Did you know that we live in a democracy, and we let people in and let them vote?

So I was thinking yesterday about the idea of a country as a thing that people own.

Suppose we decide to run the US like a corporation. We issue about 320 million shares of stock; each share entitles you to vote for the CEO and entitles you to 1/320th of the government’s profits. (Why shouldn’t the government have profits? If Harvard can run a profit off its investments, why not the gov’t?)

  1. Can people sell their shares?

Why not? It’s certainly more entertaining if they can. We could see the emergence of a market where shares of the government are bought and sold–initially very cheaply, as about 40% of people realize they don’t vote, anyway, and try to sell off their stock for quick cash. It could take quite a while for the initial glut to clear, with some people (millionaires, stock investors,) buying up large numbers of votes.

There’d be a lot of angsty hand-wringing during the process about the inevitable result that a lot of white rich dudes would be buying up the votes from poor blacks and Hispanics. But eventually the market would clear, and life would go on.

Eventually we’d get mutual funds where people could invest in part of a vote (or multiple votes.) I’d expect the prices on these to go up shortly before an election, leading to some interesting activity in stock futures (and now you could short the election, hahah.)

2. Who is allowed to buy a vote? Can anyone do it, or do you have to be a citizen?

Maybe “citizenship” simply means you own a vote. I guess everyone could vote on it.

3. Stock shares can be inherited, but new stock is not issued.

Issuing new stock dilutes the value of the old stock. This is supply and demand. Suppose there are ten votes for sale, at $10 million dollars each. You buy one. Then the government issues new stock, and 30 more votes go on the market. Assuming our market works linearly, your vote is now worth $2.5 million dollars.