A Future Filled with Mirror Budgets and Virtual governments

2 min readApr 9, 2022

A Virtual Government Would Be Nice (4)

Mirror, 1769, Possibly designed by Robert Adam British, Scottish

We have proposed the system below before.

See the citation for details, but in short, it is a system in which all citizens act as a “government” to determine budget allocations, well aggregated to determine how to spend taxpayer money as much as possible without a government. On the link, we call it “mirror budgeting.”

Currently, collecting taxes requires the central government’s coercive power, and eliminating gov’t is not an option. However, we could eliminate (or reduce) the “politicians decide how to spend the collected taxes” and leave it to collective intelligence. This is a kind of proposal.

Government, as a mechanism, may be convenient for collecting taxes, but it is not necessarily superior in its use. We have no shortage of examples of governments, theoretically, ideologically, and conceptually, being “agents of the people,” autonomously oppressing the people or doing nonsense.

Incidentally, in the cited article, “mirror budgeting” is not about suddenly changing the system itself, but rather the story is based on the idea that if such a system is first hypothetically created and everyone starts making budget proposals, the aggregate results of such a system might change reality through pressure.

But it was not clear at the time of the proposal why the mirror budget should be “one person, one government” and why it should be virtual.

Suppose, however, our analogy is reasonable: the structure of the problem, “app development, the environmental tools it requires, and the time-wasting effects of past ties,” parallels the “reasons why institutional reforms take so long” story. If so, we should be wasting a lot of mirror budgets (each citizen!) for nothing. Making it might be worthwhile. If so many mini-governments = virtual environments that can be broken, new institutions will be easier to experiment with, out of curiosity alone.

There are two reasons why we should use our curiosity to explore various ways of spending our budget.