Government Issues

EthoPlasìn is an Educational Institution with a World Civic Wellness Vocation. As such it is closely relCivitasated to government activities as the public bureaucracy can be an incredible element of civic frustration for a great number of citizens. All this is eminently related to the civic objectives of the EthoPlasìn. In conformity with its firm policy of full transparency, EthoPlasìn wants to let potential members know openly the related objectives it will fight for, and strongly lobby for, in all circumstances, with all democratic means available.

Few very simple reforms of common sense, with no expense, can do a lot to help protect democracy and the civic life of citizens. See the page on Political Issues where we talk about GOD (Guards Of Democracy), DOG (Daemons Of God) and ROD (Registry Of Dog). These serious concepts, expressed with 'serious humor', would apply to all offices in the Government where an elected politician would normally be in command, like it is typically the case for a Ministry. In addition we would add the following simple but powerful reforms.

  1. Full Level Proactive Transparency - (FLPT) All public officials, at any level of the government, should be legally responsible to take appropriate measures, each at their own levels, to render all their actions fully transparent at their level, for appropriate spontaneous scrutiny, at any given time, by appointed bodies, their subordinates or their supervisors, but also, with proper permission and supervision, by any journalist or citizen taxpayer. Being found guilty of not taking such appropriate FLPT measures at their own level of activity would entail an immediate release, or downgrading, from their official positions. This clear and simple principle alone should be sufficient to eliminate practically all forms of corruption in public administration.

  2. Democracy To Meritocracy -  Our Democracy is an overly loose and leaking application of democracy compared to how it was conceived by the inventors of Democracy, that is by Ancient-Greece. Democracy was not at all, at the time, a republic as we intend it in modern temrs, but rather a Republic as defined by Plato in idealistic terms, or an initial form of "Politocracy", to use an Aristotelian term, or a good 'middle way' between the two, a political system which would be much closer to what we would call today a "Meritocracy". We should take all means available to make our flawed application of democracy evolve as soon as possible towards a real Meritocracy with a social justice essentially based on merit as opposed to on an indistinctive application of the concept of equality, where all modern citizens seem to deserve the same lot, be they citizens making constant efforts to reach excellence and achieve civic harmony, or be they citizens making their 'best' efforts to break civic harmony, push for chaos in the daily life of their co-citizens and live in complete nihilistic beatitude, indifference, if not joyful irresponsibility, with the terrible and most destructive consequences of their bad conduct. The latter ones nevertheless pretend to receive 'equality', not in rights, as they already have it, but in treatment, or in their 'life lot'. This is totally unjust for the other citizens craving for their constant best conduct and achievements. Our faulty democracies should be reformed to become, as a minimum, good meritocracies, as much as possible, if not potentially Aristotelian Politocracies or ideally EthoPlasìn 'Ethocracies'. 

  3. Chart of Duties - If the concept of Social Equality must apply in Rights, it must also apply equally in Duties. It must certainly apply on the basis of the amount of good efforts, rather than bad efforts, provided by everyone, and in proportion of their capacity and willingness to provide them. We are used to deal with a wide series of Charts of Rights published at various levels of world organizations and constitutional governments. We should equally become familiar with proportionate Charts of Duties. Each organization publishing a Chart of Rights should be forced to also publish a corresponding Chart of Duties, otherwise loose the dignity attached to its chart of rights, let alone possibly the legally binding power of its Chart of Rights. This would fundamentally transform the culture of the people dealing with these charts and make a major contribution to a change of our democracies that would bring them to progressively become better meritocracies. See our separate pages on Meritocracy and Micro-Criminality Issues.

  4. Meritocracy Ombudsman - Many government have a so-called 'Ombudsman' to watch the fairness of the bureaucracy in front of its private citizens. A similar position should be created to watch the degree of meritocracy achieved by each government in all its operations in relation to its private citizens, it own operational administration and rules applied by its dependent organizations. Part of the duties of the Meritocracy Ombudsman would be to ensure that an elected government respects its electoral program and does not contradict it, subject to be forced to go to new elections, as explained in our page on Political Issues. The Meritocracy Ombudsman would also watch on Government Management Transparency and Government Management Competition in various ways, as explained in this page and in the page on Political issues. It would also assess the infractions to the Respect of Elected Government Incumbents, or to the Political Neutrality of Justice Officials as explained in separate paragraphs  further down. It would also have an important role in the operations of the Electronic Voting and the Referendum process mentioned further down in relation to the new Mini-Parliament system. On the economic side, it would also monitor and assess quality and degree of liberalization and competition applied by a government to ensure best competition and delivery of all its services. 

  5. Taxation Ombudsman - A similar position should be established to check the fairness of taxation in front of private citizens and firms. That position would be completely independent from the taxation ministry and respond only directly to the Minister of Justice in first instance and to the President of the Supreme Court in second instance via the office of the Meritocracy Ombudsman. If and when a firm receives requests of bribes on the part of taxation officials, be it or not in the context of a local taxation inspection, that firm should be obliged by law to ask immediately the discrete Taxation Ombudsman protection in the background while the bribe is being negotiated. Not doing so would make the firm subject to a fine 10 times as big as the bribe (paid or only requested), payable to the Ombudsman office, but to be reversed and distributed on a par basis to all the employees of the firm involved. Doing so would alternatively bring the firm a tax rebate of the amount of the bribe paid during the following fiscal year, and adequate punishment for the taxation officials involved in the form of both their immediate release from employment and a personal fine to be paid for the amount of the bribe requested to the firm. This measure alone, in many countries, even in Europe, would probably save sufficient money to the treasury to allow the elected government to reduce meaningfully the taxation levels applied to its citizens.  

  6. Management Transparency - Like we said in our page on Political Issues, except on matters of national security and official correspondence with or about foreign countries providing security information, all government and political activity should be completely declassified and accessible directly online through special Internet service points. Everything! This includes all bills and bids and all their payments, laws and projects of laws, projects and activities of any kind and in any field, analysis of any problem or situation, evaluations of personnel and bodies of any kind, minutes of meetings, regular activity reports, briefing notes to senior officials etc. Everything! This should include all government related activities financed through public money, like it is eminently the case with political party activities, including all the details of their financial administration. It should also include the activities of all international organizations financed with public money, be it the EU or the UN or some of their sub offices, like the UNHCR etc. In addition, matters of national security should be reviewed regularly by a special committee of ex prime-ministers and/or ex presidents of the country involved, under the leadership of the Meritocracy Ombudsman, to make sure that what is being kept secret is really needed to be kept secret. In principle no public activity should take place without being public, and no public penny should be spent without being made public, subject to full scrutiny by all the tax payers who have contributed to that public financing. 

  7. Management Competition - All governmental public entities should be forced by law to publish accurate statistics on the delivery of their functions and these statistics should be accessible to everyone instantly through the Internet, and fully updated yearly after a series of monthly or by-monthly reports during a current year of operation. Schools should publish statistics on the success of their students at national state exams and in finding jobs after their graduation. Hospitals should publish similar statistics on their patients and the times they need to process various types of examinations or interventions. Ministerial and judicial offices should do the same on their activities. Inefficient entities should then be submitted to inspections, possible change of management and eventually inevitable budget cuts, while the most efficient entities should be readily assisted with growing resources if and when needed. 

  8. Less Bureaucracy Less Corruption - Governments should make the rules of civic life, as few, as clear, and as simple as possible, like guiding principles, but, once made, they should not also require an approval stamp from a bureaucrat before an action is taken by a citizen within these rules. Most of these compulsory "pre-approval stamps" become perfect corruption occasion and they are not necessary most of the time. In turn, citizens proceeding without respecting the established rules should be fully and severely responsible for their actions after an eventual inspection. There will always be exceptions to avoiding a pre-approval stamp and they should be explicitly defined by law. In principle citizens should proceed with their plans on the basis of, at most, a self-certification they are respecting the rules,Buds deposited free of charge to the relevant municipal office. On the other hand, in case of doubt on their part because the government norms are not clear enough, citizens should always have the right to formally consult a government agency to ascertain the rules are being respected by their intended actions, with a record of the consultation, and what the advice of the agency was, but never be forced to obtain an "approval stamp" before they decide to proceed with their final plans presumably to be realized within the legal framework and norms of the existing rules.  

  9. Respect for Elected Government Incumbents - Government representatives who win a public election in their college or in the country, and get nominated to senior government positions, like a Minister, a Prime Minister or a President of the Republic, should be able to do their jobs with full respect of the public while in office and temporary immunity from prosecution while in office.  Offending them publicly, is also offending all the electors who voted for them. The law should be very strict in ensuring that nobody could use offense or mockery to deride them while in office, in particular through the press or the multimedia. Calumny in particular should be most severely punished when related to these senior elected positions as it could destroy their credibility and efficiency while in office for the benefit of the overall population they serve. This is the minimum requirement of civility necessary for these senior incumbents to be able to achieve their duties and complete their mandates serenely without undue and unnecessary disturbance. In the case of these senior positions working for the benefit of the whole population, the right of satire should be limited and severely regulated. The Meritocracy Ombudsman mentioned earlier would play a leading role in assessing and handling the infractions.

  10. Political Neutrality of Justice Officials - No politician should be allowed to become an active magistrate or a judge in any court of law for at least 5 years after leaving office. Similarly, no active magistrate or judge should be allowed to be elected as a politician for at least 5 years after leaving office. All candidate politicians should be requested by law to sign an appropriate formal recognition and acceptance of these legal requirements before their participation in an election. All candidate judicial officials should be requested to sign a similar recognition before their appointments. These recognitions should be formally deposited with the Meritocracy Ombudsman to be implemented. 

  11. Public Bids - Any bid opening for any kind of work requested by a Ministry or any other government agency at any level, for work to be completed by private intervention, should be handled in complete transparency. The bids for a particular work or project should only, and always, be open, in a public session, where the press is present and can get copies of the various bids by the various companies competing for the job. Each bid handled by a minister should also have an official sequential BIDID number. There must be a general call made to all press agencies, for journalists to be present, at least one week in advance of any opening bid session. The bids cannot be open if at least one journalist is not present at the time of the opening session.

  12. Payment of Bids - All payments of bids, or partial payments, should also be public and made in full transparency, with the BIDID, the name of the project, the date of the payment and its amount. If the document is multi-page, the relevant summary sheet in one page maximum should show the amount and date of the original bid won, the amount of the payment being made at this time and the amount of what is left to be paid. A copy of the summary sheet should be offered to the press, either directly or through download from the Internet. That summary sheet should also become part of the ROD registry and processed accordingly also as a ROD document (see page on Political Issues). 

  13. Press Watchdog Role - The press can get copies of all bids when being open at the official public session. They can WatchDogLensalways receive copies or download copies of the bids won. If a journalist investigates a bid after its attribution and has firm evidence of possible corruption to show and discuss with the DOG of the minister concerned, he may, if the DOG concurs, have access to all the documentation related to the project being put into question after the DOG will have got the concurrence of the GOD or, in final instance, from the Controller General. In case of suspicious difficulty he could also involve the Meritocracy Ombudsman. See our separate hot page on Journalistic Issues for more information on this important role of journalists.

  14. Public Employee Identification - All public employees with a salary paid by tax payers should have an exemplary civic conduct in all circumstances, subject to severe fines, demotion or release from employment. Any employee that declares an income that is, for more than 50%, from public money, that is from money mainly paid by tax payers, should be easily identifiable as such by the rest of the community providing the taxes for their salaries and their daily living expenses. This should include all 'public-money-employees', from municipal to national and international organization levels like the EU and the UN. This should also include persons who are without an income of their own and fully dependent on one of these public servants, like the non-working spouses and children of full-time government employees. It would be inconvenient and unrealistic to try to make that ID mark a wearing element, like a pin or a bracelet, but could it not  be easily achieved through other means, like for example a car ID mark of some kind, possibly as a sticker on the rear window, like doctors often do? The right way to achieve this objective is difficult but maybe we should make a concourse for the best suggestions as, when any person behaves destructively or violently in the civic environment, the rest of the citizens suffering the damage or violence should have the right to know if that unacceptable behavior is also coming from someone being maintained through a salary paid by their own taxes. In any case, all official ID documents for any public service purpose should certainly have a specific identification mark indicating the owner is a public servant or someone living for more than half of his income by tax payers money. This should include for example a national ID card, a passport, a driver's license, a health card etc. If this requirement cannot easily be applied retroactively, it should certainly become an official one, imposed by law, for the hiring purposes of all new public servants, as an essential condition of their employment contract. In our page on Micro-Criminality Issues, we talk about a similar system of Private Employers Notifications. Why should not an employer, in particular a public employer, but also a private employer, have a right to say to a new candidate employee: 'We want you not only to be a good worker and achiever on the job, but we also want to be proud of you as one of our employees and citizen member of our community'. Even if this has never been done so far, at least not explicitly, why should we not start doing it for the future? Should this not be a nice way to encourage better civic behavior and possibly improve substantially the civic life of all of us?

  15. Public Income Made Public - All public employee income tax reports should be public, and consultable freely online. There should be no exception, even if the employee is only a part-time public employee or an employee working indirectly for the government, as an employee of an organization controlled by the government or financed in majority by government funds. The same rule should apply even to public employees where their main income is not the public one, or to private employees or firms receiving some of their income from government purchases and payments. In other words all disbursements of funds from a government or a public organization should be made fully public, with the names of the individuals or the firms receiving them, and their income tax reports made public and consultable online. 

  16. The United Nations to become the "United Democratic Nations" - The United Nations should be completely reformed, even dismantled and rebuilt on a completely different basis if necessary. The UN suffers from extravagant and inacceptable contradictions like, to quote only the most obvious one, admitting as members of the Council On Human Rights members of countries like Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Malaysia, Angola, Qatar, Uganda and Iran. It should be basically an organization of United Democratic Nations (UDN instead of UN). All its members should be democratic nations to start with or, if they are non-democratic governments not allowing democratic elections in their countries, they should not have the right of vote in the UN, only a Speaking Right of representation, including a corresponding Speaking Duty on any requested issue by the President of the Assembly. Of course, the UDN Chart of Rights should be accompanied by a corresponding Chart of Duties. No rights without corresponding duties! These Rights and Duties however should reflect a clear spirit of meritocracy in their formulation (let alone possibly a spirit of EthoCracy as intended by the EthoPlasìn Academy). The basic minimum requirement of entry to be considered a Democratic Nation of the UDN should be the holding of regular free elections, monitored and approved as such by the UDN, with a strictly nominal system of candidates elected with their names and faces appearing on the election ballots. No politician should sit in any parliament or serve in any government without having been elected as a politician through ballots that included their names and their faces.

  17. Pension Funds - Pension funds should be absolutely unusable by governments for any other purpose than paying the related pensions to their contributors. They should be based on contributions formally separate from the ones serving to fund the public medical insurance services during the overall life time of all citizens (having worked or not). Such funds should be invested exclusively in perfectly secure transactions ensuring, as a minimum, but also as an indicative maximum, their appropriate re-evaluation over the years on the basis of the country's inflation. No insecure investment nor any other budget use for any other purpose than paying pensions. Similarly, medical funds based on workers contributions should be used by governments only and exclusively for investments in new medical infrastructures, facilities and services. No exception! Additional funds for such medical services, if and when required, should come from the normal general taxation practices and made available only after explicit and fully transparent proposals of a new government winning a general election on such proposals. 

  18. Electronic Voting and Mini-Parliaments -  With the advent of the powerful era of the Internet, rendering global communications instant and easy, a new national ID card should be developed for public elections purposes. That ID card should be based, at the choice of the owner, on either a finger print scan or an eye iris scan, or both when possible. All public elections should be based on an electronic vote with the combination of this card (including a chip with the body scans), the voter making himself available to the closest available scanner for control purposes, and the voter also inputting the code of his chosen candidate. The scanning machine would only give the voter the right to press one candidate code once, in the voting booth, for a chosen candidate but, at that point, within the adjacent voting boot, not be able to relate the voter with the scan card. If necessary, the scanner and the voting machine could be two separate machines activated by the voting official. Voting would thus still be secret. Governments would be elected only at absolute majority on the basis of such electronic vote. If one voting turn were not sufficient for a majority, a second turn would take place one week later between the two biggest candidates or parties at the first turn. The party winning the majority of the votes would be automatically elected. Once elected at majority, every 5 years, a government would be in full command and could not be brought down in any way except through an electronic referendum based on the same electronic voting scan cards. Full elections would only take place every 5 years but election scanners would be made available at all times during normal operational hours in all municipal offices for referenda or other consultation purposes. An elected majority government realizing one of its proposals, as explicitly formulated during an election campaign, would be free to proceed serenely and independently of any protest from any citizen in disagreement. However, a government attempting to realize a new proposal not explicitly formulated during the election campaign, or patently different from its formulation during an election campaign, could be subjected to stop and be subjected to new elections by the Meritocracy Ombudsman. Alternatively it would revert to the original plan or wait for an electronic referendum consultation of citizens in the local or national offices of their residence. In such cases, the main opposition party would be responsible to formulate the definition of the referenda, justify their rationale, post them, and then call citizens to vote at their convenience in the course of the following month after its posting. An elected government either follows its program, or goes to new elections or attempts an electronic referendum formulated by the opposition. Simple citizens and minor parties could also propose referenda, but only through the Meritocracy Ombudsman who would have the power to post them for voting purposes. In this way, the elected government would not have to sit all the time in the Mini-Parliament and would concentrate on realizing its electoral program, except that at least one member of the government would be forced to be present in turn at all times during debates. The opposition parties would sit in a one-chamber Mini-Parliament composed of maximum 100 parliamentarians but each party would only be present in it in a number corresponding to, as a maximum, the percentage of their votes at the previous general election, and only being allowed to do so using members elected with their full name and pictures on the the related voting ballots. Among those, each party would decide who sits in the Mini-Parliament for their allotted percentage and consequently not all those elected for that party would have this privilege. This kind of light government would be more efficient, less costly, less bureaucratic, but also very lively controlled by the new electronic systems of voting and implementing easy and cheap referenda.

  19. Taxation closely tied to tax payers reality - Tax payers should not pay most of their taxes to a distant central government. The percentage of taxes paid to a central government, for services of national standard interest should, by constitutional law, never exceed 50%. The other 50% should be paid only to municipalities or cities where tax payers live and have a chance to assess directly how well their taxes are being spent. If and when provincial governments are considered useful, in between the central and the local governments, then both the central government and the cities involved should reverse to these provinces part of their own taxation money. The initiative to create (or abolish) a province should always come from the bottom, that is from a majority vote of the electors living in the consortium of municipalities or cities wanting the creation of the province. Once the province is created, the central government would have to match the money provided by the consortium with an equivalent sum for the proper functioning of the province. In this way, there would be no double bureaucracy governing any territorial area unless specifically wanted by the electors of that area. This process from the bottom, to create intermediate levels of administration, would also ensure the taxes collected by the central government are always spent to the best advantage of the tax payers involved as much as possible. The main taxation rule should be that at least half of all the taxes collected in a country should be administered through a process from the bottom, close to the tax payers and their local interest, instead of from the top, while the other half should be administered from the top from a perspective of national interest. This double-way process, from the bottom and from the top, would ensure a much better use of all taxation money. The traditional way of administering public money essentially from the top, like is has been the case in most countries for centuries, was probably useful before the advent of the sophisticated era of Internet and instant media information available to all citizens, like it is the case today. The new era of instant communications, and possibly even instant electronic voting (as mentioned just above) should make us revisit our conception of public money administration to ensure it is all spent in the best way possible for the primary benefit of those who paid the taxes and the secondary benefit of the national interest.

  20. Deficit and Elections -  A government who increases the deficit of the country by more than 10% at any point of its mandate, should be forced by constitutional law to resign immediately and be submitted to new elections. A government in power does not "own" the country and thus cannot offer its "own" property in guarantee for its indebting, like a citizen can do, putting a mortgage on his "own" property when asking for a loan or getting overly indebted. It is unfairly too easy to get indebted at the expense of others who will eventually have to pay the debts of a careless government through new taxes. A political party who was the leading party for the second time, in two different governments forced to resign because of improper deficit increase, should be legally dissolved, possibly reformed, and only readmitted in the political competition through a new name and a new leader. In any case, the leader of such party should never be re-admissible as a minister, or a prime minister, in any other future government of any color or political affiliation. 

Political corruption and government inefficiency are rampant and these sole few reforms would be a great asset in probably reducing them to their minimum historical levels. These reforms would also in particular bring a proportionate reduction of the injustice caused to many citizens, possibly also a reduction of their taxes with the saving in public money they would generate and, in the end, a serious improvement to all our civic environments.