Home   Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter


Chapter 27
The Effect of the Demos on American Society

Forty years have passed since a new fourth branch, the demos, was added to our government. To start the initial ball rolling, the author of Beyond Plutocracy posted the book on an Internet web site at www.beyondplutocracy.com, gave it away free to everyone, and worked hard to make its presence known. Soon a small body of capable pioneers gathered around their common cause, the creation and publicizing of a functional demonstration demos on the Internet. At first not much seemed to happen. But in time, and then quite suddenly, seemingly overnight, a critical mass or flashpoint had been reached, and word and enthusiasm spread like wildfire. The True Democracy Movement was born—new hope and will for an honest government and a just nation at long last.

Initially, as was expected, resistance to the creation of a demos as a fourth branch of our government had been strong among established, privileged interests. From the time of the creation of a demos on the Internet until the creation of a real demos within the American government, seventeen difficult, confrontational years had passed. The electorates of several states had to repeatedly replace their legislators until the required votes could be mustered to finally amend the Constitution.

The breakthrough came when we elected a president who was for it. She worked hard to make it happen, and called for a plebiscite on the issue. The result of the plebiscite was a nearly universal “yes” from the electorate.

A state of barely contained excitement existed while the actual constitutional amendment was struck, the initial demos issues were hammered out, and the body of demos laws and rules, practices, and mechanisms were created. Legislators repeatedly attempted to create watered down, ineffectual versions of a demos and repeatedly got booted out of office by a watchful, no-nonsense electorate which used the Internet demos site as its guiding example and as its center of communication, organization, and rally. Unlike our aristocratic founders, legislators in the electronic age were not able to hide behind nailed doors and slip self-serving legislation past an unknowing populace. Uproar followed uproar, each larger than the previous one.

By nearly universal demand the original twelve demos issues in the Beyond Plutocracy book were included in the newly forming demos with only minor changes from the original proposal in the terms that the president, senators, and representatives served in office. Two other issues were included in the demos by the time the constitutional amendment was ratified. (Actually, America was not the first but the third country in the world to form a demos. Norway took the lead followed by Germany.)


Dramatic changes have occurred in America and the world. To this date, thirty-three countries have added a demos to their existing governments including India, Japan, Britain, and Russia. Thirty-one of these countries have formed a loose association called the True Democracy Federation. No tariffs or trade barriers of any kind exist within what people now simply call the federation. Several other countries have strong demos movements afoot including—will wonders never cease?—China. In America forty-three of the fifty-two states have added demoses to their state governments; scores of counties and cities have done likewise; and much popular pressure is being applied within many others.


The study and practice of true democracy are now an integral part of the high school curriculum. Although their votes don’t actually count during demos computer tallies, as part of their instruction and preparation high school students participate as honorary members of the demos electorate. Although their opinions are clearly indicated as those of students, they are given a full voice in the democratic deliberation of demos issues. Small clusters of students are often assigned to each demos issue. The task of a cluster is to study the principal deliberations and arguments surrounding its assigned issue and report its findings to the larger class. Then each student is asked to draw his or her own conclusions concerning each issue and vote accordingly. A student may change one or more votes at any time, but he or she must present a brief paper discussing his or her reasons.

Participation within the demos is now old hat, and classes for the elders and interested others have long been in decline. While some people participate in the demos deliberations almost as a way of life, most members know their minds and only give their vote on this or that demos issue the occasional tweak.


It has become the social expectation and the norm for government, business, and everyone to function and live within the parameters set by the consensus of the demos. Never having to do it before, at first congress had difficulty keeping on budget. But after getting kicked in the butt a few times by the demos, it got its act together. All areas of government now function by a process of triage, spending only what money is actually on hand—well, almost, the demos does allow a small amount of convenience debt—and spending it only for what is most needful and at best cost. A simple system of surplus money buffers strewn throughout government, limited borrowing, and prompt repayment make sane the difficulty of the various parts of the government staying on budget from year to year.

Congress has long ago adjusted to new members being seated nearly every month as current members finish their terms or get the boot. The membership of congress is much more varied than in the old-white-male days. The “old-boys’ clubs ” that once held hegemonies of power in the house and the senate are long gone. Committees are populated and legislative processes are created in a much more democratic manner now.

With all due respect to so-called color-, gender-, and orientation-blind government, most people trust their own. It is self-affirming and comforting to see people with faces and minds like one’s own sitting in the seats of power. The proportions of races, religions, ethnic groups, ages, sexes, and sexual orientations that exist in the nation’s electorate are now found within congress and everywhere else in government. Given this fact (and the close attention and quick fingers of the demos electorate, not to mention its control over taxation), government has at long last become the servant of “we the people,” all of the people.


Every member of the demos is reminded ad nauseam: when voting on demos issues or for candidates for office, one should always vote for one’s true self-interest, and at the heart of one’s true self-interest always lies one’s economic self-interest. Whatever other qualities one wants in a candidate, that he or she is actively working for your own true economic interests should always come first. What our ancestors never could seem to understand somehow, we keep foremost in mind. It’s even carved in stone in Washington:

When voting on demos economic issues and for candidates,
first consider and always vote for your economic interests.
All other issues are secondary.

Something of great importance that many of us had to learn the hard way is to select candidates that are not too radical and uncompromising. What good does it do one if one’s chosen candidates are theoretically championing one’s interests in Washington but they are unwilling to work with others to actually achieve results that serve one’s interests? Candidates must be willing to give some things that others want to earn support for what they and their constituencies are seeking. Uncompromising extremists create much heat but little light.

The nine demos economic issues have long been fairly straightforward. Once people learned their true self-interest by reading stuff in the demos or by talking with friends and neighbors, they got it right and now keep it right. People learned to take what appears in the media and even what is written in the demos with a grain of salt. They have learned to be cautious of the speeches of leaders, preachers, pundits, and so-called experts. Their interests are usually not the same as one’s own. People will say anything to get others to vote their way. One should mostly trust the familiar faces and voices of one’s family and friends sitting around the kitchen table chewing on the issues, people who one personally knows and who share an economic condition in life similar to one’s own. There is always someone among them who makes the best sense and who pays close attention to the question of one’s true self-interest.

Electing and keeping track of politicians proved more difficult. But people have gotten quite good at keeping their eyes on the ball. As advised in detective and crime stories, they have learned to follow the money. Follow the money! They understand clearly, what good does it do to vote for someone who resembles oneself, who seems to have good personal morals and character, or who spins attractive promises if that person has a history of voting against one’s true economic self-interest? We have learned to always vote for someone who truly represents us and acts in our interest. And people have learned to keep a look out for a new candidate against one’s current choice turning sour.

It is helpful that one needs only to focus most centrally on the offices of the president, one senator, one representative, and a potential replacement for each office or seat. It has helped a lot that each politician or potential politician and his or her actual voting record and its effect on the real flow of money are always being discussed pro and con in the demos.


Some people feared that Candidates lists for the election of the president, senators, and representatives that could have literally hundreds or even thousands of names on them would turn into a chaotic circus like a certain California election long ago. Those old periodic elections are not at all how the new electoral process works. The demos electoral process is ongoing and votes continuously “ride” on candidates. Candidates have a long, highly visible row to hoe as they progress slowly up the Candidates lists over time. By the time a candidate has progressed to the heights of a list he or she has been thoroughly examined and deliberated by the members of the electorate. Flash-in-the-pan, media-hyped, twinkling stars and those who say one thing but do another have little chance within this steady, studied electoral process.

Also, just a few people in just a few states do not have an undue influence in the electoral process, as they did in the old primary system. And the end of state electoral district systems brought the end of gerrymandering.


Scandal within government and industry has decreased a lot. The public attitude toward it has shifted from hatred and loathing to a more benign intolerance. If bad enough, vote them out; when necessary, give them some hard time; clean up the mess; let’s move on. Some look at the still messy haggling and wheeling and dealing within congress with a wary eye, but at least it works for all of us now. The members of the senate and the house have managed to overcome their “old boy” clubs, and they have reviewed and simplified the legislative process somewhat. As predicted by its creator, the demos itself has become a big hit. It is loved and protected by all.

There has been something around for some time now called The Glass House Rule. Aside from a few spy and military operations, any person or group can sniff into every little detail of government spending even during early proposal stages before the money is actually spent. The sickening repetition in the old days of one stinking political scam after another rising to the surface of public consciousness years after the scams took place have become a rarity. Politicians have actually started to become honest. It’s the only way to survive.

Many people, including me, believe that the demos is capable of evolving from its current manner of functioning—a balance of self-interest (or selfishness, as some characterize it)—to a much more enlightened state. So far almost everyone has focused on a very narrow definition and understanding of what’s in one’s self-interest. But when looked at rightly, when one has “the eyes to see,” one’s true self-interest can be seen in a much broader and more enlightened way. If we humans are, indeed, capable of transcending our current selfish state and entering into an altruistic, selfless state, the demos could continue to function perfectly in that transcendent state. Today the demos consensus is a balance of selfishness, everyone pulling in their own direction, with a not unhappy result. Someday we may learn to selflessly trust, love, and pull together, discovering a much greater happiness.


As a result of the demos’ imposition of a rather steep tax scale at the highest end of corporate annual gross revenue, several corporations have split into smaller companies as a matter of economic necessity. A dozen major corporations had moved their headquarters to countries outside of the federation to escape its effect. But incurring stiff federation penalties and tariffs, significant loss of business, and instability in their new homes, already half of them have come crawling back.

All of the nations in the federation possess a just balance of power within their governments in the form of a true democratic branch, a demos, balanced with their other branches of government. In response to the will and consensus of their entire electorates, all of them have adopted increasingly similar “people-friendly” government, business, labor, wage, and environmental standards, laws, rules, and practices that produce a reasonably level playing field for individual and corporate competition and enterprise. As more and more countries join the federation, and it becomes increasingly untenable to survive economically outside it, the days of multinational corporations roaming the world in search of the dollar-a-day worker and environmental escapism are drawing to a close. As power shifts back to governments, corporations no longer rule supreme. And as power shifts from the plutocrats to the entire electorates of nations, the self-serving governments once owned by the elite no longer serve only the few. People feel empowered. Now government really is by their consent, and they really are the supreme power.


As a result of the distribution of the tax burden set by the demos, the old American aristocracy has fallen into ‘decline.’ But it is far from destitute. What was considered by it to be “decline” still keeps most of it within the upper regions of the current distribution of wealth. While there remains a fairly wide distribution of wealth in America, the electorate of the demos does not vote the bottom economic half into a state of poverty (as did the old plutocratic government). The bottom half of the nation has to live modestly by the standards of the top half, but it does not live in poverty and it is not destitute. The wealthy can still afford some fancy digs, but the outrageous fortress-castles and huge, walled estates of pre-demos days have evolved into museums, bed & breakfasts, and the like.

The fortress mentality is no longer needed. Crime is down. Most people now own a bit of property—really own, not just hold a mortgage—and feel a greater respect for the property of other people. Feeling a general sense of inclusion and economic fairness, people of differing levels of income and wealth feel more comfortable with each other and mix more easily.

The pre-demos system was ruthlessly tooth-and-claw because in a world where slipping toward the bottom was so disastrous great fear and insecurity drove everyone clawing toward the top. Now, with the lower economic regions more comfortable, people aren’t driven to literally do anything to anyone to ‘succeed’ at any cost. We are even in danger of becoming civil!

If the form of America’s old political-economic system could be likened to a comet racing through space (or through time) with the wealthy, powerful plutocrats at the head and the bottom half of the population trailing off in distress and despair in the long, vacuous tail, the new system can and has been likened to an ellipse moving forward through time, the slowly varying length of the ellipse representing the slow variation in the distribution of wealth over time and the elliptical shape itself, as opposed to the thin tail of the comet, indicating that everyone is basically economically included in the society. No one is left to claw their way too far over the top or left to fall too far off the bottom of the economic radar screen. The shape of the ellipse slowly changes as it moves through time in response to economic expansion and contraction and the demos electorate’s economic mood. Since the new political-economic system has a demos, with its logically interconnected system of homeostatically functioning issues tending toward central stability and setting the system’s largest economic parameters, the ellipse avoids the extremes, remains intact, and does not burst into some other broken shape or form.


Due to a mighty din and clamor, the now-more-sensitive-to-all-of-the-voters, elected officials even rewrote along the lines suggested by the creator of the demos—I never can remember his name; alphabet soup—the rules and legislation pertaining to labor. The consensus of the demos on the length of the Standard Workweek hovers today around 30 hours. Although appropriate calculation programs exist in computers and pocket calculators everywhere, most folks are able to take into mind first work hour rates of pay and benefits, crank out a good guesstimate of a week’s wage and perks, and give an on-the-fly “yes” or “no” to a new job offer.

Although technically there is a Standard Workweek which is used for pay and benefit calculations, there is almost unlimited variation in people’s work schedules. When corporations and businesses balk at giving consideration to the needs of people in their personal lives, the demos threatens to increase the business tax rate. Parents are finally able to be with their children and each other. The latchkey kid is a thing of the past. Families and kids are healthy again.

Under the new work rules all sick time, vacation time, unemployment benefits, continuing education benefits, and pension funds are kept in fully-funded, conservatively invested, insured personal accounts in third-party repositories. No corporate or government IOUs or borrowing against funds are allowed. When one goes from job to job one keeps every minute and penny that he or she has accumulated. Employers are quite used to it and do not allow any such accumulations to stand between them and a new, good employee.


Now that the members of the electorate really have control over who represents them, the more responsive and responsible congress finally created a non-profit, single-payer healthcare system financed by general tax revenue and patient co-payments that includes good, basic care for everyone. Employers are no longer in the loop. The for-profit health insurance industry no longer exists. Lawsuit excesses have been firmly restrained. All hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers compete in the private sector for their patient clientele. The single-payer administrators and all private sector parties work together and strive toward an efficient, universal, paperless process. People may go anywhere they please for healthcare and are medically known when they get there. Caregivers consider themselves blessed to be able to spend most of their time giving real patient care again.

The national system works a lot better than the old mess did. But it isn’t heaven either. The generosity of the demos in funding healthcare and the length of the delays in various healthcare services hang in an uneasy balance. But at least employers, the blood-sucking for-profit health insurance industry, and irresponsible lawyers are no longer part of the equation, and everyone is included. We are all happy about that.

In response to competition and in the search for excellence, many people are experimenting with ways to improve healthcare delivery. Some caregivers in larger healthcare enterprises got the bright idea of replacing the “first-come-first-served” waiting room system with one that prioritizes the order in which patients are seen. True emergency and trauma care gets first attention, followed by those who use the healthcare system the least and whose current visits will likely take the least amount of time. These are followed by patients whose visits it is estimated will take a longer time. Last to be seen are those who most frequently plague the system with every kind of minor complaint and sniffle. Waiting is the price they pay for excessive use of the healthcare system. This bright group of caregivers has even started an express line they call “fast care,” a takeoff on the supermarket express line and the fast food restaurant’s drive-through window. If one needs an annual flu shot or a couple of stitches removed that’s the place to go. In their striving toward excellence, these caregivers even communicate creatively with patients who wear cell phones and pagers, which is almost everyone. Who sits in waiting rooms? The caregivers use “total daily patient waiting room hours” as one of their measures of progress toward their goal of fast, competent care with the minimal wait for the most people.


Employees, employers, and government are all comfortable with the new sliding-scale method of paying wages and benefits for work and with their new cooperative relationship with each other. Actually, the ‘new’ relationship is not really sensed as new. A new generation has come down the pike, and the ‘new’ relationship is for them the norm.

Employee demoses have even sprung up within several factories and corporations. One CEO ‘cheerfully’ grumbled that he’d have jumped overboard, but lacking a golden parachute . . .


There will always be businesses and personal lives that go belly up so there will always be a bit of ‘poverty.’ But what ‘poverty’ there is is usually short-term, not generational, and it can scarcely be compared with the crushing poverty of old. There has become so little of it that public and private agencies have plenty of resources to help folks put their lives back in order and on track again.

It is now conceded by even the staunchest diehards that crime was intimately connected with poverty. As poverty dramatically declined, crime also declined. (Or was it because excessive wealth declined?) The prison population has declined by a third, and the numbers are still on their way down. (Twenty-seven prisoners are now serving life terms for illegally altering demos votes, a crime classified as treason.) With the dramatic decrease in crime, people have become comfortable once again in the streets and parks.


People feel more empowered. They don’t feel helpless in the face of the goliaths: big business, big government, and big labor. None of them are quiet so big, aloof, or invincible as they used to be. The federal government is about two-thirds the size it was forty years ago, and that includes with the addition of the demos. One fellow estimated that all of the electronic gear strewn across the nation that serves the demos could be packed into a couple of large warehouses.

Coffee shops are doing a booming business. Everyone, it seems, has a newfound expertise in politics, and no one is without opinions. Half of the people’s views seem utterly insane to me. One wonders how the demos could possibly function with all of these imbeciles about. But it does, and somehow, almost by some invisible hand, it manages to produce greater wisdom than the elite few ever did.

The economy is robust and doesn’t swing so wildly as before. The government has finally stopped using unemployment as a tool to fight inflation. Consumption isn’t quite as frantic as in the old days, but people still like their consumer trinkets. Debt in all areas—government, business, and personal—has decreased substantially from pre-demos days. But people are people; they just can’t seem to resist facing the camera, laying their hand on the plate, and saying, “Charge it.”

Within our truly new world order, one’s life isn’t utterly destroyed by stepping off the fast track. We still like our things and our comforts, we Americans, but we seek and hold them more lightly and shed them more easily. Having few possessions is not the disaster that it once could be.

People have more leisure and seem more comfortable and happy to my old eyes than were their recent ancestors. They seem less driven, more relaxed, and more able to enjoy the moment. More people stop to smell the roses. The leisure and travel industries are booming.

I do not know of any place within the federation that it is not safe to travel. Nations and people feel fairly included and treated. Long-standing hatreds and feuds have considerably waned.

Arts of every kind are blossoming with new personal expression. Much of it is—well, let me be kind—but there is no shortage of people who have surprised themselves and others. Even as people embrace civic-mindedness and social responsibility, there is ever more variety in personal dress, grooming, behavior, beliefs, and expression. We are becoming, it seems, playful walking works of art. It is safe to be different, which is good because ultimately each of us is unique anyway. The populace is becoming increasingly literate and well read. Religious, philosophical, and literary groups abound. More and more people are meditating and seeking “enlightenment” or what some call “Christ consciousness.” I’m not sure what that’s about.

Me? When I’m not working, I like to hang out at a local coffee house, sip tea, input my thoughts to Mem (supposedly writing a book), and chat with the people around me, helping them correct the errors in their thinking.

Our finally getting our political-economic relationship, our social contract, in humane working order was only a necessary pragmatic step that we had to get behind us before we could focus on what’s truly important in our lives: loving and enjoying life and each other.


Home   Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter   Top of Page

Beyond Plutocracy - Direct Democracy for America    www.BeyondPlutocracy.com
© Copyright 2001-2017   Roger D Rothenberger