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In accordance with Citizens United and with the acceptance that the real wealth creation of this nation is created by corporations, we hereby declare that the voting rights of corporations have been usurped by the employees of the corporations. Without the income gained from the corporations, most people would have no income to own property, feed, or clothe themselves, it is now acceptable for corporations to include provisions in their employment contracts that require employees to turn over their voting rights to the corporation they are working for and to delegate their vote to the voting rights officer of the firm to cast as the firm sees fit.

These all seem a bit flimsy to me (and I thought of them). What are some other justifications that the voting rights might be bartered to get a job?

Part of my line of thinking comes from the idea that corporations can make huge donations to candidates and PACs which would probably act against the interest of the employees. The only way to make sure the corporation could offer the votes needed would be to take the voting rights from their employees so they could be cast en masse as the corporation saw fit.

It's a bit of a dystopian world, but I'm struggling with how to strip the rights of the people without it seeming unrealistic.

Parts of this world seem like Robocop, but more as a pre-quel than a sequel.


I'm looking for a(n) event(s) that could cause this to come to pass. One idea that comes to mind is "massive voter fraud" that removes the secrecy from the ballot, but then this goes further assigning the vote to the corporation.

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    $\begingroup$ You should research why citizen voting became mostly secret around the world in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jan 18 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking for how such a system would legitimately come into being accepted, or legitimate reasons for corporations to require it and employees to agree to it? $\endgroup$ – Spoki0 Jan 18 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Karl, an interesting story could be written from the perspective that businesses (not just corporations) usurp the voting rights of their employees (that should be corrected in the OP's Q). While technically an oligarchy, oligarchies are usually much smaller than the hundreds of thousands of businesses. But what's cool is that businesses would be looking for reasons to hire everybody they possibly could to gain greater political influence. It's the ultimate jobs program. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 18 at 21:57
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    $\begingroup$ You slipped in the kicker and hoped no one would notice: "the voting rights of corporations have been usurped". What corporate voting rights? Once you allow corporations to vote, everything goes out the window. At the least, an industrious individual could create a very large number of corporations, with each getting a vote. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Jan 19 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH More probably a plutocracy rather than an oligarchy. An oligarchy is rule by the few, i.e., power is concentrated in the hands of a small group. Plutocracy is rule by the moneyed classes. Businesses and corporations would qualify for that. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 19 at 8:16
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Multiple steps

Don't go straight from the current system to your new system. Take intermediate steps.

Switch from geographic representative democracy to delegated democracy. In geographic representative democracy, you vote for a representative in a district drawn on a map. In delegated democracy, you delegate your vote to someone. The more people that delegate a vote to a particular person, the more that person's vote counts.

Why might people switch from geographic representation to delegation? Because currently we have gerrymandering, where politicians draw the districts. In a delegated democracy, there are no districts. Voters choose the person to whom they delegate their votes. And they can choose people who are more similar to them. For example, a millennial might choose Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while a senior citizen might choose Donald Trump.

This of course works best in a parliamentary democracy. In the United States, people might amend the constitution to create a parliamentary democracy. Or the states might stop seating electors, which would have the effect of throwing the election to the House of Representatives. Then under the new system they formalize it with a constitutional amendment (or convention).

Over time, change from a vote every two years to a system where people can change their delegate at any time. You then eliminate the secrecy of the ballot because people find it more valuable to be able to see that their vote was delegated properly than that it was secret. Also, it's hard for a ballot to be secret if you can vote from your phone.

Now have unions start asking for their members to vote for their lobbyists as delegates. At first, it is just a request. "Hey, vote for our lobbyist. She'll make sure that Congress doesn't pass laws restricting the coal that we mine and burn in our power plants. That way we won't get laid off!" Over time, it becomes a requirement. To be a member of the union, you have to delegate the vote to someone on the approved list. If not, you're out of the union.

Unions like this because it increases their power. Corporations like this because their unions want the corporation to do well so that the union can harvest money from them. The politicians that win under this system like it because, they win. The ones who lose don't have power anyway.

Over time, the corporations delegate more and more power to their unions, who can use it better. After all, they are people driven and control the votes. In the end, unions become corporate shops. I.e. the union and the corporation are one. The union owns all the stock and chooses the head of the corporation. Union members are expected to delegate their vote to the union choice. If not, they're let go from the union. And you can't work for the corporation if you're not union.

You can of course leave the union and vote for your own choice. But then you're unemployed. Since you are paid in union scrip, you lose all your savings. Retired? You lose your pension. Or you can just go along.

The problem with a single event is that the world doesn't work that way. Your single event would have to happen after a series of tiny events that you can't explain as there are too many of them.

For example, every president from George Washington through Richard Nixon had the power of impoundment. We often blame the loss of the impoundment power on Watergate. But what does a burglary have to do with spending authority? Nothing. Congress resented a series of actions taken by presidents. This made them want to eliminate impoundment for decades. They finally succeeded as a result of Watergate, which reduced presidential approval to a level where they could pass it as a good government reform.

Your single event may thus be entirely unrelated to selling votes. Selling votes may be a side effect of the event rather than the intention. That's more realistic, but it makes for lousy fiction because it looks unrealistic. By breaking it into multiple steps, you can make each step seem plausible.

  1. Delegation to eliminate gerrymandering.
  2. A parliamentary system so that the head of government is chosen by the legislature, making it easier to work together. No more split government.
  3. Public delegation because people want to see proof that their vote counts more than they want privacy.
  4. The rise of union delegation so that people can leverage their vote for better or at least continuing jobs.
  5. A mandate so that free loaders can't vote against the union and still keep their jobs.
  6. Takeover of the corporations by the unions, who have more power and influence in this system.
  7. The unions become the corporations.
  8. Only union corporations are left. Want to work? Join a union and delegate your vote.
  9. Everyone delegates their vote to a union corporation and the union corporations control the government.
  10. Rather than the union controlling the corporation, the corporation has effectively taken over the union. The union now faces corporate incentives and acts like a corporation.

Each step seems plausible. People act like that. The final steps seem inevitable from what came prior.

By contrast, starting with Citizens United requires ignoring the subsequent backlash. People aren't interested in delegating more power to the corporations now. They want to claw back some of what they've already given.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for Delegation to eliminate gerrymandering. $\endgroup$ – boatcoder Jan 21 at 3:05
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Once upon a time, globalization led to a massive, global oligarchy in which all major products like cars, communication and entertainment devices, clothes and even food were produced and marketed by no more than a handfull of companies. Smaller competitors were swallowed by the big players until there were no small players left. The competition was so fierce that companies became extremely picky about who could work for them.

They required that applicants were absolutely dedicated to this company alone. Regular after-hours entertainment and invite-your-family parties tied the employees ever stronger to their company. To promote their own sales, they gave employees bonus points and discounts for buying products from this company now.

But no-one is happy with the status quo. No global multi-billion company is happy with being the second biggest. Competition between the last remaining companies got so hard and horrific news about thousands of employees loosing their jobs (and many even committing suicide) due to lost market shares become engrained in the collective memory of the public.

Every time the free people were called to vote (for whatever) the companies gave out suggestions as to which vote would ensure the safety of their jobs the most. Of course, this requires as much of the workforce as possible to to vote, time they cannot spend doing their actual work.

To make things less complicate and more comfortable, companies offered voluntary voting services for those employees who were so dedicated to their jobs that they simply couldn't find the time. With the first hesitant acceptance of the voting service, companies started suggesting using the service instead of personally going to cast their vote. Since dutiful employees followed the advice of the company on what / whom to elect anyways, the voting service developed from "transfer my secret vote" to "vote instead of me" over the course of some decades. And since, after a few more decades of this, most employees made use of the service anyways, companies declared it mandatory because the minority that actually left their workplace to cast a vote were accused of voting against the suggested candidate and thereby acting against the interest of the company.

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IRL, the U.S. has laws restricting people from selling their own votes. It's why, during the last midterm election in the U.S., there was some controversy over ballot-selfies.

An easy way to achieve the universe you're describing is to simply remove those laws. The laws were originally put into place (afaik) not because votes were being extorted from people, but because people were selling their votes voluntarily en masse. The majority of people just don't care to vote.

One potential scenario leading up to your world is: corporations bribe/lobby politicians to remove the laws which restrict sale of votes. Then, corporations offer bonuses to people in exchange for their votes. After some time, the practice becomes normalized among a large population of people. Eventually, during a hard economic downturn, the common man's immediate well-being may prove more valuable to him than the long-term impact of his vote. At that time, when salaries are minimal, but the corporation owners are still very well-off, a person's livability may come to depend entirely on selling their vote to their employer. Subsequent elections of corrupt politicians only prolongs the problem. A few decades of that, and it gradually seems to become just the normal thing to do, to sell your vote. A generation later, and corporations will have no trouble legislating their ownership of everyone's vote.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea of induced crisis to cause the common man to "go along" with the assignment of his vote. $\endgroup$ – boatcoder Jan 23 at 1:39
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Some people might consider that your money is your real way to vote. You have money, if you buy the new SMSG phone, it means that you consider the new SMSG phone to be something humanity must create, and that the SMSG company is something that should continue to live.

Then SMSG company pay the advertising of politicians they consider being good for the life of their company.

People that work for SMSG must consider that the SMSG company must live. Yet, they can vote for a politician that could harm SMSG. This breaks any logic.

Making companies able to take your voting rights makes it way better. We're in an era where money and companies are what matter, yet people matter a bit, as people make companies function.

Money will still decide which politician you can vote for. The companies that make the biggest amount of money are the best, because these are the companies where people send most of their money (they voted for those companies). Because they have lot of money, they can pay for political advertising.

If you work for a company, you must give your vote to your company, then your company must choose the politician that is compatible with it, the company must continue to live, because if you chose to work for this company, it's because you want for this company to get stronger.

If a company has a lot of employees, it means a lot of people want to make that company become stronger, it also means that a lot of the money sent to the biggest companies come from that company. If only the biggest companies could choose, it could break everything.

Both money income and number of employees are important. If a company could employ everyone, it would mean that money isn't important and that this company covers everything the world could need. If a company can buy all the politicians, it means that they are a lot more effective than other companies, other companies should follow their lead.

This system works if you need a majority to do something. In there, a company hiring 51% of the population makes the decision. Going more people based, you could make companies that hire 20% of the population decide where 20% of the taxes go, which is way more democratic [Please laugh or I'll lose all my faith in humanity].

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Voting booths have been abolished, and elections are run by mail or Internet (see Oregon). Corporations now handle many of the interactions between their employees and the government. In particular, they submit lists of their employees to the government and get the mail-in ballots or Internet verification numbers, simplifying ballot distribution and/or providing identification and authentication information for Internet voting.

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