What is Optimocracy?
Optimocracy, Our System of Governance
While we attribute big advances in technology to the work of scientists and engineers, people with an engineering mindset are also responsible for advances in human governance. From the writing of the Magna Carta to the Icelandic Constitution to the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we owe whatever freedoms we have from despotism to people who are able to step back, define the problem, and then set out to write specifications - textual engineering drawings if you will - that define structures that preclude, or minimize the effects of, known sources of failure.
That is engineering.
Engineers, and those with an engineering mindset, tend to understand the role of constraints in systems. A system of checks and balances is engineered to minimize the consequences of the tendency of power to corrupt. It's no coincidence that those who developed workable systems of balance of power, from Pericles to Torgny Lagman and Lovelace to Jay and Jefferson and Washington and Franklin - all approached the problem of power with an engineering mindset.
Now, with the introduction of ID-PKI and the other elements of the Authenticity Infrastructure, direct governance by individual members of geographically dispersed communities without complicating intermediaries is possible for the first time.
In Optimocracy, anyone can be a voting member of a commission or other governing body, without campaigning for election or appointment. The only requirements are:
- The member must have, and use, an identity credential with a minimum Identity Quality score as set by the Chief Moderator of the community
- The member must demonstrate ongoing participation in the commission (or other governing body) by digitally signing its periodic checkpoints and polls, and must contribute to its deliberations at a minimum level set by its moderator.
- All deliberations take place online, in InDoor facilities. They may be synchronous (everyone participates at the same time), asynchronous (participation at the member's convenience), or both.
Public policy in Osmio is set by the City Council and by City Commissions. Each Commission elects a moderator, and together the Council and the Commissions elect a Chief Moderator.
Anyone can be a Commissioner. Anyone can, that is, who has the time and ability to follow the various discussions that take place within their chosen commission and who can pass a test on those issues. Tests are developed and maintained by the Testing Commission, which gets its input from the discussions themselves.
Tests must not only be passed regularly, but the records must show that each Commissioner has clicked on each page of discussion and has been present at a required minimum of synchronous discussions.
Optimocracy has a tendency to diffuse emotional appeals and to limit the effectiveness of aggressive campaigning, because every Commissioner is by definition reasonably informed on all issues and all points of view.
The Osmio City Council consists of twelve members. Four members are appointed from among Commissioners by the Chief Moderator, four places are reserved for appointment by the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union or his or her nominee, and four members are Officers of the City. These include the City Manager, the CTO, the CIO, and an additional Officer appointed by the City Manager.
The City of Osmio has no physical manifestation, that is, it is an entirely online municipality. Most meetings take place online, using both synchronous (realtime) and asynchronous ("forum") methods; however, every three years a physical meeting of the City Council is held in Geneva.