Friday, June 17, 2011

Some updates

No, I haven't given up blogging, I've just been busy.

I had been unbusy enough to start doing blog-related work again by last week, but a comment by Dr Binswanger on HBL regarding the Weights and Measures clause got me to looking at and editing my Constitution again. He said that the government has no business dictating weights and measures where instead that private organisations should be doing that kind of work and market forces converging on the convenient standards. To a great extent he has a point: no standard should be dictated.

That being said, I do think there is room for some creation by government of standards for government use. What I had in mind - actually before Dr Binswanger even raised the topic but which I had not incorporated in a new edit yet - was that there was a legitimate role for the military to set standards for its own needs of precision. In the US, for instance, I see no reason why a specification of weights and standards cannot be a part of the United States Military Standards.

Of course, as that wikipedia entry itself indicates, a proliferation of standards causes problems in its own right. And, there is no reason why these military standards cannot themselves just be drawn from pre-existing commercial and academic standards. But all this is just administrative issues that do not negate the principle: there are legitimate grounds for government interest in formulating at least some standards for its own needs. Then, with a decent set of those in place I further see no reason why private individuals and organisations can choose simply to refer to these military standards, so long as the right to use standards at odds with those of government devising is not abridged. For that reason I have kept a weights and measures clause in my own Constitution - but I did make sure to enumerate that right expressly and to shift responsibility for formulation from Justice to Defence.

The same principle is also applicable to accounting standards, given the legitimate need for law specifying standards for the recording and reporting of government accounts. And, sure enough, accounting standards are a hot-topic, too. Still, there is a provision for that in my own Constitution, which I have had there for a while and have left in for the same reason as above. As a practical point, however, it is probably better that the law in question just adopt commercial standards with only some adjustments - but that I leave to the accountants and the actual context in which a future LFC government finds itself.

While I was at it I took the opportunity to cut the whole thing back. At 17,500 words it is still just over twice as long as the US Constitution, but I did cut out about 3,000 words of material that is best left to statute created under the Reasonable Person standard. The files of the latest version - in Word Doc, PDF for A4 paper, and PDF for US Letter paper - are available in the File Cabinet. I am also told that the numbering system for the Word Doc doesn't work properly in Open Office or some other freeware (the same reason why I gave up on Google Docs, btw), so if the sections aren't numbered continously from 1 to 129 then take the PDF of your choice.

I increased the main version number from 12 to 13 because the deletion of a number of sections caused all the later ones after the first deletion to be renumbered, plus of course because of the substantial amount I cut out. Feel free to comment, and I will bear good commentary in mind for a future edit, but I wont be touching it for a while: now it's back to working on OTI posts.


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