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Morphism - Beyond Communism and Capitalism

MORPHISM � BEYOND COMMUNISM AND CAPITALISM

By

Ashok malhotra

� Ashok Malhotra June 2005
Any part of this publication may be reprinted freely by any person provided reference is given

1. INTRODUCTION

The conditions under which humans live in different parts of the world vary greatly. It has been said that humans have evolved from animals. An observer may conclude that some are more evolved than others. There are some human habitations in our world that consist of mud and thatch dwellings, others are made of glass and concrete; some fitted with all manners of electronic and electrical devices others without electricity or piped water. Differences exist within the same city too. Some inhabitants appear to be happy and comfortable, others miserable. Differences exist not only across space but also across the flow of time. Whatever their current placement all aspire for a better life.
It may be argued that mere prosperity should not be the prime goal of humans since mere prosperity does not ensure happiness. There is a social and psychological dimension to happiness that is not linked to prosperity. Material prosperity is merely the simplest one to understand that is why human pursue it so desperately. It may also be argued that happiness cannot be the ultimate goals of humans. After all squirrels living in a pleasant garden appear to be happier than most humans. However. provided human evolution is appropriately defined, few would argue that to evolve is a worthy goal. To be more evolved implies to be more in control of internal and external circumstances that affect our life. It renders us more capable of bringing about desirable changes in our own lives as well as of those around us. To be more evolved is to have greater wisdom so that amongst other things one may not be parted from one�s wealth soon like the proverbial fool.
Evolution implies an evolution of the systems of social management and governance since these intimately affect human lives. The form of governance has evolved over time from feudal and dictatorial one�s to various interpretations of democracy. Humans have experimented with communism and rejected that since state owned enterprises have not delivered the good as efficiently as privately owned one�s. Present systems will undoubtedly continue to evolve further. No right thinking individual could arrive at the conclusions that we have already discovered the best possible models. Systems depend upon available technology. Science and technology could scarcely have arrived at its final development. Computers and new communication devices have proliferated in recent decades. These have come so suddenly into our lives that we have hardly had the time to develop the associated software and methodologies for their full utilization. Indeed, it will take time and consideration before we can even fully appreciate the changes these latter technologies can bring into our lives.
It is hoped that with the discovery of new systems of governance and social management the quality of lives of humans in general shall improve. Systems are just one factor that affects quality of life. There are others such as personality and attitudes, history and culture, available resources and environmental factors etc. Nevertheless, systems must be researched and considered because it is these that can be changed most easily. Other factors that affect human life cannot be changed with similar ease. One can find instances of considerable change in lifestyles of people over short periods of time when a system such as a dictatorial one has been changed for a democratic one or a communist system replaced with another based on capitalism.
The present proposals describe a new system and philosophy of governance that goes beyond prevailing systems. It is not a break from current practices but rather a substantial evolution of these - evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is a collection of thoughts and ideas about various aspects of society grouped under a common term, borrowed from mathematics � morphism. Countries that adopt aspects of it will be referred to as Morphist States in the present note. Morphism is not a single system that needs to be adopted in totality. Various aspects of it can be adopted in bits and pieces. All are designed to bring about substantial improvement in human lives. It can be introduced in a phased manner by any country or institution that finds any aspect of it attractive. The author believes that several countries will adopt morphism either because of this note or independent of it in the coming decades. Several countries are likely to become substantially morphist (as defined here) by the end of the present century. The author hopes that they will, because any positive improvement in the quality of life of any part of the planet has a positive influence on other parts. The reverse is also true; therefore it is in the interest of all that life improves.
Morphism leads to a state in which individuals are freed from stress and worry of meeting their most basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. Humans of a morphist state may then focus their energies on higher goals. Citizens of a morphist state posses a greater control over the wealth they possess and the taxes they pay as compared to citizens of existing countries. It is easier for a citizen of a morphist state to become a member of parliament if he deserves to be one in a morphist state as compared to existing democracies. He does not have to become a professional politician or incur an expense on elections to do so. The scope for corruption and false promises by politicians is greatly reduced in morphist systems. Health care and education are available for all in equal measure without any citizen having to pay for the care of another through his tax dollars. Yet, morphism is not an idealistic utopian system. On the contrary, it is more practical, simpler and easier to implement as compared to existing systems. A brief reading of the contents of this note will convince the reader that this is so.

2. HEALTH

Socialist countries that provide free medical care to its citizens do so from the tax dollars of its citizens. Citizens in good health, who scarcely ever use medical facilities, end up paying for others. Nevertheless, all citizens of such states are freed from the anxiety of possible high medical costs if needed. A country that does not provide medical assistance to citizens who may be in need of urgent medical care cannot escape being branded as inhumane. The thought that medical costs may lead to financial destitution some day can be a source of considerable stress for many.

Morphism proposes a model different from both of the above practices. Here it is proposed that the state provide an automatic loan to any citizen that requires medical care. The loan becomes a part of a citizen�s national debt. Terms of repayment can be designed in such a manner that they are not a major financial burden. It is to be repaid as ten percent of one�s annual income along with the payment of income tax during the lifetime of a citizen. Thus repayments merely reflect as a higher rate of income tax. If the citizen has a low income during some periods of his life his repayment shall be less. It is possible that some citizens will not clear their national debt during their lifetimes or even from their estate after their expiry. This balance must necessarily be forgiven. While the loan is pending, some nominal interest rate slightly higher than the rate of inflation would have to be charged. The citizens of a morphist state should cooperate readily with the regulators to ensure that the most reasonable medical costs prevail. It is in their interest to do so.

In the morphist models citizens shall seek medical attention with greater care than in a totally free state. They are aware that eventually they will be held liable. Healthy citizens can rest assured that they are not being asked to shoulder this burden in any substantial manner. One may question why this model is not used widely if it is a reasonable one. The answer lies in the fact that until a couple of decades ago the associated bookkeeping to implement such a system effectively would have been difficult. It is not so any more if effective use is made of available computers and the Internet. In fact the entire book keeping operation is amenable to automation through personal computers linked to a central database with the help of the Internet. The process of maintaining a citizen�s database requires that the citizen can be identified easily with a unique string of numbers (numeric not alphanumeric) such as a social insurance number that prevails in many countries. Every adult citizen must acquire one in order to function in society. Most developed countries already have one. Many developing countries have not yet adopted the practice.

The concept of national debt can be extended to expenses for education as well as certain legal costs. It was mentioned that pending national debt is chargeable to the estate of a deceased. If so, an exception should be made incase the deceased has a surviving spouse to whom the estate has been willed. In this latter case the estate along with the pending debt should be transferred to the spouse so that the surviving spouse is not subject to unusual financial distress or dislocation. Compassion is at the root of any successful system.

Rich countries such as Canada that already provide medical care to its citizens would find the present system affordable. In a certain number of years, say ten, after the system is launched the repayments may balance current payments offering considerable relief to the national budget. Poor countries, especially those with large populations, such as India, will be unable to provide extensive medical care even through the morphist model. In the latter case it is suggested that they nevertheless adopt the morphist model, albeit in a limited way. One way of limiting costs is to restrict such free treatments to specified government hospitals only.

3. EDUCATION

It is natural that in any society that at any given time some individuals are rich whereas others are not. Any attempt to equalize the wealth of all individuals as some communist states have attempted can only lead to the death of individual initiative. Inequality is just as natural as the unequal size of trees in a forest. Those who are not currently rich should draw comfort from the fact the rich do not always remain rich and the poor do not always remain poor. Things change with time. Further, the rich are not necessarily happier. However, when inequality extends to an inequality of opportunity for growth, it is difficult to accept. Education is a primary means to effect a change in one�s circumstances. If young persons from a poor family background are denied the opportunity of good education, it is unfair. It is for this reason the present day socialist states, as opposed to purely capitalistic ones, attempt to provide free education for all who desire it and are fit for it.

Morphism is a model that goes beyond both socialism and capitalism. The cost of education is charged to individual who receive education. Even minors are charged. But in this latter case the parents pay. However the charge is merely an automatic loan in precisely the same manner as a medical loan is. It becomes a part of a person�s national debt. Therefore, even a poor person need not hesitate to incur the expense. He shall pay back if and when he will have the income to pay it back in comfortably staggered installments. It is true that bank loans may also be available for education in many countries, but that is not the same thing. A young student from a financially distressed background will hesitate to take the risk. It goes without saying that education cannot be supported in this manner endlessly. It may also not be supported for the academically weak. However twelve years of school education and another four of university education for those who qualify for higher education is the minimum necessary. Still higher education for the most brilliant students also needs state support. The provision of such education to its citizens is in the fundamental interest of a morphist state.

4. WELFARE

It is widely recognized that the state has a role to play in the welfare of its citizens. Views differ on the form and extent of welfare measures. Governments around the world have been providing some assistance to orphans, abandoned children and the handicapped. Many provide assistance to the aged and some provide assistance to the unemployed and financially destitute as well. Morphism supports welfare. However, it recommends a radically different method of providing this assistance. An attempt has been made to overcome the shortcomings of existing practices and to make welfare effective, efficient, humane and affordable. Morphism believes that welfare expenditures should not exceed a specified percentage of the national budget. If welfare budgets are not capped, then a national economy may well get crippled or handicapped, increasing economic problems for the future. A prescribed percentage of national budget as welfare expense (between ten and twenty percent) should be constitutionally prescribed in a morphist state. This percentage should then remain invariable irrespective of the fact that the demand for welfare is great or small. A serious problem that occurs when such a fixation is not made is that when national economies take a turn for the worse (all economies must fluctuate from time to time, to think otherwise is mere wishful thinking) the funds available for welfare diminish whereas demand increases. Incase the usual practice of raising a debt or employing deficit financing is used then it is possible that the nation would continue to face economic problems for much longer than necessary. Unfortunately present democratic governments are elected for limited periods of time and there is a tendency on the part of legislators to worry much more about short-term matters rather than long term ones. This is the reason that a large portion of the annual budget of nations goes in servicing old debts. The fixation of welfare expense as a percentage of the available budget frees citizens from this possible lack of responsibility on part of governments. Once funds available for welfare have been ascertained, it must be considered how to use them most effectively.
Consider the problems of orphans. States fund orphanages. A child can get food, shelter and education in a traditional orphanage but it is unlikely that he or she will get any sort of love or affection. If many orphans develop into less than normal adults it is not surprising. The old housed in an old age homes face a similar situation. Both groups are largely deprived of the company of other age groups. If both groups were housed together the problem can be alleviated. Morphism goes further in suggesting that all of the various welfare recipients of society must be housed together in a welfare commune under a common administration.
Although quality of life has improved in modern society the problem of the aged has become worse in many ways. Due to modern medical help, a larger proportion of the population is aged. Old age is a period of reduced energy and enthusiasm. As one ages, one is unable to take care of his or her basic needs adequately. Society has developed in such a way that problems of loneliness and social isolation have increased. Different generations of family live separately and neighbors rarely interact in cities. Even the happily married are left alone one day since a couple rarely departs from this world hand in hand. Even if one is rich that may be of little help. The situation is all the more painful and full of regrets if the preceding life has been a good one. If the earlier life has been a poor one then it is likely to get worse with age. The aged may not even derive solace from God and religion, the hope of a new life beyond, since much of modern scientific theory dismisses that as bunkum. They have nothing to look forward to except a tomorrow that shall be worse than today. Indeed modern society has more or less ensured that your end shall be a miserable one J.
Assistance to the unemployed is another area of concern in present welfare models. It was mentioned that the problem of rising demand for such assistance during an economic downturn is overcome in a morphist state by putting a constitutional cap on the welfare budget. However, even in the best of time welfare payments cannot be very generous. That would only encourage a person on welfare to remain that way permanently. With limited assistance welfare recipients make do with poorest of life styles and accommodations available in cities. Some take to crime to supplement their meager income. If a welfare recipient finds a job it is likely to be a low paid one and not attractive compared to the payments he is receiving for free.
The various problems associated with present welfare models can be reduced through the creation of the morphist welfare commune. The welfare communes of a morphist state are located on the outskirts of urban areas or centers of employment. The communes are designed as small towns consisting not of individual homes but rather hostel and condominium type accommodations with common messing facilities. This type of accommodation is more economical than renting a room in a city. It discourages the continuance of dilapidated areas in cities and provides an opportunity to counsel and monitor a section of society that may be in need of such monitoring. Communes are designed to house all of the various types of persons that may require state assistance. The state does not offer any other type of welfare assistance except through these communes. Thus the state is able to gather rather than scatter its welfare efforts in diverse directions. A morphist state makes a commitment to spend at least ten percent of its national budget on welfare.
The available funds are distributed for establishment and running of communes around the country based on formulas linked to regional population. In initial years more of the available funds are spent on creating infrastructure rather than as running costs. As the commune expands along preplanned lines the running expenses increase and less is available for creation of new infrastructure (buildings etc.). Creation of new infrastructure comes to a halt when all available funds are exhausted as running expenses or if there is no further demand for accommodation in the commune from society at large. Prosperous countries with relatively low populations may eventually be able to accommodate all persons who are in need of accommodation in a commune. With the commune meeting basic needs of a person such as food, shelter and clothing albeit in the simplest possible way, morphist societies become free from want and hunger. Prescribed social interactions such as common messing alleviate problems of social isolation. Aged persons can act as tutors and local guardians of abandoned children and assist as trainers and counselors for young adults in the commune increasing social interaction.
Poor countries may not be able to garner the necessary funds for developing communes that are sufficiently large to accommodate all needy persons. They would admit some based on priority. However they too can draw comfort from the fact that they provide assistance to the extent feasible and that they have a system in place which some day can free their countries as well from some of the most serious problems that afflict mankind.
Let us now consider the priority system for applicants to a morphist commune. A priority rating needs to be developed for various categories of applicants that may compete for limited accommodation. An initial attempt at doing so is listed in Table 1. The listed values should not be considered a final recommendation but rather a first attempt. Further study may help to refine the stated values.

Table 1. Priority ratings for a morphist commune

Type of individual Priority rating
Orphans and abandoned children below ten years of age 100
Destitute female child between ten to eighteen years in age 90
Male child between ten and eighteen 70 minus Age
Single women with minor children Age +18 -Age of youngest child
Women 18 or older Points equal to age to the decimal point
Men of any age older than 18 Points equal to age minus ten to the decimal point

A morphist commune should contain three different types of accommodation listed as categories A, B and C. Category C designates a single room on a twin sharing basis in a hostel type of arrangement. Common bathrooms shall exist for a set of ten or twelve rooms. This is the type of accommodation that would be allotted initially to single persons or couples without children in the age group of 18 to 65. Category B rooms should contain attached bathrooms and a small kitchen counter within the room. It is accommodation meant for the aged and those with children. The kitchenette is provided so that residents may supplement free meals provided by the commune, incase they have the money to do so. Even some wealthy persons may choose to live in a commune if they are old because of the social environment and security a commune can provide in comparison to a life alone in the city. Additional adjoining rooms may be allotted depending on the number of children in a family.
Category A shall consist of a single but spacious and well-furnished rooms with an attached kitchenette and bathroom. Once a person is admitted in a particular category he may be moved up or down in category according to a procedure that is explained later. However, he may not be compelled to leave the commune unless he wishes to on his own accord. Residence in a commune would ensure

1. Free education for children and free training programs for adults
2. Free board and lodging as well as free medical care
3. A packet containing essential toilet goods once a month and two sets of clothing and shoes once every six months
4. A free bus pass to centers of employment during day working hours from 6AM to 6PM

Residence in a commune would entail certain obligations. These are

1. A lack of full privacy and a permission to record the personal tidiness as well as behavior of a resident in a central database from time to time.
2. Fifty per cent of income if any of a resident from work or any other source is payable as tax/charges to the commune.
3. On the expiry of a resident his or her estate, if any, shall become the property of the commune. It may not be willed to children or any other person.

Thus the financial resources of a morphist commune arise not only from government allocations but also from a portion of income of residents and inheritance. A commune may also accept donations from any individual or organizations in cash or kind. With much of society�s welfare activities concentrated in the commune there may not be other places one can find to donate. Since most commune residents have low incomes they are not the consuming section of population. Manufacturers of various kinds would find that a commune is a useful place to donate any of their surplus unsold goods rather than destroying them. It has been mentioned that the size of a commune depends upon available funds. Incase available funds are sufficient for running a few units, the commune will admit a few persons on the basis of defined priorities, such as children and those advanced in age. A few young adults must however be admitted since all full- time and part-time work should be performed by residents of the commune. In the fortunate case that a commune has sufficient funds to admit all persons that desire to reside in a commune and still has surplus funds, the surplus should be used to improve facilities in the commune.
A commune does not provide any sort of financial assistance in cash to its members but opportunities for part time or full time work within the commune should be available. All employees of the commune must also be commune residents. Residents may also work in the community at large. However, as per law, fifty percent of their income is payable to the commune. Fifty percent of the pension or any other income of the aged too has to be submitted to the commune as one of the conditions for acquiring accommodation in the commune. Since half of the income earned by commune residents is payable to the commune, utilizing commune residents as workers is half as expensive. Competence of new residents in different activities may be tested by initially assigning them a few hours of work only in select activities. Many would need that work desperately as their only source of cash for assorted minor needs is not met by the commune. Several of the older residents would have valuable experience from diverse professions. This experience can be well utilized on a part time basis to meet the diverse needs of a commune. Older persons would be eminently suitable for supervisory and administrative tasks.
The provision for acquiring the estate of a deceased helps to augment the resources of a commune. It also encourages children to look after their parents if they are in a position to do so.
A personality rating of residents is maintained in the commune. The personality rating has points for friendly and amenable behavior, personal tidiness, performance in any part time work a resident takes up. The monitoring may involve a periodic inspection of the rooms of residents and questioning of neighbors. The personal rating increases with financial contribution of a member. A high rating permits a resident to choose a roommate of his or her choice if he occupies category C accommodation and also to move up to a higher category accommodation if available. A negative rating may imply a reverse movement. Some of the worst elements of society would undoubtedly have to be admitted to a commune. It is better to do so than leave them unsupervised in a city. Initially admitting a person to category C provides the supervisors with an opportunity to monitor the behavior and lifestyle of a person and ascertain if it is appropriate enough for close proximity of families and children. Isolating the worst elements in a particular section of the commune would make supervision easier and prevent the atmosphere of the commune as a whole from being vitiated.
It may be noted from table 1 that no distinction has been made between employed or unemployed persons while admitting him or her to a commune. Employed persons are welcome since they would contribute financially and have a positive influence.
Depending upon the overall financial condition of a morphist state admission to a morphist commune may be a simple or difficult matter. However once a citizen has acquired membership of a commune there must not be any requirement that he or she leave the commune although the specific accommodation allotted to him/her may be changed by the supervisors. Residents may reside in a commune forever or leave soon and they may reapply to stay after they have left. While residents, they may leave for short periods for work or holidays. Upon admission to category C accommodation, a resident is likely to be asked to share a room with a stranger initially. However two residents may apply to become roommates later and normally this change should not be difficult. An aged person who starts from category B accommodation may gather some personality points in the commune and then apply to move up to category A.
Undoubtedly there is some monitoring and obligations within a commune. These are necessary to ensure the best quality of life in the commune.
Fully developed morphist states that can afford to house all possible applicants would end up as a society in which there is total freedom from want and hunger for all. Even the mainstream of society that does not live in a commune would derive comfort from the fact that they will not have to face the problem of financial destitution or abandonment at any time in their lives if their fortunes take a turn for the worse.
A morphist state ends up dividing society in two distinct groups - the commune residents and the rest. Interaction between the two groups takes place by the movement of citizens. Some may work in the city while living in the commune. Morphist states would eventually develop in a way that up to one third of its population lives in a commune at any time. About half the commune residents are likely to be old retired persons and a quarter would be the unemployed or part time workers. A higher than a third of society is unlikely to be living in communes. The reason is that the demand would be lesser in rich countries. On the other hand although demand for commune residence can be substantial in a poor country it is unlikely that a poor country would be able to afford large communes. The presence of several large communes gives a sharply different character to a country. Their existence frees cities of slum clusters and shantytowns. Commune areas should not appear unpleasant if commune buildings are well designed in permanent finish materials and if buildings are interspersed with pleasant parks and gardens. Indeed it is essential to do so.
Commune living puts a lesser strain on natural resources since housing is compact. The morphist commune is a low cost solution and perhaps the only one to a persistent problem that has plagued society from the beginning of history. It is likely to be a major feature of any evolved planet.

5. NATIONAL GOVERNANCE

Morphism proposes a radically evolved model for elections in a democratic state. The attempt is to minimize some of the shortcomings of presently prevailing models. The concept of two houses of parliament is retained as well as those of an executive Prime Minister as in a British democracy. However the House of Lords is replaced by the house of learned consisting of members who are academics. The concept of a largely ceremonial President is also recommended. New legislation may be introduced in either house of parliament but before it becomes law it would have to be approved by the other house as well.

Elections

The process by which members of parliament are chosen varies from one country to another. In the earliest Greek democracy the selection was an entirely random one akin to pulling names out of a hat. Surprisingly it worked well. All the expense and fanfare of periodic elections could be avoided if a modern democracy was to use a similar process for selecting members of parliament. However, the problem in selecting members of the House of Commons by this process is that the House of Commons will then consist of an average cross section of the population. Modern states aspire to put into parliament some of their most capable and energetic citizens. However, this does not mean that the concept of random selection has to be rejected outright. Morphism proposes combining random selection with elections in a way so that the effort and expense incurred in prevailing models is greatly reduced. The considerable expenditure incurred at the time of democratic elections is a source of corruption that infects several modern democracies like a cancer. Further it is impossible for a citizen to become a member of parliament if he cannot bear to incur such an expense even though he may be eminently suitable for the job. Morphism proposes reintroducing the process of random selection in combination with elections in order to greatly simplify the process of choosing legislators for the House of Commons as well as the House of Learned. In theory an infinite number of such combinations are possible therefore the precise mechanism suggested here should not be regarded as a final. It should be treated merely as an example of the principle. It is possible in the present scheme for a person to get appointed to parliament without incurring any expense or effort. A citizen need not even become a professional politician to get elected to parliament. It is not proposed that the political party should be abandoned. It has a role to play. However the role of the party is balanced by the power of independent citizens in the present model

The Zonal Council

The smallest unit of the present example is a zonal council consisting of fifty members. Consider the zones as synonymous with postal zones for ease of identification. It would be advisable in this case to ensure that postal zones consist of approximately equal populations. It should be ensured further that each zone has a post office as well as at least one school. Consider further that the chosen term of elected members is of three years. Therefore every third year the postmaster (assisted by election officers if necessary) may invite adult residents of his zone to self nominate themselves if they wish to become a member of the zonal council. The candidate may indicate if he belongs to a political party. A consolidated list of nominees may then be prepared and circulated in the zone. Each adult resident may then choose just one candidate from the list as his or her recommendation. Since several residents may chose the same nominee, some will get a large number of votes whereas a few may get no more than one vote (their own). The political parties will undoubtedly campaign for their candidates. However a capable independent candidate will stand a fair chance since he is competing in his or her own residential area. The votes may then be counted for each nominee and fifty selected to become members of the zonal council. The nominee with the highest number of votes shall be the first President of the council. He may however be replaced later through a constructive replacement vote by council members. Incase a choice has to be made between members with equal votes then random selection should be used to select one. Thus in January of the election year, zonal councils may be appointed in all the postal zones of the country. This is the only mass election required in the country. All further selections to city, provincial and national parliament may then take place from amongst the members of the zonal councils through the processes of random selection and elections within defined electoral colleges as described later. Compare this with what takes place currently in most democracies.
Besides providing members for higher bodies at the local and national level the purpose of the zonal council is to function as an association of residents regarding matters of interest to the residents of the locality. Members of the zonal council do not receive any salary. However, they are required to meet at least once a month (say on the last Sunday) in a committee room of the local school. The head master of the school shall organize such meetings and keep records etc. functioning as the secretary of the zonal council. It is recommended that available infrastructure be used in this manner so that unnecessary expenses of creating new infrastructure are avoided.
In July of the election year, the zonal council should elect one external representative from amongst themselves or even the residents at large by a process of successive elections if necessary. The name of the external representative should then be forwarded to the national election commission. The national election commission may then choose members for the various governing bodies around the country including city councils, provincial legislatures and the house of commons from the names received by a completely random and transparent process. It may be noted that the final selections are made from a pool of persons who have undergone two rounds of election one by their zonal neighbors and another by their zonal council. They are likely to be capable and worthy citizens, possibly more worthy that then candidates of a democracy where candidate get elected to parliament by party politics, money power, false promises, political stratagems, political relationships, mass popularity such as those of film personalities, media exposure and speech making capabilities (capabilities that may have little relation to the law making capabilities of a citizen).

The House of Learned

In order to constitute the house of the learned a suitably large body of academics (at least a thousand) must be identified as a first step. Large countries may define such academics as those holding the highest academic qualification (a doctorate) that have functioned as a faculty member for at least ten years in a recognized university. Small countries will have to reduce the stringency of these conditions so that they can identify a sufficiently large body of academics. One hundred members for the house of learned may then be selected once every three years from this list by a transparent process of random selection.

6. FINANCIAL MATTERS

Checks on the financial powers of the government as well as the power to make changes in the constitution are proposed in a morphist state. It is suggested that these powers be returned to the people through the process of referendum and constitutional provisions. The referendum provides people the power to give their opinion on matters that may change their life in fundamental ways. Increases in the rate of personal as well as corporate tax from a constitutional minimum of ten percent should require approval through a referendum. The power to incur debts and use the device of deficit financing must not be in the hands of an elected governments that functions for a limited period of time and the exchange rate of a currency with respect to the currency of other nations should be decided by market forces by permitting the sale and purchase of foreign currencies freely. It is only with these financial measures that the people of a morphist state can control their wealth. Unfortunately they do not at the present time even in the most advanced of countries.
If the power to employ deficit financing is entirely in the hands of an elected government, the wealth held by individuals may be worth no more than waste paper from time to time. It has happened in some countries around the world ever since the world stopped using gold as a standard. A government elected by the people need not have the same agenda as the people once it is in power. At best the policies of an elected government in present democracies are a compromise between the wishes of the majority and their own need for power and survival. If a briefly elected government has the power to finance its programs by raising loans, then a major portion of future annual budgets would have to be spent in servicing these loans. It is happening in many countries today. Loans deprive future generations of what should rightfully be theirs. Inflation within a country implies that the government has a hand in everyone�s pocket. It is affected by printing more currency than a nation should be printing. Paper is available cheaply. The most vulnerable portions of society are hit the hardest by inflation.
It is proposed that major financial decisions be taken out of the ambit of elected governments in totality. It has been mentioned that some can be made by referendum, a few written into the constitution and the rest be made by a body of professional economists headed by a national financial controller in the same way that the legal courts are headed by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as far as legal matters are concerned. The national financial controller must decide the annual budget of the national government as well as those of the provinces on the basis of economic calculations and not political considerations. The distribution of the budget under various heads may then be left to parliament. The Controller must be charged with the task of maintaining inflation within a narrow band of one per cent and ensure that no debts are raised but rather the coat is cut according to the cloth. The citizens may however permit the government to incur debt through a referendum.
Checked by the powers of a referendum and the financial controller citizens of a morphist state as well as their future generations will regain control over something that is rightfully their very own � their wealth.

Taxes

Morphism recommends extreme simplicity in taxation laws and procedures. Simplicity can be achieved by eliminating assorted types of rebates and concessions included in taxation laws. These have been necessary because the rate of taxation has been inappropriate in the first place. Governments have employed rebates as a means of controlling or encouraging select economic activities. This unnecessarily complicates procedure. If a government wishes to encourage a particular economic activity it can do so directly by providing financial grants. A further source of complexity is the use of different taxation rates for individuals with different incomes. Morphism does not support that either. It is reasonable to expect that the rich contribute more but they will do that anyway even with a fixed and uniform rate of tax simply because their income is more. Simplicity combined with low rates of taxes eases implementation and compliance. A tax law that cannot be understood by a citizen rapidly has no place in an evolved nation. It is a mark of pseudo-intellectualism at best and possibly dishonorable intentions at worst. Just three types of taxes are recommended in a morphist state

1. A personal income tax based on the total annual income of adult citizens
2. A organizational income tax chargeable to business organizations as well as other non-governmental organizations
3. A business premises tax based on the floor and land area being utilized by businesses to carry out their business. This last tax shall be payable at the local level of a city or rural area.

Morphist states must require every adult citizen to file income tax every year. In an appropriate procedure there shall be nothing to return to the tax payee. The fact that governments are obliged to return some of the taxes they charged initially is only an admission that their charging mechanism was faulty in the first place. The initial income tax form should be extremely brief and simple so that even a child can fill it. If necessary the income tax department may ask select individuals to file a more complicated and detailed form later. Most citizens would rarely have to file this additional form. An example of the income tax form is given in table 2

Table 2. Basic Income Tax form for Individuals

Annual Income Tax Form for the calendar year xxxx
a. Name --------- ------ --------
b. Citizenship Number xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx
c. Current Mailing Address
d. Income from Salary xxxxxxxx
e. Income from sale of Goods and services xxxxxx
f. Income from all other sources in cash or kind excluding gifts of love xxxxxxxxx
g. Tax charged at source xxx
h. Total annual income minus tax charged at source (d+e+f-g) xxxxxx
i Tax payable at the rate of 10% (h/10) xxxxxx
j If any national debt is due double the payment (2i) (check out at wwwww.com) xxxxxxx
k Signature and Date
Submit in duplicate to the nearest bank with payment. Retain a stamped duplicate copy in file along with detailed breakup of income and supporting documents for at least five years incase needed for verification. Gifts of love are those that are exchanges between fiends and family out of affection or love. Gifts by employers and strangers may not be regarded as gifts of love

It may be noted that all income from all sources is chargeable for tax. Even sale of goods such as a car, furniture or property is regarded as income with no exemption for the cost price. The only exemption may be provided for cash instruments such as bonds, share certificates, bank deposits etc. to the extent of the original investment since that cannot be regarded as income but merely as cash withdrawal. Incase an individual sells goods frequently he should consider registering a business organization for which raw material costs are exempt. Registering a small business must be an extremely simple online matter in a morphist state. Donations to charitable organizations are not exempt. There is no need to. A morphist state does not encourage organizations through its tax laws. It may give a financial grant to an organization or activity it wishes to support. If an individual is concerned about this he may just reduce his donation by ten per cent and feel fully compensated.

Minors are not taxable but their income is regarded as the income of their guardians.

Corporate and organization Tax

Besides individuals identified by a citizenship number all organizations within a country must be allotted a similar organization number. All organizations within a country must file an annual tax form similar to individuals. A morphist state must require charitable and religious organizations to file tax forms as well. Charitable organizations utilize the infrastructure in a country and therefore should contribute towards the same rather delightfully since they are in the business of charity and not making money. Getting an organizational registration number or registering a small business can be an extremely simple procedure. It should be similar to the procedure for getting an email ID on the Internet nowadays. Any individual wishing to register a business organization may fill an online form, state his name, number and address and choose a name for his business organization upon the payment of a small online fee. A registration number or business number and password would then be allotted online. Ease of registration may lead to clutter. Therefore business organizations that do not show any significant income (read activity) for two consecutive years should be automatically deleted and their assets transferred to the owners (in which case the assets so received shall be income of the individual in the year received).

All income of a business organization from the sale of good and services as well as any other source shall be taxed at the rate of ten per cent similar to individuals. However two types of exemptions may be permitted to business organization. First is capital infusion into a business by the owner or shareholders and second are the raw material costs. Raw materials are regarded as the cost of materials that form an integral physical part of the goods sold. Salaries and machinery costs etc. are not material costs. Depreciation etc. is a concept that does not exist in a morphist system. Thus a person selling vegetables may deduct the cost of his vegetable purchases. A farmer registered as an agricultural business may deduct the cost of seeds, fertilizers and irrigation but not the pesticide costs or any other costs that are not a physical component of his produce. A car manufacturer may subtract the cost of steel, plastic etc. that go into the making of a car but not the cost of the factory and infrastructure.

Corporations

Once the income of a small registered business crosses a predefined threshold for two consecutive years it should be required by law to convert to a limited company functioning under a ten-member board of directors (the reason for choosing ten members is evident later). As a larger organization a business has a significant impact on society and therefore it should function under prescribed rules and regulations as applicable to corporations.
At the time of writing this brief it has been proven that state run enterprises do not work except in select areas such as health, education, infrastructure, law and order etc. However this does not imply a victory for capitalism as compared to communism. Business models shall emerge in future that go beyond both. Morphism is one such. Capitalism as exists suffers from an inherent and severe weakness in that it is for the most part organized greed with all the evil consequences of greed. It has been made to function in the modern world through tight regulation however that has not made its evil consequences disappear altogether. The levels of human stress and distress that prevail in the developed world in spite of considerable prosperity and material progress can be traced directly or indirectly to this evil. Even the fact that a debate has arisen if corporations should function with social responsibility or not is a sign of the deterioration in human values that has taken place in capitalistic states.
Morphism makes a distinction between private enterprise and capitalism; it also makes a distinction between a desire for profits and greed. Profits are necessary for developing and sustaining organizations. They are also required for improving the condition of employees as well as the products and services of an organization. If these latter factors are the motivation for profits, it is not greed. If desire for profits is a mere desire for accumulating more and more wealth then it is greed. If the difference is not perceived clearly by many a businessman today it is because just like the other two strong undesirable human emotions- lust and anger- greed too is blinding.
Morphism recommends that private enterprise function with higher motivations than undiluted greed of owners and shareholders. To ensure this it prescribes that some of the larger corporation have at least a few public (non share holding) directors on its board. The public directors are members of a government bureau recruited from amongst industry professionals. Mere external regulation is an adversarial mechanism that leads to stress and conflict. The presence of public directors on the board permits control from within. The salaries of the public directors can be recovered by charging the organizations these directors are sent to.
Table 3 lists the number of recommended public directors for corporations of different sizes. These recommendations may be regarded as an initial attempt and not a final recommendation. Further study will undoubtedly reveal better values.

Table 3. Number of Public Directors on the board of corporations

Turnover Number of public directors (Total is ten)
x 1
10x 2
100x 3
1000x 4
10,000x 5
To get the value of x use; 10,000x= Turnover of the tenth largest corporation in the country

Thereby as per the recommendations of table 3 ten of the largest corporations of the country shall function with an equal number of public and private directors. The chairman with a casting vote may not however be from amongst the public directors in the normal course. Therefore, the control of management shall remain in private hands. The job of the public directors shall be to ensure social, environmental and national responsibility on the part of the corporation. In exceptional cases the national parliament may require the chairman of a corporation to be a public director for limited periods not exceeding five years. Thus for limited periods a state may gain management control of a private corporation in order to change its direction and priorities.

7. GLOBAL MATTERS

Although mankind has evolved considerably within many countries it has not done so in matters pertaining to interaction between countries. As an example observe that individual citizens within countries are not permitted to settle disputes with physical violence. They may not take the law into their own hands under any circumstances. However, wars between countries involving extreme violence is still considered legitimate under special circumstances. They are necessary perhaps because an enforceable international legal law does not exist. Feudalism is considered primitive as compared to a democracy. No individual may claim a birthright to rule over others in a democratic set up. However that is not the case with our premier global organization i.e. the United Nations. A few nations here have special rights as permanent members of its security council. It is true that they are some of the mightiest nations on our planet but might is right is a primitive concept.

Morphism proposes the development of another organization �a forum of nations- that is more in tune with current perceptions of democratic values. The present United Nations may not be disbanded nor any serious attempt be made to alter it radically. That would be a cumbersome course. There is no reason why a few countries cannot be allowed to run their private club. As the new democratic international organization develops it will begin to play the required role in international affairs. The new forum must not concern itself with the internal affairs of a country except in rare circumstances but rather it must become the organization that dictates what happens when the actions of one country influence those of another in any significant way and it must develop a mechanism to enforce what it dictates.

A Forum of Nations needs to have a global parliament consisting of a representative from each of the member countries. How different countries choose the member is a matter for each country to decide. The chosen member may then vote and debate on behalf of his country. The problem arises when an equal vote is granted to each country. Some countries in our world are small whereas others are huge. As a first attempt it is proposed that each country may hold between one and four votes depending upon its physical size, population and financial contribution to the united forum. Starting from a basic country vote of one vote per country an additional vote may be granted to countries that are larger than average in size. Yet another vote may be granted to a country that has a population that is larger than the average population of a country on our planet. The fourth and final additional vote should be granted to a country if its financial contribution during the previous calendar year is more than the average contribution from nations. Thus every country will have at least one vote whereas some may get up to four votes.
The international parliament may appoint its leader in a manner similar to the appointment of leaders of national parliaments and replace this leader from time to time through a constructive vote of replacement. The forum must begin operations with a threadbare minimum constitution and develop its constitution gradually through debate and amendments. The forum should remain an advisory body until at least half the nations of the world have joined. Such a forum shall come into being when any one nation of the world begins the process of inviting other nations to join this forum. Since there are so many nations on our planet such an organization is bound to come up in the near future.

CONCLUDING REMARKS AND SPIRITUALISM

The present note describes new systems of welfare, health, education, governance, taxation and business in brief. The concepts presented are not a radical departure from existing ideas but rather their extrapolation in new directions. Details required for implementing the proposed systems are not presented for the sake of brevity but these are not such as can not be worked out easily by interested persons.

It must now be mentioned that systems are just one factor that influence quality of life. The most important is the personality of individuals in society. If the majority of individuals in society display moral and compassionate traits then it is possible for society to develop into a happy one with a high quality of life. Without that, the best of systems will fail. The fundamental basis for moral and compassionate behavior is a spiritual one. Therefore fundamental spiritual principles that are not in conflict with scientific logic and not religious in character need to be promoted in society. The primary ones are listed below: -

1. Morphism at its foundations supports the view that the universe is an intelligent creation. The will and intelligence behind evolution is the infinite intelligence of God. However how an individual interacts with this infinite intelligence is a matter for individual belief, experience and exploration.
2. Morphism further holds that there is an essential component of life that survives death. Feelings of love and hate, joy and sorrow arise from this component of life that may be termed the soul. What happens to the soul after death is a matter for individual belief, experience and exploration
3. Morphism believes that man has a free will to choose even though the universe as a whole may be deterministic. Both are compatible in the same way as the random movements of particles in a turbulent fluid are compatible with its deterministic behavior over larger scales. The two become compatible through the law of consequence similar to the laws of conservation applicable to fluid particles. Every choice, thought and action of an individual has a consequence that is monitored and recorded by the universal intelligence.
4. The manner in which the law of consequence operates is a matter of individual belief and experience. Quite possibly it is beyond human comprehension just as the infinite is beyond the comprehension of the finite
5. The law of consequence can be the only fundamental basis for moral behavior and true love. Morphism supports moral behavior and loving compassion in all of its ideas since without it there cannot be any true evolution.
Morphism supports the never-ending quest of man to evolve. It is the hope of the author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author Doctor Ashok Malhotra holds a doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia, Canada and other degrees from IIT Delhi. He has lived and worked as an educator in India, Iraq and Canada. He presently lives in India and may be contacted at
82, Third Avenue, Gom Defence Colony,
Jaipur 302 021, India or by email at

Comments

Excellent

 

Excellent. I suggest that active individuals in different countries found the Morphist Party ( similar to the green party) in order to research, develop and implement the ideas of this article :smurf:

Re: Excellent

An excellent article indeed. One of the root problems of the society today is its inability or more likely unwillingness to adapt to the continuous "evolution" and here the very term "morphism" suggests "morphing", that is, adapting. And indeed, the best social system we'd probably have is one that is never close ended on itself, but instead open for "morphing" and "adaptation" to the current situation in order to achieve the optimal balance of rights/freedoms and wellbeing between and for all people. An "adaptivism" as we could also call it.

I just wonder what would a morphist say on the Free Software vs. proprietary software issue and the one on copyrights and patents.

If I judge morphism well, i suppose the opinions should favor the Free Culture and Free Software.

Thanks
Daniel

Re: Excellent

 

I like most of it, Morphism is definately better able to control healthcare, welfare, and the economy, than the U.S. Constitution. For the founders of America could not have anticipated the modern economy, in addition to healthcare and welfare. However, I don't like the public identification numbers for organizations and individuals.

Re: Excellent

I'd say the main problem isn't only in the American Constitution. Many problems, such as the one with overextended copyright that is killing US Culture come from *not* obeying that very constitution.

However, indeed, this does not mean that the constitution in itself cannot be improved and morphism sounds like a good idea and also realistic. It is certainly something that young politicians and activists today should be going for, provided that they also promote the free culture and, are against software patents and for the new overall patent policy (if there's gonna be patents at all) and turning the copyright law back where it belongs, as a tool of promoting instead of breaking progress.

Thank you
Daniel

Re: Excellent

 

Unfortunately, most Americans couldn't care less about the national debt, copyright law and things like that. :shake: Not only are politicians short sighted but citizens also only seem to care about more about themselves, not the economic future of their country.

Re: Excellent

That is true and that is why awareness is the key as the cause to this negative fact is that people are not aware that not caring is not just bad for the "country", but bad for themselves as well. It's just pure common sense of logic everybody who doesn't have some silly presupposition about these matters, but a free and open mind can understand. However, the very badness and corruption in society and social systems is one of the biggest reasons for which people like to avoid politics so much dismissing it as boring or talking about it like it was the game played just by the few selected corrupted riches. This whole picture and perception should be changed if we are to progress.

Thank you
Daniel

Re: Excellent

 

Yes, and if politicians were creative they should be able to institute Morphism without changing the U.S. Constitution.

 

This explanation of morphism reads to me exactly like an article about why communism or capitalism or any other system is good. It doesn't convince me. Most of the reasoning looks correct to me, but the same goes for the previously mentioned possible other articles. Like the author correctly notes:

Quote:

It must now be mentioned that systems are just one factor that influence quality of life. The most important is the personality of individuals in society. If the majority of individuals in society display moral and compassionate traits then it is possible for society to develop into a happy one with a high quality of life. Without that, the best of systems will fail.

The (almost) opposite is also true: If the individuals in power display moral and compassionate traits, then even the worst of systems will work just as fine as any other. This is called an enlightened dictatorship, and the reason those don't exist is that in general enlightened individuals do not seek power as strongly as the unenlightened ones do.

I am not convinced morphism, or any other system, will not eventualy morph into fascism. Whatever you do to keep the wrong people from power, eventually they will get it. Look at the great constitution the USA has, and look at in what state that country is now :shake: .

Now for some more negativism ;-)

Any other healthcare system than the total socialist one is simply a lottery in which one does not have a choice to participate. Bad health is bad luck. Any system in which one is (financially) punished for something over which one has no control is unfair.
Of course everyone must be responsible for having a healthy lifestyle. The now common practice of taxing unhealthy things (tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods, whatever) is the obvious solution to put this responsibility into the socialist system.

The idea of communes is a dangerous one, especially for the unemployed. Once you're in one, it can be quite hard to get out of it. Why? Because companies will prefer to hire someone from even the poorest of poor neighborhoods instead of someone from a commune. If you can manage to stay independent of the state (but probably not of your friends and family), you're less of a "loser". Yes, anti-discrimination laws can be created to prevent this, but it's common knowledge that those don't work very well.

I understand the idea of priority ratings for communes, and if communes wouldn't be a bad idea, then those ratings would actually be a good one. However, the ratings the author proposes are discriminatory and not well thought out. In a sophisticated society (and wouldn't a morphist one be one?) women have equal chances to men. It is unfair into the extreme to give them different ratings. Also, the possibility of single men with children is missing.

I oppose the idea of a house of learned. Being an academic certainly does not imply being competent.

Finally, a social system shouldn't have ANY spiritiual side, not even the harmless one morphism proposes. It will inevitably lead to individuals rejecting the system because it is incompatible with their own spirituality. I don't say a system should be atheist, it simply shouldn't be spiritual in any way.

The author of this comment hopes to get a masters degree in computer science at the university of leiden within the next few years, and thinks that is irrelevant to the topic. He also is a male feminist and a socialist-individualist. He can be contacted at tbuitenh(a)gmail.com.

 

Dear Tbuitenh, thanks for reading the article carefully. I completely understand your pessimism but that cant stop us from trying. We live with some system or the other in anycase. It is best to look for better ones. This article of mine is a small contribution in that direction :-x

 

That's right, you can always try. But you have to think carefully before trying anything, or your dream system might turn out to be a disaster. For an extreme example, look at what happened in the USSR.

Quote:

It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.
- Deng Xiaoping

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