re10: Returning to the Garden, world government, etc.


Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors.


I hope you are enjoying this series of dialogs as much as I
am.  Sometimes weeks go by with very few comments from
readers, and it's a pleasure to have so much participation. 
Please accept my apologies if I don't get to your own
comments... there are too many to post them all, and so I'm
trying to select those which represent the widest range of
views.  Also, I don't post things if they simply repeat a 
previous position, without responding to the arguments I've

I'll be in Manchester next week, presenting "Returning to
Our Roots, the Harmonization Initiative".  I ~may~ be out
out email contact for the duration.

all the best,

Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 15:29:18 -0500
From: lanigan + Rex <•••@••.•••>
To: Renaissance Network <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: re5 (roots)

Many thanks, rkm, for leading me to "The Story of B".  I've
just finished it & found it very stimulating & very much
needed in our continuing search for better ways to enhance
life's dance (as is the Renaissance Network).  I found the
terms 'Takers' & 'Leavers' to be not as clear as 'Excluders'
& 'Includers' might be. (This would fit your 'root' of
'societal factionalism', wouldn't it?  It would also point
to the basic problem with 'capitalism'.)

I really liked his notion that competition is healthy ~only~
if it doesn't try to eliminate its competitors!

rkm said: "My own investigations have led me to the conclusion that
these 'roots' include:
    * hierarchical political and economic structures
    * societal factionalism
    * capitalism
    * the Taker paradigm of 'go forth and multiply' and
      'dominate the world and its creatures'"

May I (Rex) suggest another?  In addition to 'hierarchical
structures', I would add 'adversarial ways of getting rid of
differences'.  Notice I don't say 'resolving our
differences'!  These would include everything from war to
power politics & from police brutality to bullying on the
playground (or in our homes).

Let's transform our 'opponents' into 'opportunities for

Rex Barger, Hamilton, Ontario


Dear Rex,

Yes, harmonization instead of adversarialism!

we are all in this together,

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2001 17:36:22 EDT
Subject: Re: re6: Returning to the Garden, competition, etc.
To: •••@••.•••

Hello everyone:  I am enjoying the current focus on
economics and wonder if anyone has read Michael Albert's
work on 'Participatory Economics'.  There are some
interesting models outlined in it.  I would be interested in
the views of others on the workability of his models.  They
address the problems of hierarchies and intrigue me. Raven

From: "Peter Murphy" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>, <•••@••.•••>
Subject: RE: re6: Returning to the Garden, competition, etc.
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 18:58:11 +1000

    rkm > For those who understand the necessity of
    sustainability, the next step is to understand that we live
    under centralized tyranny.


You're going to explain what you mean by 'centralized
tyranny'. Since you are writing this from Ireland (and I'm
responding from Australia), I presume you are talking about
some entity bigger than most governments.

I would normally have nominated the US government as the
culprit. However, that's not stopping the Chinese seizing
their military planes for dubious reasons. So does that mean
we're all being controlled by Beijing instead?



Dear Peter,

We each live under our own national tyrannies, and then
there's the new global one in the form of the WTO and the
IMF.  And then there are the centralized corporate
tyrannies, such as Fujitsu.  Take your pick.


Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 01:34:21 -0400
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
From: Jay Fenello <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re6: Returning to the Garden, competition, etc.
Cc: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••,

Hi Richard,

I know that our respective views are very
similar, but our few differences profoundly
impact the all important question of "what
to do about it?"

You seem to imply the problem lies with those
who are at the top of the pyramid, the High,
the "Takers."  For a time, I agreed with you.  

       by Emmanuel Goldstein
    Chapter I
    Ignorance is Strength
    Throughout  recorded  time,  and probably since the end of the 
    Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the 
    world, the High, the  Middle,  and  the  Low.  They  have  been 
    subdivided  in  many  ways, they have borne countless different 
    names, and their relative numbers, as well  as  their  attitude 
    towards  one  another,  have  varied  from  age to age: but the 
    essential structure of society has never  altered.  Even  after 
    enormous  upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same 
    pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope  will 
    always  return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way 
    or the other.

Today, I have come to understand that we all 
play a role in the "system," and further, that 
the Takers could not be such without the givers 
cooperation (voluntary and otherwise).


As we discussed on the FixGov list, I also
suspect that it will take a mass movement to 
change the system.  At the same time, I fear 
that it will echo every other mass movement 
from the beginning of time (Christianity, 
Communism, etc.):

   "A movement is pioneered by men of words,
   materialized by fanatics, and consolidated
   by men of action."  -- Eric Hoffer, in 
   "The True Believer"

The result -- the movement gets hijacked at
the end, resulting in a High, Middle, and
Low -- just as Orwell describes above.

In closing, please don't feel like I'm 
being an obstructionist.  I really value
your work, and feel that you are one of
the leaders moving us toward the changes
we all seek :-)



Dear Jay,

Thanks for you comments, and no, you're not being
obstructionist.  What we're trying to do here is understand
one another, and learn from one another.  Neither can happen
unless we listen and then express what we believe to be
true.  I'd say you're doing just fine.

    > Throughout  recorded  time,  and probably since the end of
    the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in
    the world, the High, the  Middle,  and  the  Low.

Yes, the Neolithic Age marked the beginning of the dominator
paradigm (the Tak myth), and since then all movements have
led to some variation on that theme.  The changes have been
about who does the exploiting, who gets exploited, and under
what system.

In order to escape from this cycle, our movement must focus
on political issues as much as on economic ones.  Your
concern is very much to the point.  We need to eradicate the
dominator paradigm from politics as much as from economics.
In politics, the dominator paradigm expresses itself as
hierarchical authority structures.

Currently, the movement has a clear focus on economic
sustainability, which is good - but it's only half the
problem.  When it comes to politics, the demands seem to be
for 'accountability' and 'reforming democracy'.  This is not
nearly radical enough, since democracy is something we
haven't had since neolithic times.  In Switzerland, which is
often held up as a model democracy, the central government
recently announced it is going to ignore the overwhelming
public vote against joining the EU.  The movement is weakest
in its political analysis, and that's why my own
investigations have been focused in that area.

I'm convinced that we must eradicate hierarchical authority
structures, and there seem to be very few people who are
ready to consider that seriously, let alone agree.  But it's
the only way we're going to escape the cycle which you have
pointed out.

    > I have come to understand that we all play a role in the
    "system," and further, that the Takers could not be such
    without the givers cooperation (voluntary and otherwise).

I think this is a bit unfair, especially to those who have
suffered under the worst forms of oppression.  What about
the Jews in Nazi Germany?  How much responsibility would you
put on their shoulders for the Holocaust?  If it were easy
for people to do something about the system they find
themselves in, then we wouldn't celebrate heroes like

The fact is that we are all born into a world we didn't
make, under a system we didn't make, and then we try to get
along as best we can.  It is very difficult for people at
the bottom to make changes to the system, and when they do
so it's called a revolution, and those don't happen very

Today, in the North, we still have enough freedom that we
can do something, if we all get together, and in that sense
I would agree with you.  If we don't use our freedom to save
the world, then we will have to accept some responsibility
for what follows.

    > At the same time, I fear that it will echo every other
    mass movement from the beginning of time (Christianity,
    Communism, etc.):

I fear that too, and that's why I'm working on that problem.
 And let me take this opportunity to make a suggestion to
everyone.  When you identify a problem,  as Jay has done,
why not start thinking about how it might be overcome? 
Trust your own creativity.  It's a useful exercise.  Talk to
your friends about it.  Even if your solutions are flawed,
the ideas might spark someone else's thinking, and that's
how collaborative problem solving works.  That's one way to
join the movement.

In the current movement there is much to give us hope.  As
I've said many times, it's based on consensus, decentralized
decision making, no primary leaders, and inclusiveness. This
is different than the kinds of movements you mention above.
If the movement continues in this style, then it is unlikely
to be hijacked in the near future.

The problem will come when the movement begins to gain some
real strength.  Without a radical political understanding,
the movement will then be highly vulnerable to co-option.
Unless the movement understands that electoral politics are
~inherently~ undemocratic, then it will succumb when the
elite offer us a candidate with credentials comparable to
Nader's.  This is their standard modus operandi in such


Subject: RE: re7: Returning to the Garden, democracy, etc.
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 15:04:26 +0200
From: "Keith Gonzalez" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>

hi Richard,

As I have stated before, I enjoy your writing style and your
provocative thoughts.

But I have a question for you. Are you against globalization
in general? Or are you only again the capitalistic approach
to it? Do you think one world governing body (even greener
in nature) is the answer, or should we stay separate in our
own local societies.

The reason I ask is because the LETS systems seem to not
have a globalization plan. Maybe the LETS systems need a
centralized system of checks and balances so they can easily
interact with each other.

It is too hard to keep people in their home city or town.
Some people will always want to lead gypsy type lifestyles,
and a LETS system doesn't seem to support this.

And unless you haven't noticed, the kids want to be
connected. Their mindset is quite different from the over 40
mentality, in that they are scrambling to get their hands on
devices to be and stay connected. Whatever revolution you
have in mind, don't forget that people are driving the
demand for new technologies to exist in a more connected

You can't create a system that goes against the
powers-that-be without waging a violent war. Whatever the
future holds, it must have a comfort level for all beings
involved, power-hungry capitalists and green-thumb
environmentalists alike.

kind regards,

keith gonzalez


Dear Keith,

I think a world government would be a very bad idea.  If
that single government should ever be taken over by a coup,
or by intrigue, then the whole world would be thrown back
into tyranny.  A world government would be unstable,

We are not going to have a livable world until we learn to
harmonize our societies internally, and with nature.  When
our societies are harmonized, then the best and most stable
world system is a community of sovereign, cooperating
nations - of roughly comparable size.  If one of those
succumbs to tyranny, or aggressiveness, then its neighbors
can set it right again.

    > It is too hard to keep people in their home city or town.
    Some people will always want to lead gypsy type lifestyles,
    and a LETS system doesn't seem to support this.

I'm not worried in the slightest about the convertability of
LETS currencies.  Nations have always found a way to trade
and to settle accounts, and they will have no problem doing
so in the future.  People will still travel around the world, 
and relocate from time to time, but not by jet.

    > You can't create a system that goes against the
    powers-that-be without waging a violent war.

Why do people so often assume this?  It simply isn't true.
Gandhi did not wage a violent war, and the people of Eastern
Europe didn't wage a violent war in getting rid of the
Soviet-era regimes.  Nor did the Iranians wage a violent war
to get rid of the Shah.  The Agrarian Populists came close
to electing a radical government in the US about a century
ago, and they followed standard political channels.  Their
failure came because they weren't inclusive enough, and
because they succumbed to the seduction of co-option.

As for comfort levels - we will ~all~ be more comfortable in
a livable world.

Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 13:59:19 +1000
From: Peter Schachte <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: re7: Returning to the Garden, democracy, etc.

Dear Richard,

I believe I begin to see an outline of how real democracy
could happen.  The answer, I believe, is to use the system's
strength against itself.

The strength of the current system, I believe, is its
decentralized nature. No one person has very much power. 
Imagine, for a moment, George W Bush phoning up Tony Blair
one Christmas morning to say that he'd been visited in the
night by 3 ghosts who made him realize that corporate rule
is making most Americans suffer, and is wrong, and he's
going to do something about it. Tony would calmly reply,
"George, it's been nice knowing you.  Bye."  The system is
immune to the loss of any one person, or even several
people.  New people will simply step in to replace the

This strength derives from the representative democracy
system.  Many people have to agree to make anything happen,
so a few turncoats can't do much damage.  And the turncoats
will be replaced because advertising dollars will buy their
seat for someone else in the next election.  I believe
legislators in a representative democracy genuinely fear the
wrath of the people, as it could cost them their jobs. 
Fortunately for them, the media do a really poor job
covering the issues, so most people don't know what their
representatives are doing.  When word does get out, popular
backlashes do sometimes seem to make them scale back or even
call off legislation they have been planning.

So it seems to me that if the people of a representative
democracy could reach a consensus on an issue, and knew that
there was a consensus, their representatives would need some
very strong assurances from their backers to go against that
will.  And they wouldn't do it very often, or when the
consensus was very strongly felt, because they would know
that they would be defeated in the next election.

The outline I see for a path to real democracy, then, is an
inclusive forum for discussion of issues and for proposing
and debating solutions.  The top-down mass media hierarchy
that exists in the world now is not suited to this
(certainly it would not be inclined in that direction,
either). However, the anarchic nature of the Internet makes
it quite suitable.  A non-aligned, all-views-welcome
Internet discussion forum that was designed to keep the
signal-to-noise ratio high and still give all views an
airing, while encouraging the development of a consensus
would, I believe, eventually attract the critical mass
necessary to begin to influence government actions. 
Initially this would happen because its readers would write
to their representatives presenting the consensus. 
Eventually, it could grow in influence to the point that
representatives would be very hard pressed to act contrary
to the developed consensus.  At this point, the country is a
true democracy, without requiring any changes to the way
governments are constituted.

Thanks for listening.

Peter Schachte <•••@••.•••>  In a democratic time culture,      everyone's time is valuable and no
Phone:  +61 3 8344 9166                one's time is any more expendable
Fax:    +61 3 9348 1184                than another's. -- Jeremy Rifkin 


Dear Peter,

Well done!  Good creative thinking.  But you've only just

For example, you've identified that we need a means of
achieving society-wide consensus - this is true.  And you've
come up with a brainstorming idea for how it might be
achieved - an Internet forum of a certain kind.  It's a good
idea, but it doesn't turn out to be workable. I've never
seen any group, of any size, reach consensus on the net -
unless it is on a topic that everyone ~already~ agreed on
~before~ the discussion began.  Nor do Internet discussions
scale up very well.  If you tried to link a million people
together somehow, political power would end up in the hands
of those who managed the discussion protocols.  Consensus,
it turns out, is best achieved in face-to-face meetings -
and even then it can only happen if appropriate processes
are used.

Your suggest that democracy & consensus are possible, even with
our current electoral systems in place.  This is true, and a
good point.  It describes, for example, what's going on in
Porto Alegre today. But then you need to go on and think
about how this would work over time, over decades and
centuries.  Is there any particular reason to maintain
central governments and parliaments, if the real decision
making is taking place elsewhere?  Would they be retained as
some kind of a monument to a past age?  Wouldn't that be
better done with a museum?  And if those institutions are
maintained, isn't there a danger they will recapture power?

For myself, I would take your idea and develop it this
way...  As you say, we first establish consensus.  That, I
suggest, is what the movement needs to be about.  Then, much
as you say, we will elect candidates to all offices who are
solid members of the movement.  Those candidates will have
two primary tasks.  The first will be to cooperate with the
movement in launching into a transition program - redistributing
corporate assets, redefining the money system, etc. etc.  The
second will be to modify the constitutions to get rid of
centralized institutions and officially empower the grass-roots 
democratic process.