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Harmonization + Localism: A Model for a Democratic Global Society

Over the past few years, I've been trying to understand how a truly democratic society might operate, and how it can avoid the re-emergence of a ruling hierarchy. My investigations have been wide-ranging, looking into, among other things, political systems, social movements, revolutions, ancient societies, organization theory, and group processes. Much of this time has been spent examining models and rejecting them. For example, I've concluded that political parties and competitive elections can never be democratic: they are unreformable; they always lead to the emergence of ruling elites; that is their nature, and indeed that has been their purpose historically.

Finding models that show promise has been more difficult. My investigations eventually led me to the following sources of inspiration: indigenous socieities, the very earliest civilizations, the anarchist literature, and certain group-facilitation processes. From these inspirations, I arrived at two principles which are, I believe, the core principles of genuine democracy.

The first principle: Harmonization

This principle is about decision making, and how conflicts-of-interest are to be resolved. In our societies today, conflicts are resolved by means of power: the most powerful faction gets its way. It's a win-lose system. People join parties or special-interest groups in order to have some hope of exerting influence in society. Harmonization is about resolving conflicts through respectful dialog. It is about taking into account everyone's concerns, and coming up with plans and solutions that deal fairly with all those concerns. Harmonization is not about choosing among alternatives, rather it is a creative, problem-solving process.

The most surprising thing about harmonization is that it is possible. For most of my life, I assumed such things weren't possible. When I thought of political change, I thought in terms of "us progressives" overpowering "those conservatives" - an adversarial approach. I then had the privilege of experiencing harmonization in some interactions with groups, and that opened my mind to new possibilities. I then looked more deeply into facilitation processes, and learned that harmonization is practically achievable, even in groups with strongly conflicting views. I also learned that harmonization is an ancient and venerable tradition, used for hundreds of thousands of years by indigenous societies.

The second principle: Localism

This principle is about the seat of sovereignty, and the extent of sovereignty, in a democratic society. This principle arises from the nature of the democratic process. In order for a group to operate democratically, it is necessary for everyone in the group to participate in the process. That is to say: scale is important - size matters. In a local community, by means of something akin to neighborhood meetings, it is possible to establish a genuine democratic process, based on harmonization.

From these and other considerations, I've been led to the principle that the local community needs to be the basic sovereign unit in a democratic society. For this purpose, a community is "just the right size": large enough to be a viable political entity, and small enough that it can operate on the basis of an inclusive democratic process. Within a community, everyone's voice is heard, and everyone's concerns are taken into account - by means of harmonization processes. Similarly, wiithin a region, each community's voice is heard, and each community's concerns are taken into account. And so on, up to global councils, also operating by means of harmonization.

Invitation to dialog

This is my "model of a global democratic society", in a nutshell. Quite clearly, there are many issues and questions that are not answered in this thumbnail sketch. If any of you in the WWDM community would like to explore this model further, perhaps we could make use of this Wiki Page for some dialog...your comments are welcome.

Best Regards,

The dialog can continue here:
 harmonic module 
 hi richard et all,

i'm here a week after sharing a mail-resonance with richard ...
i didnot know moore before ;-)

my link to this net originates from a contact on the chaosforum, netherlands ...
where i met julien, jan, jacques, and so many moore potential kaospilots ...
and julien introduced me to the citizen baby filia,
who i occasionaly or serendepitious met 9 months before on a "studiedag" of the NVOA (dutch union for female organisation advisors) ...

harmonizing seems for me something like being free of a structure and then somehow a thing happens ... and the freedom of being ... gave space to enter the attractor ...

hmmm, indeed booring ...
anyhow ... i met josé arguelles this year on 2 days in august ... and his red queen ...
and josé does travel the noösphere by www.lawoftime.org NOW writng volume ll of the CosmicHistoryChronicle in a series of VII.

He seems to manifestate a kind of Avatar with the Mayan title "closer of the cycle" - Valum Votan ... (forget is if you think this is judged as obscure in your cube of reality).

Finally, ending up this story ... indeed theis Tzolkin calendre made me aware of the neverending fascination of the sphere ... i.s.o. the cube way of thnking ...

So , richard, i agree upon your visions ... thnx for sharing! yourself2

S'ace GGvoter 
   2005-12-02 16:10:51 by GlobalGeniusVoterComments (0)

 overlapping communities? 
 Mirek's example of 'two communities' sharing the same area is interesting. I would say that we are really talking about ONE community, which has found a way for two different cultures to exist within itself. I would say that at a macro level, this community is practicing harmonization! It is, perhaps, a model for what I am talking about.  
   2005-05-31 05:20:26 by RichardMooreComments (2)

 Prescription for harmonization 
 Harmonization is a term I use to refer to what happens in sessions which are supported by some appropriate kind of facilitation. Harmonization is not itself a specific method of facilitation, and it is really the skill of the facilitator that is most important, rather than the name of the method being used.

First of all, let me say that these facilitation methods really do work. Here are some URLs if you want to read more abut them:

My own Chapter 5:
The Co-Intelligence Institute - http://www.co-intelligence.org/

A good facilitator is able to get people to actually hear what one another are saying, and is able to help the group enter a space where they are all working together to find solutions that work for everyone involved. The results have been truly amazing, in all kinds of cases in industry, and in communities.
   2005-05-31 05:16:11 by RichardMooreComments (0)

 moving freely...immigration 
 There is a tension between two 'good things': 'moving freely' on the one hand, and 'local sovereignty' on the other. Yes, if some family is running from oppression and poverty, we would want them to be welcomed by some other society. On the other hand, what if a bunch of loafers descend on a village and demand to be housed and fed? We need to acknowledget that some kind of balance is required in addressing these issues, something deeper than saying 'immigration' is good or 'immigration is bad'.

In particular, we need to see that the meaning of immigration in today's exploitive socieities is different than what the meaning would be if the world was filled with democratic societies. In such a world people would not be fleeing for human rights reasons, and a lot fewer for economic reason.  
   2005-05-31 05:02:53 by RichardMooreComments (4)

 Harmonization and localism 
 Richard, I created the blog for you (this one) ...
The discussion can be moved (also) here.
I noticed I was in a hurry, and have not finished a question in my previous comments: Do you have a practical prescription on how to do the harmonization? Given a concrete problem, how would a community go about harmonization???

People 'moving freely': They must definitely have the right to live their community freely.

Two communities having quite different laws (moslems and others) and sharing the same geographical area already works apparently not so bad in some small emirates in Indonesian archipelago.
   2005-05-24 19:09:24 by WddmAdminComments (0)
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Dear Richard Moore, this is very close to what I was thinking. I was thinking of making the communities the size of ancient Greek city-states. I think that eventually the whole world will function under this sort of system. I call it the "Microstate Revolution."
-- ErikSchwerdtfeger (2005-05-18 17:02:29)
Richard, several comments:
1. Perhaps it might be appropriate to put here on this page a "blog" for discussion entries?
2. How does your "harmonization" differ from "deliberation"? Do you see any need for formal voting at all? Or just harmonization means talking until a solution supported/accepted by everybody will emerge?
4. Do you have a practical
4. I agree extensively with your "Localism" principle. I have myself arrived at something similar. I envisage a future better society as a pluralistic federation of various (local) communities. I am afraid that there may always (or still for a very long time) be people who, for various reason, would prefer that their decisions be made for them by their representatives or leader. So we may have side by side direct democratic (harmonization) communities and communities with other decision-making mechanisms. It would be important that people would not be forced to stay in the community of their birth, and would be allowed to move freely among various communities. Several such "communities" could even share the same geographical area. Various higher level (global) councils would then take care of the relation of the common interests and joint projects of, and relations between various communities in a given part of the world. Agin (as with your proposals) this would require more elaboration, explanation and discussion.
-- MiKolar (2005-05-22 17:06:28)
Greetings Miroslav,

Thanks for joining in!

1. I don't understand blogs. How are they different from this comment facility?

2a. Harmonization is about people connecting at a human level, and then working together to deal with all their concerns. Deliberation typically happens more at the level of ideas and proposals. Deliberation becomes much more productive within a context of harmonization.

2b. re: voting: Perhaps there will be a role for voting, but I doubt it. If people need to vote, it means they haven't finished discussing the issues. This becomes clearer if we consider a business context, rather than a political context. In all my years in industry, never once did anyone suggest voting as a way to decide a project issue. It would have seemed silly.

4. re: localism. I think 'communities', in the political sense, need to be strictly place-based and non-overlapping. Some people may not choose to participate in community dialog, but that would be because they are satisfied with how things are being handled.

People 'moving freely' is a complex issue. In general I'm in favor of freedom of travel, but I think a community should have the right to decide whether or not it wants an influx of new inhabitants.

All of these ideas are elaborated more fully in my soon-to-be-published book on Global Transformation.

Thanks again for your comment!
-- RichardMoore (2005-05-23 04:25:10)