The Purpose of Canton Nation

The Purpose of Canton Nation is to create cantons and canton forums in as many places as possible to prove their worth as potential replacements for all types of legislatures, including town councils, county boards, state assemblies, and the US Congress.

There are three areas in which I am convinced (and seek to prove) that cantons and canton forums will improve on all these existing forms of representative government.

1) They will provide real representation for every citizen able to vote. Currently, most elections take place with two candidates, one Democrat, one Republican. The candidate elected will almost always be from one of these two parties, and represent the values of their party. This means that those who voted for the losing candidate will be unrepresented until the next election at best. In some places, we basically have one party rule. My town is an example of this, as there has not been a Republican elected to town council since the 1980s, even though nearly half of the town’s citizens are of that party. The Republicans here are unrepresented in their representative government. 

Cantons are like parties, in that they represent a set of values, and are made up of people who share those values. A canton forum is the collection of representatives from each of the cantons in a territory, such as a county. Each of the cantons is a membership organization from the territory, and therefore, each member of a canton is represented in the forum. Always. There is never a time when you are a member of a canton and not represented in the forum. 

2) They will make the representatives more responsive to the citizenry. Canton representatives are chosen once a year, for a single year, renewable. Let’s say that the date at which the Springfield County cantons are finalized is June 30. On July 1, every canton representative knows how many individuals he is representing for the next year, and, based on simple math (total revenues of the county divided by total number of citizens eligible to vote times the number of members of the canton) they know exactly how much they have to spend that year. The various departments of government services will come before the canton forum and present their request for funding for the year. The cantons will work out whether and how to fund these requests. If at any time a canton member becomes dissatisfied with the actions of their representative, they can indicate this by deciding that they will be changing cantons next June 30, and make that change known to the Registrar, who keeps track of these selections. All this information will be public data, and so the cantons will be aware on a daily basis of changes, very much like a stock market where prices fluctuate. It is in the interest of the canton, therefore, to try to please their members. In this way power is distributed to the level of the individual citizen.

3) They will make it possible to right-size government and make it efficient. Cantons will be in daily competition with one another, again like stocks. It will be in their interest to be sure that the services that they are paying for are of value to their members, and provided at the right price. This will end the practice of government programs that get started, but acquire lives of their own, and become extremely difficult to terminate when they are no longer of value. It will also be in the interest of the cantons to provide only the services their members want (and no more), since citizens will be considering cost as a factor when choosing a canton.