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Failing constitutions

Most constitutions around the world have been drawn up for the first time somewhere in the 18th or 19th century. They were concieved to govern a country based on basic human rights. This was needed because industrialization and human issues created enough conflicting complexities, such as the need for health regulation, education, poverty policies, fair division of wealth, etc. The level of humanistic idealism in those very first constitutions reflected a sincere focus on humanitarian balans.

A friend (Henrick Fabius) shared recently his draft university promotion paper with me in which he analyses the development of the Dutch constitution from its first edition in 1798 all the way up to now. He worked out four cases: education, health care, economy and democracy. He confirmed in his paper what I had already detected and written about through my living experience and subsequent awareness development: our State today is constitutionally failing.

It was a great relief for me to see such extremely well documented paper that backed up my own emotional and rational practical awareness. Even though his paper concentrated on the specific case of the Dutch constitution, I could easily draw the line internationally. The dates and local circumstances may vary but most countries have now failing constitutions and States, a problem that goes far beyond a financial crisis. In fact they are both very strongly related now.

The orginal constitutions show remarkable wordings that basically place the human being at the center of attention. The wordings had been carefully chozen back then in the late 18th century as to avoid misunderstanding about what the constitution was really about. Subsequently, as governance was formed accordingly, the constitutional revisions started immediately and introduced wordings that reflected the gradual replacement of the human being by a system.

When for instance the very first constitutional concern was public health (clearly a challenge because of the highly polluting factories that affected the health in all developing cities back then) the constitution was gradually changed into “health care”. That is a huge difference. The first was proactive (health first) the latter consequence drive (systemize the curing of illness). This change would have a huge impact on the development of a society. The same occurred in every point of government attention.

The system introduction was nearly immediate, starting only years after the first constitutions were drawn up, reflecting a worrying gradual tendency of governance to develop the desire to control and regulate rather than to take constitutional responsibility. It was a very slow process that over time got to the explosive situation of today. A recent study of various commissions of state, that have the responsibility to control the functioning of the State itself, agreed that the current governance has grown very distant from the human being. In fact, current systems of laws and policy-making deal with issues that have nothing at all to do with human progress, on the contrary, they even block progress systematically.

This is a very serious matter. When the constitutional rights do not protect the human rights anymore what do they protect? The entire discussion is now about money and the working of the system of power and control of financial and economic systems. Back in the 18th century the original debate was necessarily about human values, now, 200 years later, it should be again. We still find those old values back in the books but they have been surrounded by money and control based dependencies and priorities that take the attention away from the original humanitarian purpose.

Even though democracies have established systems of control to evaluate the working of the State it is the first time we are confronted with the serious failing of our governance and constitutions. How do go about that? Can you fire your own constitution or governance? Or put the country on hold until a new one is formulated? In the 18th centuries the people involved started from scratch but now we have a globalized structure of dependencies and systems of power that are reluctant to let go. The current governance is lead by financial crises and economic interests, not by humantarian needs, yet it has the power to rule a country from which it is disconnected.

Two worlds have been created, the unreal world of the financial based system, governed by those who have control over it (banks and governments). And the real world of the every day human being which sees how this unreal world destroys all its sustainable securities, socially, ecologically and even long term economically. There is a new governance growing in the streets and city quarters where people get organized against there own systems, claiming their rights to develop a living starting again with basic needs, not even consumer luxus.

This is a dangerous situation. The system wants to uphold itself but the populations demand freedom to experiment with a new progressive society. The points of stress are showing around the world as pressure builds up against the system. Money has reached a glorified status that many still worship but those who have nothing to eat or place to live get organized to obtain what is really valuable to them: their original basic constitutional rights. If the system does not let go to place the human being again where it belongs the public claim will become confrontational and severe. We have reached a state of chaos that is unprecented caused by 200 years of undermining political processes against constitutions through systemizing regulations and modifications. No one seemed to notice until now. Now the big challenge is, how do we put things right again?

With sustainocracy I give it a try but get (logically) blocked often still by pure fragmented financial power positions backed by legal structures. Change occurs bottom up in society itself and can go much faster if the system starts allowing it to happen. I ask people who have institutional leadership positions a direct question “what responsibility do you take? What you were hired for? Or what your own human consciousness expects from you?” They need to anwer this for themselves often still finding backing and reward by the system’s wrong constitution.

It takes guts to address the system from within as an executive, if you know you may loose your job by doing so. Yet we, independent citizens, have nothing to loose and can take responsibility by asking those who are in power to be brave and use their authority to transform their organizations. I do so by taking a responsible independent sustainocratic seat among them, asking them first to join me from a human consciousness point of view. Then I ask them if they would challenge their institutions too, to take responsibility too for human progress.

Inviting institutional powers to new age ventures

Institutions are invited to “save the human world”. Not everyone joins.

In AiREAS (environment, human health and city development) I managed to get local government, certain business leaders and scientists to shyly take a position with me. By doing so and asking for commitment in which human interests are placed at the center, we find all legal system impediments that block us to do so. I take then the opportunity to challenge the system, all the way up to the constitution to eliminate these obstacles for the sake of human progress.

We find 200 years of system develop that needs to be revised and modified. Using sustainocracy we can do it in practice, with arguments, bottom up, involving law students, universities and individual people to do what the big power system itself is not capable of doing itself: redesign our own constitutions and with it the governance of human society of the 21st century.


  1. […] political systems developped with left and right wing challenging each other through argumentation. Constitutions were written for human rights and governance while economic systems grew causing concentration of humankind in urban […]

  2. This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other — that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the State.

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