On Stewerdships

Here’s a fun fact for you. You all know what does the word “President” means and should sounds like the president is an important and respectful person, but where did the word “President” comes from? It appears the word is derived from the Latin word “praesident”, so a president is an official who presides over a body of people. Initially, it was suggested to crown George Washington as the King of the newly founded U.S.A, but he (so it is told) thought no such power should be given to a single person.The constitutional republic the founding fathers formed is based on a system of triple checks. That’s why America has a President, Congress, and a Supreme Court. Ideally, this system works to give the President just enough power to govern the nation without so much he forgets his position as a servant of the people. You can read more about it at allabouthistory.org.

So words have meaning and there’s a big difference between a king and a president, although ultimately their function is quite similar. In this regard, I would like to suggest that instead of a prime minister, or a president, or a counsellor (counsellor isn’t that bad actually) which should have Stewards. Stewards don’t govern other people. They take care of them. I believe it gives a better focus to the responsibility of what is now known as the “government”.

So like classic democracy, we should have checks and balances. I will now elaborate about the legislator, the executor and the critic.

The Legislator

The legislator decides what is right or wrong, how we should spend our resources and what are our priorities as a society. The rules and laws sets by the legislator apply to all members of society, and so it must consists of the actual members of society. I’m a strong advocate for Liquid Democracy that quickly shifts between direct decision making and the aid of representatives for those members who cannot take part of the democratic process for whatever reason. How this works exactly is a long story on its own, so I’ll leave it for now but I’ll emphasise that there are no more “political parties”, no more lobbyists and no more deals finalised in some dark alley against the will of the people. It is now the people that make the actual vote.

The Executor

Normally, this is part of democracy is called a government. It’s the most important part of the political system and there’s a big issue surrounding its election – namely, that it has very little to do with the citizen’s choice. I suggest transforming this role to “The Public Wellbeing Steward“. Instead of a group of people who don’t necessarily play well together, it’s going to be a single person who can bring his own team of advisors and assistants. When the people elect the person to fill the position, she or he will need to prove relevant experience, solid plan for his term and an estimated budget. The steward will be responsible for the safety, the infrastructure, health, well-fare  and education, which is almost everything the government is responsible for today. I’m a minarchist, so I believe the steward shouldn’t intervene when it is not required. Religion, for example, or marriage shouldn’t be his concern. I’ll leave the exact roles and duties for a future discussion. however, unlike the modern democracy, I believe that the court system should be under the executor responsibility.

The Critic

The Civil Service Critic isn’t something new, but I suggest to grant this position more power, on the expense of the supreme court. The critic should be able to criticise and veto actions done by the legislator and the executor, if (and only if) these actions violate more fundamental laws. Generally speaking, the media shouldn’t be a part of the political system at all, but if there’s a part that should be – it should work for the critic, as they share the same interest of exposing the faults of the system. Again, the critic’s position should be elected by the people.

… and Earth

I would like to suggest a new position, aiming to solve Hardin’ Tragedy of the Commons, called “The State Resources Steward“. This position will be responsible for everything we consider today as public resource – land, natural resources, air and water. And much like a trust fund treasurer, the steward needs to decide how these resources will be used. It is his job to take care of future generations while never neglecting the current generation’s needs. The state resources stewards also solve another Libertarians dilemma regarding the state’s right to collect taxes on a privately owned land: The steward should never sell his land as he may only lease them. The people living in this state are bound to comply with its rules as they are living in a land owned by the state. As he is responsible for all rivers, for example, if a factory wish to dump his toxics in the river it will be forced to pay the steward and with this money the steward may choose to build a decontamination plant. I think this position is desperately needed today.

In conclusion, the political system has an important duty in the life of the citizens. I believe the “job description” should be rephrased in order to focus on the real goals, i.e. benefiting the citizens, and discourage exploitation of power.

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