An alien civilisation has developed a political system around the idea that governance is essentially a form of corruption and to lose sight of that is to invite disaster. For instance in the absence of guard patrols a trade route is going to become the site of banditry because individuals are inherently opportunistic and self-interested. The largest band of bandits are going to consolidate control over their source of income thereby becoming a criminal organisation with control over that territory. As an organisation they will establish a set of rules to prevent exploitation of their income source, rather than individual bandits attacking travellers along the route randomly a toll is established and travellers are charged a set rate for use of the organisation’s road.

Now that the organisation effectively owns the road and are making a regular income from it they may consider investing in it, laying cobblestones and setting up signage, to both further legitimize their ownership of it and encourage more people to use it, indeed it’s in their best interests to pay for the maintenance of this infrastructure. So now that these “bandits” are patrolling the road, wearing uniforms, assisting travellers (it’s in their best interests to do so) and fighting off others who want to perform actual banditry, are those employed by the organisation still bandits themselves or would it be more apt to call them guards?

As this alien civilisation sees it governance is good corruption, like how yeast is the good kind of bacteria for making beer, whereas bad corruption takes the form of exploitation and most often occurs when an organisation in control of a territory or service but refuses to take responsibility for owning it. So my question is what kind of political system would this alien civilisation use in order to ensure the best interests of the government organisation and the people working for it align with the best interests of the nation/kingdom/whatever the aliens live in, so that their inherently corrupt nature works for rather than against them?

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    $\begingroup$ Nothing alien there. The concept is called rational anarchist. It was explored in "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Feb 2 '18 at 3:23
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    $\begingroup$ For an individual politician accepting bribes to pass exploitative policies may be perfectly rational, the personal benefit is great and the personal detriment is small, the fact that it is of detriment to the society as a whole is of little consequence to the individual unless they are part of an organisation that will punish them for this betrayal. $\endgroup$ – Cognisant Feb 2 '18 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ If the biggest gang is legitimized by its control of property and resources, there's nothing to hold them to their (supposed) responsibilities. In that way this is no different from most models of government on Earth. $\endgroup$ – rek Feb 2 '18 at 6:08

I would consider a system of city states and small conglomerates. Small, sectioned states that have small amounts of land with small, civilian based governments to avoid "bad corruption." The places of housing would be one city state, the marketplace another, and then, of course, the roads would be another. As for a way to keep some sort of unity, each city state would have to agree to a sort of UN contract that states if one land attacks or deviates into a more corruption prone system,the offender will receive denied service from other city states, such as being banned from using roads or trading in marketplaces.

As for a military, it should be kept to a minimal and only be grown in times of war or unrest. The military should be based on defending.

Overall, a sort of cooperation with others is required in order to succeed, with each state needing to rely on others for something, so no one state has more leverage than another.

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