If I had my own island to run, I would definitely make a few changes. First of all, I would unite all the small communities of the island into one city-like structure, with a local government to administer it. An island does not have the same territorial characteristics as a continent, which means fewer problems: all the communities would be situated not too far from each other, the total population would be easier to monitor, and the population would have to be in close contact with each other to survive (e.g. if there were any conflicts between the communities, they would have to resolve them more quickly as there is less chance of outside interference than would be the case on a continent).
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In order to make the best of the situation, I would unite the communities of the island and create a small metropolis country, much like the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. I would then divide the metropolis into districts so that communities of different local traditions and dialects, and political and social beliefs, would feel more comfortable during their assimilation into the island country. The reason why I have chosen this structure is its effectiveness. If we look at Luxembourg, we will see that the city-state’s economy is stable, well-monitored, and creates very comfortable conditions for its citizens. According to recent reports, Luxembourg remains the second richest country in the world, with low unemployment rates and a GDP estimated to be around $90,333 (Top 10 Richest Countries In The World 2015, 2015). The secret lies mainly in the small size of the country: a smaller handful of communities are easier to provide with good living conditions, there are no unsettled territories, the administrative districts are close to each other and easy to access, etc. I want to use this example to make a city-state of my own on Florida Island.
The Form of Government
Luxembourg is practicing parliamentary democracy with a constitutional Monarch at the head. Here, I would like to stray from the formula a little and exclude a monarch, leaving the parliamentary democracy. The head of this government would be an elected Chancellor or Prime Minister. The parliament would consist of representatives of different parties. Each party would be given a limited number of seats. Diversity is important – I want to give room, and opportunities, to all of the political convictions and ideas within the parliament as long as they do not violate basic human rights (for example, no radical nationalistic movements, no heavily religious parties), but the majority should always hold sway. Mutual respect and resolve to improve the infrastructure and living conditions of the country’s population should unite the members of the parliament.
The Management System
As has already been said, the main governmental body of my island would be the parliament headed by a Prime Minister or a Chancellor. The positive side of this structure is that the collective executive body of different opinions and beliefs is much less likely to concentrate on obtaining more power, unlike a one-party government with its leader as the President (for example, in the USSR, DPRK, or PRC). A Prime Minister or a Chancellor can prevail sometimes, but he or she does not have absolute power and is a part of the whole and, in the end, is equal to other members of the parliament. With a governmental body like this “there is always a relatively high degree of collegiality in decision-making” (Lijphart, 2007, p. 143). It enhances the government’s capabilities for inspiring social and economic growth in the city-state and serving its citizens through its decisions. The ministers would be appointed to perform specific functions: the minister of finances, the armed forces commander, the minister of education, the health minister, and so forth.
Appointment to the Leadership Positions
The parliament would be selected via elections. Every party would be permitted to register and run their political campaigns. As in all modern political campaigns, they would also have to have campaign managers, consultants, and activists. The elections would have a leveled structure: first citizens would elect party representatives they want to see in government; next, once the elected representatives have taken their seats in parliament, an election would be organized to appoint a Prime Minister from among them. If the Prime Minister’s performance was considered to be unsatisfactory by the general public, citizens would have the right to demand re-elections. The ministers performing specific functions (finances, military, education, healthcare, etc.) would also be appointed through intra-parliamentary elections.
Citizens would be allowed to vote once they reach the age of 21. I would also like to establish a strict system of election monitoring and control that would be responsible for detecting any unlawful or other dubious activities. After all, the most important thing is to keep voting fair as it saves time and effort, and reduces the risk of further mistakes in the state management system. A government cannot be ineffective; otherwise, the economy suffers and financial resources are depleted, the standard of living drops and the citizens become increasingly frustrated with their day to day lives. Mistakes might also cost the loss of losing intellectual resources –scientists, doctors, perhaps even potential Nobel Prize winners – as there would not be enough money to spend on education, and people would be too busy earning and saving to care about careers in physics, biology or neuropsychiatry.
The Law Enforcement and Judicial System
In this part, I would like to go back to my Luxembourg-based model of governmental design, and include a Superior Court of Justice and an Administrative Court. The law would be defined by a written constitution and maintained by government-controlled police authorities. The target here would be to avoid turning my island country into a police state, so the law enforcement agencies would have strictly limited authority. Their main function would be to guard and to protect, not to punish and to execute. This means, if there is a victimless crime, there are no criminals. For example, in the case of taking drugs, making someone else take drugs against their will is a violation of their rights and should be reported. Similarly, having sex with an underage person with their consent is a victimless crime; raping an underage person is a punishable crime. Sorting these instances out would help to keep prisons from becoming overcrowded, and people would experience less anxiety, paranoia, and fear of being arrested in their daily lives.
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Rehabilitation System for Criminal Offenders
I do not want to practice capital punishment in my city-state. The crimes should be paid for by appropriate prison sentences and community service. In my opinion, these punishments are much more productive than a life sentence or the death penalty. If there is a chance of rehabilitating criminals, we should take it. The community should not throw its members away indiscriminately. The system I want to create should work in such a way that no one would have the need or desire to become a criminal. If there is crime, however, then those convicted should be handled using modern, civilized methods. Murderers should serve their sentences for lengthy periods, receive social and psychiatric help in the process, and then be released back into society. They would be monitored by designated police officers to lessen the fears other members of society might have. In this way, law-abiding citizens would also get used to the idea of recycling human resources instead of creating new ones, which might help to keep the birth rates in check and prevent overpopulation.
Lijphart, A. (2007). Thinking about Democracy: Power Sharing and Majority Rule in Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge.
Top 10 Richest Countries In The World 2015. (2015). ABC News Point. Web.