Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Government Thought Experiment

I on occasion I talk about what I expect of my government, but I think one way to do that would discuss what government is. To do that, I am going to perform a thought experiment.

Let's say five relatively closely aged siblings decided to move out of their parent's home and rent a house together. All of them have a stake in making the house run well. None of them wish to return living with their parents where they have to obey their rules.

Who's in Charge
The siblings all agree that decisions need to be made on how they will live. They do not know how those decisions will be made. When their parents left home they tended to put the eldest one in charge. The siblings do not like the idea of one person being able to make the decisions for all of them so they quickly disapprove of that idea. They then put forward the idea of doing things by a vote. In the end they decide against that idea as well because it would leave some members of the family unhappy with how things turned out. In the end they decide to try do deal with issues through discussion, compromise and consensus, only taking a vote on issues that require immediate action. (The biggest flaw in this thought experiment is that my group is small enough that they can do that.)

The most obvious thing they almost simultaneously agree needs to be taken care of is the payment of the rent. Because all of them live in the house they decide that all of them should help pay rent.

There however is a problem. The youngest has just graduated college. He has employment, but makes the least money of all of the siblings. If they were to divide the rent evenly his share would come to more than he makes. There is a debate on whether this sibling should just be made to return home, but eventually the siblings realize that if he were to do so the little money he does put forward on the rent would leave with him.

After discussing it the siblings decide that how much each sibling puts forward on rent should be based on how much money they make, with the two that make the most putting forth the most on the rent.

They quickly come to another problem regarding money. The siblings eat most of the same foods, but there are some that are unique to each sibling. One sibling for instance is a vegetarian and does not eat meat products, but does the eat, bread, eggs, and apples that the other siblings eat. To save time they wish to send only one of them to do the grocery shopping.

In the end they make a list of all the foods that are common to them. They tally up how much the food would cost and divide it by the five of them. They agree to pay that much and for anything that is individual to them pay individually.

Civic Duty
After the siblings have decided how much money each of them is going to put towards the utility's groceries, and rent they decide to figure out who's going to do what chores and when. The original idea is to rotate but they quickly decide against it. It takes the second eldest only 20 minutes to wash dishes while it takes the youngest 40. As a result the eldest does not mind washing dishes, while the youngest does. Also the youngest is the fastest when it comes to mopping the floors. In the end they decide that the person who can do each chore best and does not mind doing said chore should do it. Because there are some chores none of them like doing they decide to place a value on each one based on the effort it takes. The siblings who do the chores none of them wish to do will have a bit of what they are supposed to pay for rent and groceries knocked off and paid by the others.

The Law
The siblings do not wish to have pointless arguments in the future so they decide that they should get around to making a general list of rules. The list would regard a number of things, when the TV should be turned off, how to treat guests and how to be treated by guests, rules regarding drinking etc. They make a list of rules but quickly wonder what would happen if any one of them broke them. They decide that the obvious punishment is that the offender would have to put more towards the rent that month. They also decide that exceptions to the rules may need to be made. Should the TV should be off by midnight rule still be in play if there is a pay per view concert that 4 out of the 5 siblings wish to watch. They decide that if notice is given exceptions can be made and also that before the rent penalty they will hear out the accused.

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