Without Alignment between Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms, Political Cheating Can Occur

1. "Conditions," "Goals," and "Mechanisms" in Political Philosophy

1-1. Proposals by VECTION in the Past

Previously, we proposed the idea of PS3 (Pain reducing, Sustainability, Scalability, Security) as the "minimal ideal" for the desirable organizational structure.

In this context, "ideal" does not necessarily mean a destination, but rather conditions that an organization should strive to meet to ensure its survival. For example, an organization cannot survive without sustainability, but an organization that imposes endless pain on its members for the sake of sustainability is not desirable. Security is important for an organization's survival, but strengthening security should not undermine scalability.

On the other hand, we have proposed various mechanisms, such as the Pain tokens, Mirror budgets, and Bot Legislators.

We have an intuition that these mechanisms are "good." We also feel that these mechanisms should be effective in achieving the realization of PS3, which we consider as the minimal ideal for the organization. However, what kind of relationship should exist between the conditions and mechanisms that we have considered separately so far?

In the following, we want to consider this issue in relation to the identification of situations where political cheats occur. As the title suggests, if we only focus on certain conditions or mechanisms, there is a possibility of cheating, and a movement that started in pursuit of an ideal could turn into the opposite monster.

1-2. Goals (Vectionism) that Connect Conditions and Mechanisms

Looking back from this perspective, it seemed that there was a lack of something that connects conditions and various mechanisms. In other words, it's not clear what the goal of each individual mechanism is. Goals, or what an organization considers to be the "desired state," is what we express our ideas in a more concrete way than conditions. Therefore, let's call these goals "Vectionism" for now. And when we organize the goals we're considering, they're as follows:

Pain reducing: Minimizing total pain as much as possible

Trial handiness: Making trial and error as light as possible

Decision making with high quality: Making collective decision making fast and high quality using information technology

Discretion reducing: Minimizing the discretion of rule makers and operators as much as possible

The reason "as much as possible" is repeated here is because it represents the extent to which the conditions are met.

1-3. Relationship between Goals (Vectionism) and Conditions (PS3)

The goals we listed as Vectionism, such as "Pain reducing," "Trial handiness," "Decision making with high quality," and "Discretion reducing," depend on PS3 (conditions) to be achieved.

This means that PS3 (conditions) serves as the evaluation criteria for whether Goals (Vectionism) is working well or not. For example, the validity of the "Goal" of "making collective decision making faster" is measured by whether it is really contributing to "minimizing pain" (condition) and to what extent, if any. Suppose we summarize this relationship as follows:

  • To achieve "minimizing pain (condition)," it is necessary to have "minimizing total pain (goal)."

  • To achieve "sustainability (condition)," it is necessary to have "speed and quality of collective decision-making (goal)."

  • To achieve "stability (condition)," it is necessary to have "lightening trial and error (goal)" and "speed and quality of collective decision-making (goal)."

  • To achieve "security (condition)," it is necessary to have "lightening trial and error (goal)" and "minimizing discretion (goal)" through various technologies such as decentralization, openness, and automation.

Of course, this relationship between conditions and goals is just one example, but what's important is that the relationship between conditions and goals is clearly stated. I've given PS3 as an example because it's hard to understand without an example, but of course, there are various directions and combinations at the level of these conditions. However, the topic being discussed here is the problems that arise after the conditions have been fixed.

1-4. Relationship between Goals (Vectionism) and Mechanisms (Mechanisms)

As mentioned earlier, PS3 (conditions) is more abstract, and Goals (Vectionism) is somewhat more concrete. And furthermore, when we consider the means of realizing Goals (Vectionism), we need more concrete mechanisms such as "pain tokens" and "bot legislators" listed in the links.

For example,

  • Pain reducing (goal) → Pain token (mechanism)

  • Trial handiness (goal) → Virtual government, bot legislator, mirror budget (mechanism)

  • Decision making with high quality (goal) → Bot legislator, mirror budget, pain token (mechanism)

  • Discretion reducing (goal) → Various technologies such as multilayer cycles and mirror budgets that enable distribution, openness, and automation (mechanism)

As We've already written about each mechanism, please refer to those sources for more information.

1-5. Summary: Interdependency of Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms

Looking at the example we have been discussing, the relationship between conditions, goals, and mechanisms can be seen as a dependency like this:

Conditions (PS3) as the means of implementation for
Goals (Vectionism) as the means of implementation for
Mechanisms (a collection of specific mechanisms such as pain tokens)

When written out like this, it may seem like a self-evident concept. But is there any proactive meaning to considering these interdependencies?

If we consider the relationship between conditions “x” goals “x” mechanisms and conditions “+” goals “+” mechanisms, the “x” represents multiplication and the “+” represents addition. This means that in the former, if any of the three is zero, the entire result is zero, while in the latter, if any one of them is zero, the others can compensate for it, resulting in a significant difference between the two.

2. Political Ideology and the Cumulative Relationship between "Conditions", "Goals", and "Mechanisms"

2-1. The Drawbacks of Not Considering the Triplet of "Conditions", "Goals", and "Mechanisms" Simultaneously

Up until this point, I have written VECTION's arguments, which can be summarized as follows:

The main argument of this text: Many political issues stem from ignoring either "conditions," "goals," or "mechanisms."

For instance, the most straightforward case is when only the "goals" are advocated and no mention is made of the "conditions" or "mechanisms."

In this case, slogans and manifestos exist, but there is no visible path to achieving the stated goals. This lack of feasibility or discussion of the path to achieve these goals means that the ideals presented can be as high as one desires. However, without any consideration of how to implement these ideals, it becomes equivalent to not having any motivation to achieve them (or deliberately creating an illusion of motivation). Ambitious idealism that lacks specificity and is overbearing may lead to suspicion or nihilism toward liberalism for many people.

On the other hand, instances where only the details of "mechanisms" are provided without the other two components can often be observed.

In such cases, even if the mechanisms are designed and implemented concretely, if it is not clear what they are used for (the "conditions") or how they contribute to improving the situation (the "goals"), they may end up being mere novelties. This trap can befall people who enjoy making things or working with their hands.

For example, various voting systems that are more sophisticated than a simple majority vote have been devised. However, without clear "goals" or "conditions," there is no basis for determining which system is appropriate. The proposer of a mechanism might choose a complementary system that strengthens liberal ideals because they happen to be a liberal (or impose it implicitly). Furthermore, blockchain and DAOs that seem to have lost sight of the original "goals" or "conditions" may be just one example of this phenomenon.

Lastly, in cases where only the "conditions" exist without the other two components, it is difficult to create an example because "conditions" are the most abstract. However, there is a well-known example called "Arrow's impossibility theorem." It states that "no social welfare function satisfies all three of the following criteria: Pareto efficiency, non-dictatorship, and independence of irrelevant alternatives." This theorem summarizes the limitations and restrictions of democracy. Although this theorem has different "conditions" from VECTION's, it does represent one "condition" of society.

Arrow's theorem is likely correct as a theorem. However, the theorem itself does not reveal "what is actually possible or impossible in the real world." Since it is unclear how many of the necessary conditions for proving the theorem are met in reality, its scope of effectiveness is unknown. For instance, if there were conditions where people would choose something unrelated to their options when making a selection, or if people could predict their own gains and losses perfectly, the situation would be vastly different from reality.

Even if the "conditions" are presented in an error-free manner, the path to reality (implementation) cannot be seen. In discussions within academia where "making mistakes" is not allowed, there are often cases where one cannot escape from the "correctness that is self-contained." Moreover, there may be incentives to "avoid touching theory in reality as much as possible" if many of the conditions are not satisfied when applied to reality, and there is nothing to assert theoretically.

2-2. Exploiting division to cheat

However, it is natural to focus on one of the three, conditions, goals, or mechanisms, given the limitations of individual cognition, abilities, and lifetime. Moreover, mathematically constructible elements, such as the implementation of mechanisms or the proof of conditions, are virtuous in that they are generic, universal tools that are not confined to specific goals or concrete conditions.

However, there is a big problem in exploiting the fact that these three are divided and focusing on only one of them can result in cheating.

Mounting others by using grandiose words without any intention of realizing them is a clear example of this, but not only those with obvious malicious intent are problematic.

For example, the ESG investment principle (which corresponds to "goals" in this text) of selecting companies that are environmentally, socially, and governance-conscious was originally started as a movement aimed at realizing and maintaining the Earth's environment, social environment, and working environment, where people can live well. At least, that is what it says on paper.

In this case, the conditions are the realization and maintenance of a good environment for living, such as the Earth's environment, social environment, and working environment. However, in this case, if there are no specific mechanisms to prevent collusion and fraud that can occur between the "organization that evaluates ESG" and "companies that receive investment" and "investors," the goals and conditions of ESG investment, which should be good in themselves, become nominal and good conditions and objectives are used as a cover for fraud.

Therefore, it is necessary to have all three, conditions, goals, and mechanisms, in place. However, what does "in place" mean? Since each item cannot be achieved on or off in reality, they become quantitative evaluations. Furthermore, there is a need to compile these quantitative evaluations. What kind of approach should be taken to do this?

2-3. Evaluating CGM using multiplication

Regarding the degree to which the three factors, Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms (CGM), are fulfilled, the authors believe that they should be evaluated using multiplication, not addition.

With addition, one can focus on a specific factor and raise the total score. However, with multiplication, if any one of the three factors is zero, the total score becomes zero. Therefore, cheating tactics that show off one or two of the three factors while covering up the ambiguity of the remaining factor can be prevented.

Since there is a structure in which people strategically utilize (exploit) any one of the CGM factors that are lacking, a framework for evaluating the degree of fulfillment of CGM is necessary, even if each factor is not perfect.

The "multiplication relationship of Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms" in the title of this chapter means this.

Furthermore, the framework of CGM's multiplication evaluation itself is unrelated to any specific political ideology. The PS3 and Vectionism mentioned earlier are simply political beliefs that the authors of this text consider "good". However, any other political ideology should be able to be described in accordance with the CGM framework in principle. Having a consistent format provides a foundation for evaluating and examining different political ideologies within the same framework.

As an extreme example, let's consider authoritarian or aristocratic politics:

(Conditions) Emphasis on tradition and authority over individuals, etc. < (Goals) Resurgence of nationalism < (Mechanisms) Changing textbooks

・Aristocratic politics
(Conditions) Creation of a new type of human (superhuman) is necessary, even if only one person < (Goals) Concentration of power on a small number of superior individuals < (Mechanisms) Acceptance of lifelong rulership?

The part marked "?" is where the authors could not immediately come up with an idea. It is difficult to discuss briefly what kind of conditions authoritarianism aims for or how aristocratic politics tries to select (find) superior individuals using specific mechanisms.

In many cases, political forces that the authors perceive as problematic seem to be based on concealing a part of CGM (even from outsiders or allies). Therefore, such forces cannot describe their own ideology using the framework of CGM. Asking what they are aiming for, how they evaluate their degree of achievement using which framework, and what specific mechanisms they are adopting can be meaningful. Not being able to (or refusing to) answer this question itself becomes a strong indicator.

3. Continuous Automatic Checking and CGM

3-1. The Necessity of an Interface that Automatically Indicates Achievement

Previously, at VECTION, we proposed a system called "bot legislator" as a mechanism. However, even if the implementation of bot legislator works, without an interface that clearly shows how much pain has been reduced, how decision-making has become high-quality and high-speed, how trial and error has been promoted, and how the discretion of the powerful has been reduced, it will not be possible to create a mechanism to check whether CGM is missing or not, just by automating or decentralizing decision-making.

It is necessary to have a visualized interface or statistics that can clearly show how much each of the Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms has been achieved, so that it can be easily demonstrated whether a particular Mechanism is focused only on the technical aspects and not on the CGM. Ideally, an interface like an electronic bulletin board that constantly displays how much of each has been achieved should be available everywhere.

The "streaming voting (mirror budget)" and "pain token" previously introduced are mechanisms that provide one indicator to this bulletin board. And it is possible to consider and add other mechanisms besides these.

Without such an interface, it is impossible for everyone to know whether bot legislators are working properly, or whether they are making efforts and achieving results to accomplish Vectionism (or any other Goal). Therefore, it is not possible to evaluate or examine the merits of such efforts.

A significant portion of this can be automated. And this automation is different from automation for automation's sake or decentralization for decentralization's sake. It is an automation to prevent cheating by leaving out any of the Conditions, Goals, and Mechanisms.

3-2. The Need for a Domain-Specific Language to Describe CGM

In the context of automation, the essence of CGM cannot be automated without writing it in a formal language that connects the Mechanisms' statistics.

AI may be able to connect the meaning of natural language descriptions, but for such protocol-based matters, a formal language that allows for clear descriptions, ideally a language that connects the name of the Mechanisms to its code and describes the dependency of CGM, and a formal language that leaves no room for ambiguity or deception is necessary.

For example, it may be possible to generate programs or statistics from CGM created in natural language using AI, but it is necessary to check that the AI is not lying or misunderstanding the meaning. Cheating using the ambiguity of natural language exists on a different level from CGM and is a very important weapon for human politicians. However, it is not fair to hide intentions and lead others astray using deception.

Both humans and AI are dangerous to society if they erase things that they do not understand or fill in the gaps with bluffs. However, AI can decompose the inference process and the process of lying to identify errors, and multiple independent AIs can be used to cross-check without affecting each other. This may make it possible to use AI for a soft operation of CGM, such as bot legislators, if used cleverly.

Original Idea and Article Summary: Asaki Nishikawa
Article Creation: Toshihiro Furuya
Proofreading: VECTION

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