Short Story

from: Philip de Souza

Ideascale Link

Challenge question :

Most “public” services are sub-contracted at 3-5x cost. How is community self-governance best achieved via delivery on a utility platform?

Why is it important?

Community mindedness today risks veering from its original meaning. Self-governance is, by definition, a bottom-up, not top-down, approach.

How does success look like?

Elected authorities from amenable jurisdictions become local heroes for greatly reduced taxes. Private companies are paid more and on time.

Key Metrics to measure

Proposers are welcome to explore and weigh the merits of transaction metadata, smart contracts, tokens, smart markets, and/or any combination thereof in the determination of how best to align services (such as street cleaners and/or garbage collectors, for example) with specific zones & localities, contracted for a given term.

Of greatest initial importance will be the opt-in, by at least one local government authority and a service provider, to accommodate a Proof Of Concept within a pilot jurisdiction. The boon from a successful POC, for any politician (as a now-lauded and pioneering visionary), will yield them a near certain re-election and serve as a model for blockchain efficiency, with subsequent demands for its expansion and implementation elsewhere.

Challenge brief

It is indeed a challenge to any community to redefine the very concept of itself in the apparent absence of applicable, historical precedent. Without a relatable narrative, even the most imaginative minds can be forgiven for falling back on legacy concepts and inherited structures, all while seeking to break the mold and redefine it. And according to what model?

What does it even look like, to live in a truly decentralized, self-governing community, when all we’ve ever known is an essentially top-down, command-and-control infrastructure?

Sure, there’s 32 flavors to choose from at Baskin-Robbins, but one’s choices narrow significantly from there, the more important they become. A truly trustless technology carries the promise of liberating humanity, however, and so this implies the unraveling of existing modalities of governance, far more so than the creation of new ones.

If the goal is the strengthening of self-governance, and the shaping of legislation and commercial standards accordingly, I posit the best approach to be a practical one, in keeping with the true bottom-up nature of decentralization. As for historical precedent, who would’ve guessed the answer to that age old question, “But without government, who will build the roads?”, can be found in a piece of near-forgotten history from over 180 years ago?

Alexis de Tocqueville was an aristocrat and political scientist from the Courts of Versailles, France, who eventually became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he is universally acknowledged as the father of sociology and social anthropology throughout most all of western academia. As with many others in Europe at the time, de Tocqueville was mesmerized with this strange new nation called America across the sea.

In 1831 he finally visited and chronicled his travels within his famous, ‘Democracy in America’, published in 1835; the second volume published another 5 years thereafter. In it, de Tocqueville described the astonishment with which a near total absence of government was to be found in nearly every township he paid visit to, save for the local post office. This was unfathomable to him, for in his native France there were offices of government everywhere, with breadlines feeding the poor and destitute, stretching for blocks. By contrast, in America, what little he could find of the poor and needy were all dutifully cared for by an abundance of charitable organizations; the people keeping 100% of their earnings while looking after their own communities themselves. The discrepancy in literacy rates also astounded him, with barely 10% who could read in his native France, compared with the over 90% literacy rate he found in the States.

People maintain that charities could never sustain the needs of the poor today, but if you try to feed the homeless you will be arrested!

A better way of phrasing the aforementioned question of “Who will build the roads?” isn’t by hearkening to any notion of zero government, so much as highlighting its replacement with self-government instead. Roads and public services were of course funded directly by community-minded citizens in the old Town Hall meetings of New Hampshire, for example, without any of the trustless automation that can now be leveraged. Centralized, top-down administration of these services have become so intertwined with our very concepts of how communities must operate, it’s not surprising it was a source of bewilderment to Monsieur de Tocqueville just as it is now for us today, and so many years later…

What’s perhaps more surprising is why you’ve probably never even heard of de Tocqueville until now. Given these historically remarkable findings from early American society, and his being recognized as creating the science of anthropology itself. Yet even if one studied the subject now, it would probably surprise one even more to discover his complete absence from the books currently in print…

As former Secretary of Education under Reagan, Gary Bauer, openly declared: for every $1 collected in tax for the purpose of education, only $0.25 ever goes to the actual schools to pay for the teacher’s salaries and books. A full 75% of it simply lines the walls of the ever expanding bureaucracy there in D.C., like some malignant tumor! I was so stunned by this announcement when I finally heard it (many years later), I personally contacted his offices to confirm it, and he told me now was not even $0.20 out of every dollar…

I then researched the average expenditure in taxes per pupil in D.C. for that year, and it was over $26,000 per head – more than a year’s tuition at Montessori! But private schools are just as dependent upon government licenses to teach as those that are declared public, and the books, now bereft of any hint as to how communities can indeed thrive much better under the liberty of self-governance, reflect the purposeful neglect a top-down mode of governance imposes for its own sake just the same. But as far as public services are concerned, I know education is still perhaps a bit too delicate a subject for most to accept the decentralization of. Best keep it to street cleaning and such for starters!

The concept of a decentralized, self-governing community is so foreign, most people assume there’s no historical context by which it may be easily conceptualized. The fact de Tocqueville is acknowledged as the father of socio-anthropology, and yet had his own observations removed from all the books on the subject, says something as to why… but what he recorded is proof this has been achieved before, and was so powerfully successful compared to the top-down models of governance, its example had to be censored.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Cardano very much represents an opportunity for, not just a return to sound money, but a return to a truly decentralized community of self-governance, such as the Republic to which Franklin referred.

Also Ben: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the Republic.”

This is unfortunately beginning to happen now, and it’s easy to understand why. When the ability to earn oneself a living is removed, of course people will vote themselves money ad infinitum, but this must be acknowledged as an extremely urgent and dangerous situation! Especially when the concept of decentralization, while positive, still resides somewhere in the “nice to have” perspective, much like the other benefits of blockchain, such as immutability, security, inclusiveness, etc. People are still looking at that and thinking, yeah that’d be “nice to have”…

Well let’s take a look at what we DO have right at this moment, shall we?

– Central Credit Monopoly

– Media Mind Control

– Destruction of Private Industry

Essentially, Planks 5, 6, & 7…

Decentralization is not a “nice to have”, it is a must.

If this challenge is accepted, I will personally begin the work of accruing the first local government official with the capacity to oversee a pilot program of this nature. I’m good with reaching out and communicating with people, out of the blue, and if you’ve seen our non-profit’s other projects, you’ll see it’s been done in other areas just the same. You’ll also find we take a full-frontal approach with regards to decentralization – the dangers of centralized finance, energy, media, and yes, public services (like education) being too critical to ignore. Thank you for your consideration and your time!

Challenge budget in USD. Only use numbers! No symbols, letters, fractions. 500000

Which of these definitions apply to you? Stakepool operator, Entrepreneur, Community manager, Teacher

Want to register as a community advisor? Confirm all following statements are true: I want to serve as a community advisor. I did not submit a funding proposal for Fund3. I am not affiliated with any proposing team in Fund3. I commit to provide fair and thoughtful reviews. One or more of the above statements are false.

Decentralization of Public Services

Goal: $500,000.00
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