The Leap Frog System
The Leap Frog System
October 10, 2011
When a board of directors removes a CEO for poor performance, we don’t expect the board to have a specific plan for how the next CEO will run things. The board’s job is to remove the underperforming CEO and start a search for a new one.
That model reminds me of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Some pundits are criticizing the protesters for not having specific demands, but I don’t think that’s a fair observation. The protesters are simply trying to fire the old CEO, metaphorically speaking. It’s not their job to micromanage the next one.
Some politicians have branded Occupy Wall Street as a class war. But I think that misses the point too. If the economy were humming along and creating the right kind of jobs, folks would see wealth as an aspiration and not an enemy.
I see Occupy Wall Street as an effort to get rid of the system that brought us to this place. The anger is not so much about replacing politicians as it is a complaint about the nature of government and the corrupting influence of money. Our collective image of the protests is muddied by the media’s fascination with the nut jobs in the crowds, allegations that George Soros is the puppet master, and references to evil bankers and capitalists. We humans like to put faces to evil, but sometimes the evil is simply the result of a mismatch between the system and the times.
As self-appointed Transitional Leader, I support a new Constitutional Convention. Sooner or later the Occupy Wall Street protesters will join Tea Partiers and others in calling for exactly that. Nothing short of a total system reboot will clear the streets. Tweaking the tax code won’t get us there. Replacing ineffective politicians with other ineffective politicians won’t get us there.
Our current system of government served us well for over two hundred years. It was perfectly designed for simpler times. Now the natural complexity of issues plus the corrupting influence of money have choked out the system. We’re firing on one cylinder. It’s time for a new system.
In times like these, it’s easy to focus on all of the bad news. But I’m not wired that way. When I see a broken system, I see an opportunity to build something new and better than can leap frog the performance of competing governments. (I’m looking at you, China.)
The Internet has come of age at exactly the time we need it to form the platform for a new system of government. A new and properly engineered government could be immune to financial corruption and more efficient at matching economic resources to opportunities. That sort of change would be enough to turbo charge the United States’ economy for generations.
In a reengineered system of government, I like the idea of states operating as test sites for social and economic programs. In some ways, that’s the opposite of how things are operating now. For example, the federal government is clamping down on California’s state-legalized medical marijuana industry. Does that look like a government system that is worth keeping?
If you want the rich to pay more taxes, there are two ways to do it. One way is to use force, but that path leads to ruin or gridlock because the rich have plenty of force of their own. The other way is to change the system to make it worth the extra taxes. I’ll gladly pay 5% more in taxes in exchange for a better system of government, under the theory that a better government will create a better economy and give me a return on my investment. And I’ll believe that’s possible when we have a Constitutional Convention.