Overview:

We redesign democracy, emphasing service, institutions for peace and the importance of market-like mechanisms.
Redesigning Democracy
We take up Alvin Toffler's suggestion (in PowerShift) to "redesign democracy for the 21st century".
Service, not Authority
We should be seeking political institutions at all levels whose purpose and culture is one of service to the community rather than authority over it. Democratically elected representatives should consider themselves mandated to consult and enable, rather than to implement their political programs.
Global Institutional Evolution
The greatest impediment to well-being on our planet is the pervasiveness of military conflict. We should be seeking to evolve global institutions to secure the replacement of military by economic competition.
Market Nurturing
A primary purpose of political institutions should be to nurture and develop market mechanisms which provide superior alternatives to centralised bureaucratic mechanisms in all walks of life.

Redesigning Democracy:

We take up Alvin Toffler's suggestion (in PowerShift) to "redesign democracy for the 21st century".
Identify Problem
First we must consider what problem we are trying to solve. What purposes are served by political institutions?
Analyse Solution Space
Next we need to map out the possible solutions to the identified problems. This ecompasses alternative positions on what parts of these problems should be addressed through political institutions.
Consider Trends
It is desirable to have some kind of analysis of the direction in which things are changing at the moment. This may also help us assess whether our analysis of the alternative is helpful.
Assess Alternatives
Now consider the merits of the various alternatives.
Adopt a position
And adopt a position on which is the best solution.
dictatorship, democracy, anarchy
These three forms of government correspond to Toffler's "three waves", the agricultural, the industrial and the knowledge waves. Toffler talks of "de-massification" of democracy. We talk of anarchy. Anarchy, as seen in the free market and in the evolution of the internet, will marginalise democratic governments in the same way that democracy has marginalised monarchy.
violence, economic incentive, ideology
The evolution of society toward anarchy is a humanising progression from violent coercion exercised by totalitarian government through economic reward and penalty to influence by ideas in which individuals rather than governments will be the prime movers.
Coercion and the State
The progression from coercion to competition and cooperation is avocated for all levels in society. Where coercion is needed (usually by the state to limit coercion by individuals) it should be applied by minimal means. Violence may be needed to suppress violence, but should not be used for economic or ideological purposes. Even economic sanctions should not be applied for ideological reasons, but only to suppress violent or economic crime (by states, institutions or individuals). Wherever possible ends should be realised by reason and persuasion, by the mobilisation of opinion rather than of armed forces.

Service, not authority:

We should be seeking political institutions at all levels whose purpose and culture is one of service to the community rather than authority over it.
Government as Contractor
Though politicians often speak of themselves as public servants, their attitudes and performance contradict this. An election campaign is more like high pressure sales than a considered dialogue over the levels of service required by the public. The contract once awarded is paid for on a time-and-materials basis by the taxpayer, though the "contractor" will feel free to completely change the specification of the service without consultation.
From "representative" to "service" democracy
The ideology of Westminster parliamentary democracy is that the voter choses "representatives" who then have authority to govern using their own best judgement about what is good for the nation. A change of attitude may be desirable. We need political parties which are committed to ongoing consultation throughout their term of office. We need governments who will listen with radically increased the bandwidth to the wishes of the electorate.
non geographic constituencies
In presenting their wishes to the government people will increasingly wish to align themselves with interests which are not geographically localised. The consultative process which keeps the government on track should fully involve these special interests, and should be prepared to resist vocal minorities on the strength of well founded information about broader electoral opinion.

Global institutional evolution:

The greatest impediment to well-being on our planet is the pervasiveness of military conflict. We should be seeking to evolve global institutions to secure the replacement of military by economic competition.

Market nurturing:

A primary purpose of political institutions should be to nurture and develop market mechanisms which provide superior alternatives to centralised bureaucratic mechanisms in all walks of life.


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