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Chapter 22
The Extremes and the Rate of Change in the Demos Consensus on Issues

Fearing monarchy, the founders created a government with divided powers. Fearing the rule of the mob they also prevented democracy, opting instead for what is effectively a plutocracy, that is, rule by them, the wealthy aristocracy. In creating a demos consisting of every able, of-age citizen in the nation and admitting this “mob” into government as a fourth branch, would we be creating an entity that is all action and no brain that may careen out of control to wild extremes? Could the demos cause change—and, moreover, very bad change—faster than we as a society could reasonably absorb or correct?

Using its limited power within consensus government’s larger context of balanced powers, the demos would, indeed, be capable of effecting profound social change. Depending on the consensus of the demos on various issues, theoretically many radical forms of relationship among us would be possible.

If we voted to pay no taxes at all to support government, then we would have no government but anarchy. Or we could opt for a small, medium, or large size government. At its most extreme we could elect to tax ourselves 100% and, therefore, turn all of our resources over to government, have no private property, and become a socialist state. We could elect to have no personal income and inheritance taxes and tax only business to support government. This would in effect become a consumption tax, but instead of the consumption tax being in the form of a sales tax tacked on at the point of retail sale, it would be tacked on at points along the production and distribution process. We could set business and personal taxes in such a way as to effectively eliminate almost all variation in wealth, creating a great leveling and something near communism. We could set a business and personal flat tax that would allow any amount of accumulated business and personal wealth, a sort of laissez faire capitalism. A low flat tax would create a small government that interfered little in the affairs of the private sector including in the distribution of wealth, which would please libertarian thinkers.

In previous chapters I have so strongly and frequently criticized the current distribution of wealth in America—10% of our population hoards 90% of our nation’s wealth—and have claimed such a strong correlation between power and wealth you may have concluded that the measures proposed in this book redistribute wealth. But this is not true. They do not redistribute even one penny of wealth. The measures proposed here—a demos, etc.—merely shift a modest amount of power away from the most powerful few and toward the entire American electorate. What the electorate actually did with its measure of new power is not a given. Keep in mind that the demos would not practice majority-rule but consensus democracy. While millions of people would vote in such a way as to narrow the distribution of wealth, millions of others would vote in a way that widens the distribution. The resulting consensus would likely be a distribution more moderate than today but far from a complete leveling.

Thus, by its setting in the demos of the size and distribution of the tax burden and other economic issues, the electorate ultimately effects the overall distribution of wealth in America. Where one resides within this distribution depends upon luck in birth, talent, and work, just as it does today. And, being empowered to elect bodies of officeholders that proportionally resemble the entire populace in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook, business and labor laws and rules will be altered and created that justly serve the entire populace.

We do not seek and it would be very undesirable to achieve a flat distribution of wealth. That would destroy economic incentive. We seek a distribution that does not hand an undue measure of wealth to the few but provides everyone who works a reasonable living while retaining a sufficient distribution of wealth to motivate honest entrepreneurship and labor.


As you can see, the demos would be free to create many different kinds of economic relationship among us, some of them quite extreme. If and when a large number of people read this work, no doubt every kind of chaos will be feared and predicted (or not really feared but predicted anyway to strike fear in other peoples’ hearts for political reasons).

Having had a demos, all the rest of government, and the larger society running and evolving inside my head for some thirty years, as you may guess, I also have opinions and predictions: None of the extremes mentioned above would happen. Nor would we turn into chaos; the sky would not fall; and the world would not end. Instead, our ever-evolving demos consensus would hover within very modest limits and avoid all extremes. Most people would get much but not all of what they wanted. Most people would be very pleased with our new relationship. Our modified government with its much improved balance of power would operate more smoothly and efficiently than does our current government. And it would significantly increase our sense of justness, equity, freedom, and happiness. The government described in this work would both permit and facilitate our peaceful evolution to an ever higher state of being and a greater humanity.

The principal reason that the demos would steer away from all extremes is that it is a near certainty that one could not get all of the people to agree on any one extreme at any time. It’s just the way that we cantankerous and quarrelsome beings are. All extreme views would cancel each other out, and a more reasonable and moderate consensus would prevail.

The founders created and our current batch of plutocrats now maintains a government and society existing very much at an extreme. The lion’s share of America’s power and wealth is concentrated in relatively few hands, resulting in our current plutocracy. Having eliminated all other views in the nation from government, these extremists have no one to act as an effective counterbalance to their own extreme views and actions. Our current system allows no source of moderation and reason except the infighting among the plutocrats themselves. They argue among themselves about how best to manage their plutocracy, but there is no one in the halls of government who argues against it. Everyone else having been cut out of the deal, a properly and happily balanced society remains permanently impossible. The demos, consensus democracy, and consensus government presented in this book are designed to avoid the founders’ mistake by avoiding all extremes.


We turn now from the question of the wisdom of placing a measure of real power into the hands of the electorate to another question. How fast could the demos shift its consensus on one or more of its nine economic issues? Even if a move is moderate and reasonable in the long run, if the change occurs too fast the social fabric could be torn asunder.


First, it should be noted that our currently existing government, coupled with our two-party political system, all too often jerks in one direction or another entirely too rapidly and is often painfully disruptive to our lives. As the democrats or the republicans win the house or the senate or both or when a republican administration is followed by a democratic one that is in turn followed by a republican one, each strives hard to dismantle or render ineffectual what the previous group has just finished constructing and then struggles hard and as quickly as possible to throw up something else instead before their own time and capability run out. All the while people’s lives are being tossed about by the turmoil of these rapidly changing political-economic seas. It is enough that we must endure a rush of technological change. Government policy should change more smoothly, and its effects should be less disruptive.

The demos and all the rest of government would function much better than our current system. But care should be taken to wisely manage the rate of change that the demos may effect upon our society.


There would exist within the demos natural resistance to an increase or decrease in the current consensus on each issue. Most people would be convinced that they are already voting correctly on the demos issues. Others might not be adequately attending to some issues, at least in the eyes of their peers or of various political groups. Therefore, it would take some amount of “consciousness raising” (or arm twisting, if you will) over a period of time to produce significant movement in the consensus on an issue.

This would be well and good. Since the issues that would be included within the demos are those most central and fundamental in our society, significant change in the demos consensus on a given issue could produce profound social effect. To prevent chaos and crisis, profound social change should happen slowly over time. That we would have time to adjust our ways and lives to the results of our decisions, the changing demos consensus should be evolutionary, not revolutionary.


While this natural resistance to change possessed by the demos consensus is likely all that would be required to achieve political, economic, and social change at a wise pace, it is not difficult to build into the consensus an extra, more certain control over the rate of change.

As the demos exercised its franchise over time, under the hood the included issues would form a dynamic, homeostatic mathematical system that responds to our many millions of inputs and abstractly represents our ever current democratic consensus. The ability to slow down (or speed up) the rate of change of a demos issue’s consensus, if and when it was deemed prudent or useful, could be built right into the mathematical equations that are used to process the demos electorate’s votes on the issue. This could be done simply by decreasing or increasing the value of a mathematical term or variable at a critical location. Each demos issue would have its own such variable so that the rate of change of each issue could be controlled independently.

A method for mathematically slowing down or speeding up the current rate of change in the demos consensus on issues is shown in Appendix 1, Figure 2. This section of Appendix 1 discusses the initial mathematical steps that would be involved in the conversion of the demos vote tallies into usable data such as the few values that our government and nation would use as they function. It is at a particular step in this conversion process that the mathematical alteration of the current rate of change of each demos issue would take place. This mathematical process will not be discussed here but is discussed in detail in Appendix 1 in the text within and surrounding Figure 2.

That such mathematical manipulation of the rate of change of the demos consensus could be done does not mean that it should be done. Such manipulation should only be used to produce a more comfortable social adjustment to the movement of the demos consensus. The ongoing change in the demos consensus should never be reversed or stopped by mathematical means or even slowed down or speeded up more than necessary. In fact, as discussed in Appendix 1, the mathematical method of altering the rate of change does not even allow the rate to be completely stopped or the direction of the change to be reversed. Such contrary manipulations would be in violation of the spirit and purpose of the demos. Mathematical manipulation could prudently alter the rate at which the consensus on this or that demos issue may change, but over time the full movement of the consensus would have to be allowed. The demos would need to rule supreme within its proper sphere of power.


Who would determine the proper time and amount of mathematical alteration of the rates of change of the consensus of demos issues? Such adjustments would be physically made, of course, by the technicians and mathematicians running the demos. But who would decide how much adjustment, if any, would be made when and where? It must, of course, be elected officials who are responsible and responsive to “we the people.”

The Senate would serve our purpose well enough. As would also be the case with the house, the demos electoral system would result in a senate that is less focused on the desires of the wealthy and more responsive to the needs of the entire electorate. But the senate has a more manageable number of members than the house. And the election of senators from the nation at-large rather than from within states at-large, as is done with the house, makes the senate more perfectly representative of the entire electorate than the house, as was discussed in the previous chapter. Thus, the senate, I believe, would be most fit to govern the rate of change in the demos consensus and the rate of that portion of change in society as a whole that is affected by the demos consensus on its nine economic issues.

The most dramatic movement of the demos consensus on issues would likely occur during the months and years immediately following the institution of the demos. At the time the demos was first instituted, the demos issues would be assigned their initial values. The initial values assigned to the demos issues should reflect as much as possible the values already existing in society and government at the time the demos begins operation, such values as the aggregate sum of all taxes and fees currently collected annually to support the federal government, the percentage of collected taxes paid by business, the current amount of the national debt, the current minimum wage, the current length of the Standard Workweek, etc.

Using the method described in Appendix 1, the senate should stand ready to speed up or slow down the rate of change of one or more demos consensus values if and when it is deemed necessary for the safety of the nation. Then the demos should be set free to function as the body that it was designed to be as described in this work.

It is not the intent of this design that the senate would continuously alter the rates of change of demos issues. The senate should apply only the occasional minimal amount of alteration to the demos consensus rates of change.

The historic and current rate of change votes of every senator on every demos issue should be a matter of conveniently accessible public record. Each senator’s votes should also be a part of his or her demos data, linked both to the senator’s name in the Senatorial Candidates list and to the Senator’s campaign for office in his or her demos personal space.

We can readily see two situations in which the senate could legitimately alter the rates of change of demos issues in an appropriate manner: 1) During the initial months and years of a newly instituted demos, it might be found prudent to foster, nurture, and ease somewhat what social transition there was. 2) After the demos had settled for the most part into less dramatic movement in its consensus, there could still be the isolated case where the demos has gotten caught up in too rapid a reaction to events and its consensus is changing too rapidly on some particular issue.

As protection against undue interference with the changing consensus of the demos, the senate would be limited as to how much it may alter each demos issues’ maximum annual rate of change. As shown in Appendix 1, Figure 2(a), each demos issue is assigned a default rate of change of 10% per year. The senate may as much as halve this default rate to 5% per year or double it to 20% per year.

Whether it is at the default rate of change or is set to some other rate by the senate, the current rate of change setting must be understood as the current maximum possible rate of change of the consensus, not as its actual rate of change. Using the default rate of change for this discussion, when the rate is at its default of 10%, to achieve the full plus or minus 10% rate of change in a demos issue’s consensus, the entire demos electorate would have to vote green (increase) or red (decrease), both highly unlikely events. Rates of change in the realm of less than 1% to 4% per year would be more likely.

Again, the consensus of the demos should be allowed to change as rapidly as prudence permits. Over time and in a timely manner, the demos would always need to be allowed to settle into its true current consensus. The whole point of the demos is that “we the people” would achieve a true consensus on the demos issues.


We have here a system of checks and balances between the demos and the senate. A demos issue’s consensus may be changing at a rate that makes the senate unhappy. The senate may then alter in some measure the rate at which it is changing. The members of a determined demos may vote in even greater numbers in support of the change, overruling in part the senate’s action. The senate may redouble its effort to alter the rate of change. (Senators may not only vote to directly alter the rate of change but use their offices as bully pulpits to admonish the members of the demos to alter the way they are voting.)

If the members of the demos really want the consensus change and come to feel that some members of the senate are not acting in good faith, that the nation would really not be endangered by an unfettered rate of change and the senators are acting for self-serving or short-sighted political reasons, to get their way the members of the demos may even elect new senators. Remember, within its limited sphere of power, the demos must reign supreme. The senate may slow down or speed up the rate of change in a demos consensus but ultimately not stop it.


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