This month, my co-founder and I are launching a new app that enables individuals to use their quarters to reward or punish politicians for their actions. It’s called ChangeRoots.
My ultimate motivation is to contribute to a world where it is easy for people to live a whole and good life. Our contribution, ChangeRoots, is a high bandwidth interface between people and elected leaders. I believe this will lead to a significantly more adaptable governing system.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
Government & the Survival of The Fittest
Each country’s governing system functions like an organism. There are traits, characteristics and internal structures that interrelate to each other in complex ways. Similar to a biological system, the most adaptable governing systems best integrate change. The systems that best integrate change best empower their people to thrive.
We are at a critical moment in the evolution of the American system. The integrity of our governing structures are weakening due to massive changes in culture that have been amplified by technology. Incremental improvement is no longer sufficient to prevent a collapse, we need a quantum leap in the adaptability of our governing system to constructively integrate these changes.
The Arab Spring demonstrated just how powerfully modern connectivity can throw rigid governing systems into chaos. While our system is not as rigid as those in the Middle East, we cannot ignore the warning signs: trust in government and media are at all time lows, political tribalism is increasing at a frightening pace and marginalized groups are rising up more forcefully than we’ve seen in decades.
Throughout history, culture has brought pressure upon governments to adapt or be torn down. However, unlike prior generations, technology today has the power to exponentially amplify that pressure. This creates a greater need for systems to fluidly integrate change.
While this may seem daunting there is real hope. Powerful trends are infusing adaptability into our system: younger generations are engaging to create change at the highest rates in our history; elites are dedicating more resources to support the disadvantaged and solve structural problems than ever before; and grassroots movements on all sides are gaining momentum.
Over the last few decades individuals have harnessed technology to help themselves become more adaptable than ever before. We are now at a place where we can similarly harness technology to amplify adaptability in our governing system. With ChangeRoots, we built a platform that contributes to that amplification by increasing the bandwidth between people and elected leaders.
Closing The Gap Between The People And The Elected
Bandwidth, as Elon Musk describes it, is the speed, ease and quality of transmission between two subjects.
To illustrate the point let’s take two subjects, information and people. An encyclopedia is a low bandwidth interface between information and people, while Google’s search engine is high bandwidth. In another example, writing letters is a low bandwidth interface between people and people where FaceTime is high bandwidth. Within this framework, we saw an opportunity to create a high bandwidth interface between people and elected leaders.
ChangeRoots is a political news feed where a “like” sends a quarter to a politician and a “dislike” sends one to their opponent. Reading a feed is simple, clicking “like” or “dislike” takes minimal time and contributing to campaigns has a meaningful impact on the likelihood a candidate gets elected. Now, with ChangeRoots, we increase the speed, ease and quality of transmission between people and leaders by creating a simple, near-instant way for people to provide high impact feedback to elected officials.
We believe this will create an environment where politicians get meaningful feedback on their actions between elections; people effectively manage the performance of politicians; and people make informed hiring and firing decisions at election time. In this environment, talent (politicians) and performance (their alignment with ordinary people) should improve which would increase adaptability throughout the system.
Our Post-Partisan Future
The next version of ChangeRoots will increase ease, speed and quality by expanding to state and local politics, adding nonprofits to the platform, rating the integrity of politicians and connecting members of our community who share similar beliefs. This will make it easy, fast and impactful to contribute resources where they have greatest impact.
We recognize the potential for abuse so we are designing our post-partisanship ethos within the system. By intentionally designing our values into the platform we are taking a stand against the unintended consequences inherent to neutrality. This stand will undoubtedly evoke criticism, which I look forward to because it will help us improve. I invite you to check out what we’re up to and let us know what we could do better.
I truly believe that a post-partisan world is the next evolutionary step in how we govern America: where we go beyond political parties, have a bias for integrity, listen to all sides and — above all else — value win-win solutions.
If the downfall of great civilizations has been a lack of adaptability then perhaps we have the opportunity to evolve into a democracy that fluidly responds to the people so that it can withstand a collapse from the inside and instead become a true government of the people, by the people, for the people.