Bcc: contributors & interested parties
Thanks for all the feedback on Prognosis 2012. I’ve modified the article in response, completely rewriting some sections. There are also comments and responses on the blog itself, below the article:
My attention will turn next to reviewing and updating the Grand Story of Humanity:
Below are comments on the solutions posting.
From: Robert GregoryDate: 3 March 2010 02:28:39 GMTTo: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>Subject: Re: Prognosis 2012 – re: solutions
Just a thought – link hierarchy with scale! Small local hierarchies may operate pretty well, it is when the scale increases and the aberant personality types that need control over others rise to the top and they become greedy. The shape of the hierarchy is important too – broad base is better than big and high peaks. Also, movement or change into and out of the peak or decision making role at the top is important. Vested interests get to the top and won’t yield when conditions change or over time so that others can rise up when and as appropriate.I think long ago I sent you a series of diagrams or drawings that illustrate this . . .Cheers – bob g
I agree there are situations where semi-hierarchical forms are appropriate. There have also been many attempts to tame hierarchy which have failed. One must be very careful in this regard, particularly with untested theories.
In the Mondragon co-ops, they have a formula that works. There is a hierarchical structure, in that there are managers and workers in the factories. However everyone in the co-op is an equal owner, so managers are in a real sense working for the workers. Also, the board of directors includes workers, so workers have a direct voice in overseeing management and operations. And there are councils, including workers and managers, to facilitate ongoing communication and mutual understanding. In addition, co-ops are limited to a certain size, in agreement with your mention of scale, as an important consideration.
On the other hand, with the US Constitution, we see an attempt that failed. It was a very valiant attempt, with checks and balances at the federal level, constitutionally prescribed limits on federal power, and all unspecified powers delegated “to the States respectively, or to the people”. Devolution, or the principle of holarchy, went on down further, so that each county and city had its own government, taxes, and police force. Over time the protections have all been eroded, and bare hierarchy has remained. Scale, among other things, doomed this experiment in taming hierarchy.
When it comes to governance — making the policy decisions for society — I’m convinced that the unit of sovereignty needs to be the local community, and that the process needs to be based on inclusive consensus. Semi-hierarchies make sense for agencies, like a fire department, operating under the policies set down by the community as a whole. And until the community as a whole knows how to find its voice, there can be no democracy.
From: jeff pragerDate: 3 March 2010 04:14:07 GMTTo: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>Subject: Re: Prognosis 2012 – re: solutions
I’m a 55 year old retired publisher so it might sound odd to say, “dude, you’re awesome,” but it’s difficult to think of much else that expresses my sentiments accurately.Peace,Jeff
Sometimes parochial language is best. Thanks for the encouragement. I notice you’ve also commented on the blogs. Hope to hear more from you, more of your own thinking.
From: Bruce DyerDate: 3 March 2010 09:10:59 GMTCc: •••@••.•••Subject: PROUT
Hi RichardIn case you’ve not come across it one of the significant contributions to thedirection humanity needs to choose, is Sarkar’s Progressive Utilisation Theory(PROUT)PROUT is a spiritually-based socio-economic theory that emphasises1) Guaranteed minimum requirements of life2) Increased purchasing capacity3) Decentralised planning and balanced economy4) Three-tier industrial system. The top tier includes key industries thatamount to natural monopolies such as energy, communications, rail, air travelthat are run by regional or national government. The bottom tier comprisessmall businesses of say up to 10 employees. In between would be cooperativesthat encompass housing, manufacturing, distribution, health, agriculture – infact across the board.5) Self-sufficient economic areas6) Economic democracy and non material emphasises.You can find more on it at http://www.proutworld.org or http://www.prout.orgwith regardsBruce DyerNew Zealand
There are certainly a lot of good ideas in these PROUT principles. If the principles were adopted by some nation, and implemented sensibly, I’m sure it would be a major improvement over what we have now.
However, if we had the power to install new principles, these are not quite the ones I would choose. There is an emphasis on decentralization, which is a good thing, but you’ve still got a hierarchical government structure, with a national government at the top. As the American experience demonstrates, written constitutions and checks & balances cannot maintain decentralization in a large state: centralized control will eventually be imposed by cliques at the top of the hierarchy, and the ‘nice system’ will be destabilized.
Consider this: why need we assume that today’s nation states are natural, god-given units? Consider the example of the EU. It is easy to see that we could devolve back to sovereign European nations, and that would not create a problem in terms of ‘society design’. There is no inherent reason why the EU needs to exist, from an operational perspective. Similarly, I suggest, there is no reason why the 50 states of the USA could not be sovereign, many of them being bigger than European nations.
As Robert suggested above, scale is important. If you’re going to have a hierarchy, a smaller one is less dangerous than a larger one. It’s a bit closer to the people, and a bit more transparent in its operations, with a bit less power at its disposal. There’s a really good book that explores the question of scale, Breakdown of Nations, by Leopold Kohr. Its discussion of the Swiss system is particularly interesting, and the book was part of the inspiration for Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful.
We can continue to peel the onion. Why stop with European nations as a scale? Why couldn’t the provinces of France be sovereign? Why not Wales and Scotland, and Crete? Why not the counties of Ireland? Why not every bioregion? What is the best unit of political sovereignty, and why?
There is of course the issue of war and conflict. Some people see the EU as a ‘solution’ to the periodic wars fought among European nations. But we haven’t solved the problem of war and conflict by moving to larger-scale units. We just get bigger hierarchies, further from the people, with deadlier arsenals, doing more fighting for different reasons. As for world government… well, that’s why I wrote the Prognosis, for anyone who thinks that’s a good idea. Elites are already busily usurping a world government before it even exists!
As regards the ‘best’ unit of political sovereignty, I suggest the following: the largest unit in which it is possible for direct democracy to exist (and hierarchy to be avoided). I use the term ‘community’ for such a unit, what the Greeks called a polis. It needs to be small enough that everyone’s voice can be heard and considered, as we might hope for in a New England town meeting. On the other hand it needs to be large enough that it has some coherence as a social and geographical unit. It might be a town with its environs for example, or a neighborhood in a city.
This leads to two questions: how would direct democracy operate in a community, and how would larger scale issues be dealt with? I’ll leave those questions, for the moment, as exercises for the reader.
From: “Brian Hill”Date: 3 March 2010 21:54:39 GMTTo: “‘Richard Moore'” <•••@••.•••>Subject: RE: Prognosis 2012 – re: solutions
good writings. Have you checked out the CDFI (community development financial institutions) movement that has been funding local sustainability since the Mondragon and Grameen examples? It is very widespread, solid and successful. Accion International is one of the most successful, maybe getting a little too big, but still very helpful for local communities. A major part of what the CDFI movement does is to teach sustainable business practices which too many local people have been ignorant of due to their being subjects of the capitalist empire.
Thanks for the feedback.
CDFI & Accion look very interesting. It seems to me worker co-ops would be something they could support. Best would be if they would finance a co-op bank, which could in turn finance local projects.
yes, that is a good option, esp., including labor unions. I have wanted to start a credit union for years that would provide revolving loan funds, and the local community would eventually own the credit union. For years I have been saying that until communities own their own money, e.g., credit unions, revolving loan funds, self sufficient sustainability is be impossible.
One of the things I learned from the Mondragon video was the importance of the bank in the whole operation. The role of banking is to facilitate commerce and development. That function is just as pivotal and leveraged in a ‘good’ society as in a ‘bad’ one. The Mondragon experience makes it even clearer to me why bankers have managed to hoist themselves to the top of the global food chain.
I believe that the establishment of a community ‘bank’ — whatever the form of the entity might be — is the laying of the cornerstone, the foundation, for community empowerment. The critical factors for such a bank would be:
* maximum freedom in allocating its funding, minimal legal constraints
* able to issue a local currency as well as to deal with official currency
* focused on the mission of developing a strong and sustainable local economy
* seeks ways to involve the community in development planning and decisions
* can be easily put under community control
— when the community establishes an inclusive democratic process
From: Caspar DavisDate: 4 March 2010 00:22:13 GMTTo: •••@••.•••Subject: Re: Prognosis 2012 – re: solutions
Hi Richard,I think this is brilliant and very promising. I have forwarded it to my list and others with this introduction. I think you are right about Mondragon being the possible model/engine. I seem to be hearing more about it lately after hearing nothing for over 20 years (it is actually 54 years old), and the Transition Town movement seems to be catching on more quickly than I for one suspected that it would. M
My intro [excerpted -rkm]:
This is the sequel to a long recent post, Prognosis 2012, from Richard Moore.I consider this Solutions article to be of the greatest possible importance, and have given it five stars, my highest rating. I have not forwarded Richard’s Prognosis because it is so bleak…If you would like to read and/or comment on the Prognosis, you can do so at http://rkmdocs.blogspot.com/2010/02/prognosis-2012.htmlIn my view, this sequel is much more important and useful than the Prognosis. The remedy that Richard proposes is a fusion of most of the ideas and movements that I have found promising during the last 30 years or so, the part of my life that has been awake to such things. Over the years, I have studied each of these ideas and come away with the feeling that while each looks and sounds good, none has yet or probably could produce the necessary change.Here Richard describes the possibility of a fusion of these ideas that could be much greater than the sum of its parts:Caspar
I really like the creative way you are facilitating dialog between our online communities, with your forward and introduction. And you’ve since continued to facilitate more back-and-forth exchange. This gets my grey cells working, thinking about communication among communities in a direct-democracy society.
I have a great deal of respect for the contributions you’ve made to democratic process in Victoria, and for your general good sense, so your approval of the material is especially encouraging.
‘Martin’ responded on Caspar’s list:
I was struck by how when Captain Cook arrived at remote islands as the first European he found that these islands had a hierarchy very similar to Europe. Kings and priests, nobles, artisans and professionals, workers.. He hung out with the King, the officers hung out with the nobels, the nco’s with the merchants and the crew with the workers. And of course in tribal times it was ok to rape and pillage the tribe next door as the US v Them was still a feature of human organization. It’s not like hierarchy is unknown in the animal kingdom – so my dog tells me!
Yes, the way you put it, it sounds like it’s been hierarchy all the way, with no missing links.
The flaw in that logic is the failure to realize that Hawaii was already an advanced society, based on agriculture, something that was only invented 10,000 years ago. We have been fully human for about 200,000 years. So there is a missing link in your chain, a gap of about 200,000 years.
Caspar then commented:
I still have a great deal of trouble with your dismissal of Global Warming, which is to me an observable fact, and closely related to the acidification of the oceans, which is a dire threat to all marine life — the great preponderance of the Earth’s biomass.The invention of carbon credits to me illustrates the ingenuity of Capitalists at transforming almost any issue into a profit/wealth concentration base (without of course doing anything to actually address the problem). People like that are certainly reprehensible and possibly psychotic.Using carbon credits as you suggest could only be done by the most extreme psychopaths, since they are obviously already rich beyond the wildest dreams of the Midases of the past and would gain nothing from it but the enjoyment of the infliction of untold suffering. If that is indeed their plan, and if the rest of humankind cannot stop them, it is pretty clear that we are indeed a failed experiment.
Yes, global warming is observable. We’ve had two centuries of global warming, beginning about 1800. That’s quite a bit of warming, with all kinds of records being broken “since measurements began”, which was also about 1800. The warming began before carbon emissions were relevant, and is part of a natural pattern of warming peaks that occur about every 1000 years in the Northern Hemisphere.
Current temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are 2.5 degrees colder than they’ve been in the relatively recent past. A sharp cooling trend has been going on for the past several years, and that is also in line with long-term patterns. This indicates we are resuming the decline to the next ice age, a decline that has been going on (with declining peaks) for the past few thousand years. There is no evidence of any effect on climate by Co2 in the Northern Hemisphere, and no evident prospect of dangerous warming. It turns out that the Earth has very responsive regulatory mechanisms.
Those are the facts. As for acidification, I haven’t looked into it. But I do know carbon credits won’t do anything to help the problem.
Profits are not the issue. Power is the issue. The masters of the universe want to run the world, and they want to run it their way. They’ve had more money than they know what to do with for as long as their grandaddy can remember. They are the creators of money and credit. To them it’s less something to accumulate than it is a means of control. The carbon economy gives them more direct control.
There may be sadists among them, but for the most part the suffering inflicted is seen as eggs that need to be broken when you make an omelet. It’s a culling of the herd, of the useless feeders, the untermenschen.
We have different understandings of some of the details, but we agree this is a test for humanity. If we can’t stop them, before they establish the Thousand Year Reich, then we are indeed a failed experiment. And we need to understand the scope and nature of the assault before we can pursue an effective counter operation. Global warming alarmism plays directly into their hands, as it is intended to, as it was designed to.
From: “Peter Meyer”Date: 4 March 2010 02:43:29 GMTTo: •••@••.•••Subject: Community & self-governance and the rest
Hi Richard,“Prognosis 2012” seems to have scared the bejeezus out ofa lot of people, which, of course, is not a bad thing.Your message “re solutions” is an antidote to the bleakness of it.I could publish this, beginning at “Community & self-governance”,or would you prefer to do further work on it?I doubt Global Research would pick it up, though I doubt youwould expect them to.Regards,Peter
I’d say go ahead and use it. I’ll be doing a rewrite in the next few weeks, and then you could update your site.
Global Research isn’t concerned much with solutions, it’s mainly aimed at helping people understand the current regime. When the ‘solutions’ material is ready for prime time, I’d be thinking more in terms venues related to community activism.
From: “Hill Eshbach”Date: 4 March 2010 02:59:58 GMTTo: <•••@••.•••>Subject: Prognosis 2012 – comment
Hi Richard,I always enjoy reading your work! You say hierarchy is the problem and there was a time when there was no human hierarchy on earth. Therefore, it’s possible to have humans without hierarchy. Regrettably, however, that something was once the case, doesn’t prove that it could ever be the case again. For example, there was once 1950s America. Therefore, there can be another 1950s America? Or, once all the continents were all together forming a single land mass. Therefore, they can all be together again? The conclusions don’t follow from the premises. As long as some people are stronger than others (a given by Nature), why would some not impose their will on others (short of our all being saints)?Keep up the great work!All the best,Hill
You are right, many processes are irreversible, and things past cannot always be retrieved. Although it can’t come back, 1950s America does stand as a model of what might happen if capitalist industrial development were to be pursued elsewhere, under comparable circumstances. And what has existed in past cultures shows what is possible, as regards social forms. If anyone says it is impossible for people to live without hierarchy, that is disproved by the fact that a great many cultures have not been hierarchical.
Someone can impose their will on someone else only if they have the power to do so. And being ‘stronger’, in the physical sense, has very little to do with power, either in hunter-gatherer societies or in modern societies. Being a big bully does not typically open the doors of success to you, except perhaps as a bouncer or rugby player. I imagine that when you say “stronger”, you really mean “having power over”.
Yes, if there are positions of power in society, where other people can be affected by decisions they have no control over, then some people in those positions of power would impose their will on those others. This piece of wisdom exists as a saying, power corrupts. It is because I agree with this oft-observed principle, that I say the only answer is to not have positions of power in our society. To me the conclusion seems inescapable.
From: “Vera Gottlieb”Date: 4 March 2010 15:17:13 GMTSubject: Re: Solutions (Re Prognosis 2012)
The process of participatory democracy – but WITHOUT ANY POLITICAL PARTIES – should be advanced much more rapidly. We need to stop globalization and start relying/promoting on our communities instead. And we need to question a lot, lot more and be very, very skeptical of the so-called ‘experts’ – they are the ones doing us in. Paid by…???vg
blog for subscribers:
Climate science: observations vs. models
Prognosis 2012: the elite agenda for social transformation
The Grand Story of Humanity
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