• Moderator
    Aug. 14, 2019, 7:23 a.m.

    CONTRIBUTORS NEEDED!

    Have you ever found yourself day-dreaming about a better future for Humanity? Do you consider yourself well-versed in the STEM fields, Futurism and the posits of Science Fiction? If so - READ ON!

    The Terran Union World-building project is a futurism thought-experiment set on planet Earth (and later, within the solar-system at large). It follows the rise and establishment of a global superpower known as the Terran Union, which represents the societal maturity of humanity expressed as a perfect social order. Designing and describing this setting in a realistic way is a big task, and too much for one or two creators - we need help!

    THE PROJECT
    The focus of the project is largely concerned with the social and political dynamics of the progressive Terran Union: what the government is like, how technology is developed, and how it affects the policies and citizenry when used within that system. Due creative consideration must be directed toward envisioning the laws of the Terran Union, the economic models it operates on and the societal trends that result in order to breath in the desired sense of realism.
    With these creative directions in mind, we need contributors - specifically those who are well-informed in the sciences - including but not limited to physics, engineering, sociology, economics etc. A world-building project starts to grow stale and unoriginal if it becomes the exclusive mental playground of one or two people. The more minds that are involved, the fresher and more diverse the setting becomes - leading to a lasting impression of realism and authenticity.

    THE SETTING
    The Terran Union is a technocratic meritocracy originally established via joint effort by all the developed nations of the planet. It is fundamentally utopian and “post-scarcity” - having marvellous advanced technologies that maintain a flawless infrastructure which supplies its citizens with all the basic rights that any sentient beings are entitled to: food, water, a home, free education and healthcare. Its structure, although ultimately authoritarian in jurisdiction, emphasizes decentralization and democratic operation via the use of various ministries that each oversee a particular vital function in a society. Legal matters are handled by a hierarchy of Courts, from a Local District all the way to a Supreme Court handling global issues. High government is comprised of a advisory Cabinet, a legislative Parliament and a Supreme Council of Ministers and experts in various fields. Ultimately, major decisions that require high governmental oversight are processed through these parties until they are either approved or otherwise solved. Those that aren’t are presented to the elected leader of the entire Terran Union - the Head of State.

    So, if you are well versed in science (political, economic, physical, environmental, etc) and want to be part of The Terran Union, then we would love to have you. It is obviously a work in progress and requires fresh, informed perspectives to help build it into something greater.

    Assistant Head of State & Editor-in-Chief
    -Stellarator.

  • Aug. 17, 2019, 1:10 a.m.

    I would like to contribute and be involved in this thought experiment. I have some ideas on the matter, mainly that the question of what a person is and what they are fundamentally worth, would have been answered. And hopefully in a way that respects and keeps room for the dignity of a person.

  • Moderator
    Aug. 19, 2019, 6:38 a.m.

    We would love to have you. To what capacity would you like to contribute?

  • Sept. 8, 2019, 2:24 p.m.

    I'm interested in this, if it's still open! Made an account so I can help contribute after being a fan of SFIA for a couple years. I have an nonlethal passion for sociology and political sociology. As a writer at heart, I like making sure the world-building is believable and realistic. With governments, creating the "perfect" one is something that is only in fiction, and even there, the words "perfect social order" often describe a government in a dystopia, which is also a utopia but only for some people who succeeded the most in the system. While I agree that if you're applying to be a minister of health, you better know a thing or two about healthcare and the struggles of working in a hospital, so a technocracy could work, but it's the other elements that are interesting.

    • Once thing that confused me is the idea of a decentralized authoritarian parliament. Authoritarianism is defined as a small elite or single leader controlling everything and individuals not having much if any freedom, a very centralized government that requires blind obedience with no criticism. Stories like 1984 or modern-day China come to mind with this, as they launched a credit system based on everything a person does. An individual can be punished harshly (no-fly list or unemployment) for as much as criticizing an official. Better yet, what type of authoritative government are we going for here? Jurisdiction makes me think on it's a local level; citizens are loyal to their ministry's leadership, ministry loyal to the district/parliament, etc. What laws are in place to keep the people happy while keeping the peace, while not allowing sneaky candidates smooth-talk their way to these powerful positions just because they have high merit? If someone travels between ministry jurisdictions, if possible, are they still subject to the same laws as their home ministry when they return?

    • Another is about the merit itself. Would it apply to everything in a person's life (college applications, jobs, clubs, etc), or does it really only matter if someone is dealing with governmental matters? How will contributions be measured, and is there a quota each person/household should reach? What happens if they don't reach it? This type of government is also flawed since what is considered "desirable" traits differ from person to person; some prefer a more aggressive/assertive persona, others want a more civil and diplomatic personality. Depending on how public these merit statistics are on individuals, it can create class rifts. People with low merit have less chances to gain merit and are seen as low-class, while high-merit citizens are given more opportunities simply because of their merit, especially if parents pass down their merit to their children or friends influence each other's merit by simply being around them. What happens if a low-merit person is best friends with a high-merit person?

    • What would it be merit based off of? Academic grades? Talent in science or STEM fields? Career track record? School of thought? What is in place so it doesn't turn into a like-minded groupthink among high-merit candidates, which would limit new perspectives and ideas into government and slow progress? It would also limit people who are interested in non-science fields, like fine arts or literature or entertainment, if we go by what a person can contribute to a technologically based government. How would right brained (creative and imaginative) people gain as high merit as left brained people (logical and analytical, essential for most sciences)? Current USA education requires a lot of utilization of the left side of the brain, putting creativity as optional electives that only boost your grade a little bit if you can juggle other classes that hold little to no interest to you or are difficult to effectively grasp.

    I'm writing a document that goes into more questions I have about this if you want, and most I'm going to try to help answer as well. Just throwing these out there because these concern the basic structure of society itself, and I wonder if these have answers already.Technocracies and meritocracies have been shunned in general because of the power ranking and how it can easily spiral into a dystopia for the public while it's a utopia for those who climb high enough on the ladder.

    I like picking things apart to make sure what's pictured in my head is what was intended. No government style is flawlessly perfect, but it can be refined so everyone is happy without being forced into being happy. That's enough for my essay.... what do you think?

  • Moderator
    Sept. 13, 2019, 8:04 a.m.

    This project is still very much ongoing, and the call for contributors is still very much active! Further, we welcome questions about the setting as interested individuals introduce themselves. This allows us to refine the image of our project by addressing those questions which concern the details not readily apparent in our proposal as so far as it has been prepared.

    Your thoughts about the citizens loyalty to their representatives is indeed correct. The Terran Union operates on a form of delegative democracy wherein the wishes of the people are carried up the political ranks by elected members of the state whom the people find to best represent their values. These representative's votes carry more political sway, and thus the will of the people is expressed before high government, at least as far as policy-making goes. A more decentralized approach to basic rights and local affairs is maintained at the lower levels, where each region on Earth (or beyond) can govern themselves as city-states, after a fashion. No system is totally immune against corruption, but it is thought that this "liquid democracy", together with technological monitoring aids of the like we cannot deploy in our modern era, can stave off the worst of political vice.

    As far as personal matters go, education is free for all and entertainment (like media, and what you do during your free time) is unfettered. As for the systematic operation of the Terran Union's meritocracy - that is still under development, and thus the details thereof are conceptual for now. It is something that deserves a lot of attention in the future - but so does a lot of other stuff!

    This is great! Your enthusiasm is certainly appreciated, as we are in the beginning phase of roughing out an outline of creative objectives for our contributors in relation to designing the system. Your input and thoughts would be most welcome on our Discord server: discord.gg/AWw5n9 . I should add that we are as of yet still a small group with big dreams - so if being one of the first to blaze the creative trail for our project is something that interests you, then we look forward to having you.

  • Nov. 24, 2019, 3:28 a.m.

    Hello.

    A. I would suggest that a decent portion of the (otherwise useless) civilian population make themselves useful by producing the Space Habitats and other infrastructure required for expansion and resource acquisition. (Orbital ring systems, launch loops, terraforming, asteroid mining, etc.) It is vital that expansion be at least as fast as population growth - if population growth ever begins to exceed expansion, then all population growth would have to be forced to cease. Otherwise, your post-scarcity society with rapidly run out of something and no longer be post-scarcity (or even worse, it may become dystopian).

    B. In any large nation, there are numerous factions. Some of these factions will despise each other (even if there is no logical reason). It is imperative that (at least some) of these factions be encouraged to participate in interplanetary and then interstellar expansion. Keeping the peace becomes much easier and safer if rival factions are launched to the stars - if they wage war, the war will be far away. This also allows respectable citizens who dislike city life have the option to leave for the frontier. If it is easy for dissidents to leave, then they will leave and Not choose to come back. If it is hard for dissidents to leave, then they will find a way to cause trouble. If known troublemakers are sent away against their will, then they will certainly come back with a vengeance. A careful balance will have to be found, maintained and payed for. Note: If any citizen is forbidden from leaving, then that citizen is a slave to the system. Presumably, we don't want slavery of any sort, thus any individual who wishes to Emigrate will be allowed to Emigrate.

    C. It will be vital for Genetic Engineering research and development to be greatly expanded. While many people imagine nano-machines and cyborgs and the like, the simple fact is that Protein Molecules are often the smallest and most efficient way to accomplish an atomic level task, individual cells already function as well as any nano-machine, and any non-living component of a body (or structure) will have to be periodically repaired, maintained and eventually replaced. Cells already self-repair, self-maintain, behave and reproduce in accordance with their programming (DNA). A living body or structure can be engineered to "last forever" and be self-renewing. Anything that a hypothetical nano-machine can do, a well-engineered cell can do just as well. Ex: You could engineer a California Giant Red Wood tree to grow in the shape of a 25 story apartment building; it would "build itself" (grow), maintain itself (heal from any minor or moderate damage), and could be so well engineered that the people who live inside of it forget that it is a living structure. The windows (made similarly to your eye's lens &/or the interior of your eye as a translucent pane nearly indistinguishable from regular silicon glass) would be open-able (hinged, not sliding) and if a window broke, it would heal after a while (unlike with non-living things which remain broken). The "living house" could, maintain a constant internal temperature, function to filter contaminants out of the air and soak up spilled liquids. It should also be possible to make use of the tree's living systems to transport and filter water supplies, contain those clean water supplies and even heat the hot water half of the water system.
    -> It is highly probable that engineered lifeforms will be the basis upon which a post-scarcity society became post-scarcity in the first place.

    D. Many of the citizens will demand a more direct say in the government; this could be granted via a petition system. The petition has to be judged in a "majority of those who care wins" manner, otherwise the petition process will remain a fraudulent joke. In any given political discussion, the majority of the citizen population just don't care. "Why don't they care?" They don't care because the issue has nothing to do with them either way. As of such, each petition must have a counter petition so that those who want to block the change can act to block the change while those who don't care can mark "abstain." In this way, each citizen gets to consider the proposition, and then vote "Yes," "Abstain" or "No." If "Yes" votes outnumber "No" votes (+ unpolled citizens) then "Yes" passes. Ex: If 90% of the citizen population is polled (100X total, 90X are polled), 40% vote "Yes" (that's 40X people), 25% vote "No" (25X people) and 25% vote "Abstain" (that's 25X people) then the "Yes" vote wins as 40% is greater than 35% (25% vote "No" + 10% who have not yet been polled = 35%). This makes it possible for very small numbers of people to make changes and these changes are easily pushed forwards and then if needed, pushed back, without any faction having to consider coercing the "abstain" voters into placing an actual vote. If you consider modern politics, an enormous amount of effort is put into forcing "abstainers" into placing a vote ("Yes" or "No"); or the "abstainers" are simply lumped in with the "No" votes, either of which is always wrong.

  • Moderator
    Dec. 11, 2019, 8:35 a.m.

    These were our thoughts as well. Certainly the Terran Union has an interest in space colonization and exploration, and even with advanced (although not human-level) AI and automation, a huge worker force will be required to accomplish the feats of engineering and colonization the TU wishes to attain in the solar-system (and beyond, later on). We in the Terran Union believe (like Isaac Arthur) that the number of future humans will be far greater than science fiction could ever dream of in just our solar-system alone. It's what both makes and encourages a K2 civilization.

    The Terran Union is less of a nation (in the modern sense) and more of a global (and solar-system-wide) hierarchical political movement that has sociological power through various Ministries, each of which address key parts of governence. Efficiency is the name of the game, and as such for the most part the TU lacks the bureaucratic labyrinthine multiple offices and administrations that a lot of modern-day governments possess. The Ministries address most issues in the public and private sector with sub-committees and think-tanks that are formed by cross-Ministry relations. These are almost always temporary and have little power beyond the issue at hand. Legal and Legislative acts are carried out by a Parliament, Cabinet and Head Office, whose members are elected by a representative democratic process. In light of this structure, "factions" are relatively unknown in the Union, at least those with significant political power. Certainly agents in each Ministry, or even those in different departments in just one Ministry, will compete with other agents elsewhere in various different projects, but politically independent groups rarely arise. If these do, they're usually quite small-scale (this being the future, small-scale could literally mean thousands or tens of thousands of people are involved). It may seem like the Terran Union diffuses legally-independent movements within society, but the truth is simpler: any movement for a particular project or campaign will find that their needs are fully represented by one or more departments in a Ministry due to the latter organizations vast representative pool, as the constituent voting process allows.

    This is a really interesting idea, and one we have taken into consideration. It is also worth noting that such a thing like a post-scarcity society will certainly owe it's existence to a variety of factors that built up in tandem. This proffered example could be just one of many other factors - these might include fusion power, and new types of building materials like carbon nano-tubes and graphene.

    A system like this would be an intriguing one to explore, but we find that a delegative, representative democratic process is sufficient for citizens to express their desires in broader political terms. It should be noted that technology in the Terran Union plays an integral part in the elective process, compared to the modern day. Let's just say that mind-reading technology is fully utilized on the hopeful candidates wishing to fulfill major political roles.

    Further questions and discussion is welcome.

  • July 11, 2020, 3:18 p.m.

    Is this project dead? The Discord server link doesn't work.