Monday, July 30, 2012

That Was When I Ruled the World

An interesting thread was posted on the UM forums recently asking: "What would you do if you were somehow elected world leader?" This just so happens to be something I think about a great deal, and have a lot to say about. As I was writing my response to the thread I realized it was getting a little unwieldy for a forum post (I posted it anyways) and thought I would share it here. As such, here is the post in full:

I would put a heavy dose of importance on art, education, and culture.

One of my first acts would be to eliminate a large portion of the electronics market and provide a large number of federally manufactured alternatives. E-readers, and cellphones would all be removed from private enterprises, as would DVD players, cable service, internet services, and video game consoles. These would all become handled exclusively by the government. Online marketplaces and social networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) would also be swiftly removed and replaced with one single, powerful government social network and marketing place, from which all forms of media could be purchased to a unique individual's ID number account and streamed to all the devices associated with that individual. This social network and market place would serve to be an enormous hybridization of Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Goodreads, allowing individuals to connect privately with their families and friends, purchase goods, hold and place bids on auctions, and publish public reviews of the goods they've purchased.

To further facilitate creative endeavors, and connect the world economy with entertainment, a special branch of government would be designated specifically to entertainment. The main operations of this branch would be to handle the remastering and releasing of all previously published material prior to my reign as World Leader. This material would be upgraded in various fashions. Movies and shows would have their audio and video enhanced as much as possible, music would likewise be enhanced to new qualities, video games would now be equipped with an achievement system and online multiplayer (including those games released on systems as far back as, oh, the Pong table cabinet), and books would be available in a variety of formats and qualities. 

All materials published prior to the year 2000 would enter the public domain to allow further creative endeavors. Additionally, the copyright of a work would die with the individual who created it, allowing that work to grow its own life in the next few decades and centuries. Corporations would no longer be treated as individual citizens and would have to designate an originator at the time of a creation's origin. Once this origin had passed away, the work would belong to the public domain, regardless of the standing of the corporation. While the copyright to a work could be bought or sold, the Originator could never be changed, and once he or she perished the work would be available for sale and modification and reinterpretation by and to everyone.

On the topic of rights laws, trademarks would be completely defunct. As would patents. Copyrights laws would be modified to consider the roles that trademarks and patents previously occupied, however to a lesser extent. For example, characters whose work of origin had entered the public domain (Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willie, for an example) would now also enter the public domain. Copyrights laws would not extend to devices or non-material creations to avoid a monopoly.

A self-publishing platform similar to that of Kindle Direct Publishing would be implemented for books, videos, music, and static visual art. Games and apps will have to be vetted due to their complexity. This platform allows every individual the opportunity to reach economic stability through their own unique endeavors and achievements, and assures that no voice can never be heard. 

Going along with that, a special section of publishing will be devoted to the official publication of fan fiction and other fan works. This area will operate almost precisely like the self-publishing platform, however it will require that an individual list any names, references, characters, locations, brands, items, objects, ideas, etc. that belong to the universe of a property currently held by the copyright of another creator. The creators who actually own those copyrights will then be awarded a divided (depending on how many universes were clashed in the work) 80% of the profit generated by that fan work. 10% would go to the government, and 10% to the creator of the fan work.

DLC would be made available not just to video games and their publishers, but DLC would be viable for videos, books, and whole music albums. This would allow consumers to purchase one copy of a movie or show which would continue to update into higher quality (this one is free), add more language subtitles (also free), or release special features, such as additional dub languages or special feature documentaries for an additional cost. Only the current rights holder would be permitted to add DLC to a work, and if the work were public domain, only the government could add special features (unless the work were privately edited and uploaded by another individual.)

A resale market would also be created for the digital marketplace, allowing individuals to sell off the applications and programs they no longer use. Such as books they no longer read, or movies they no longer watch. This market would distribute the money in the same 80-10-10 percentage field as fan works, and an individual would not be able to price their item lower than it is available for in the federal marketplace. However, items no longer available in that marketplace may be set at any price. If there is no copyright for the item being sold, the percentage is split 85-15 in favor of the individual.

Earlier I had mentioned that phones would be replaced as well. This is because our current phone system is obsolete and pointless. Voice chat would now be a standard application of all handheld devices, and provided that an individual's ID number were on your contacts list, you could ring them up at any point you wish. Their devices will alert them that they have an incoming call. The primary difference between voice chat and telephone is that this voice chat option will be performed over the internet, much like it is when using an audio chat in AIM. Video chat would also be available for devices which are equipped with a camera, and text chat would be available for most standard devices. Additionally, individuals may eschew chat altogether in favor of audio, video, or textual mail.

For those who prefer their entertainment in a physical form, Print-on-Demand options will be available for essentially everything.

I believe that would cover my entertainment reform...

The second act I would assume would be a simultaneous push for modernization of various areas (such as Africa) which would bring modern standards of living to all parts of the world as well as an education reform, which would overhaul our educational system right to the university level. Wireless internet would now be globally available to all regions and all areas, allowing all to be completely connected.

The largest push here, which will meet quite a bit of resistance, I'm sure, would be the push for the reform of language. Schools would be required to teach and perform in the English language starting from kindergarten upwards through graduation. Other language and culture courses would be offered as well, but all other classes must be taught exclusively in English. Breaking language barriers is one of the first steps in uniting the human race.

In addition to this, the educational system would become more rigorous, in part because diplomas and certificates will not be mandatory for a great deal of jobs. The educational system, beyond grade 8, would exist only to serve those who desired education. After grade 8 comes high school, as most know. High schools will require all incoming students to take placement exams, and should they fail, they will not be permitted into the school. Simple as that. All high schools will also be equipped with a living campus, allowing their top graded applicants from across the world to move and live on campus quarters to further their education. All on a federal budget. This process would be continued into university years.

Classes will no longer be wash and repeat for twelve years straight. Each year will bring new things, and our students will learn and advance much more quickly than they do now. By grades 5-8 they should be learning the types of advanced mathematics currently being offered to high school students, as by grades three and four they should have a mastery of algebra. Various electives will be available to all students, of any grade, and clubs and sports will be offered as well to all grade levels.

All schools K-8 are required to provide at least one hour of recess for their students. 9-C do not have this requirement, as it is up to the now older student to manage their day accordingly.

Individuals who hold a Working Diploma (awarded to all graduates of grade 8) may enter the workforce in any position to which they are qualified. Additionally, individuals with a Working Diploma may enter to take various examinations which will license them for better crafts and trades, such as carpentry and plumbing. This will eliminate any need for classes for those who already know what they're doing.

A large number of non-academic jobs will require nothing more than a Working Diploma. Librarians, secretaries, retail, cleaning... none of these require advanced, off-the-job training and so are available to all individuals with a Working Diploma. Additionally, one does not require a Working Diploma to publish material to the marketplace and survive on their own merits.

Various locations would be optimized for specific tasks. Various large locations, at that. Entire town economies could be made from the export of goods, and very large portions of current continents would be designated to production of goods. An example would be country sized greenhouses growing and providing fruit, vegetables, and meat, all of healthy standard, to the various parts of the world. This, in conjunction with the robust economy, should allow all families to sit down to dinner each night.

Another of these locations is much less savory, however. In order to function as a peaceful society, zero tolerance must be provided for those who would slay or rape their fellows. A large area of approximately one-hundred square miles shall be blocked by an enormous wall, three hundred feet high and on hundred feet thick. This wall will have no doors in or out of the blocked out area. This area of one-hundred square miles will be signal jammed, completely isolating it from the outside world except for the guards perched atop the wall, firing at individuals who attempt an escape. There is no place in our economy to provide for an individual who would spend their entire life locked up in a prison, leeching on the finances of others. Those who receive life sentences will simply be dropped into this Dead Zone, where they must fend for themselves without technology.

In the event that evidence is later brought to light proving the innocence of an individual dropped to the Dead Zone, a warrant will be put in the zone. A reward of food or drink, or perhaps a week away from the Dead Zone, will be offered in exchange for the arrival of the unharmed and now-innocent individual. If the individual is lost... it is unfortunate. They will be given an honorable and universally broadcasted burial, and their families will be heavily compensated.

Those who kill or rape, even while in a bout of insanity, are clearly unfit to be a part of society. They will be relocated to the Dead Zone, mentally unstable or not.

Additionally, drugs will now largely be legally salable and consumable to and by those with a Working Permit. Restrictions will be placed and enforced on the public use of these, just as there are such restrictions on public drunkenness. It is only the concern of the individual should they choose to consume such devices.

I must return to something previous. Rape is a very interesting case that will need to be looked into with special care. Distinctions will have to be drawn between various forms of rape, with only violent or child rape resulting in a sentence to the Dead Zone. Not to say that not all rape is extremely damaging, but there is a difference between forcing someone down and coercing them. Coercers will not be free. We still have prisons for that.

Now, away from the topic of lawbreaking.

Those in the possession of a Working Permit are fit to perform occupational duties, and as such, are fit to begin families. Instead of an age of consent, it is a license of consent. All individuals of all ages in possession of a Working Permit are free to engage in any activities they so desire. They are to be considered and treated as working adult individuals. Despite this, there is a policy of four years for individuals below twenty.

Guns are not to be owned and operated by civilians with a few exceptions, largely because of this society's very strict criminal policy. Firearms are available only to business owners, for the defense of their business, hunters (only during their stay in designated hunting areas), and for those who feel that satisfaction of squeezing the trigger: highly monitored shooting galleries. Firearms will also, naturally, be given to military personnel and law enforcement.

Duels will be legalized yet again, and the victor of a duel will not be tried on the case of murder. Provided that both participants have registered an acceptance of the duel, and are performing the confrontation in a federally sanctioned location where there is no chance of harming civilians, the duel can be carried out upon the terms designated by the registration.

I believe that is all for now.. perhaps I will return later...

How would you rule the world? Would you rebel against my regime? Let me know in the comments below.

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