Memetic Essay Index
What do think of the idea of the US government taking delivery of stock of corporations they “bail out” like Chrysler in the 80s, the Big Three automakers at other times, the Big Banks after the 2008 housing crisis, and so on, and also one or more seats on the boards of directors of said corporations, say, to be filled by employees of the departments of transportation, labor, energy, or such? The stocks and the board seats are two separate things, but both have the same effect, ie, control over corporate decision making, whether the corporation is “taken over” by other entities, and visibility for the government and the People à la “piercing the corporate veil” (1).
Of course, the government could potentially sell off such holdings, giving the government treasury access to equity market growth profits. The treasury could also get dividends (and vote for them as stockholders and board members), and even borrow against market holdings, as a supplement to tax revenues.
Keynesian theory holds that we should “tax and save during boom times and borrow and spend during bust times”. As we all know, the feds basically borrow and spend all the time. One cool thing with public holding of equities and board membership is that such good economic practice might actually happen, since the treasury might be, say, motivated to unload valuable equities during boom times when they are most valuable, which would bring in big federal revenue and rein the booming market in through supply pressure.
Good stuff, (John) Maynard (Keynes)?
My original thought was punitive in nature, ie, corporations that screw up should lose some of their self governance and as a political move the taxpayers should be mollified by the fact of “getting something for their money.”
Then I looked at the economics and the socialism-in-capitalism ramifications, and it seems interesting.
To the argument that the government “doesn’t do that” or “doesn’t own stuff like that” I’d retort, “yeah, they do, and have (duh),” and that they easily could and possibly should.
For bonus homework, what are the macromemetic implications of this idea? What kind of acceptance or resistance would be met initially? What kind of macromemetic leanings would result in healthy functioning, and which might lead to bad results and settling into dysfunction and deadlock ☠️?
What sort of macromemetic engineering might be required to make this work?
Obvious memes which would have to be addressed are “socialism is bad” and “government control is bad.” The obvious take is to promulgate the immunomemetic subsystem (immunomeplex) that public equity ownership is neither socialist nor interventionist.
Trying to inject (introduce a meme into a memetic fabric, or cohort of memetic agents) that says (2) “our new thing is not the bad thing you think it might be” is not good macromemetic engineering.
The macromemetic engineer looks at the potential objections (immunomemes) and fabricates her own immunomemeplex to give agents the tools to bully other agents who might try to deploy those preëxisting immunomemes which would rip the sails of the new system she is trying to build. These should harness existing values (memeplex especially), naturally.
Total first pass brainstorming 🧠 ⛈
“Socialism? Hey, those guys screwed up, we bailed them out, and we should get our money back.”
“Government interference? Hey, we'll give the stock back once they pay us back.”
“Hey, those guys blew it, this is a democracy, I’m a voter, and I want to know what’s going on and what they’re doing with my money.”
“Too big to fail? Okay, great, but as a voter I want to know what’s going on. I don’t want those people screwing up again and wasting all our money again.”
“They’ve proven they can’t be responsible, and that we need to be able to keep an eye on them.”
These are all pretty negative. Positive ones are good, too. I don’t have a complete theoretical model of the relative effects of negative and positive immunomemes. I could brainstorm up some more positive ones. That’s all part of the process.
I’ll leave positive memes/immunomemes for this idea as homework.
Polyvariable design (creating sets of memes that target
disparate groups) is needed for congressmen, the population, and corporate executives, and board members, to make everybody accept it in their own way à la “great taste, less filling” and this is a good point to design a lot of “packing the meme space” and “designing the revolution” and “engineered memetic polarization” and “pseudomutative design” and so on (3).
It’s possible to start now. Getting memes out there among voters and legislators that the US government should receive ownership for future (and past!) massive bail-outs of banks and other industries.