The Path to a Future: LOVE Thy Neighbour

If we are to make the urgent progress that we need to on The Path to a Future, we need to do it together. Areas of blight and conflict will be a drag on all of our progress, because they will suck resources away from more effective uses. The people in conflict are unlikely to participate in the global initiatives needed, such as tackling climate change. We need a coherent policy structure that protects the progress of those that are already building The Path, and provides on-ramps to The Path for the victims of oppression and conflict today, but who will join us tomorrow.

One of the more curious spectacles of our time is the apparent futility, cluelessness and impotence of the world’s governments, especially of the richest countries, in developing coherent strategies toward so-called “rogue states” or “failed states”.

Continue reading “The Path to a Future: LOVE Thy Neighbour”

#OCCUPY the Ballot Box

The conundrum of the Occupy movement’s “missing list of demands” is the key to understanding what has to be done.

Protest in a democracy represents a conundrum. Do we want change or do we want to complain?

Who doesn’t realize that our modern world is not serving the majority of us? Probably not even 1% – do you know anyone? We all know the banks have gotten away with theft. We all know politics has been, and is being further, corrupted by money. It’s not difficult to understand that burning millions of barrels of oil into the air every day and dumping tons of man-made chemicals into our waters is affecting our environment detrimentally. Let’s not do ourselves a diservice: we all know that “things ain’t right, and something’s gotta change”.

Our predicament is not in dispute. The solution is.

The fundamental obstacle to a solution is complexity. The reality of our modern world is that it is complex: the banking system is complex, sovereign accounting is complex, the interdependencies of our environment are complex. To understand why writing down half the value of some debts in one of the smallest economies in the modern world could affect the political stability of the largest country in the world is complex; to understand why the largest country can’t just step in a fix that problem is even more complex.

There’s a perfectly natural resistance in the Occupy movement to adopting a “simple set of demands” because, consciously and unconsciously, we all understand that our predicament will not yield to a simple solution or short list of demands. Matt Taibbi, one of the most dogged and brilliant journalists on the financial beat, recognizes this even as he offers a short list of key changes that could be made to address the specific problems resulting from casino capitalism in our overweight financial sector; but, good as his list is, it does not address why we have an overweight financial sector in the first place.

The Occupy movement is a protest movement. It takes its name and its inspiration of the occupation strategy employed by the revolutionaries in Egypt this spring, and it is stirring the wider public to more open consideration of changes that seemed inconceivable only a few years ago. But the difference is that the Egyptians were revolting against a dictatorship and they could coalesce around the simple demand that the dictator be removed; in contrast the Occupy movement is almost exclusively active in wealthy democracies, and cannot reasonably demand the removal of a government chosen by the people a few years ago and available for replacement in a few years time.

The lack of a simple set of demands is not a purposeful tactic of the Occupy movement, it is the manifestation of an understanding that the problems are more complex than a simple list could address. Housing, healthcare, tax policy, the environment, social security, employment and inequality are all prevalent issues expressed in the Occupy protests, and such a broad agenda does not lend itself to a simple list of demands. The protestors can point to the simple manifestations of the problems in their lives, but they also know that any real solutions are going to be complex.

To move forward we need to remember that what appears as complex is in fact just lots of simple things seen at once. And while you cannot solve a complex problem with a simple solution, you can solve a thousand simple problems with a thousand simple solutions. This is the key to system change: it’s not one big solution, it’s a million small solutions.

Self-evidently: every aspect of human society has been created by us, and so it can be re-created by us. But we did not arrive here in one stroke, we are where we are as a result of the culmination of millions of small and simple decisions taken by people like us. When democracy arose it was the next vital step in enabling the broadest possible collective application of decision making to complex problems; and it lies before us now with the same urgent potential that drove its early advocates with such zeal. The short list of demands can be replaced with one: “Occupy the Ballot Box!”

We do not need anyone’s permission, we are not dependent on anyone else’s favors or attention – we are the ones who can bring about the changes we need, one decision at a time. We already have what the Egyptians in Tahrir Square died for: the right to select our own government.

If you support the Occupy protests you must take the next decision and vote for real change. If there’s no one to vote for, you must stand for change yourself – you don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to know it all, you just have to care enough to be one of a million decision makers who will contribute to the long list of solutions. If you want to stand for election but need a broad platform that fills in and addresses the complex issues raised in the Occupy protests, take what you want from the Standards of LIFE and make it your own. We will vote with you, we will stand with you and we will bring change to our world together.

Scale Matters

What do Spain, Japan and Croatia have in common? They are all suffering the consequences of industrialitis. Industrialitis is the inevitable malaise brought on by the failure to understand our economy as a function of our society, which mastaassizes into disease with the concentration of political power.

Business is actually a function of society, it is fundamentally dependent on the political process to create the conditions for commercial success. Businesses need legal systems, infrastructure, academic research and a host of other supporting conditions in order to operate successfully. It follows that businesses coalesce around political structures, and the level of which political power is concentrated is the level at which commerce is most successful. For the last century political power has been concentrating at the national level, and it is businesses that operate at the national level that get the most attention from national politicians. Some of this is a self reinforcing cycle, but once it has started it is certainly a self-perpetuating structure, mostly innocent but inevitably corruption also accompanies decision density concentration.

The true nature of human society is not adequately or properly represented in the concentration of political power at the national level, nor do national scale businesses harness the full economic potential society. Human scale politics and economics start at the local community and build up from there, and that’s how we need to arrange our political and economic structures if they are to serve the humans that comprise the society.

Spain, Japan and Croatia all have different problems, but they are all symptomatic of industrialitis, and their politicians are grasping for industrial-scale solutions, when what they really need to do is to rightscale their politics. In each case, the hollowing out to local and regional economic activity has followed concentrations of political power to the national level.

In Japan the result of their industrialitis is the loss of rural sustainability as commerce has focused in national and global scale clusters, necessitating economic migration to the cities where those businesses are located. Large-scale businesses are capital intensive and naturally gravitate towards geographic concentrations for their operations, a tendency that is only constrained by limits to market access. This is not a failure of the businesses, it is a natural outcome of their capital intensity. The national Japanese government has tried to employ national-scale solutions in an attempt to maintain the economic and social viability of its rural regions: top-down infrastructure projects, and subsidies. In the former, the national government allocates funds to build or improve infrastructure in rural areas, which results in temporary construction booms without sustained commercial activity. In the latter, a very commonly prescribed remedy in countries with industrialitis, the national government attempts to persuade industrial-scale businesses to do what is not in their self-interest, by providing subsidies and other financial incentives to locate some part of their operations in a region that they would not choose to be in, if left to their commercial instincts. Subsidies have the pernicious effect of corrupting the politics, the market and the businesses that accept them, and only further exacerbates the incentive for businesses to build and maintain political influence. It probably never even crosses the mind of most national politicians that the effective and sustainable solution to regional and local economic self-sufficiency is to devolve political power down to the regions and communities.

In Spain there is an employment crisis, with national unemployment at 20% and youth unemployment running at 64%. This symptom of industrialitis, caused by the concentration of financial capital at the national and supranational levels, is the result of a busted property and construction boom. The failure to develop local and regional economic activity independent of centralized, external capital has left the entire economy at risk, now that the global financial crisis has caused the flow of capital to evaporate. The national government sees itself as saving the regions by bailing out regional banks, but it is really just doing debt collection for national and international banks – everyone still has to carry the debt burden, but without the local and regional economic infrastructure to maintain commercial activity and employment. It probably never even crosses the mind of the average national politician that they need to devolve political power down, to get their economy working and make their society sustainable.

In Croatia people are coming out in spontaneous and leaderless protests against the failure of 20 years of “market capitalism” to deliver any improvement in their lives. The reality is that the national government has been concentrating political and economic resources at the top, while waiting for an even bigger entity, the EU, to rescue them by bringing large-scale businesses to their economy. In the meantime economic policy has consisted only of selling public assets to large, and largely foreign, businesses, further impoverishing their ability to develop internal, localized, self-sustaining economic activity. Their legacy of 20th century Communist centralized planning probably contributed to the failure to develop a more diverse economy, but the failure to devolve political power was the root cause.

When the Industrial Revolution started it developed on top of an existing economy that had local and regional fabrics, but during the last century the codevelopment of large-scale industrial commerce and national political concentration has led detrimentally to an almost exclusive focus on enabling national, and increasingly global, businesses. Many, and far too much of, modern societies have become dependent on the prosperity generated by large-scale industrial businesses, and the large-scale service industries that support them. We have neglected local and regional development in favor of an almost exclusive focus on national and international structures. But the reality of human society is multilayered, wherein each person lives in a community, that is part of a region, that comprises some part of a state; and that natural truth of our existence has to be reflected in the way we organize our power structures and economic fabric if we are to develop sustainable human societies.

This weakness in the sustainability of our societies is not confined to Japan, Spain and Croatia; it is ubiquitous and pervasive around the world. Until we acknowledge the multilayered nature of our human condition, we will not make the adjustments to our political structures necessary to enable more deeply rooted and broadly-based economic fabrics.

If Japan devolves political power to their rural regions, those regions will develop the marketplaces and infrastructure that enables local businesses to meet local needs. If Spain and Croatia did the same they wouldn’t be so dependent on external financing to provide employment for such large percentages of their populations. Every society has sustainable economic potential in the needs and wants of its population, but in order to to develop that potential into prosperity each society has to enable marketplaces at each level of social organization (local, regional, national, etc) where needs can be met by willing providers at freely floating prices. The Industrial Revolution spawned the capital revolution so that the creation and recognition of value was not constrained by physical representation, and this revolutionary development allows for accelerated prosperity in non-capital-intensive micro economies, just as it does in large-scale, capital-intensive ones.

A sustainable economy is: multilayered, scale appropriate enterprise operating in free markets, fostered by universal service societies that enable marketplaces for local, regional, national and international commerce. The prerequisite for a sustainable economy is a multilayered, scale appropriate free democracy.

Scale matters. We cannot look to industrial-scale businesses to satisfy local micro needs, anymore than we can expect national politics to satisfy local community aspirations. We humans are multidimensional beings, living in multilayered social configurations, and only a structural organization of power and commerce that reflects those realities will serve us and enable us to develop sustainably.

We Know Better

Bottom up or top down, which way is best?

We know better than you. That’s the basic message we hear nowadays – from captains of industry, diplomats, politicians and humans with a claim on the mind of god. But the truth depends on where you’re standing and who’s saying it.

Are you a Monsanto executive talking about how to feed the world? Or are you a farmer talking about what works for your land?
Are you a Western diplomat talking about Middle East peace? Or are you a Middle East citizen talking about your community?
Are you a banker talking about sovereign debt? Or are you unemployed in a capitalist democracy?
Are you an executive responsible for 10,000 employees? Or are you one of those employees?
Are you a pontiff? Or a victim of rape?

Who knows better than you?

Well, you know that no one knows better than you, about you. It is an inevitable facet of being alive that we are the experts on our own experience. This leads us to develop a certain confidence about the veracity of our perspective that we bring unconsciously to our opinions about other things, things that are not actually our own, personal experience. This false confidence is why the useful development of our selves passes inevitably through humility. Humility is a process by which we learn to distinguish between we can really know, because it is our own experience, and what we are deducing, based on the combining of facts we have access to and our experience with similarities. Without an intentional effort to develop awareness and humility, we are mired in a thoughtscape of certitude that serves our perspective but does nothing for the common cause. In other words, no one need know better than you, so long as you are not making decisions for anyone else; if you are making decisions that affect others, it is supremely important that you understand who knows better than you.

So “who knows better” is defined by both access to facts and access to humility. Those with access to facts but without humility are subject to arrogance and self-deceit that depreciates the value and quality of their opinion. Today power is centered around a “top down” approach, whether that be in the form of major multi national corporations or the political elites of industrialized societies, that is substantially lacking in humility – as is demonstrably proven by the Wikileaks revelations. This need not be a bad thing, in and of itself, because many decisions made for the good of the majority are best made at a high level; but if humility is missing from the atmosphere that those decision are made in, the quality of those decisions becomes disastrously poor. And poor decisions made at the top, for vast constituencies, are potentially catastrophic for everyone – witness the quality of current decision making about climate change.

Successful leadership in a successful society brings together facts and humility, often in the position of a ‘public servant’: an acquirer of knowledge who acts on behalf of the greater citizenry to enable high quality, effective and empathic decision making. But even a public servant cannot be a knower of all things and there is bound to be tension between the goods of overlapping constituencies, and that is why we also have politicians. Politicians are supposed to take the informed knowledge and opinions of multiple public servants and fashion policy, meaning that they make the decisions arbitrating between competing ‘goods’. The entire decision making process in advanced and complex societies is substantially dependent on the quality of the public service that feeds information into the decision making process in the first place. That leads us to another very worrying development of the last few decades in many powerful democracies: the public service has, all too often, been co-opted by the private sector. Through a combination of devaluing the work of public servants and attempting to honour the unbridled right of every individual to seek the opportunities that reward them the most, we have corroded the boundaries between public and private service so much that there is now, in many countries, a revolving door between the two.

The best decisions would be taken by those informed by the best knowledge of the issue, steeped in humility and the pursuit of the greater good. Instead we have decisions taken by the supplicants of the rich and the powerful (privately funded politicians), informed by a public service that always has half an eye on the best interests of the private sector for whom they may wish to work in the near future. Humility is not even regarded as a quality worth having, and quite possibly it is seen as a weakness.

So who knows how to fix this?

It is helpful, and important, to recognize the multi-layered truth about decision making and the source of useful knowledge. It is unlikely that any one person is the exclusive holder of the truth, it is more likely that there are a few truths dependent on perspective, and that the best decisions will come from reconciling these to fashion a ‘best possible’ solution. The better version of decision making will incorporate this multi-layered reality in its foundation and structure, such that decisions are made at appropriately different layers for different issues. A decision making process that incorporates this reality will best serve the greater good in more cases than either a single top down or bottom up diktat. While today’s power structures are undoubtedly top heavily and need of radical adjustment, we would do well to consider this nature of the problem, and the best possible solutions before simply electing to turn the hat upside down again. (I say “again” because we have had revolutions before, inspired by a desire to turn the power structure upside down, but they quickly run aground on the rocks of practical realities, and revert to upside up in pretty short order.)

Thankfully, we are already fairly well equipped to make this transition because we have already adopted two important building blocks for better decision making: defining the multiple layers and establishing voting systems. Layers are geographically concentric segmentations of our lands; where continents contain countries, countries contain regions or states, and states contain counties or communities. All this is already practically implemented and established, albeit in need of a large dose of citizen choice in the form of self selection of association. Furthermore many places around the world already have voting systems set up in each of these constituencies, and many also have distinct layers of government at each level of constituency.

So what do we need to add or change?

Ironically, the biggest flaw in today’s democracies is that we have “bottom up” ways of electing politicians to our “top” layers of government. Inherited from our tribal, non-technological heritage we send local representatives up to regional, national and international decision making bodies; where they are quickly overwhelmed by the scope and size of the issues and the large interest groups formed specifically to operate successfully at that higher layer. The exception to this is the presidential model whereby an “executive” is voted for by all the members of the total constituency. However, keenly aware of the potential for corruption in an individual, we make that executive’s decision making power dependent on the support of the elected assembly of local politicians. This has been the “state of the art” structure for politics for over 200 years, and is often lauded for its incorporation of a “balance of power”, or system of “checks and balances”. In our modern world however, this structure is failing us, and fails to deliver the quality of decision making that we could have with a modernized structure that incorporates the advances in our technological capacities over the last two centuries. Modern communications and transport mean that now we can know about and vote for candidates over vast geographies – witness our existing presidential elections as an example of this in practice already.

Instead of a bottom up electoral system to generate top down government, a “layered” electoral structure, with a direct line between every citizen in that constituency and their representative for that layer of government, will yield better decision making by politicians specifically focussed on the issues best addressed at that layer of government. The citizens not only decide who makes decisions on their behalf, but also at which level or layer those decisions are best made. In a multi-layered democracy every citizen votes for a candidate from exactly the same slate of candidates as every other citizen in that same constituency. For instance, for a national assembly: every citizen in the nation votes for a candidate standing for election by all the citizens in the nation; the candidate is not going to the national assembly to represent a local district, they are going to the national assembly to make decisions about national affairs, and only national affairs. That same citizen votes for representatives in local and regional assemblies, who decide which issues are better decided at their level or promoted for decision by a higher layer.

Neither strictly “top down” nor “bottom up”, multi-layered representative democracy generates higher quality decisions by locating the decision making in the appropriate layer of government best able to “know best” (in the opinion of the citizenry) about that particular issue. In the end we know best and we need to structure our decision making bodies to allow us to define the best place for different decisions. We still need humility and quality public servants, but those will be easier to come by when we reform our political systems to disperse our power over appropriate constituencies.

To find out more about how all of this works visit www.standardsoflife.org/mlr

Forest-re and REDD

The lazy lack of principled rigor in the immature scheming of self-infatuated Westerners and fin-dustrialists needs to be confronted with straight forward thinking based on simple principles, before we all disappear down the evolutionary chute of stupidity.

“Poor, ignorant natives are cutting down our forests and if we expect them to stop we need to start paying them to leave the trees alone.” That is the reason given by the good and the white to introduce a forest-carbon trading program (REDD) that will allow us to buy their forests from them, so we can stop them from destroying their forests, while we continue to destroy the planet. Because this brings “markets” in to the solution (“the way the world works today”) it is automatically brilliant and practical while being eminently sensible.

The reality is that the forests are being destroyed by commercial concerns and need to be protected by the people who live in them from those that would commodify them. The way to save our forests, and all their attendant flora and fauna, is to charge commercial interests an appropriate surcharge for their use of our common resource: the planet. Money raised from these taxes could be ploughed back into the indigenous communities to sustain them as Mother Nature’s protection force, and remediate the damage caused.

The incredible short-sightedness of well meaning but imperially minded white people like Saros and Goodall should not distract us from the obvious illegality of claiming someone else’s land and resources as our own, to do with as we wish. The forests belong to the people who live there and if they want to exploit them then they will have to pay the surcharges necessary to remediate the damage caused to our common habitat: the atmosphere. The politicians at the head of a nation cannot make agreements in their capitals to sell the contents of the trees growing on the land in their communities to some far off entity, and then pocket the money and impose restrictions on the lives of those who live in those communities.

Much better would be BLUU (Bluddy-well Leave Untouched and Uncommercial). The lazy lack of principled rigor in the immature scheming of self-infatuated Westerners and findustrialists needs to be confronted with straight forward thinking based on simple principles, before we all disappear down the evolutionary chute of stupidity. Stop painting the planet REDD and let’s have some BLUU sky thinking – that’s the way forward!

See www.standardsoflife.org for details on principled self-determination and practical carbon loading.

Social supremacy

The ascendancy of society in a post-evolutionary age.

Nowadays we like to talk about the supremacy of our constitution and the ascendancy of market forces. We like to think of ourselves as living under the rule of law and we tend to think of our good lives, or our bad lives, being the output of our economies. After all, the muscular development of our economies has brought us the fruits of development and our societies are held together by the rule of law, right? Well, true, up to a certain extent. But we are in danger of missing a crucial truth that underlies these facts: law and wealth have existed before.

Great wealth and strong legal systems have been features of human empires before now: Egyptian, Mayan, Roman, Mongol, Ottoman, Russian and British empires, to name but a few, all had strong legal systems and generated enormous wealth. The difference between what exists today and the history is not the mere existence of law and wealth, it is the manner and tone of their application. This is the first hint at what we might be missing in our perspective of the current times. The fact that we have laws and wealth is not the defining character of our times, it is the nature of our laws and our wealth that distinguishes us from our forebears.

What determines the nature and manner in which law is applied, or economic wealth is experienced? It is the culture and norms of the society within which they operate that shapes the form and function of law and wealth. To think of the value of our society as the crude existence of the rule of law and the freedom of markets is to miss a crucial element; the application of our rules of law and the operation of our free markets are critically dependent on our social standards to deliver the preferred outcomes. Our society is not shaped by law and wealth, our society shapes our law and wealth. If you are thinking some version of “Well duh! Of course!” at this moment, then dodge this: you are not the recipient of the benefits of this system, nor are you the victim of it, you are a critically important shaper, protector and developer of this system. The supreme determinant of the quality of our system is not our laws and economies, it is the social framework within which those operate; and we are all individually and collectively responsible for the nature of that framework.

Understanding the supremacy of our social constructs as the defining framework that determines the quality of the outputs from our other mechanisms is a crucial step toward delivering better outcomes. Only once we accept responsibility for our role in determining the nature and norms of our society can we expect our laws and our economy to deliver the outputs we seek. Our laws and our wealth cannot protect us from that which we fail to take responsibility for, they are dependent for their efficacy on us first.

So it is the nature and the character of the society within which we define our laws and economies that determines the results. We cannot expect that our laws will defend us from the flaws we establish in our basic social constructs. Laws against profiteering will not prevent profiteering in the delivery of services that we outsource to profiteers. Laws against the trade in substances that we desire will not prevent the trade in those substances. Laws against unequal treatment will not create equality. Only when we have taken responsibility for establishing our standards will the mechanisms deliver results – intention is everything.

A crucial understanding that evolves is that we are not a society made from laws and economics, we are an intentional society that creates laws and economies to serve our society. A constitution does not define our society, it reflects our society. Free markets do not create our society, they serve our society.

The challenge that this presents us is that of being responsible for shaping our society, our environment, our framework. As creatures evolved from millennia of being passive recipients of our environment, we are not yet used to having to take responsibility for creating it, we are more used to seeing ourselves as actors subservient to the scriptwriter. But humans are no longer the passive recipients of evolutionary constraints, we have become active participants in defining our evolution. This presents an huge increase in our responsibility, and one which we tend to neither accept nor enjoy; but fact is truth and we have no escape from this development.

Talk of being the hapless products of our environment, of being the vassals of something bigger, of being the lucky recipients of the fruits of external systems, are all abdications of our responsibility; albeit a responsibility we wondered into unintentionally. We cannot get out of our way and everything will be alright, we have surpassed the point of no return on the evolutionary path and now we have no choice but to take up the mantle and grow into our role. I’m not sure there ever was one, but now there is no such thing as a self-directed free market that will serve our needs; our needs can only be met through intentionally directed activity. We cannot be slaves to a constitution written two hundred years ago and founded in traditions even older than that; we must accept the responsibility to develop a constitutional framework that suits our times and the nature of our modern predicament. Much of the nonsense spouted in the name of politics today is mere cowardice and ignorance in the face of an inescapable need to face up to the reality that humankind is now a partner in evolution, and not just a product of it.

Abdication in the face of necessity is not a strategy, it is pure childish folly. If you’re young enough to be pretty sure of being alive in 2030 you’d be a fool to let the mirage of ancient fallacies deter you from action any longer. And if you’re old enough to be pretty sure that you won’t be alive in 2030 you’ll go down in history as the most selfish and ignorant generation of the entire human race, if you don’t come alive to your responsibilities now and stop hiding behind the skirts of dysfunctional democracy and the hollow promises of dysfunctional economics. You are the determinant of the nature of your society and your society is the determinant of the output of your laws and your economy – take up the mantle, wake up your heart and grasp the nettle that is our common responsibility to intend our future, not accept an impoverished alternative.

What could have been… UK 2010 election results

If the UK had the LIFE PR election system in place the results of last week’s voting would have mirrored the desires and intentions of the people better, created a more effective legislative body and produced stronger leadership.

Of course, the UK doesn’t even have PR let alone a LIFE PR system. This left the average citizen trying to cast a vote that covered so much ground and met so many needs that they are to be commended for having made any choice at all. Faced with trying to select an effective local representative, choose a national direction and say something to the world, all in one vote, was a mighty task indeed. In the end many voted to keep out what they didn’t want. Hardly a model of effective democracy.

In a LIFE election the citizens would be casting one vote for a representative to the UK parliament/State Assembly. They would be able to pick from the same list of candidates, irrespective of where they live in the UK, and they would be able to select an alternative/second choice should their first choice candidate fail to muster sufficient votes to meet the quota. This would free everyone to vote for whom they truly wanted to lead their country, instead of voting for someone they didn’t want, and who wasn’t going to lead their country anyway, just to keep out a representative of a party they disagreed with even more strongly.

The UK State Assembly would have a maximum of 62 seats available [population/1 million]. Just over 29 million people voted so the quota for election to a seat would have been slightly less than 500,000 votes. On the face of it that would mean that Greens, who only got 285,616 votes, would not have had a single seat – but who knows how many people across the nation might have voted for a Green candidate if they knew that their votes counted? The BNP would have got a seat even though they got none in the May election, and UKIP would have secured 2 seats.

However all of the numbers are a little suspect because there was so much tactical voting and so little opportunity for the average citizen to truly express their intentions through their vote. Given the chance to choose a candidate who truly represented their views, citizens would quite likely have picked a much broader array of representatives to head up to Westminster on their behalf. Furthermore, with a LIFE PR system everyone 16 and older would have had a vote and those caring for others would have had their charge’s vote too – enfranchising the young, the old and the disabled.

So using the voting record from a flawed election to extrapolate what would have happened with a more perfect system is fraught with difficulties and anomolies, nevertheless it is interesting to look at. If nothing else if shows that the LIFE PR system is fair, effective and representative.

We will be posting a calculator model at www.standardsoflife.com that you can use to figure out for yourself how an election near you would have turned out if you had a LIFE PR voting system – post your results and comments at Topic – Voting.