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MOVING FORWARD: Part 6 - Democracy is broken (but fixable)

In the earlier parts of this multi-part post, we reminded ourselves of the reason FanBox exists – which is our Mission:

To uplift humanity by enabling opportunity

We then discussed how – as we proceed to use technology to build a new online community -- we don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” to accomplish our mission…

 …we just need to observe history – looking at what has worked and what has failed in the evolution of countries….

… and use technology to build a new (online) world that benefits from those (success and failure) learnings.

We then discussed how, the best system the world has come up with, thus far, to uplift people out of poverty, is capitalism…

… but concluded that capitalism is not perfect and, left unattended, has negative consequences…

… consequences that ultimately harm our objectives and path towards our mission.

Finally, in Part 5, we noticed that, in our new online community, we still have a golden opportunity:

We can figure out many of capitalism’s flaws -- and attempt to fix those flaws -- right from the onset of our community.

So now, let’s discuss how to fix capitalism -- starting by looking at what the core of the problem is.


Capitalism's Core Problem:  The Political System

From what we're hearing from many members that shared their opinions in these last parts, most of us think that the problem is not capitalism.

It’s the political system that’s broken.

From India to the United States; Pakistan to Korea:  

Most democratic governments around the world have been taken hostage by "special interests".

These are powerful people and organizations that have used their power and money to control the government, the rules and the budget...

... creating political gridlock...

... an inability to get the people's work done and, as a result...

... a growing sense of tyranny -- and the numbers that prove it.


NOTE:  In Part 13, we'll discuss "Democracy: What went wrong & how do we fix it?" ...

... a relevant & timely topic for us because, as you know, we're rapidly rolling out our own democracy so we don't want to fall into the same traps.


So, why does a broken political system hurt capitalism?

Like all complex systems, capitalism continuously needs changes – modifications -- to work more effectively.

But how is the system modified or changed?

The system is changed when politicians, elected by the people, introduce new modifications – known as “policies”.

But what happens when the political system itself is broken – such that appropriate optimizations and policies cannot be introduced?

Well, since the (broken) political system is needed to fix everything – including itself – we now find ourselves in a serious jam.


Until the political system is fixed, we are unable to adjust almost anything…

… including the legal system…

… the educational system…

… the immigration system…

…. or any of hundreds of important industries such as the food industry and the banking industry…

…or the health industry…

and, sadly, of course, the political system itself.

So, unfortunately, the current form of capitalism will remain broken and ineffective until the political system is fixed.

Said differently:

Since the political system is broken, it cannot be used to fix itself:

And since politicians are unable to do their jobs, we are stuck in this downward spiral…

… until some outside factor breaks the pattern or forces change.

What will break the pattern or force change?

Looking back at history, when a society got itself into a downward spiral, one of three (3) things typically broke the pattern and/or forced change:

A) War

B) Revolution

C) Technological upheaval


A) WAR: 

Let’s hope that war isn’t on the horizon for us -- so soon again -- although there are very powerful forces out there (that benefit from war) that seem determined to get us into yet another war.



Let’s also hope that revolution is not needed – given the years of difficulty that follow even the best of revolutions, because any new (post-revolutionary) system always take generations to work out its kinks.

And what would such a revolution aim to achieve anyway?

What would a post-revolutionary world look like – that would ultimately end up any differently than what we have now?



How about technology?

Could that provide the answer?

If so, how would that work?


Let’s use our imagination:

Imagine for a moment, that a new technology-based (online) community is formed.

And imagine that the members of that community generate most -- or all -- of their income from their activities in that online community.

Imagine that there are many ways (roles) to earn in that community...

... and given the ever-expanding complexity of those roles, an educational system is required to teach the newer or younger members how to succeed in that community.

Side note:

One of the problems in America is the failing educational system. 

Teachers are underpaid, compared to their counterparts in corporations; and measuring teacher success is near-impossible...

... and that's one of the reasons that teachers are compensated and promoted based on tenure (how long they have been a teacher) NOT based on how successful they are at teaching. 

The result is that the U.S educational system – the envy of the world only 30 years ago -- has fallen to number 27 (from no. 1) and is failing to bring enough knowledgeable and highly-skilled workers into its society… 

… which, in turn, is eroding the country’s ability to compete in the new, globalized marketplace….

… and making its people dumber and dumber with each passing decade...

... less able to think on their own – and easier for the more powerful people to manipulate and brainwash.


But let’s go back to using our imagination:

Since our newly formed and dreamed-up community has the ability to learn from mistakes from the past, imagine its educational system:

1) ensures its teachers are compensated handsomely – given their massive importance to the community – thereby attracting some of the smartest and most capable individuals from the community; and 

2) compensates its teachers based on success – NOT based on simply how long they have been a teacher.

This approach is called a “meritocracy”.


Now, while we’re using our imagination, let’s also imagine a political system that’s free of gridlock...

... where the politicians that have been elected by the people, are actually able to do the jobs that they have been elected to do.


OK, but how is that achieved?

Well, imagine that to become a leader in this imaginary community, one had to first prove – quantifiably (not just via intention, speeches or rhetoric) – but through years of service -- that they have developed the skills and capabilities needed to be a leader and to help people on a grand scale.

In other words, imagine that one of the requirements of becoming a leader – including to become the President of the community -- is to first prove that they have been successful at helping lots of other people succeed.

How would they help lots of people succeed?

Imagine that to be a leader, they first need to set out to help someone else succeed (which means EARN MONEY).

Then, they help another person succeed.

Then another… and another….

Then, one day, one of their students expresses an interest to be a leader, just like them.

They begin to mentor her; teaching her everything they have learned about how to help people.

Soon, word gets out that they are becoming successful at helping their students improve their situation.

And word gets out that they are also becoming effective at helping students become good teachers.

They soon have more and more students coming to them to learn… 

… and more of their students are asking them to help them become teachers too.


In this manner, over time, they are growing an organization:

Their organization is helping lots and lots of students learn, grow and become productive citizens of the community.

Best of all, their impact to the community at large can be measured – very clearly – by the quantifiable value (EARNINGS!) that their students and teachers are bringing to the overall community.

Then, and only then, they’ll be able to say, with sincerity and confidence, that they have gained the skills, and capabilities needed to grow an organization that can (and is) helping many people improve their lives (as accurately measured by their students' earnings):

They’ll be able to quantify that statement, using clear and public numbers (the earnings of their students).

And if they wish, they can be a candidate for President or any other electable position of leadership.

An approach like this would clearly weed out people that lacked the experience to run an organization and be a leader – because (under the rules of this imaginary community) inexperienced people would not be eligible to be a leader.

Can you think of some less-than-effective U.S. Presidents from the last few decades that could and would have been blocked by a rule like this? 

And can you imagine where the U.S. – and the world – would have been today if such leaders had not been elected?


And check this out:

This approach would also significantly reduce the likelihood of a leader being elected that was propped up and financed by a small group of people or organizations – or “special interests” – that are looking to control or bend the community, rules and budgets to benefit themselves.

Did you catch that?

This approach would significantly reduce corruption.


To achieve the kind of quantifiable success that I’m talking about here (to become eligible to become the leader) you’d need to be doing real service for people;…

… one person at a time…

…. and building your organization one brick at a time.

If you’re the kind of person looking for quick power or looking to cheat your way up, you wouldn’t have the patience or perseverance required to accomplish this.


OK, so obviously, we’ve been imagining the very community that we’re building together. We’ve been imagining FanBox.

Clearly, it is our belief that the most effective community of the future will: 

A) be technology-based;

B) be a meritocracy;

C) have education at its heart and soul; with its teachers (Success Coaches!) being amongst the very best compensated citizens in the community based on their own merits; and

D) be democratic – but with a twist: Leaders need to first prove that they can build successful organizations that serve lots of people. 

After all, isn’t government just an organization?

Government is an organization that has been set up to serve people – with the President as its leader.

In fact, government is usually the largest organization in a country, so isn't it totally ridiculous that someone can be elected to run this large organization that has never run an organization before?

So, let’s make sure that the only eligible leaders are those that have a proven, quantifiable track-record in building and running an organization that serves people.

To be clear, I am suggesting that to be eligible to run FanBox – to become its President – a person would need to be one of the top Success Coaches...

... as measured by the earnings of all the users they serve via their own coaching and through the organization they have built.

And to elect the community's President, the people (members of the community) will vote for any of the top Success Coaches.



Given how easy it is for people around the world to join our community…

… and as we continue to improve our technologies, algorithms, roles, products and services…

I believe that FanBox can eventually be more effective than most and perhaps all countries, in helping its citizens uplift themselves and their families.

And that is why this journey has been worth the steep price that employees, Success Coaches and many community members have paid and continue to pay…

… with their time, money, energy and patience…

… as we push this rock up the hill, one step at a time.


The hardest part of installing the democratic system we just discussed (building the Success Coach team) is already under way.

Before we install the remainder of the new political system -- and announce the first Senators and Congresspersons from around the world...

... and ask the community to elect the President from the community -- there's one very important item that we still need to accomplish.

In the next post (Part 7), we'll discuss exactly what that one item is.

But first, please share your thoughts and comments, below. 


Tivadar Balázs

Dear Johnny: I appreciate this flow of thoughts, I have these following remarks:
1. It is not really clear to me when you say that the political system is broken so it cannot fix itself... - however just as Luther Martin said we need to reform ourselves over and over - we need the capability of self awareness and self examination - that could be that most of the elected people don't have that any more - I can strongly recommend the Community Building process elucidated by M. Scott Peck - this is a group process that makes consensus possible
2. Sounds good: to measure the success of teachers. I think the success and performances of the teachers can be measured in the off-line world too, and we should pay them based on these performances and not based on their academic achievements or years spent in the field. Bill Gates talkes about this: http://youtu.be/OnfzZEREfQs
3. Once we measure the success of teachers (SCs) why not have the best automatically become the president? Why would you risk of having a less successful elected just because he/she is better at popularity (maybe because he/she promises more - I think this is the problem of democracy, that candidates promise too many things irresponsably - average people on the other hand do not understand the implications of the state debts - for example)

Thank you for reading! And thank you for all you do!

85 months ago
Katherine Nlcitizen

No system can work perfectly, no matter how hard man tried, still it doesn't please everyone. You know why, because of misunderstanding or maybe someone might understand it but they don't have a will to understand the system. People's mind are full of negativity, greediness and laziness. This aspects can only be healed by oneself alone.

I named the above because if we want changes - SUCCESS. We first must changed. No matter how hard the leaders and Success Coaches explained it, if no one don't want to listen or cooperate then your path goes downward.

I believe we can make this online community works. Just believe it for once.
Let's give Fanbox a chance to do it, Let's support the system...
Each one of us here, plays an important role to build this up. We must work to achieve.

We must support capitalism so that there will be enough works for us, and to earn and live away from the economic crisis.
Yes it took a long way of process but question yourself, does it harm you?

I believe capitalism in Fanbox will focus on one thing - to the people, to give work and so to earn. Capitalism that JC meant here is in the same mission - To uplift humanity by enabling opportunity. Fanbox become bigger and bigger and it need to organized and it need democratic system and remember what JC said earlier, Fanbox will put the power in the hand of the people and the leaders will be base on how the student or clients succeed. I think that will be a fair solution to have a fair online government system.

Again just believe in yourself that we can make this through.

85 months ago
D Poet Rhumour

Belief is a big part of any success - those that have truly great ideas and still hesitate may miss their moment - those that push on strongly and keep an open mind about further development will gather more support. That is what we can and should do - build upon the framework already established and create the changes needed to benefit all.

We don't need to confine our thinking to the narrowness of 2 party politics - the adversarial nature of which has not served us well for many years. The way forward is with cooperative ventures that circumvent the adversarial nature of politics and national boundaries - artificial concepts that serve to justify wars - and rows and revolutions...

Time and time again when local communities have pooled their time and efforts they have achieved seemingly improbable results - building community halls for instance, digging wells in remote villages, combining efforts and talents with minimal material costs - DIY on a larger scale.

We can do it - those that doubt will have their say too, but I know I would rather be positive than allow pessimism to translate into inaction - that way we would never know and thereby let down millions who need change as soon as possible.

85 months ago
D Poet Rhumour

No Patrick, i'm far from confused - and nowhere did I imply America or any one place was relevant to the success of this project. The source of success will as ever come from the efforts of committed people - national boundaries are artificial, whereas community spirit is built by common purpose.

Positive thinking beats negative thought any day - when you admit the demons you are doomed to sink with them, so don't give in - give outwards and conquer those demons.

By the way, I'm speaking from across the 'pond' - but the UK is not in much better shape and my thinking has never been limited by national values. I recognise and embrace the fact that we are one human race - divisions are the enemy of the people, but the plaything of those who seek to benefit from ensuring they divide the spoils of war in their own favour...

Those who have read my 'world view' poetry will know my philosophy is to sterr our thoughts away from short term gain and towards the legacy we leave to our children and theirs. We none of us own the world - we have a 'lease' on the use of it and must pay fairly for that.

85 months ago
Just Jeff

This intersting and compelling post brings up many questions and problems with any system of government. The people in charge of any government have been granted power. Power corrupts. Therefore, governments become corrupt. Now, I have a lot of respect for the fine group of Success Coaches here on FanBox, of which I am a proud and humble member, but given the power to govern, what will prevent them from becoming corrupt? What makes them different?

In the U.S., we have a meritocratic society already. Those who go to the best colleges and distinguish themselves are hired for the highest corporate positions or elected to the highest government positions. That is why more U.S. Presidentshave come from Harvard and other Ivy League schools. Even Bush , Jr. went to Yale, but he got in based on his father's wealth and graduated in the bottom 10% of his class - that should have been enough to take him out of the presidential pool from the beginning. But I digress. The fact is, he never would have become president of the U.S. if he graduated from Podunk Communtity College.

Here we have a success coach system, which is very nice. But there is no requirement that the success coaches graduate from an institution of higher learning. They merely have to know how to navigate around FanBox, use FanBox correctly, understand its mission and have the ability and time to motivate other FanBox members. Nothing wrong with that. We avoid all that elitism. But is that really a good educational system basis upon which to choose the government of the world's leading chance at avoiding WWIII and world poverty? Obviously, that is a rhetorical question.

As I type this comment, I see messages popping up on the upper part of my computer screen informing dozens of FanBox members that their IPL fees are past due, that a penalty will attach, and that they need to pay their IPL fee. There are people and families who will shell out thousands and thousands of dollars to send their kids to Harvard or Yale or some other fine college or university for a stellar education. Yet here, we have thousands of people who will not even spend $17.50 to pay an IPL fee and learn more about how to succeed on FanBox. There is certainly a gap, and that is not to say the gap cannot be bridged over time. We have a great bunch of members here, hard working and good people, but do we have the "best and the brightest?" I think we can agree that we do not. Will the best and the brightest eventually come to FanBox? Maybe. Who knows, maybe some of them are here already.

85 months ago
Tivadar Balázs

Dear Johhny: I know this is off topic but I have not recieved answer from the billing department. I topped up 72 dollars on the 25th of September and I have now 9 dollars to pay for processing fee. I would like to pay it from this amount but the system does not allow it. And BTW: I still don't have the cash back earning for a purchase on the 15th of September...
Thank you for your help!

85 months ago