Global Bottom/up Governance
July 15, 2019 at 5:12 pm #37481
I do not think there is serious argument that peaceful world government has failed and that Westphalian sovereignty is the primary cause of that failure. This argument was forcibly make by Benjamin Barber, “If Mayors ruled the world” Unfortunately Barber clung to traditional political science with the result that his solution simply will fail. However, his idea that looking to non-sovereign cities for world solutions has merit. I would like to join with others in having an open (all material can be used by others for their projects provided they likewise permit use of their work without conditions other than the foregoing) What I now can offer are some ideas that are not yet systematic, but that I think are worthy of work.
I start with Barber’s idea of cities however what defines a city is presently open.I will follow with some ideas for thought. I divide the world’s population into two groups, Urban (those living in cities) and Rural(everyone else). I imagine these populations as 2 networks that act together as human DNA does in a double helix. That structure has many intersecting points which are nodes.
I hope I have created a visual understanding of 21st century human interaction in a political, social and economic sense. If there are questions or other ideas pleas reply. We are at the beginning not the end.
This work does not yet have organization other that what I have written. It is my hope that our discussion will result in a structure someday.
First idea: What is a city? When I speak of cities I am not thinking about geographic boundaries. I am thinking about ideas such as population density, human flows and exchanges, centers of commerce, development of technologies, global communication in its many forms and innovation, exploration of culture and things like that. Let’s share concepts of cities and their potential.
Second idea: This is more firm in my mind, but other persective are appreciated. Just as DNA has a certain number of essential elements that combine in a multitude of ways to create an individual being I imagine 4 elements of governance. They are:Participation, meaning that the entire world population in some form participates in formulating the agreed rules by which they live.Deliberation, meaning that government structure provide to every person subject to their governance the information necessary for rational decision making and the space, time and method in which to think, discuss and weigh all such decisions.(This might become an additional idea described as “deliberation”.
Third idea: In order for the second idea to be real there must be unfettered communication among the populations of the various political subdivisions I will describe, total transparency of governance and accountability for all people exercising power in any of its forms.
Fourth Idea: There must be freedom of movement for all the earth’s people not only in a legal sense, but in a real sense including issues concerning economics, family and society and any other factors that might make movement either impossible or undesirable.
Fifth Idea: There must be equality in the way that the preceding ideas are actualized. The concept of equality as used here does not equate into sameness, but rather full opportunity for respectful difference.
These five ideas, like the letter sequences that create the human genome, flow through governance in various combinations and influences to create our system of governance.
One last idea for today. (this is a long range process) Both cities or rural areas are to be understood as composed of smaller social/political groups. I am thinking of the following: Neighborhoods (the smallest and most intimate social/political group); Communities (An interim construct composed of neighborhoods) and cities/ rural areas (larger structures that still maintain substantial integrating factors)>
I hope this is enough to get the ball rolling. I look forward to your contributions.
July 16, 2019 at 5:25 am #37497Steven Earl SalmonyParticipant
Thank you for contributing this uncommon perspective. Your hopeful vision is one I can barely imagine, but one that I cannot see a way to operationalize. What are we to do as a first concrete step toward actually realizing your ideas? How are we to ‘turn the page’, or become camels marching through the eye of a needle, or enter this New World? All I think of at the moment is falling down a rabbit hole and finding myself in a place that reminds me of Alice’s upside down (or better yet, right side up) Wonderland. The human community desperately needs of new vision of humane organization with adequate governance mechanisms. Perhaps this discussion is one way to begin. After all, any kind of new beginning must emanate from the word, I suppose.
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July 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm #37527
I tried to continue the above a few days ago, but my content is lost somewhere in cyberspace. So I’ll try again.
Picture the double helix of the human genome and reimagine it as two networks and streams of communication.One stream is focused upon urban issues and the other upon rural issues. (Both these terms will be further discussed below).People whose lives are centered in urban areas communicate along that helix and everyone else along the other. Like the DNA double helix, each wraps around the other creating numerous intersections. (Nodes).At each node the entire world population can enter either helix and join in any particular discussion. An issue is any problem or solution to a problem that is articulated by any person, neighborhood, community, city or rural area (each of these entities will be described in detail below).In addition such human values as Freedom (f), Dignity (d), Equality (e), Voice (v), Justice (j) and Sustainability (s) [Other values may be identified as this work progresses] that must be considered within each issue shall be stated along with the issue in the discussion of each question and answer. So a question such as, “How do you deal with hate speech?” would include the letters, fevj. Those letters would be repeated to express the opinion of the writer as to the relative importance of each value. So the letters appearing after the question might look like this, feevjjj.In my prior paragraph I described five elements of governance that I thought then should be encoded in theses communications. I am changing that Idea and substituting the above. The five ideas are still in the picture, however there entry comes at a different place and in na different way.
The reason for the double helix is that I think all human problems look different from the urban and rural perspectives.Even so I also believe that there are urban problems and answers that can give insights to perople whop live in rural areas and vice versa. The nodes provide opportunities for all people, no matter where and how they live to have access to all the information that flows along the double helix and the freedom and right to utilize what they choose.
Let me set both my idea of an urban governance unit and its function.(The same units are used for both urban and rural areas, but look very different in each setting.) The basic and most intimate unit is the neighborhood. I am tempted to put a population number here, but I think that would be an error. What I have in mind is a group of people living in close proximity such that problems that arise effects all in the neighborhood. In an urban setting that may be one building or a segment of a particular street located between two avenues. In a rural area it may be a village or small city and its surrounds for many miles.The key element is occurrence. What occurs in any part of the neighborhood effects all the people in the neighborhood in similar if not the same way.I am hopeful that as this project continues and we begin to think about particular issues of governance the definition of neighborhood will cement.
Group of neighborhoods comprise a community.Communities are the birth places of the rules and societal and economic institutions of the world. Again, communities will be described in terms of their function in very broad terms, leaving the exact function of a community for another discussion The problems and desires of governance commences in the neighborhood. It is in that intimate place where people meet darling in the course of their lives and have the best opportunity to talk about their needs and desires. It is also in that place where injustice is most transparent.However, it is exactly that intimacy that hampers the neighborhood as a source of governance. It is too narrow, too focused, too particular. The mass of the community must be such that it has the ability to begin to create methods for public transportation, public education, public sanitation and a myriad list of public needs. In my next entry I will address the relationship between neighborhoods and communities and how they they mutually create a method of participatory deliberative forum for the articulation of social problems and solutions.
July 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm #37559
So let’s take urban areas and discuss how they are to be governed.
Each neighborhood (a small number of residents who share common experience) is empowered to determine the existence of a problem that needs to be addressed by a rule. Each neighborhood also has the right to send a representative to a forum representing the Communities of the urban area. Depending on the size of the total urban population such forums are anticipated to be made up of between 100 and 500 representatives (each representative representing one neighborhood). The composition of each forum shall be determined by its constituent members.
Each community forum upon being so informed shall both circulate the issue along the urban helix and commence deliberations to decide whether the problem needs a remedial rule and what, in a general sense the nature of that rule should be. In making such determination the community forum shall consider inputs received from both the urban and rural helixes and any advice or experience that the community forum thinks relevant. The determination of each community shall be forwarded to a city counsel together with all the information considered by the community in making its determination.
The city council shall be a group of elites chosen by their predecessors on the basis of education and governance experience. The initial city council shall be selected by random from all persons who have applied to so act and whose qualifications meet a set of standards determined by the community forums. Each such council shall consist of a number of persons whose total equals the number of community forums. Each such council shall serve for a period (term) of 4 or 5 years (determined by the community forums and no member of any council shall sever more than one consecutive term.
Each determination of the community forums shall be recirculated on the urban helix upon receipt and simultaneously scheduled for debate and deliberation by the council. It shall be the duty of the city council to determine whether or not a rule is needed and if so to formulate such a rule. Once so formulated the proposed rule shall be circulated along the urban helix together with all the material presented to the council with respect to the issue (including inputs received through the urban helix) and the reasons for the council decision including what it has accepted and rejected and reasons therefor.
After the lapse of a reasonable time period (to be determined by the community forums) the city council shall adopt or adopt with modifications the proposed rule. Such rule shall be law for a period of one year after which it may be modified or repealed if such is required by a decision of the community forums. The supermajority required for each of the above actions shall be determined by the community forums.
July 26, 2019 at 8:15 am #37599
A similar system should be used along the rural helix. Starting with neighborhood, while it is clear that neighborhoods would comprise a larger geography, the fundamental understanding of a population that is relatively small and yet shares many common experiences. Based upon my description of urban areas as flows of people, commerce, transit and diversity of culture it is reasonable to understand rural areas as either primarily agricultural or primarily indigenous(understood as living off and in close proximity to nature). That said neighborhoods now become more focused as sharing immediate weather conditions; growing similar crops, harvesting similar plant and animal life.Communities are to be similarly understood, but to include a greater population.While there is no equivalence too cities along the urban helix, I believe that there are large segments or the rural population that share many common issues and at the same time these segments may differ substantially from other rural segments. For example I would argue that there would be much commonality between people living in the arctic and antarctic regions of earth and those living in remote jungle, desert and mountainous areas, with the result that experience sharing and problem sharing would be significantly beneficial to all.These groups might not only exchange, but may also unite in solidarity to act and protect their way of life.
I admit that I a do not know enough about the actual experience of such people to suggest a form of governance, howeverer, I believe that their mutual exchange and their access to the urban and rural helix will provide such governance as determined by that particular genre of humanity.
I must cut this post short, but will have more to say tomorrow when I show the global impact of my proposal.
July 26, 2019 at 8:33 am #37601Steven Earl SalmonyParticipant
An occasional contributor to the MAHB Blog who goes by the name Byron Arnold needs to contacted for his thoughts about your perspective. He is working on the same problem of organizing a workable social world order. Also, Geoffrey Holland is certain to be another remarkable contributor to any discussion of this kind.
July 30, 2019 at 12:05 pm #37637
Just to lay out a concept of how the designations of neighborhood, community and city translate into a rural population I would imagine that a neighborhood might translate into a county in the United States, a community a State and a city the Country. I know these are big numbers of people, however, I am of the belief that there is less diversity among rural people than urban people. If I am incorrect please let me know. Think that the people in rural county would would share many social, economic and political problems. Consequently I view them as the source to identify the need for laws and rules. The rest of my idea follows. The State decides which request from its various counties should be forwarded to a city elite for formulation of the law or rule and the rest follows the urban scenario.
There are several major problems (which I see as the need for change) that stand in the way of such a plan every being attempted. The first is values. No global justice or participatory governance is possible if the principle values of the world are individualism, competition and profit. Such values create a zero sum game in which there are losers. In a just participatory world there can be no losers. Clearly values such as community, cooperation, mutual assistance and intergenerational concern are needed for my ideas to bear fruit.
The second problem is the flow of information along the double helix. Today the control and ownership of information flows are either government or private capitalistic entities. History has clearly shown that neither of such institutions can work for the common good. Both such entities seek power and wealth with the result that there is created a dominant class and a subaltern class. The desire of both such entities is insatiable. While absolute equality negates the fact of individuality, there can exist social, political and economic systems that provide a worthy life for all and at the same time distinguish rewards according to contribution.
All of the above is a sketch and one that is inadequate. Never the less it is a model for discussion.
August 1, 2019 at 8:49 am #37653
I think that it is clear that global bottom/up governance cannot happen in a capitalistic economy. The demand that the public good be primary and that all humans are entitled to live a worthy life, as such a life id defined by each individual cannot be met by neoliberalism and most likely by any form of capitalism, although I am open to suggestions that would restructure capitalism to achieve these ends.
Let me try to run an experiment through my proposal. Several neighborhoods in an urban area after experiencing incidents of gun violence determine that some type of gun regulation is needed. Circulating their concern through the neighborhood that comprise their community. A supermajority of the neighborhoods in that community agree that something needs to be done to curb and prevent gun violence. The community forwards this request to their city council. The city council post the concerns of their communities on the urban helix. The council receives comments and concerns and suggestions by individuals, neighborhoods, communities and cities throughout the world. Some of those comments come from individuals, neighborhoods and communities that reside on-line through the rural helix. The rural communities express concerns of the economic impact on gun restriction since a significant source of their revenues come from hunting tourism. They also provide significant evidence that gun violence is not a major problem in rural areas.The urban helix also claims target shooting at designated ranges and hunting as legitimate and important uses for guns.
After studying all the input and other resourses deemed creditable the city council proposes a law that is applicable only in cities of a specified population; that provides for adequate shooting ranges throughout such cities; that requires gun owners to store the guns at a shooting range selected by them; that provides gun storage facilities at rural hunting ares and a subsidy to sustain them and provides transport of guns from the urban shooting range to the rural hunting area selected by an individual who intends to hunt that area. Simultaneously the city council shall establish a dialogue with all other city councils for the purpose of deciding whether or not the proposal should be a global rule or law; what changes, if any would be needed to do so and whether or not global cooperation and solidarity would be compromised if adopted by less than all cities. If the answer to that last question is yes, the the law or rule must be agreed to by a super majority of all the world’s city councils. If the answer is no then those cities to be subjected to the law our rule shall agree thereto by a super majority vote.
This proposed law is circulated on the urban helix with a notice giving a time frame for responses. All responses are considered by the city council and changes are made to the proposal to provide what it considers to be improvements to the proposal. The proposal is then circulated on the urban helix as a law or rule. Along with such circulation there is posted a statement by each member of the city council stating why they voted for ar against the proposal along with the arguments they credited and those they rejected in making their decision.
Upon the anniversary of the law or rule all urban and rural neighborhoods and communities shall be asked to vote to either maintain the law, modify it or repeal it. If a majority of those voting on either helix vote to modify or repeal the law or rule the city council shall do so. If the city council modifies the law or rule it will reinstate the above process for another year. Every law and rule shall be so submitted to a vote of both rural and urban neighborhoods every 10 years.
August 8, 2019 at 9:03 am #37733
So how does the above translate into bottom/up global governance and what are the initial steps to make? World governance results from the sharing of local problems and potential solutions. The result is no world law enforceable by either violence or coercion, but rather local resolutions of issues made better and less frictional as a result of the wide input and exchange on the issue. Thus if it turns out that Atlanta, ga, Gander,nf and York,uk all have the same issue (in a general rather than a particular sense) we can expect three different solutions all of which benefit from the global exchange and all of which take into consideration conflicts that may occur due to the set particular solution selected, because, in fact, those conflicts have already surfaced and have been discussed in detail. I argue that it is most likely that each city would attempt to adopt its solution to that which would create the least conflict and that whose conflict could be resolved through negotiation as distinguished from violence or coercion. It is indeed probable that such negotiations will have in fact occurred as part of the solution process. While I used urban cities as my example, I see no reason why the same would not result in the problem solving processes of rural neighborhoods, communities and cities.
Where cultural and other difference is greater such as where cities are located in the North and the South and particularly where the understanding of development is significantly different, I argue the same would be true. The solutions would vary greater than those in the cities I mentioned, but they would take into account the information received from the global community and attempt to find solutions that would create the least conflict possible and where conflict was unavoidable to create conflicts solvable without violence or coercion.
Why is this possible in my proposal and not wirthin our present world? The answer is that my proposal does not contain the concepts of Nation-State and Sovereignty. I argue that it is exactly those concepts that create our present world of violent and coercive conflict.
In answer to Steve’s question, What are the first steps to make my proposal a reality? The first thing is to create a political (defined as methods by which people determine how best to govern their particular societies) system that is bottom/up. To do this the present hegemony of top/down governance has to be abandoned. This is done in stages. The first stage is a public demand for total transparency and accountability by all present governments. This is can only be accomplished by public demonstrating and putting pressure on civil society to join the cause. We have not even begun to think about how we might do this. One of the goals of this post is to start that discussion. Ultimately our economy will have to shift from capitalism to the commons. I think both actions can evolve simultaneously. The important thing is to start and to start locally, where we have the most impact.
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