Transparency in Government - Register of Members' Interests

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Patroklus Murakami
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Transparency in Government - Register of Members' Interests

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

One characteristic of modern liberal democracies is that they require legislators to declare their business interests prior to taking office. In the UK we have a 'Register of Members' Interests' in which Members of Parliament have to declare all of their business connections, directorships, significant share-holdings etc. The purpose is to improve transparency and avoid the possibility that legislators might be legislating in their own interests while claiming to be legislating in the community's interest.

I'd like to propose something similar for Neufreistadt/CDS and intend to draft a bill to that effect. I'm thinking that this should apply to members of the Representative Assembly but there is an argument that it should apply to all members of the government including the Scientific Council, the Chancellor and the Judiciary. I'm happy to discuss the relative merits of this but, at the very least, I think this should apply to the Representative Assembly.

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Post by Claude Desmoulins »

I don't know what relationship this may have to events under discussion in the thread about abolishing microplots. I'm not opposed to the idea. However, for the record:

1. I own 25% of the chartered Neufreistadt School

2. I am a member of the Eldrich Financial in world group but have no financial interest therein.

3. At the time of the recruitment activities being discussed in another thread, Mr. Eldrich was not a member of government, and thus would not have been subject to such a register, had it existed.

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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

I think that this is a very good idea, and that it should apply, not just to RA members, but SC members, the Chancellor, members of the Judiciary, members of local government (if any) and civil servants.

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Patroklus Murakami
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Thanks for the declaration Claude.

The idea would be that successful candidates for the RA would declare their business interests once they had taken office. They would then be responsible for keeping the declaration up to date. So, for example, they would declare any new business interests as these arose and any which they divested themselves of.

It is important, for example, that we know you have a 25% stake in the School. It means we can consider whether a proposal you make or support as Leader of the RA is in part or in whole in your own interests and judge accordingly. This element of transparency is essential if citizens are to have confidence in their government. For example, imagine we were to decide to reopen a casino but a majority of RA members opposed it. This could be fine, the RA members may have perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing a casino. But if we were to later learn that they had joint ownership of a string of successful casinos on the mainland, we might question whether they were simply trying to avoid any competition.

These examples are merely illustrative, I'm not insinuating anything here:)

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Pelanor Eldrich
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Statement of Financial Interests

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

1. I own 100% of Eldrich Financial incorporated which is a Neufreistatdt registered financial and mortgage firm.

2. I have 1.11% equity in Job Finder Inc. which is a startup doing business outside of the CDS.

This is all I can think of at the moment.

Last edited by Pelanor Eldrich on Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

*shrug*

For the record, I run a small personal shop as is common in SL, based out of the sim of Suffugium which is owned collectively by the Squidsoft Collective. (The source of my oft-seen "Comrade" title, which I keep on as a joke.)

That's about it, really.

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Thank you to Pel and Aliasi for your declarations :)

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that RA members (and other members of the government) should declare their interests in this thread. I'm just putting the idea out there for discussion.

It would seem that it has general support (and I take the declarations given so far as evidence that this is seen as desirable) so I will draft a bill for discussion at next week's RA meeting.

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Pelanor Eldrich
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This makes sense...

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

I think making business interests known is a good idea. A trickier task is to be able to detect conflicts of interest via influence peddling and bribery.

Detailed transaction logs are required for that. The other problem with detailed transaction logs is that some clients want to remain anonymous. I'm frankly at a loss for a way to detect bribery with the tools we have at hand.

Furthermore, and this is serious, SL could likely be used to launder RL money using unverified accounts.

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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

In my case, I own two shops (one being remodelled) in Neufreistadt, and a NFS registered company called "Gwyn's Utterly Useless Devices" that runs those shops, selling silly (and, as said, utterly useless) devices and some anims :) Outside of N'stadt I have one more tiny shops and a vendor somewhere in a mall.

Besides that, I host for the City Government the sites neufreistadt.info, forums.neufreistadt.info, and slcds.info for free :)

I'm setting up with some other SLers a RL company called Beta Technologies, a RL-in-SL type of company. If all partners agree, this might one day become a NFS-registered company as well as a RL-registered company, of course :)

I'm working with Chili Carson and her team (most of them Neufreistadters) to create a SL Chamber of Commerce, and hope to get a local chapter of it running in Neufreistadt or Colonia Nova :)

Hmm, and I can't recall if I'm doing anything else... yes, I have some money in Ginko, and a few shares in Cyberland... although that is not strictly "business", I think.

Last edited by Gwyneth Llewelyn on Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Moon Adamant »

For the record, too... :)

I started recently Beta Technologies, with Gwyneth Llewelyn and Eggy Lippmann. We do general SL building and content.

I also hold the brand Moonscapes, which has a shop at the Platz, and which sells fachwerks.

As everyone knows, i am a builder and texturiser. In May, i participated in the Colonia Nova Project team - and the presented materials are now the CDS property. After the U-quake in June, i also made the following builds for the city: the Long Bridge and the Mistake Bridge. By the same time, i also did the current webdesign of the NFS site. The IP rights of the bridges and of the website belong to the CDS.

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Post by Justice Soothsayer »

Pat, I think this is a good idea. Democracy in the sunshine, even if we can turn off the sun at will.

I hold no financial interest in any enterprise in SL [other than loaning Lindens for our new sim].

I helped design the Supreme Court re-creation on Democracy Island, and can frequently be found vying with some CDS and other SL residents for some measly Lindens and the respect of my peers at the trivia games found at the Shelter.

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Post by Jon Seattle »

My turn.

I have no business interests in second life at all. I came to SL wanting to learn to be an architect and designer and to join a community of people doing design. My creative work is only now approaching the quality where I would consider offering it for sale.

Oh, and I learn a great deal from Moon, who is quite a skilled architect.

Also I do support a rule requiring people to declare their business interests when entering government. For the most part SL business are so small as to not matter. But some people do substantial business in RL terms.

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Post by Justice Soothsayer »

[quote="Jon Seattle":2w4lsh25]But some people do substantial business in RL terms.[/quote:2w4lsh25]

I support the idea of declaring SL business interest, but would leave RL business out of the equation. (Not sure if you mean RL business disclosure, Jon, but in my case that would mean an awful lot of work and more disclosure to RL folks than I would want to be public).

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Post by Jon Seattle »

Oh, no. I meant disclosing substantial SL business only. In some cases this amounts to $US pennies. In others it may be real money.

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Post by Justice Soothsayer »

[quote="Jon Seattle":fmwok9rk]Oh, no. I meant disclosing substantial SL business only. In some cases this amounts to $US pennies. In others it may be real money.[/quote:fmwok9rk]

Thanks for the clarification, and in the interests of [b:fmwok9rk]full[/b:fmwok9rk] disclosure, I learn a lot from Moon as well!

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