A Radical Proposal – Sunshine & Sunset

Everything that liberals & progressives say is wrong about big business is true.

Everything that libertarians & conservatives say is wrong about big government is true.

The questions that matter are why and what to do about it.

Every institution, corporation, government agency, company, volunteer group or other organization in the world began as an ad-hoc response to a perceived real world need. Those that have survived over time met that need, or appeared to do so, well enough & long enough to build up some sort of capital, financial, political, moral, social or a combination of one or more type. After which, the professionals moved in, took over and remade the organization for longer-term survival.

There is a social science theory called the Iron Rule of Oligarchy. In essence, it holds that all groups are run by a core of dedicated members who spend their time deciding how to use the various capital of the group, with the vast majority of the members merely contributing to this capital.

There is also a theory put forth by Jerry Pournelle (see http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html) called the Iron Law of Bureaucracy that states the all groups will eventually be taken over by those more concerned with the group’s survival than whether it accomplishes its mission.

When you consider these 2 theories together, it may occur to you, as it has to me, that this means every group in existence will eventually ossify and cease to do the good (or evil, depending on your perspective) that it was created for.

In addition to this, I ask that you recall that all of these groups are ad-hoc and were created by people, thus can be ended by people. Corporations, whether for profit or otherwise, operate under the laws in place concerning charters, as without a charter, it is not a corporation. Those laws can be changed and have been at times.

All of which leads me to my radical proposal, which consists of two parts.

First, Sunshine. This refers to what is now called transparency, the right under law for the public to view government records so that they can see what their government is doing in their name and with their resources. Put forth in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Sunshine laws swept the nation and pried open previously-closed doors from coast to coast. The fact that we have had several big whistleblower cases over the past decade is a testament to how far back into the shadows the government has gone.

Sunshine laws should be put back in place AND written into state and federal constitutions and vigorously enforced.

Further, they should be extended to include any corporation that does business with any level of government or operates in more than one state, with only the truly-proprietary info exempt & that to be judged by outside experts.

Second, Sunset. Anything that is cobbled together by humans should be taken apart and examined from time to time to see if it is working as well as it could be, to see where it needs improvement, what can be thrown out & what kept. That is the reasoning behind the sunset laws and sunset provisions in laws and contracts that have become commonplace. I propose that sunset laws be extended to all aspects of government except those explicitly detailed in the respective constitutions. This would help curtail the growth of the more inefficient programs and departments and serve as a goad to spur the rest to get efficient and stay that way.

Further, a version of sunset rules should be put into charter laws. Any corporate entity should be subject to periodic review by the community in which it operates and its continued existence should depend on a finding that the corporation does much more good than harm in that community.

So, there is my proposal in broad strokes. Sunshine (transparency) in government and corporations AND sunset (closing down) for any of them that fail to accomplish goals that the community approve.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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