Kirby Urner posted Dec 8, 2012 12:32 AM: > On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 10:15 PM, GS Chandy > <email@example.com> wrote: > > > > My question is: how, in even such 'nominal > democracies' that are extant > > today, do we go about making people aware of such > facts of our economic and > > social lives? By and large, we do not know how to > do that. > > > Paul and I talk passed each other a lot because he > casts himself in the > role of a "big government" advocate (as a > conservative might put it), > whereas I'm more interested in "democracy in the > workplace" and/or/also > "micro democracies". > I've noticed. This 'talking past each other' is, I believe, a defining characteristic of the 'prose mode' of thinking and discourse.
I've been trying to bring to general attention some more effective means of thinking and discourse, via a minor extension to our conventional prose mode that I call 'prose + structural graphics' (p+sg), where the structural graphics serve to show us explicit visual (graphical) representations of the relationships we implicitly have in mind when thinking or discoursing in the prose mode. HUGE amounts of fruitless/wasted time and effort can be easily saved by the application of p+sg to our various issues of concern. More, a great many (not all) fruitless arguments and disputes are readily avoided by the use of p+sg, because each person in a discussion is able more effectively to communicate - and to see with clarity what others are communicating.
In general, I too am a believer in 'micro democracy' (I'd like to call it 'microdemocracy') - while I accept Paul's argument that 'government' HAS to encompass the whole group, the whole community, the whole body politic, the whole nation - ultimately, the whole world. In order to forestall Haim/other conservatives, let me state that such government has to be achieved through microdemocracy - else it will very dangerous indeed (as the Soviets showed).
But we are very far indeed from achieving *effective* governance of nations generally (or even communities).
There is no point in huge government, of the kind that we have today in India or in the USA - neither of which knows much about democracy. 'Free' elections are, by and large, useful (and even necessary) - but in very few (if any) nations have they led to true democracy. In the Soviet Union, we saw the very damaging things that can happen when we have 'big government' with no thought of the practice of microdemocracy; I don't know how much progress there has been in Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union. I believe that China is highly undemocratic - MUCH more undemocratic than India (for instance).
But I do agree generally with Paul that the Scandinavian nations have generally achieved the most effective governments (with maximum democracy) seen on the planet today. > > I have a history with DemocracyLab (democracylab.org) > and its project to > shepherd social networking software to fruition which > supports democratic > forms of self steering (more trustworthy than mob > rule by warlord dons, the > Mafia model) but perhaps only at an ultra-local > level. > I'm fascinated by your DemocracyLab - shall check out "democracylab.org". I believe they would find OPMS useful. If you can introduce me there, I shall be most grateful.
I very much like the instances of (potential) 'microdemocracies' that you have provided below. The 'Occupy' movement offered considerable hope - but were, as you've noted, incomplete experiments.
Your thought of helping people in refugee camps to install microdemocratic practices there is outstanding! Were I a little younger and stronger, I would myself rightaway go off to one of the refugee camps to promote the idea. Alas, I'm not young enough or energetic enough to do any of that! (So I shall have to try and get word to the people who are already doing this kind of work. I did at one time contact someone who was involved with Haitian relief work after the big storm they suffered a couple of years ago; he showed initial interest, but nothing developed out of that).
GSC P.S. Can you link me up to your work with CERN? > > Picture a building of boarding school size, a small > campus, with 200 > permanent or semi-permanent staff and a constant > turnover of some 1000-2000 > passers through or semi short stay visitors. > > This could be a democratically administered > institution with integrated > medical facilities, perhaps rather deep in some > wilderness, perhaps > dome-covered. Or maybe picture a small military base > like on Okinawa, but > reprogrammed (i.e. "converted") to run as a > democracy, not as a military > hierarchy (more Athens, less Sparta). > > The Occupy camps were incomplete experiments along > these lines, > demonstrations. The chief concern of many campers > was to role model a > micro-society in which egalitarian ideas and > spontaneous organization were > possible. Doing so in the middle of a city, with > lots of traffic, in full > view of the police and justice center, not to mention > city hall, provided a > useful microcosm, an experiment. I learned a lot, > felt like my experiments > at CERN or on the Hubble were finally being run. The > camp became > overwhelmed by folks in need of social services, with > the onlooking social > service people feeling they had better treatment > facilities in the vicinity > whereas the camp was cold, the bathrooms clogged. > The social service > people helped the camp mercy kill itself. We saw we > weren't able to cope > with a city's caseload, but we'd all learned a lot. > I posted a lot of my > own analysis in Psychiatry Today (a blog post): > > http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2011/10/psychiatry-today.h > tml > > Now think of refugee camps around the world, lots of > them. No, not just in > the Middle East, not by a long shot. Think of how > any community of any > real size needs to self organize in some way. > Software might help, but > even more useful are living demonstrations. If one > refugee camp gets its > act together and structures as a democracy that > works, a success story... > that could prove catching. But you need catalyzing > ingredients, and you > need ways to spread the memes you want to spread (a > kind of > cross-fertilization). This might require a small > fleet of smallish jets, > with various paint jobs and tail fins (an art project > for homeless kids: > show Food Not Bombs fleet, what it might look like). > > Paul is thinking in terms of a Federal government, on > the model of Sweden > or Norway, but perhaps in the vicinity of Washington > DC somewhere. I'm not > sure where he plans to buy the land and send the > bulldozers. It could take > awhile to construct a parallel reality in which > competent Federal > leadership gets a building. How will it then get its > share of the taxes? > Will Congress approve. Just seems like a long shot > to me. And besides, > were Paul successful in creating a competent Federal > government, it would > need to run democratically, by definition, so here > again there might be > need for DemocracyLab and what we "the Occupy people" > learned from our > study of refugee camps. We could offer a few > pointers. > > So maybe someday, Paul, the new president, and I, the > seasoned foodie, can > have a good meetup and help bring about the moral > revolution he envisions > for his country. > > Kirby