понедельник, 12 января 2015 г.

Self-curing society

  We live in an age when the society encounters a lot of new problems. The globalization leads to appearance of new types of corruption when big companies can commit abuses (e.g. ecological) without being punished (because there is no global center of power which can protect common laws). The technological progress will possibly cause more harm than good in the near future. The beginning of the digital era leads to new problems not met by the society before.
  Probably, the science is able to help solve these problems. But the main disadvantage of the science funded by the state, I suppose, is that this research work is funded by people who are not motivated enough to work well (maybe even bureaucrats). This is true mainly for the fundamental and humanitarian science (the applied science in the West is funded well by business).
  Here is an example. A national problem in the US is obesity; as far as I know, currently the state is not solving this problem efficiently. There are a lot of private gymnasiums which offer some help, but the sport eliminates the effect, rather than the cause. I am not sure that the market economy is in general able to efficiently obliterate any problems. If efficient “tablets against obesity” could be created, developing these tablets would evidently be an overprofitable business, and best researchers would work on this; but researches on finding the reasons of obesity (these reasons can be mostly social and psychological) are not efficiently supported. It would be great if finding and eliminating the reasons of problems became a kind of “business”, and my book describes how this goal can be achieved.
  It is considered that one of the reasons of obesity is fast food. This hypothesis can be verified using experiments; but yet I didn’t find the information about such experiments in the web. At the same time, I have watched one such experiment in a TV show (Russian) about obesity in the US: the authors of this program asked a few people to start eating fast food and weighing themselves (the result was that this diet didn’t increase their weight very much, so the causes of obesity can be mostly social, maybe in conjunction with the fast food). It is demonstrative that a TV channel has performed a more efficient research than scientists. The problem, as written above, is that people who provide grants are not interested enough in the result.
  Ecological problems are significant too. I have heard that the ecologists who perform researches can be considered “prostitutes”, because someone pays them for these researches and is interested in a particular result. Funding ecological researches by the state is not efficient enough, because the politicians have more urgent affairs.
   A significant problem in Russia (I don't know about the Western countries) is the corruption in private medicine. Our doctors prescribe to their patients drugs, which are not really needed by them, but sponsored by the drug manufactures. If somebody struggled with such corruption by giving people valid information about the medicaments, it would be very good for the people. But this somebody must be really interested in the result of his work and earn enough money for it - currently this condition is unachievable.
  One more problem in Russia (I suppose, all developed countries face similar problems) is the degradation of the Russian language because of the Web communication (people who communicate at Web forums and social networks get used to write improperly). The government do not think about this problem, and almost nobody is motivated to address it. At the same time, this problem, in my opinion, is very serious - the language affects our thinking and our whole life. Again, somebody must be motivated enough to work on it and earn money for such work.
  The society could be able to cure itself, if fighting against such problems was a kind of business. Below I write my ideas on how this can be achieved.
  The main idea is as follows. The state must spend some money from the budget on social programs. It must be written in laws (in the constitution) that a fixed sum of money (e.g., up to 2% of the national GDP) can be spent on social programs, and the government do not have the right to decrease this limit. These money will wholly belong to the nation. The social programs will be initiated via voting in the Web; each program will be devoted to a specific task - fighting against corruption, obesity, etc. The directors of these programs will be elected via the Web, e.g., with an interval of 2 years. These directors will be the politicians interested in bringing the benefit to the nation.
  Each director will receive a fixed flow of money, and this sum will be prescribed in his program. He will be able to spend half of these money for gathering information - e.g. providing research grants, or paying for anti-corruptional investigations (he will choose how to spend these money himself). Another half of these money will be spent for distributing the information in the society - e.g. maintaining a TV channel (or, for example, the director will have his own website and spend most of the money for advertising this website).
  These directors will be able to help solving every problem of the society. For example, the director of the program against obesity will spend grants for finding the reasons of the obesity. Let's consider he will find its cause. If this cause is the fast-food, the director will inform the society using his mass media, and everybody will be able to solve the problem for himself. If the cause is social and psychological factors, the director will be able to affect the actions of the government using his mass media - owning a mass media gives the opportunity to affect the public opinion, and the government depends on the public opinion.
  Below are my considerations on why this system must be very effective. I think, the community of directors will be better for the society than one government for the same reason why market economy is better than planned economy. The history of the USSR, China, DPRK shows that the planned economy is ineffective. Why is it so? The answer which I hear most often is that the directors of private companies are more motivated in the result of their production than the directors of state companies. This point needs to be clarified some more. The directors of the state companies obey the government, which is interested enough in the result. But the government do not have the possibility to keep an eye on the work of every factory. Respectively, if the government tries to solve the problems of the society, it is unable to spend much time for each of the problem, especially such problems as the degradation of the language. At the same time, if the system with the proposed social programs is implemented, each director will be able to work hardly in his field. Possibly there will be hundreds of thousands of social programs (most of them will have a very small funding, and the director will just hold a website), and the directors will compete with each other. The sum of the funding of these social programs, as written above, will not exceed a fixed percent of the national GDP.
  A similar idea is the "crowdfunding multiplication": if a person earns sufficient sums of money by crowdfunding (public donations), he will receive additional money from the budget. As with the scheme described above, some problems with crowdfunding multiplication need to be solved (its main problem must be the corruption, or self-funding, and "sectarian" projects). In particular, it will be fair if the people are able to pay not only to support a particular project, but to suppress it too.
  One more question is how to choose whether the initiation of a social program requires a very large number of voters or the percentage of "yes" votes can be crucial too. If the percentage of approving votes does not affect the possibility of initiating this program, only widely-known programs will be adopted; if this percentage affects it, not known well but popular programs will be initiated too. But in this case, sectarian programs will be adopted too (e.g., a program for propagandizing a religious sect will be popular among those who take part in this sect, and they will take much greater part in the vote than people who are unaware of this sect). I think I have found a solution on how to solve this problem, it is written in my book. Maybe there will be other such problems - voting through the Web is yet an unaccustomed trend in our world.

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