, free education, fee health care, employment rights, and old age benefits all under full individual and private control.
The Transition Process
The transition has to be through a peaceful process, thus, it needs to be gradual stretching from two to four decades. The following is the process proposed here subject to replacement or modification if better ways are found.
The first and immediate step is to legalize the principle of equality of opportunity through a constitutional amendment, if it fails, then through a national constitutional convention. Immediately after its passage, establish a temporary National Economic and Production Council(NEPC) ( See We the People, cited below, Fig. 5, p.49). Its first task is to create a temporary national position classification and pay system based on a minimum wage calculated by the Technodem. For example, at $8.00 per hour minimum wage and 5 percent annual increase, the minimum annual pay will start from $16640 at the age 15 rising to about $100,000 at the age of retirement at 53. This is the highest executive pay any worker may receive at the time of retirement. It must be noted that under the new system there is no individual income tax, or other taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. Thus, these incomes are equivalent to the real income at the present after all deductions for taxes.
All employers are required to classify their employment and pay system according to the national model established, and feed it into the National Economic and Production Council’s computer. This is the initial creation of the Technodem which plays essential role in supervising and sustaining the democratic system. As the production firms prepare their own position classification and pay system, following the national model and feed them into the NEOC computer, the Technodem progresses in its information storage and capability in taking over the supervision of the application of the principle of equality of opportunity at the workplace and ultimately its application in political and social aspects of daily life.
The period of transition will not be an easy one. There will be a need for good and sharp thinkers to smooth out the process. If Congress refuses to propose the equal opportunity amendment to the Constitution or obstacles are created by the national and state governments in calling for a National Constitutional Convention, the people will have no choice but resort to a general strike, as defined by the French philosopher George Sorel, until it succeeds. The nation may need a temporary commission composed of highly qualified individuals to put into effect the new system, supervise its progress, make necessary adjustments for its proper operation, and eliminate the old departments and agencies when they become irrelevant, including the Congress and presidency when it becomes appropriate to install the new National Legislative and Coordination Assembly and the National Executive Council. This must be the people’s commission and its members chosen by the people or their chosen representatives.
In a technological democracy, the social goal and common purpose, for which society is to be organized, concern itself in providing equality of opportunity for everyone. In such an accomplished society:
1. Everyone starts life from the scratch. There are neither rich nor poor under the present meaning of the terms.
2. Everyone receives 12 years of free general education up to the age 15. Not only it is totally free but no obstacle can be created to hinder it.
3. Everyone starts to work part-time at age 15, starts full-time at the age 22, and works until retirement, never facing unemployment.
4. Everyone continues his/her education full-time after the age of 15, while working part-time, and continues part-time after the age of 22, as a part from his/her work program, until retirement. Such education consists of a balanced combination of technical-professional, liberal arts, and humanities subjects. It is reduced to two courses on each subject per year after the age 22, when the worker assumes full-time position.
5. Everyone receives free health and preventive care for life.
6. Everyone, starting from zero, gradually becomes a part owner of production of goods and services. These ownership shares, which replaces the present Social Security system but fully privatized, are destined for the support of the owner after his/her retirement, and thus are not transferable.
7. Everyone works full-time for at least 30 years or equivalent of it.
8. Equivalent to one-fifth of the working hours are allocated to
education. Accordingly, for a 40 hours per week work, the person works for 32 hours and studies for 8 hours.
9. Promotion is based on the level of education and years of experience, liberal art education having the same importance as the technical or professional.
10. The age of retirement depends on the supply of the young labor force for the purpose of allowing them equal opportunity for employment. However, to guarantee a comfortable retirement life, no capable person works for less than 25 years full-time before retirement. The general retirement occurs after 30 years of full-time work.
11. After retirement, which more likely occurs when an individual is in his early 50s, he or she has enough non-transferable assets accumulated to bring him or her returns sufficient for a simple but comfortable living standards. In addition, through his or her personal savings, he or she has other transferable assets under his or her full control.
12. All elective public positions:
a. Require very high qualifications relating to education and experience.
b. Are temporary and no one is elected for the same office for more than one term. Besides other benefits, this also allows opportunities to a greater number of well qualified retired citizens to hold public office and serve the people.
c. These two requirements would allow a better chance of being elected to retired individuals since they are better educated and well experienced and are not looking for a permanent position. They are still young, but matured and capable of fruitful participation in the public policy-making process and public service.
13. As a result of democratic norms and technological developments, family life is transformed from its traditional form into a democratic unit; parents being responsible, though in a different manner, for upbringing of the children up to the age of 15, after which the child, who is considered an adult, enters the labor market and is considered independent.
14 By the time of retirement, the family, more likely because of voluntary birth and population control, has no children to take care of; and free from this responsibility, the couple, if they desire to remain together, has many years of economically secure, very fruitful, still productive, dynamic, and enjoyable life.
15. After death, a substantial part of an individual’s wealth, according to the principle of equality of opportunity, is returned to society, through the Public Consumption Fund, to sustain free services such as health care and
education for the new generation which is also to start from the scratch.
16. Though some individuals accumulate more wealth than others, the difference is not so great to cause class distinction. Furthermore, such
difference is only for the life of the person and disappears upon his death. In reality, this is a classless society with minor variations in material ownership.
17. An individual’s obligatory relationship is within his family and his workplace. Outside these areas, he remains free to enjoy life with a great many things and means accessible to him in an infinite variety of combinations.
18. In its narrow application, equality of opportunity does not allow individual competition where the intention is to take opportunity from someone against whom the individual is competing. However, equality of opportunity not only allows but encourages each individual to compete against himself or herself to become better than what he or she already is. This is quite different from competing against a designated person even it may give the same result. Open competition is the backbone of the democratic market operation, but, it is free of fraudulence, propaganda, and false commercials. Self competition should be the motto of production here as well. It causes the production of better goods or services resulting in marketing success The exact specifications of the products are stated and left to the consumer to make the choice. Unlike the present situation where commercials are forced on the people by being inserted into television or radio programs, no one is forced, through any means, to watch or listen to commercials.
19. The wealth of a society is the sum total of individual wealth plus all natural and other resources which belong to the society as a whole. However, the important part of the wealth of a society is not economic and material, but technological in the form of knowledge, experience, and means which is the way of doing things.
20. More important than the production of wealth is its equitable distribution among the working class, subject only to the level of knowledge, and experience. Every worker receives nearly the same amount of income in the full period of his or her work as the others. There will be some differentiation but it will not be so remarkable to upset equality of opportunity. Each worker starts with the minimum wage and gets more as he or she climbs the ladder to higher positions or become better educated and more experienced. By the time of retirement, each worker is a high ranking official in his or her firm regardless of type of work he or she is assigned to perform.
21. In a democratic system, there is no class structure or class distinction. Differentiation is only at the work place, based on the level of knowledge, experience, and expertise. Working class refers to all working individuals including members of the board of directors, chief executives down to the least experienced.
22. The proper function of government is to establish, maintain and periodically revise the standards required by the principle of equality of opportunity, particularly relating to division of labor and compensation. The national government has no domestic line functions except some supervisory authority in the areas relating to the national consumption fund such as education, healthcare, and corresponding standards. Government is reduced to its minimum functional size.
23. Private wealth totally belongs to the individual for life. It is a wealth initiated, created, and accumulated through his/her own labor, use of his/her assets and not through profits by exploiting others.
24. Public wealth mainly constitutes of the society’s natural resources. They belong to the society as a whole, and therefore, net proceeds created belong to the people. Equality of opportunity does not allow any private ownership of natural resources such as oil, gas, minerals, and forests. Such resources may be leased to specific firms to operate. Whatever is left after paying for all expenses including depreciation of tool, machineries and other properties used for production purpose, goes to Public Consumption Fund and used for public benefit.
25. The electoral system is managed by the Technodem, The only thing a candidate needs to do is to enter his or her name for the office he or she seeks to be elected, into the Technodem’s list for that office. No additional information is needed, because the Technodem knows all about each individual in the society. It will present each individual’s qualifications in three categories: personal, educational, and experience, and rank each candidate in each category. However, each candidate may have his or her own electoral website and may place in it additional information he may think beneficial for his campaign. No voter is obliged to vote for Technodem’s first choice, Each voter selects his or her candidate from this list and votes for him or her, through the Technodem’s electoral website, on the election day.
26. Political parties as we know of them today are eliminated since there is no need or justification for their existence or other organizations for electoral purposes. The electoral process is electronic, simple, and abuse free; during the election day, each qualified individual inserts his or her electronic ID card into the computer, it is checked against his or her background. If qualified he or she votes from anyplace in the world for the candidate of his or her choice for the national, state or local office.
27. There is a total private ownership of the means of production of
goods and services. This ownership is highly dispersed with no concentration in the hands of a few.
28. Giant corporations are automatically disintegrated into several smaller institutions once the workers take over the management. Huge overhead expenditures are saved.
29. A new free market economy is established with fair and open competition based on equality of opportunity.
30. No individual taxes, no property taxes, and no social security taxes.
31. There is protection of environment, preservation of natural resources, and meaningful use of them for public benefit and keeping them in proper shape for the future generations as the equality of opportunity requires.
32. A marvelous outcome of this system is the disappearance of all economic, political and social interest groups. There won’t be any need or requirement for their existence. People, for the first time become free of all pressures, demands, and restriction of thousands of such organizations that exist today including all charitable organizations. What a wonderful freedom this would bring.
Morality Under Technological Democracy
The moral boundaries of technological democracy are very broad based on the principle of equality of opportunity. No conceivable common ethical code can be comprehensive enough to cover nearly boundless domain of these moral possibilities relating to such values as honesty, integrity, humility and freedom. It is impossible for any mind to comprehend the infinite variety of individual freedoms and good deeds ensuing from this foundation of morality. Whether one’s interests center around his or her own well-being, or the welfare of others, regardless how broad and expanded these interests may be, the end that the individual may be concerned with, is always only an infinitesimal fraction of what could be possible under this democratic system. It is within these nearly limitless confines that the individual strives for his life liberty and pursuit of happiness.
The following books and articles explain in detail a quite complex theory of a humanistic future society. Some 30 years of the author’s time has been spent in its development. The readers are requested to be patient and deeply conscious in its comprehension and interpretation. After Karl Marx’s theory of communism which ended up to be utopian and not actually applicable, this is the second scientific societal theory based on reason and logic; it is also pragmatic and practical. For the author’s brief biography and books cited below and some relevant articles see his website and http://www.ezinearticles.com/?expert=Dr._Reza_Rezazadeh
Technological Democracy: A Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society, 1990, pp.365.
Technodemocratic Economic Theory: From Capitalism and Socialism to Democracy, 1991. pp.359.
Passage to a Just Society: Secrets of Democratic Life, Leisure and Happiness. 2003. pp. 374.
We the People: Democracy as a System, a Humanistic Philosophy of the Future Society, 2010. Frederick, Maryland.: Publish America, pp. 64.
This book is a very brief and simple presentation of the theory to the general public and a guide for a national movement and action including the general strike. For those interested in forming a successful movement or action, reading the author’s article about the General Strike and some writings from the French philosopher George Sorel concerning his theory of general strike are recommended.
It must be noted that when the first two books were published in early 1990s, Vice President Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet.
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