Montesquieu proposed in his paper written in 1748 the concept of distributing the powers of government into three branches; administrative, executive and judicial. When we evaluate a healthy republic, we will find the same separations of powers. Governments become unhealthy and corrupt when certain groups or individuals manage to accumulate the power of all three branches under one roof. That is when corruption takes hold and all forms of governance deteriorates into tyranny.
Jacques-Antoine Dassier - Collection Chateau Versailles [public domain]
Steem's governance model
When we evaluate Steem's governance model, we will find that it is woefully incomplete. The voting model for establishing who the top witnesses are, was proposed and implemented to help ensure that the user base had a voice in regards to how the blockchain was being governed. If we compare it to Montesquieu's model, we could easily fit the witnesses into the administrative branch of government. The people vote for those who will represent themselves in this regard. The challenge is that those votes are weighted, so the more wealth one has, the more influence they have in regards to who the witnesses are.
Oligarchy: a small group of people having control - dictionary.com
This type of governance is an oligarchy, where a small group of people has control over the blockchain. This in itself would not be a concern if we balance it with proper representation in the other two branches of government. This is when I realized that this blockchain has no judicial or executive (police) branch of government. With this vacuum of power, people with power decided to fill in the void and do it themselves. As a result, we end up with vigilante justice.
Vigilante: "a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority." - dictionary.com
This vigilante justice has resulted in life sentences for some with no means for appeal, no judicial oversight, emotionally charged vengeance, being found guilty without any opportunity to prove innocence or appeal and all out wars. It also resulted in some individuals being untouchable, which feeds into corruption and tyranny growing within this community. These individuals are the police, judge, jury and executioner. There is no separation of power and they justify their behaviour with the firm belief that they are doing it for the betterment of the community. They actually believe they are doing no wrong but in actual fact, their violence is justified and even supported by others.
This is mob rule and this behaviour should never be tolerated within this community. Each member of this community should have the proper protections to ensure that nobody is trampled upon, no exception. To make matters worse, we have top witnesses who also exercise judicial and police powers on the blockchain. That is tyranny and must never be tolerated. It is violence of the worse kind, despite their assertions that it is not.
A proposed framework to resolve these issues
The Executive branch of government has the police powers and I propose that it remain with the people. This is about us policing ourselves and we have a flagging system already that can do this. However, that flagging system should be modified so that there are no punitive results from being flagged. By seperating the removal of rewards and decrease in reputation from the flagging, we ensure that the police powers is balanced with the administrative and judicial powers. When people find behaviours that violate the community standards, established and published by the witnesses, then those flags add up and once a specific threshold is reached, the issue is then turned over to the judicial branch of government.
The establishment of the judicial branch will work similar to the voting methodology of the witnesses, except this time it is one individual, one vote. This balances the weighted votes used for the witnesses and ensures that every individual has a voice and also prevents those with wealth from filling the judicial seats with those that will support the rich. The top individuals, number which is determined by the community, will then hold judicial powers to hold court and provide a framework for balance, sanity and sobriety within this governance model. Their job will be to evaluate the flagging reports from the community, provide opportunities for people to be innocent until proven guilty, defend themselves and appeal decisions later on and ensure the standards of the community is being upheld. The power of the judicial branch will be in regards to the individuals voting power (VP), resource credits (RC) and reputation. For example, somebody found guilty of plagiarism, theft or spamming could find that their access to the resource pool be significantly restricted. If the court had the power to set an individuals VP to zero (without touching their SP), reduce the RC to a level that would facilitate transferring funds and perhaps one or two posts a day and decrease their reputation due to being found guilty, then that would ensure the resource pool and all the other users are protected from the abuse and violence of these individuals. If the individual reforms themselves and provides proof that they are trust worthy and willing to follow the community standards set by the witnesses, then the VP and RC could then start recharging to restore their access to the resource pool. This ensures that nobody, even the most rich or with the highest reputation, is above the law.
This establishes boundaries in a healthy, non-violent way and ensures that the separation of powers prevents people from bubbling to the top and becoming 'untouchable'. There are many people on this platform who are untouchable and this does not reflect a healthy and safe environment for people to invest in. Investors want security and peace. We cannot provide that if we continue to let vigilantes police and judge the blockchain.
With a model like this, each individual has a responsibility to participate in all three branches of government; administrative (witnesses), executive (police) and judicial (court). The power remains with the users at all times. Votes can be withdrawn from the judges if they don't do a proper job, just as what can happen with the witnesses.
Until we implement something like this on this blockchain, we won't see significant growth, peace or freedom.
While it may seem odd for me to make such a proposal, I do find that if we implement something like this on the blockchain, we can help people heal, grow and prosper while minimizing or eliminating the violence that we currently witness. I suspect I will get a backlash like what I received from my last few posts. But if people can see past their own emotional reactions, they may be able to see a solution that may be similar to what I'm proposing, that is simple to implement and will be a flagship for self governance in the blockchain market space. I'm sure there are much smarter people on this blockchain that can work out the details.
The truth be told, people do not know how to govern themselves, so until we all learn how to do that, we need a framework that can facilitate that learning process. This is the best compromise I could find that could facilitate a true anarchy community where we don't need administrative, executive or judicial powers to resolve conflicts between people.