Contemporary systems of governance fail to tap into the genius of responsible citizens.Instead they create barriers between citizens and their elected “representatives” so that civic imagination is neither fostered nor heeded when it arises. This severely limits the flexibility of the system. In extreme cases the rigidity of the system and deafness to the voices of dissent can result in revolutions, civil wars, and other forms of violence. Yet the revolutionaries and anti-government forces themselves, even if they overthrow the government, are incapable of replacing the old system with one that is more flexible. One of the reasons for the inflexibility of established systems of governance is the lack of harmony in the alues that inform them. The genius of responsible citizenship itself is empowered to the extent it is informed by a system of truly universal values.
The system of governance proposed here derives its flexibility, including its ability to develop new structures in response to emerging challenges, from its system of values and its universal participation in decision-making. Every participant shares values that – instead of the divisive materialism and cynicism so prevalent in the world today – move into the open field of a different worldview, harmonious coexistence. This inspires people in much the same way that any bonding experience (love, team spirit, etc.) inspires them. Thus, it enables communication in public affairs to transcend even generative dialogue as a source of fresh approaches to emerging challenges. Participants with breakthrough ideas for innovative approaches know that their ideas will be taken seriously to the extent that they are innovative, in accord with core values, evidence-based, and carefully considered. The system not only inspires civic genius but also uses it as a resource for continuous change.
Other specific reasons for and examples of the flexibility in the proposed system can be cited:
- No demands are made of existing state governments, nor any budgetary resources required from them. Participation in the proposed system of global governance is envisioned as arising from the “grass roots” and its implementation evolving to progressively higher levels, without posing any threat to existing governments.
- The ten-tiered system, with assemblies at each level at and above that of the township, encourages local self-reliance as well as a mutually supportive network. A sense both of autonomy and of responsibility for the whole is fostered by the nature of the system’s structure.
- This system recognizes only five programs sufficient to meet all human needs; but its structure also provides for development of new programs if required for particular situations.
- Recognizing the Earth and the living systems it sustains as one undivided whole, the system tends to dissolve boundaries in a gradual process driven by growing trust among all participants. This does not accentuate or do away with international borders in the near future. Instead it is realistic and flexible, working to protect existing borders in the near future, while engaging in education for a more distant future in which they would no longer be needed.
- The entire system is designed with the assumption that the world’s population may grow to 10 billion people over the time that the model is adopted worldwide. Today thepopulation is over 7 billion. The model itself has a built-in flexibility that allows for population growth.