Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Designing A Moral Government, Part 1 - The Genetic Lottery

Now that we have defined good and government, it would seem that it's time to start getting to the heart of the issue. What is a moral government?

Let's talk about the concept of the "genetic lottery," which we will define as the idea that when you are born, it is completely random to whom you will be born. This premise is instrumental in designing a moral government. The fact that there exists a genetic lottery of which we are all a product means that in designing a government, we have to assume that it is possible to be born to parents of any income level, in any profession, with any disposition. As such, one would never design a government in which one person is king and everyone else is a slave, because the probability of you being born to a king is extremely low. Likewise, we would never design a communist society in which everyone has exactly the same rations independent of the value they contribute, because we value achievement as a means of achieving happiness.

Thinking about this question from the perspective of an optimization problem, the task at hand is to define the constraints and pick a variable to maximize. The variable to maximize is pretty obvious; the role of government is to create market efficiency, so we want to maximize value creation, which correlates pretty well with the concept of gross domestic product.

The constraints follow from the genetic lottery framework. Since we accept life as our standard of value, we certainly want to minimize the likelihood of our birth parents disposition making it impossible for us to survive into adulthood. We also want to create a system under which upward mobility is possible, since there will always be a much higher chance of being born to a middle to lower class family than there is to be born to an upper class family. As rationalists, we deny the existence of life after death, so upward mobility must be possible during one lifetime; caste systems definitely do not cut it. We also trust our mind above all else, since it is our primary means for survival in the world, so moral governments must minimize situations in which there is a lack of choice.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're trying to merge two incompatible concepts: the government and morality. Since there is no single morality for everyone, then there can be a moral government. Any government is immoral!