This is just a random idea for a goverment I had, not saying it is a better one then the current democracy, only that it is an interesting concept and I'm curious to think about how would would work.

The idea is a goverment that allows buying votes, but still is designed to prevent, or minimize the rich exploiting their wealth to enforce policies that benefit them; at least to the degree that modern democracies do. In my theoretical world building this is done through the idea of allowing earning of extra votes through 'civic credits'.

To start with this system works only if votes are subdivided, so for now imagine that each credit is the equivalent of 1/100 of a vote, and that you can spend credits with a vote, so make a 1.05 vote for candidate x or so.

Everyone gets the standard one vote no matter what. However, civic duties can earn extra votes. The first obvious one would be buying of votes.

To buy a vote someone has to pay a certain amount of their income per credit owed. The math would presumably be more complicated, but the idea would be that a credit cost more the higher ones income, so that richer individuals pay a larger amount for their credits. Richer folks, with the higher percentage of their income being disposable would still find the first credit cheaper. However, credit cost increases rapidly the more credits purchased, so that after the first 10 credits your start to notice a higher price and by 20 credits the price is so prohibitively high that no one is going to pay it. Obviously some pretty strict laws have to exist to prevent giving someone else money if he buys a credit and uses it for your candidate since that's the obvious loophole to abuse.

However, credits are also earned through other activities. For instance being on a jury may earn 5 credits. fostering may earn some ratio of credits for length of time fostered. Volunteering for a non-profit earns credits. working a civic job may allow you to exchange some degree of pay for extra credits instead potentially. etc etc, the idea being that everyone has means to earn credits through personal actions which are deemed to strength the goverment.

In addition potentially everyone gets 1-5 credits a year 'free' to bank so that if they every feel strongly about a particular vote they can expend their free extra credits on that vote.

The idea being that while the rich can and will buy credits, they are in the minority. The larger number of middle class folks can buy a few credits as well, they can't spend as much on credits but they won't suffer the same penalty for buying allot and their larger numbers relative to the rich give them more credit buying power as a group.

The lower class will likely have little to spend on buying credits, however, they significantly outnumber the others. They get free credits and their larger numbers mean their free credits of the larger majority can still almost add up to the the combination of free and purchased credits of the middle class. Furthermore, the ability to earn civic credits through personal actions also favor the majority of less well off folks since they will be able to earn more civic credits through civic activities. If anyone feels strongly politically about something they can make their voice heard by engaging in more civic activities to earn more credits to have a larger sway on the vote.

In theory, if all the numbers were properly balanced and the obvious voter fraud risk for buying credits could be kept to a small enough level this could result in in the same overall 'voting power' for all socioeconomic classes due to the lower classes outnumbering the larger ones, perhaps even putting greater powers in the hands of the lower levels. However, all the extra competition for credits results in strengthening the goverment, purchased credits mean more income that goes directly to the goverment, those who do civic activities to earn credits will be helping the goverment through their actions etc. No one ends up getting more voice, but their 'fighting' over it strengthens the goverment as a whole.

Of course a real goverment would be more complex. Dimensioning returns would have to exist for all manner of civic credits earned, and likely some system to keep someone from banking credits for 3 decades only to get the equivalent of 30 votes in one election; likely by putting a max to how many credits that can be banked or a penalty for having too many. The voter fraud abuse of paying others to buy votes would need looked into, and this all adds some extra complexity and overhead that may add to the expenses of the goverment; possible it would cost more to keep track of everything then is gained by tricking folks into buying votes etc etc; it not perfect.

However, I'm wondering if anyone has heard of a similar concept for a goverment before? can they point to any discussions or even any real life attempts to do something like that?

again, I don't say this is a goverment I necessarily want to live in, I just thought it's an interesting idea for one I'd be curious to explore the ramifications of.

  • 3
    You really need to put in a summary and highlight an actual question.
    – user4012
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:04
  • 2
    So the whole system is done to promote "fighting?" I don't see any reason to do it. It doesn't enhance the existing system, but it introduces a lot of unnecessary complexity that will undoubtably lead to abuse. You can't prevent it.
    – Mohair
    Dec 3, 2015 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


The main issue with your proposal is that implicitly assumes that people choses their vote only due to social class. If it were true, all millionaires would be already voting party A, all middle income people would be voting party B, all poor people would be voting party C.... Go find any study about distribution of votes and you will find that this is simply not true, you will find differences of support to political parties in different social classes but nothing so biased.

Not all people vote "in line" with their socioeconomical classes:

  • Some people vote "to the candidate" that they personally like more (that's why candidates go kissing babies, even if a POTUS post is not related with baby care). That is one of the places where rich people money (for ad campaigns) is more blatantly used to direct politics.

  • Some people do not consider only economical issues: an informed voter may vote "another class" party because he likes the stance of that party in issues like foreign policy, civil rights, religion, etc.

  • Other people may not see themselves as members of their current class: v.g. a self-made man may vote a welfare party because he remember how hard was life before becoming rich; a poor people may think that less taxes means that when he will become rich he will have to pay less.

  • Lack of political knowledge of voters, aided by confusing messages by the parties (everybody promises less taxes and/or better services, few chose to explain the negative consequences and/or risk of those promises).

  • Some voters do not think the political system is useful and just don't vote.

In a situation where the poorer voters are also the less political interested/informed, your proposal would only enhance rich people ability to influence elections. I mean, nowadays already the lower and middle classes are overwhelming in numbers yet it seems that the rich people are doing quite well, don't they?

  • true, but i was stressing only that the right to buy vote did not disproprotionatly aid the upper class. The point being that the ability of civic votes being earned could countract a small few with ability to buy up votes by causing those bought votes to be tiny. Besides, as I said I'm not exactly saying I want to live in it, only that I'm curious to explore it as a world building idea. It's an interesting world worth thinking through even if ultimately I don't advise it. I figured there likely already are others that explored the idea in some format if I knew what to look fr..
    – dsollen
    Dec 1, 2015 at 23:24
  • Those who earn "civic votes" won't compensate bought votes because they do not vote in block. Civic and free votes will be distributed "almost randomly" because as stated people do not vote consistently with economical class, votes bought will mostly improve "millionaire's party result". As for similar ideas, for example Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers meant that vote was condicional of civic duty (i.e. army service) and Roman citizens people had to serve in the army (of course, too, rich and noble people were officers while poors where first line soldiers).
    – SJuan76
    Dec 1, 2015 at 23:34

Privatized Competing States, or Joint Stock republic

http://www.usmessageboard.com/threads/why-i-think-the-state-itself-should-be-more-like-private-companies.739494/page-3#post-21837733 http://www.usmessageboard.com/threads/why-states-nations-provinces-cities-and-villages-should-be-run-like-a-business.740686/#post-21857436

The states/cities/villages/counties are governed like corporations. There are share holders, which can start of as citizens on those states. The customers are the tax payers. The state compete with one another like corporations. Each is reasonably small (unlike VOC or EIC). Customers/tax payers vote mainly with their wallet and foot rather than ballots.

Basically, they allow a group of people, to create their own "private cities/villages". It's their cities, they do whatever they want with it. They decide whether they want to legalize drugs, whether to give welfare, how to tax, bla bla bla.

Unlike US, the right come from the governments Is there an active government that grants rights to the governed?

So the state decides what people's right are. If you don't like it, you go somewhere else. So, in theory, it's statist. In practice, this can be more libertarians than even US.

In US, we would argue that a right to use weed is fundamental right granted by creator and another would argue that the creator only grant right to drink wine but not vodka. So the whole things are based on "arguments".

In this system, we don't need to argue. Some states may decide that all drugs are illegal. Some may decide that even alcohol is illegal. It's up to the state. Right, freedom, and protection, come from the state, not from a hypothetical creator.

For example, the state can decide to be christian only, white only, muslims only, libertarians only, men only, women only, whatever. Some freedom may not be "on the menu". Just like Burger King don't sell Pizza, some states may choose not to acknowledge right to consume drugs. Some states may disallow pork (so muslims and jews are happier). Again, those states will still want to attract tax payers. So it's not toward their best interest to disallow oxygen, for example.

It's like going to cinema. The cinema decides who they can accept as customers. If you don't like it, you go to other cinema.

Okay, in summary, the benefits are:

  1. Poor people will make less kids. We simply don't give more share to those who breed more. Currently it's very obvious that tax payers breed tax payers and welfare parasites breed welfare parasites. May be not with 100% certainty, but it's pretty obvious. Profit maximizing states will correctly take that into account. Who wouldn't want to be correct when their profit is on the line.
  2. The state may decide to encourage tax paying share holders to produce more children to create income. After all, tax payers are more likely to breed tax payers
  3. Share holders have more incentive to be correct than citizens. Citizens in one state can vote wrong and move to another state. Share holders do not have such luxury. Move to any other state and he still "owned" the original state.
  4. More diverse options. Currently, there is no state where MDMA is legal, no state where church can be build, no states where racist people can gather and make their own cities. If such cities exist, it's win win. It's win win, in general, to have people that don't like you, disagree with you, hate you, or you hate, to live somewhere else. No need for much debate. We don't debate whether Burger King should produce pizza. CEO of burger king decides than and customers that want pizza can go to Pizza hut.
  5. Shareholders can vote more correctly than citizens. That's because shareholders can see how well the state is run based on valuation of shares.
  6. Under "normal" democracy, shareholders and customers are combined. Often they should have different interests. For example, I can live in a libertarian state but recognize that tax payers in a christian city want to build a church and building such church would attract more tax payers. After doing some math, I would agree. Or I can live in a libertarian state and realize that liberal tax payers in a city want welfare.

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