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Poverty of old rich changes the world, not money

Geographical poverty

In the world there are roughly three economic “worlds”, the old rich, the new rich and the poor. These can be seen horizontally per region in the world. The old rich regions speculate with value, the new rich countries create some of the value still through industrial process with cheap labor, and then there are the poor that have nothing but themselves. Meanwhile climate changes and pollution of the rich make the globe more inhabitable affecting the rich in their quest for resources using greed, and the poor who are being  robbed of their chances for survival. Some try to get to the rich parts of the world by hazardous migration, others just perish, accepting their destiny in some way as inevitable.

This has always been the case ever since industrialization began and even before. Nowadays the old rich suffer crises because they cannibalize on their own wealth, the new rich do not learn the lessons of the old rich and go into the same direction while the poor remain poor, exploited by the rich, die and don’t know much better by lack of reference. What is “rich” anyway? That your children survive beyond age 2 or 5? That you have a car, a house to live in, two TV sets, a mobile phone and access to the supermarket every day? Peace at home or in the street?

Poverty among the rich

Then there is this other way of looking at the same three worlds but vertically, within the confinement of the rich countries. We find the same  mix of poverty, wealthy and rich but within the same region. The difference with the general poverty around the world is that this type of poverty has known what it is like to be rich in material sense and sees it around them all the time. In the area of poverty within rich regions we see three ways that people deal with it:

  1. Solidarity, meaning that fellow people, families, friends and surroundings help the people out voluntarily for their primary needs. Often people who are being helped just need some support because they thrive to be self supported and need no official help. They are the entrepreneurial types of society that do their best. They normally see their situation as temporary and part of life, trusting to be able to deal with it.
  2. Social welfare, a government caring system to assist people who have entered in some kind of misery until they can find their way back into the system by themselves or through pressure of the government. Often these are people who have suffered a loss, a divorce or whatever mishap. It can also represent a cultural problem of employment diversity.  Social welfare is the social cushion that provides them with rest and material peace of mind for a while.
  3. Criminality and chaos, is when people do not trust the system or themselves anymore and abuse the system through rebellion acts, criminality and chaos, out of mentality or need.

In new rich countries we see governments trying to deal with the newly growing rich, taxation, equality and old poverty through education programs and welfare creation. In the current old rich societies however we see a general raise of poverty that covers all three situations. Yet the mix tends to alter due to the development of the collapsing richness. The crises that the culture and paradigm suffers develops an explosive situation that eventually will provoke a paradigm shift. It is these poor that upset the old system and introduce new conditions for stable progress, but not before some chaos and collapse is created in the community. It is not the money that will change the world, it is the poverty among the old rich.

The traditional solidarity of local people goes to their own relatives or close ones. Many rich countries have opened up their borders so much for the entry of cheap labor that foreign poverty mixes with local poverty, both with a different mentality around scarcity. The local poor start to believe that the  chances are being taken away from them by the foreigners. The newcomers come for work and see the rich society as something to take their chances no matter what. Some come with a genuine interest to take benefit, others with a hit and run opportunistic attitude towards the abundance in the materially rich environment.

Crime rises among all populations groups  simply because of the masses in jeopardy, the distrust between locals and foreign groups and the declining “can do” culture in the region. When social security funds dry up as the old rich country cannot keep up the old standards the welfare support is taken away gradually and causes more poverty. The solidarity in the community slows down and finally stops because people lose faith and ask their people to take responsibility. They do that by finding ways to rise against the inequality through marches, protest or attacks, yet they also develop new pre-paradigms and paradigms. The significance of have lived through different worldviews as an individual is key for progress. Poverty then is a way to let go of the old securities that the remaining rich try to defend. But this defense,  even with the powerful support of the law, is not enough to withhold the demanding forces of the people who want to introduce change. We have seen this happen in Northern Africa and the Middle East. We will see it happening across the globe.

The following questions arises:

  • When, with what proportion of poverty in the mix, does a stable economy of old rich collapse into chaos prior to renewal
  • Can a country take precaution before? Eg by allowing social innovation by the poor instead of defending the situation of the rich
  • Is social welfare always an adequate cushion? Or should it be limited only to the new rich while the old rich should focus on paradigm shift through social investment rather than protection?

As poverty in the rich countries grows we general see the difference between rich and poor grow too. The speculation at the top end of the social pyramid is showing economic growth while the bottom is reaching a point of starvation. The differences grow and so does the social stress. Yet the new poverty has the insight, knowledge and education to produce change that can move the old rich into a new phase of development through fundamental changes. The growing rich out of the old paradigm will try to influence change negatively. I also referred to this in the blog entry of the route of least resistance. The only problem any country deals with in this situation is its governance. What side does government chose? The conservative rich out of tax interests and their influential lobby? Or the innovative poor understanding the need for social innovation? Can a middle way exist?

Looking forward to your reactions……

What makes a government “sustainocratic”?

A sustainocratic government is one that is willing to participate in purpose driven  local multi-disciplinary teams without any more authority than facilitating regional development of sustainable human progress. For many governments today this would mean an overall transformation by stepping  into the pack instead of the old dominant regulatory role. This transformation is necessary to pick up the challenges that human kind faces and that are shown through the appearance of all kinds of crises.

This is the comparison between traditional (current) and sustainocratic governance:

Different types of government

Transforming from one governance to the other needs others to become participatory too.

Most governments today are of the traditional type. In a money driven society the institutional interests have become so fragmented into isolated self-interests that all pieces of a society live a life of their own. This results local social consequences that need to be attended by the local governance in a reactive way. Local government uses taxation and debt to finance itself. Such governance feels powerful in its regulatory and controlling authority with a risk avoiding service to its population. This type of governance has become very vulnerable due to its disconnection from an evolutionary reality which develops beyond its control due to open borders and globalization of financial interests. Just the measures that fit the local consequences are within its span of control at the expense of its limited sources of financial income. This is explosively dangerous. Governance has nothing else to draw from then regulation, financing the growing consequence driven government dominated institutions (health care, police, expensive infrastructures, etc) through distribution and consumer growth while watching its society deteriorate.

Urgent need for change

In an open border, globalized world, such governments are vulnerable for any influences from elsewhere. Self interest does not lead to any partnership among governments as all search ways to keep up their necessary level of income at the expense of the others. Since local government income is dependent on levels of local consumption the stimulus is concentrated on keeping this in tact and growing, either through volume (automotive, food, energy, clothing, retail, logistics, etc) or through speculation (housing market, fashion, shortages in commodities, etc). This situation is unsustainable, resulting a ever growing public debt, internal instability, reduced government maneuverability, etc. Although powerful in regional regulatory dominance the governance has become ineffective, reactive and out of control. Such governance unavoidably leads to war and chaos, unless sustainocracy is applied.

The above suggests the urgent need of renovation of governance in an evolutionary sense. Sustainocracy is such next step in which regulatory dominance is transformed into facilitating partnerships through regional multi-disciplinary co-responsibility on human well-being issues. Key here is that governance assumes a territorial role of purpose driven technological and social innovation focused on sustainable local human progress instead of global competitiveness.

Self sufficiency

The most significant purpose of any community is to be as self sufficient as possible. Self sufficiency reduces the vulnerability due to the reduced dependence on others. Self sufficiency also requires the intense involvement of all local participants that shape and give content to the community. This is essentially what sustainocracy is all about: awareness, responsibility, participation and local wellness.

On paper this is easy to explain but how would one change a traditionally dominant regional governance into a facilitating sustainocratic partner? The logic maybe understood by local executives but the system is based on risk avoidance, regulation and control. Even if the executives wish to partner up in a sustainocratic processes they still face the need to involve their institutional structures too. Such structure is steered around the compliance of rules not bending the rules for progress. Executives run the risk of becoming non-compliant to their own systems of law. It is not simply a re-positioning of a business or letting a state go bankrupt. It means a totally new way of organizing society including jurisprudence. In a democratic society this can hardly be done because consensus is needed in a majority to make such drastic changes and such majority will never be found unless the society is in war or chaos already. Before that the conservative voices promising continuation of the past will always win from those who promise a better future.

Step by step

Governance cannot transform organically from traditional to sustainocratic. It would have to take the seat in the center of a sustainocratic process, relinquishing all its dominance. That is impossible to conceive in today’s reality. When government is willing to step into the pack with its territorial responsibilities and commitment, the pack will need to step up to take co-responsibility too. In an environment where the other social components have been living an independent, individualistic, self interested life, this is a new complexity to deal with. None of these parties can take over because it would make them dominant in the relationship which is not logical either. Co-creation and sharing responsibility hence needs to be placed with the context of a new, modern cooperative entity. This entity is independent and represents the purpose of the venture. Various purpose driven entities can be established in this way uniting the influence and authority of the four pillars of society (government, business innovation, science/education and the local civil population) around a single complex purpose for local self-sufficiency.

Experimental starts

In Holland I started sustainocratic ventures like that on a local for local basis. The first one is AiREAS, using air (environmental) quality measurements, related directly to human health, as trigger for social and demographic innovation. This is unique in the world. In the process of setting up this cooperative venture we needed to attend all the above transformative challenges. It is only succeeding because of the commitment of highly qualified people at the center with me and within the institutions that need to be involved. The intensity of the process from fragmentation to holistic cooperation is huge and vulnerable along the entire way because of the negative forces of individual institutional self interests fighting it continuously. It is a chicken and egg situation where partners are willing to join if governance is willing to step down and join the group based on equality rather than dominance. The only way governance can do that is by letting go of its financial control system over public means, providing cash to the sustainocratic venture with a demand (reciprocity) of shared result driven responsibilities.

Investing in change rather than maintenance

The financial commitment of using public funds from local taxes to invest in purpose driven ventures with the local population as beneficiary in wellness, is of course common sense. Yet traditional governance invests billions in maintaining an obsolete system, neglecting the building up of local for local self sufficiency. With only a fraction of all the investments that have disappeared into sustaining banks and bankrupt governments sustainocratic ventures would have already changed risk into sustainable local stability.

It is of course in the interest of a few people to keep a financial dominance out of self interest but common sense, and the availability of sustainocracy as new way of solving key human issues, will get a bottom up movement going starting primarily in the smaller urban centers where human interaction between institutional powers and civil entrepreneurship is still fairly close. State governance will change bottom up, peacefully if central governance is willing to let go of its financial dominance and dependencies, allowing things to happen for the sake of long term stability. Else populations will demand attention forcefully like they did in Egypt, Libya, etc. This is not necessarily done through acts of war or civil uproar. It can equally be done by demanding liabilities and responsibilities through the wisdom of the crowd and claiming constitutional human rights where they are being violated by money based governance that causes inequality, poverty, hunger and criminality. Social media are becoming a strong alliance of people demanding openness and transparency from governments. In many places in Europe and the rest of the world we see governments giving back regional development to their own people. In this peaceful process we observe that population can perfectly well carry the responsibility, especially when ventures are co-creative and partnered up by institutional interests together with creative local entrepreneurship focused on local wellness.

“Can do” needs the freedom of purpose driven ventures without the burden of old financial blockage. Taxation creates no value, creativity does, especially if directed at common human interests with involvement of all.

Purpose driven venture

AiREAS is the first sustainocratic venture in the world

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.