In the previous four pieces, I’ve been exploring the federal government founding, funding and maintaining new job-creation institutions.  The government would reward individuals gathering respect in the form of traffic and time spent on websites serving media, education and art.  The government would not decide who would receive micropayments for each visitor and how long they spent on the site or watching a video.  That would be decided by the traffic numbers.  This is a model that trusts the wisdom of the crowd’s redistributing the crowd’s tax dollars to those whose work the crowd admires.

There would be the generation of high quality news by amateurs and professionals across the planet, high quality educational pieces as determined by the testing scores of viewers and popular art as determined by the number of people lingering over the artists’ work.

Performers might be employed to act out an academic’s lecture scripts.  News might be describing surges in a particular artist’s traffic numbers.  Performers might be reading news.  Art might bleed into academia.  Synergies among the different institutions are inevitable.  Government rewards for traffic and duration will encourage innovation and novelty.

As these new institutions acquire mass, government funding for their providers can moderate.  Consistent high traffic sites can survive on ad revenue models.  Regardless, a redistribution of dollars from taxpayers to these providers of content enhances the experience of taxpayers and the academics, journalists and artists participating in the model.

As the consumer economy continues to deteriorate, the focus of the individual will not be on what he or she owns and does not yet own.  Their attention will be on their personal experience.  The aesthetic economy, the economy driven by enhanced personal experience, will be nurtured by a surge in teachers, news providers and artists that are paid to perform.  What kind of government could display the kind of flexibility and creativity required to distribute its power horizontally, encouraging a world where decisions are made from the bottom, not the top?

Imagine a government funding personal empowerment.  Instead of congregating power in the hands of semi-permanently stationed elected officials influenced by elite institutions and the wealthy, consider a tenuous government in which the elected officials are kept in office for as long as they have the support of their constituencies.  There are no term limits.  An elected official might only keep his or her office overnight. Positions can change at any time, based upon information gathered off the web interfaces.  Voters constantly note their positions.  Politicians constantly respond to those notations.

In addition to paying the salaries of elected officials, the government would also pay lobbyists.

Individuals would specialize in aggregating the votes of citizens, packaging them into ad hoc groups of votes managed by that individual, the lobbyist.  Any voter could give his or her voting rights, to be taken back at any time, to the lobbyist.  Any lobbyist could specialize in any issue or issues, collecting the voting rights of voters and using the collected rights to pressure elected officials to vote specific ways, even yanking support for an official and giving it to an alternative elected official, thus forcing shifts in representation.

Voters can assign their votes to be used by different lobbyists at different times, one lobbyist per citizen.  Lobbyists can use their aggregated power to influence elected officials.  Elected officials can change as frequently as their constituency chooses someone new.

The government rewards lobbyists with a fee based upon the number of voters they represent.  Lobbyists can support themselves by acquiring a large enough following of voters to work full time.

A constant shift in power is integrated into the system as voters become lobbyists, lobbyists become politicians and politicians get replaced based upon how the population rates their performance at any time.

Though this could be used to support the two-party system, there is no default understanding that parties are even required.  Politics becomes issue-based as lobbyists constantly emerge that are committed to specific issues, often focused on specific date-based issues or events.  Imagine a world where online social networking is used by almost everyone, a high quality media keeps the population informed and a high quality educational system makes sure people respect an educated response.  In this world with freely distributed, high quality information, the government funds free and easy access to information distribution by encouraging citizen lobbying and a responsive legislature.  All of the details of a citizen-lobbyist-driven government would be mediated online.

An online world is a horizontal world.  Hierarchies can topple in many ways.  By building into the system high degrees of responsiveness, transparency and diversity, we provide the potential for citizen empowerment to degrees not imaginable until now.

As our federal government seeks ways to create jobs, officials can also utilize current surges in new technologies to create new institutions.  Media, education, art and politics can all transform to adjust to the present conditions.  It takes a little imagination.  It takes an understanding that the consumer economy is ending.  It takes trust that there are good things on the way.

Welcome to the Aesthetic Economy.


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