Steve Campbell wrote:
I recommend Michael Tellinger’s book, UBUNTU Contributionisnm: A blueprint for human prosperity.
Interesting Steve, but I’d say Tellinger is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Just because the money supply has been used as a tool of control by elites, that doesn’t mean that a monetary system of exchange is a bad thing. The food supply has also been used as a tool of control, but that doesn’t mean food is a bad thing.
The underlying question is whether you want commerce and enterprise as part of your society. If you do, then a monetary system is an essential component. In an economically simple society, say where everyone participates in hunting or farming, and shares what is produced, UBUNTU might be the going thing. In a more complex, diverse society, the story is different.
Under the right circumstances, the commerce model – businesses pursuing profit and competing for customers – enables an economy to self-organize and self-evolve in a way that maximizes efficiencies. It’s the organic way to enable the exchange-of-goods-and-services to grow and evolve, as an interconnected, mutually-enabling eco-system. And it maximizes the freedom of individuals (and groups) to exercise their ingenuity and vision and set their own agendas in life.
The ‘right circumstances’ are of course very important. In the context of my mission statement, our assumed context is a non-hierarchical, self-governing society. What kind of economy might we want in such a society? That’s the question you’re raising.
I think the most important principle here is that economics is a choice. It is an agreement to play the production-consumption game by a certain set of rules – for the time being. Depending on how the economy performs – according to the subjective judgment of the society/community – the game can be tuned, it can be changed altogether, or the chips can be redistributed and the game continued (like a Jubilee Year). In our society today, we are the tools/cogs of an enshrined economic model; in a self-governing society economics becomes a tool that can be fashioned to our needs.
Another important principle is the commons, and the importance of agreeing on what is in the commons – (again, for the time being). The commons is the part of the community (space and activity) that isn’t managed by market activity, but is managed according to community choices. Things like shared spaces, infrastructures, money creation, credit and development policies, etc.
Brian Hill wrote:
Also, until women can trust men again chaos will reign.
That has the ring of a pronouncement from the Delphic Oracle. As such, it surely carries levels of meaning. Your ‘until’, I think, implies the time when male-dominated hierarchy is abandoned. I must in that case agree with your pronouncement.
Hello from Nanaimo, B. C. Canada. I am not seeing hopeful signs for democracy around me. At the political meetings that I attend, the leaders ask if there are any questions from the audience. I stand up and remind people that they do not have to put their words in the form of a question, there is no law that they have to, they can make a statement. Then an intelligent woman stands up and makes an intelligent statement, statements, (knowledgeable). I know what is going to happen next, and it does. The leader makes a very long winded, convoluted answer as to why what she wants can never happen. Thus, the time for audience participation has been cut down, and that Wall of Sound from the MC has shut everybody up. I have grown very suspicious of that Wall of Sound, especially since I am very terse myself. It has a numbing effect on the audience.
I don’t see hopeful signs for democracy around me either. And I share with you a revulsion for that so-typical kind of ‘public hearing’ meeting. What ever happened to the happier kinds of community meetings that were being discussed in our session, when last I visited in Nanaimo?
I came to the same conclusion quite a few years ago. Unfortunately, I do not have a social network with which to share my thoughts and perception which are out of the box and lead to being pushed aside for many years because most people either do not understand or feel threatened…
Cyberjournal has been around for about twenty years, and many of the subscribers have been here from the beginning, or near the beginning. It is a real blessing for me to have a community of folks I can share things with. If you want to find places online where people will listen to your ideas, and respond, they are available, as in facebook or google groups. You just search for a topic of your choice, join a group that looks promising, and give it a try. You can always find someone who’s even more out of the box than you are 🙂
Good summary Richard,
This summary of the Iroquois Confederation states that the alliance of tribes succeeded because they had in the French a common enemy:
Another historical review is at:
The most enlightening aspects I remember reading about their governance came from Ben Franklin, here are some:
I also remember aspects that our forefathers did not copy in our Constitution, for example that only a council of Grandmothers could declare war and that the woman retains the tipi when she divorces her husband.
More than a blanket endorsement I believe it more effective if you list the aspects you find desirable in an improved system of government.
You are right about focusing on governance. That is the toughest challenge in creating sustainable ecovillages. I was brought as an adviser to Auroville, the largest ecovillage and the only UN International City, located near Chennai, India.
My job was to help them interconnect their international network but I soon realized that they did not have in place a system to take decisions since the Mother died, so nothing significant got done because people could not agree.
And this was in a city of 5,000 people. Imagine the mess in a larger group.
I was most impressed by the Cuban way of representative Democracy. A representative of each family meets with other representatives from their neighbor families to address the issue affecting their block. They also select among themselves a representative for the neighborhood.
This process repeats and by the 7th level the representative seats in the National Congress helping redact laws for their country. Positions are held as long as the representative addresses the concerns of those they represent, including their families.
I heard of a case of a Congressman that was sleeping with his secretary, his wife protested, the family removed him as their representative and within a week he was out of his job and back home taking care of his family.
I like very much the fact that there is no money involved in the process. Representatives vote among their peers electing people they know and trust. No need for advertising nor electoral campaigns. Yeah!
There are also no political parties, people have their interests and agendas but find no need for political parties. There is hardly a personality cult (except Che and the Castro brothers). The executive is mostly to deal with International Relations, Defense, and the Import Export Regulations.
Thanks for your contribution Sergio, which I’m sure many will find of interest, as do I. I’ve heard similar reports on the Cuban political system, and I’d say it’s the closest thing to ‘real democracy’ that is currently being practiced by any society, apart perhaps from a few remaining indigenous tribes. I hope the Cuban system can survive a rapprochement with the US.
The Auroville story sounds so familiar. Governance is so often the unconscious dimension in community formation. Great detail in planning gardens and buildings, so to speak, but governance is supposed to somehow happen, ‘because we all share a vision’, or ‘we’re all reasonable people’. When we learn to solve the governance problem, then I suggest we won’t need to run off to intentional communities – we can just govern our existing communities with the same kind of intentions.
I agree one doesn’t adopt whole-cloth any past models. It’s a matter of understanding what worked, and why it worked, in a given context, and then seeing what of that can be adapted to the new context. It’s really a version of technology transfer, with the same kinds of problems involved.
best wishes to all,