Well I can probably come up with some ideas. It won’t be perfect of course, but what is?
First things first, some thoughts:
I don’t believe in pure democracies. I think they’re a great way to ensure mediocrity and inefficiency. That being said, despotisms are bad as well… In principle a benevolent despot would be good, but the problem with this is twofold. How are you going to make sure your despot is benevolent? Further, how are you going to ensure that all future despots are going to be benevolent? You can’t. Absolute power and all that. So we’re going to have to strike some sort of happy medium. Maybe if we could get some sort of omniscient AI to run the government (The Machine is your friend…), but we’re straying into the realms of science fiction there.
A large standing army? Sounds like a bad idea to me. Huge drain of resources in peacetime, and war time is something to really be avoided. On the other hand being invaded without any form of defence would be Bad, and an ideal government should work even if lots of places were to follow it - can’t rely on others to provide defence.
Education is very very very important, and is almost never done right. In particular teaching should be a job that people want to be in, and people should be taught how to think and learn for themselves.
Free stuff is good - housing, food, education, etc. Unfortunately free stuff Isn’t. Taxes have to pay for it, and high taxes are less good. It might help to shift some of the taxation to the higher income people, but I’m not really one for believing that the rich should support the system (although to some extent perhaps). Something will need to be done to provide free services for less.
Religion? Religions fine, as long as it stays away from government.
Laws? Fairly lax for the most part. I don’t like the major religion-based moral impositions on people.
Hmm. Anything else I can think of? Nope. Lets get started then. Advance warning: Any numbers are off the top of my head, and probably in need of fiddling.
System of Governance
No political parties. People will be elected on an individual basis. There will be a parliament of say, 60 people and a president. Presidents will serve a term of 30 years, parliament of 15. Re-election is not possible, but only members of parliament can be elected to president. However, election of the president and MPs will both occur from general elections within the populace. 12 MP positions will come up for re-election every 3 years, with the presidential coming one year after every 10th MP election. Power will be divided roughly equally between president and parliament, with the balance slightly in the president’s favour.
Voting age would be 16, or on completion of the mandatory politics course in school (whichever comes later).
Laws and Law Enforcement
Gun control will be heavy - guns just aren’t permitted outside of law enforcement, with appropriately heavy penalties.
Drugs will be fairly lightly regulated. Dangerous and cripplingly addicted drugs will be illegal, but most mild ones (certainly marijuana. I don’t know enough about drugs to really say what others) will be permitted, although there will be pretty strict laws about misuse. Only major restriction is smoking and other drugs which produce vapours, etc. It can’t be done in public areas, and businesses need a license for having smoking rooms. The license will be fairly easy to obtain, as it’s mostly there to provide restriction on where people smoke rather than to stop people smoking.
There would be no legal form of marriage. There would be civil unions, which convey roughly the same benefits, and are available for any group (maybe with some maximum size - say 10 - to prevent it getting too silly) of any mix of genders.
An innocent until proven guilty legal system of course. There will be no private lawyers. The legal system will not be designed to mete out punishment; The emphasis will be on repair, reform and prevention. The death penalty will be available as a last resort if a person is deemed to be unreformable.
This ones the tough one. I’ve sortof kludged together an idea that might work, but the details are in need of heavy polishing.
Taxes will be moderate to heavy, with more taxation for richer people. However, people have the option of government service. Government service involves basically working for free at whatever profession the government decides is best (with your input). This is not a permanent thing. While on government service you are not taxed, and various economic benefits apply (see below). Six months of government service grants you two years in a much lighter tax bracket afterwards. While on government service, the pay is somewhat pathetic (probably minimum wage). However, as well as the tax benefits, you get free access to public transport, all interest payments on loans, etc. are suspended for the duration of the government service or for one year, which ever is shorter. Also large price breaks are available from most of the government stores. Maybe a few others, I’m not sure.
People on government service basically run a parallel economy. Most essential industries are available in government service form; they don’t produce anything remarkable, but it’s all of decent quality. Food, clothing, housing, etc. are all available via the government. Basic ones are available for free, slightly better ones are available for a price (but a smaller one than the private sector provides). In particular there would be free (fairly minimal, but free) appartments available for everyone. The government provided things tend to be purely functional, with not much spent on elegance or packaging. Any profits made (which would tend not to be huge, but would be noticable due to the fact that the pay is so low) are split up as bonuses among the employees, so there is actually incentive to do a good job. Most public projects, etc. would be done by people working under government service like this (with people on actual contracts for overall organisation).
The two special cases would be teachers and doctors. Both would be paid good wages (not insane wages, but good) and have the permanent benefits of government service - no taxes, price breaks and free transport. Both education and medicine would be nationalised and freely available.
A similar option for tax breaks is militia training. It takes one month of solid training every two years, and moves you to a medium tax range (still significantly higher than the government service provided ones, but a noticable cut).
Umm… yeah. That’s about all I’ve got on economics. It’s not my strong point.
Testing for education would be nationalised. It wouldn’t consist entirely of exams though - some classes would require projects and the like, some of them in groups.
There would be no streaming by years. People would be required to complete certain classes by the time they graduated, and would be free to take whatever classes they wanted whenever they wanted other than that.
These classes would include:
English (or appropriate language of choice). In order to graduate they must have a good grasp of the language and be able to write well.
Mathematics, taught properly. A great deal of emphasis on the methods of thinking rather than the mechanical form usually taught, along with applications of the maths. Probably up to calculus, with notions such as sets and logic which are normally ommited at high school included.
At least one science subject.
Philosophy. Not the handwavy “Do we really exist? Is this all the dream of a butterfly pretending he’s a hamster?”, etc. It’s interesting, but it’s not something that should be mandatory. In particular getting high school kids to care would be a nightmare. Debating and reasoning, with discussions of rights, knowledge, meaning, language etc. It wouldn’t be a big course, but enough to give a grounding in the subject. Perhaps a little bit of general religious discussion should be included (with reference to a few different religions).
Ability to speak at least one foreign language. Reading and writing also, but to be honest that’s a lot easier. The emphasis should be on conversational use of that language rather than an insistence on getting all the grammar, etc. right although grammar should of course be covered as well.
Politics. This one is very important - too many people don’t have a decent grasp of politics. (Myself included unfortunately) which leads to very apathetic voting. Both general discussion and specific national politics would be included. Several courses - each with a different teacher - would be required to achieve balance. Let me stress that this one is Really Important.
History, but with emphasis of discussion and trying to understand things rather than learning what happened when and where (learning that should come from the discussion).
Computer literacy. I don’t really feel this one needs a lot of explanation.
PE. Yes, I know you’ll scream. As taught it’s a horrible subject. However the mandatory PE course would be pretty minimal - it would require a basic knowledge of exercise, both how to do it and the value of it, etc. It would be a short course and would not include any mandatory annoying team sports.
Those are all I can think of offhand. They seem to rather reflect my sciency bias though, so I’m sure I’ve missed some.
There might be a small standing military. I’m not sure. However they wouldn’t be expected to fight on their own - the main emphasis would be on mobilising the militia and police into a defensive force, as well as on training the militia. There would also be a reasonable sized intelligence division.
Hmm. I think that’s about it. It’s far from perfect, but it would probably work. Maybe, kindof, sortof. I don’t know.
Holy hell that’s long. I think I may have overdone it a bit in my rambling.