That’s right, I just coined a term.
The lack of a competing ideology to capitalism since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the culmination of the Cold War has been well documented and Francis Fukuyama’s End of History describes it best.
“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such…. That is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
However, the counter-argument, Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations made a prediction that has turned out to be almost entirely true, when he argued that future wars would be between cultures, not countries. Case and point: America’s battle with the Islamic state.
Almost 30 years down the line, the absence of an ideological competitor has left the world in a global financial crisis, with the rich (top 1%) controlling 90% of the wealth and, therefore, power. We live in a world where America throws out 36 billion kilograms of food every year while 795 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment (a.k.a starving). Wealth disparity, overpopulation, and climate change are just the first steps in our ongoing march to our doom. What’s worse is that a very small group of people are dragging all of us to this inevitable dystopia.
The fact of the matter is that democracy and laissez-faire economic policy has failed. I will make my case with two examples, the USA and South Africa.
Firstly, both countries are equipped with two of the most highly regarded, written constitutions, and enormous private sectors. Both Presidents Trump and Zuma are shining examples of what a modern-day tyrant looks like. Corporate fascism and state capture are just two terms to describe the state of affairs in either country. The education system is in decline, unemployment is high, crime is worse than ever, corruption is rife and the economy is suffering. Furthermore, both have highly divisive competing cultures, defined largely over racial, class and/or religious lines, and the competing cultures are running a scorched earth policy which is destroying their respective countries from the inside out. The black-white racial divide in South Africa is excruciating and the whole #BlackLivesMatter seems to be a variation of the same theme, in my opinion. And what’s the most essential requirement for any democracy? Transparency.
In Post Democracy, it seems, on a superficial level, that we have a functioning democracy, but many citizens feel that what they voted for is not what they got. In the future, with the role of government essentially being fulfilled by blockchains, our constitutions will be the underlying algorithms of those blockchains, and the consensus mechanisms that define it.
When election day comes, somebody must count the votes and this needs to be done fairly, and only an independent body can ensure that the results haven’t been tampered with. This is the first area where a Blockchain can be implemented. If we voted using a single cryptographic token, the counting process can be conducted instantaneously and the machine calculating the results cannot forge specific outcomes. The concern over voter fraud ceases to exist. Key demographic indicators, determined by voters’ digital identities can give more insight into public opinion, essentially eliminating the need for political research and surveys.
The second area that the Blockchain can help with is by tracking campaign contributions, which is essentially going to eliminate corruption. Take Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the Democratic Primary race for example [Sidebar: How on earth this man is not currently president truly bothers me]. Sanders raised funds for his campaign, which came incredibly close to beating Hillary Clinton’s, despite being an underdog of the greatest proportions. Sanders, an Independent candidate, received funding from citizens. In 2015, the average donation towards his campaign was $27.16. Nearly three-quarters of the $96 million in campaign contributions by March 2016 had been under $200. Only 17% of the donations to the Clinton campaign were under $200. Now imagine a Blockchain system that tracks the expenses and the income for political campaigns in what is essentially a live audit. Who is contributing towards your campaign and how much is public knowledge. The influence you have on policy and whether or not it benefits your campaign contributors comes under scrutiny. Every tender granted, every decision, every cent is accounted for. It also leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for any investigative journalist to feed off. Can you imagine a democracy with honest politicians? This is about as close as you’re going to get.
So, as a politician, you have no choice but to keep every deal above the table, because every move you make is audited. Public office truly becomes a public office. Every time you touch money, the world is watching.
So, what does that bring us?
It’s quite simple. We gain a functional democracy. Everything becomes open to scrutiny, efficiency is maximized, corruption is obliterated and, with a Blockchain initiative, bureaucracy can be automated as well. With the Blockchain, you gain a state that you can trust and untrustworthy politicians get left behind. Blockchain run government will truly be a government for the people, by the people.