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Gaining power by releasing it

When I started my consultancy group of self employed coaches, and later my STIR foundation that creates purpose driven cooperatives, I came across this interesting human phenomenum: the process of letting go leadership to gain true leadership.


It all started when I wanted “to change the world” and realized that I could not do this all by myself. I defined certain objectives that needed the co-creative input of different people and even institutions. Keeping things only to myself was risky. If something would happen to me my world changing plans and the instruments that I had developed would soon be forgotten. I decided to do two things:

  1. I made all my instruments, models and views freely available to anyone who would want to use it. The 5K method for 21st century entrepreneurship, UNITED for effective teamwork, the pyramid paradigm for institutional positioning, the model of Human Complexities, MultiDimensional Entrepreneurship, the Index, etc and finally the new model for society: Sustainocracy. If people had open access to my toolbox they would use it and contribute to the world change, also without my involvement. By letting go of my control I could gain much more than by keeping it all to myself.
  2. I invited people to work together with me on the basis of equality. Since I was the source of the toolbox I had a better understanding of how we could use it. This knowhow I could pass on to partners in the process of addressing the world’s transformation. This would cost me time and I asked the people who joined to also count me in a little bit when I helped them towards successes.

We started to form groups around my initiatives. My idea was to empower people with all my tools and help them to become successful. To my surprise this did not happen.  On the contrary. People who joined me kept looking at me for instructions. When I organized meetings to create team spirit and develop a group attitude I would sit in front of the group and everyone in the group would be looking at me. Every member of the group would ask me for permission to speak or act and try to find a justification of action through my approval.

The initiator is seen as “owner” of the objective he/she defined

How could I get the people to stand up and take responsibility by themselves? It had never been my intention to create a hierarchy but it simply occurred by de facto, even with self-employed people from whom you would expect a degree of entrepreneurship. In the group they acted like sheep in a herd, without the need to think, trusting the sheppard that he would lead the pack to green fields. It was a bit like asking the football trainer if he already had the world cup in his hands for the team even before starting the very first training.


My consultancy group eventually fell apart, teaching me important lessons.

  • Even though I defined world change in a consultancy method of my own the partners that joined me saw the innovation as a new way of accessing a financial market for themselves.
  • The purpose of my innovative method still belonged to me, even when giving away my tools. The partners recognized themselves in parts of the execution and expected me to do the convincing of the market of accepting the methods and purpose.
  • None would take group responsibility. They considered their own relationships of their own and my relationships of the group. Group interest was combined with self interest, not the other way around. They had come just “to take” not “to bring”.

So when I started the STIR foundation I needed to put this learning curve into practice again.

At first I tried to get others to take initiative, allowing them to show leadership, and I would help them. I had attributed the falling apart of my consultancy group to the fact that leadership and toolbox were in the same person. So if I stepped aside as a leader I could provide more and more people with my tools and help them forward. This did not work either. People would stand up to take on a leadership role, even shared the idea of value driven objectives, but when a glimps of success started to appear the loyality to me and the paradigm shift would disappear. They would fall back into a money driven venture with a large degree of selfishness at the expense of the relationship with the foundation. This is fine of course when the venture contributes to change. It certainly was not my objective to keep some control over everything. The problem was that when the fundaments of an initiative were shaken by greed the initiative would rapidly fall apart, damaging the hard work that had been put in and delivering no reciprocity to anyone. This tought me another lesson:

  • I had to take responsibility for the purpose and the executionm but in a different way
  • I had to find a way that people would commit with me in taking co-responsibility too for the purpose
  • I had to find a way that people put in effort, create value and share in the value created by defining it themselves
  • In fact I had to become a leader without leadership

When you really want the team to grow and the purpose of the venture is right it is best leadership practice to step back into the pack or outside it all together. By doing so the group of followers become self-leaders again. If they believe in the objective they will go for it. If the objective is complex enough they may even work together.

When the initiator steps aside the pack is eye in eye with the purpose themselves

By stepping into the pack the initiator of the process shows respect for equality of all the talents in the group and allows the group to define the processes themselves. Someone who is good at initiation of processes may not at all be that good in managing them with large groups of people. They are different functions.

Secondly, the definition of the objective, the purpose, defines also the profile of the followers and their desire to commit in one way or another. Giving them freedom to determine the outcome together tends to be an excellent way of improving even the expectations. The leader that steps aside and remains looking at it at a side line or steps right into the group with his/her own talents will then gain by seeing the group grow. The purpose needs to be right though, the role of each person involved also and the interest of the group should be well protected. I had discovered that when the group consists of a single discipline trying to work together on a common purpose the group would always struggle:

  • A group of business people working together for more money always disagree on the sharing of the benefits
  • A group of governments working together want to reduce costs yet increase bureaucracy and become less effective in their territory
  • A group of football players that all play left back never wins a competition.

It is not the commonalities that make the group strong. It is the diversity in differences. That is why I defined the new age, multidisciplinary cooperation. It is purpose driven cooperation in which leadership protects the group’s purpose and interests through result driven activities proposed by the group itself. The purpose of the group is not financial, nor of control, yet human and driven by change. The results obtained can have financial consequences for members in a variety of ways yet the essential purpose is always value driven. So when I start such venture I present myself as initiator, never as director or president. The entire purpose of setting the venture up is to step aside and let the members take authority by themselves. It is interesting to see that members are capable of scaling up the expected results to much higher levels than they would have done under a management structure. Like someone once said in one of my initiatives: “Jean-Paul, here I can blow my mind freely and make it come true”.

This in particular is interesting in sustainocracy when also institutions take a seat at the cooperative table. Particularly government can gain power by releasing it.

Government in society

Government in society wants to have a dominant territorial role by establishing economies of growth and establishing rules of conduct. In a monye driven, consumer oriented society government is consequence driven and has no leadership role anymore for the same reasons as mentioned above. People stick with government if they get what they want, else they drop it. In times of a paradigm shift there is no garantee that people get what they want because the old world is in crisis. In order to fake a leadership position politicians tend to do the following things:

  • Negate publically that there is a problem
  • Promise improvements in the future
  • Try to gain a position of elected power to be able to do what they can’t say during the elections.

Their leadership today is not based on any reality anymore but they are very good at making promises that they cannot keep. The lawfull dominance of politicians in a democracy in times of crisis is a type of leadership similar of a capitan that negates that his ship is sinking while his feet are already under water.

The problem a territorial government faces in an open, globalized market is that all people and institution come to take and bring nothing. In order to take they have to pay taxes but these taxes should come from value driven processes. When a crisis occurs the value driven processes on which the taxation was based have become unstable. A government can raise the taxes or reduce the securities that people get. In the Netherlands the government developed into a dominant care taking organization. The community is one that sees the wellness of such care taking as a right and claims it continuously. As a consequence the central government has fallen every 2 years, new political parties stand up claiming that they can do it better and the old dominant parties manipulate to remain in power where no power can be exercised properly. This is not an issue just in Holland, it is a problem all over the world. I call it the power of the powerless because the capitan is running around his ship trying to fix each hole while the sailors and passengers just try to keep their own feet dry or strip the pieces of value of the ship for themselves. Meanwhile the capitan would keep shouting “full steam ahead”, trying to keep up the appearance that everything was alright, meanwhile causing the ship to make more water still.

So when I found out the hard way that I had to take responsibility for my own life, it was not me who was to step aside but the dominant government, pictured as the foolish capitan in the metaphore. I found that I had the democratic right to take responsibility but the government would try to convince me to step back into the pack. My claims that the ship was sinking would be silenced by the political desire to keep up the appearances. Giving the territorial power back to the people was against the reigning paradigm and in a multiple party political system there were many capitans waiting for their chance to run around the sinking ship.

I could not dismiss the entire government as a single person but I could ask government to help me build a solid ship alongside, respecting even the territorial authority of governance. In fact, what I did was to invite people to a purpose that I had defined and that was within the desired situation of governance yet could not be achieved by their own leadership. I was not relating to politics but to the practical reality of providing sustainable human progress in a region. Governance in a day to day activity is not far from the crude reality. Even though the structure is highly bureaucratic and risk avoiding by common nature of fighting a crisis by turning back instead of going forward, operational people inside are often blessed with common sense. They do not see my invitation as an attack on their authority but a way to make proper use of it.

So in Sustainocracy local territorial government was asked to step into the pack by releasing their overall dominance and concentrating on their key responsibility: facilitating progress. They had to let go to receive more authority. After what I had learned in my foundation I could also deal with this process on such a large scale. The purpose became leading, I became the initiator of the process and invited institutions to take full responsibility within their own true powers of control and authority. My own role was that of initiator, connector and protector of interests. My role was also to break through that unjust hierarchy of unproductive control over anarchy. It took some time to make the very first venture happen but when people recognised that releasing power would give them back full authority, the first multidisciplinary cooperation (AiREAS) saw the light. Key in the process is that I always step aside, never asume a leadership role nor establish a new hierarchy. It is the group that puts in all its power and energy to make it happen, not me, making me the leader without leadership, a facilitator of powerful instruments to tool up together for sustainable human progress.

Every one in a sustainocratic venture is empowered with authority by adhering to the purpose without hierarchical dominance

With sustainable human progress as  leading factor priorities can be choosen democratically that form multidisciplinary, purpose driven communities that work together on the line of progress. This is most affective when the territory is clearly defined. Multiple ventures can act at the same time in a self steering process of progress. Institutions, people and professionals can interact in different ventures freely as long as they contribute to the purpose driven goal.

The only reason that I had to initiate the process was that no one else could. They all adhere to the old paradigm and cannot start a new one by themselves. They are instrumental to society but society itself is leading. So all I had to do was to ask the instruments to populate my toolbox, represented by the sustainocratic society that I had defined. I defined a new paradigm and allowed powerful instruments to reconnect in a new way. We were all showing leadership by doing so, releasing a piece of control to gain authroity in the new value driven communities. All people felt that they gained in authority by letting go. A true win-win-win…..

We have still a long way to go because in a fragmented, money driven society, most institutions and people hold on to their financial position to remain in control of their dependencies. They block progress by keeping their hierarchies tightly under control. To get them to understand that this is counter productive and eventually gets them into trouble is difficult. Many executives receive bonusses to keep control, not to introduce change. It takes courage to let go in order to receive authority back. As sustainocracy shows its effects by giving th example there where people unite that take the daring step, the rest will follow.

Purpose driven economy

With the kickoff of the first sustainocratic initiative in the city of Eindhoven (the Netherlands) the first step is made to create a “purpose driven economy”. What is the difference with what we have today? And why is it important for the rest of the world to follow the experiment in Eindhoven and, better still, start one of their own?

Current economies

Our current economies are not purpose but consequence driven. The human being is positioned as compulsory consumer. The entire institutionalized society is focused on creating a mountain of wealth around this consumer that gives a sense of abundance at all times. The only way to access this abundance is through financial means. Some of these means are individually obtained through the production, logistics and sales infrastructure necessary to maintain this mountain of abundance. Other get paid out of the hierarchies funded through taxation on this consumer organization. Or through speculation on material resources contained in this “having” type of culture. And finally also debt.

The consequences of such consumer economy show a growing tendency of (negative) influences that need attention through investments. Think of infrastructures, healthcare organizations, police, etc attending the attitude of greed and its effects on the human being, physically and mentally. This also shows an exponential growth which is equally reflected in the world economy through the costs of societies. At the same time we see our environment and human behavior deteriorate fast.

The model of economies of growth purely based on unlimited consumption and the consequences thereof, is obsolete because we use our natural resources wrongly, destroy our environment, sicken ourselves and eventually eliminate our evolutionary chances.

Consequence driven consumer economy

The consumer economy grows while destroying our selves and our habitat

Fragmented complex society

We know this now, including scientific proof, but have difficulties in changing the course of society. We created a very complex mesh of fragmented financial entities with dependencies and interests among each other on which powers and influences are being based. Each institutions has a perceived right to exist and defend its own interests. There is not one single institution that takes full responsibility for sustainable human progress. The institutional mesh is based on fragmented self interest and competition.

Key is the understanding that no institutional specialization can take holistic responsibility for human safety, health or sustainable progress. It is the human being itself that needs to take this responsibility. What went wrong in the consequence driven consumer economy was that the human being delegated its wellness through fragmented institutionalized structures that grew into tremendously inflated organs like an abscess or cancer would do on a sick body. Instead of serving humankind they try to serve themselves. This fragmented type of human organization is institutionally sick with the risk of the cancers to develop themselves further and destroy our evoutionary chances.

Purpose driven economies

The big difference with the old consumer economy is that it is not based on consumption and growth but on true value creation (purpose). It is not based on massive productivity and distribution but on local content. It is a circular type of economy where “purpose” is defined according local human needs, obtained through local effort and using local resources in a circular way.

To achieve a purpose driven economy an intense transformation is needed. But it can be done using the same institutional instruments of the old society. Each  participant needs to cure its cancer like development and abuse and become functional again within the scope of local for local requirements. It requires a different mentality and true transformative leadership in each institution involved.

Abundance is not presented through logistic channels from around the world, it is created by local cooperative efforts. In such local cooperation we see the four traditional human values come together: attitude, creativity, environment and wisdom. Those values in the old economy were split into separate institutions that do not act locally but globally, not in an integrated way but based on self interest, greed and fragmented excellence. Now we bring this global expertise back to the local context.

Using what we have learned

The great advantage of today is that the old consequence driven consumer economy has left us with a huge amount of accumulated experience and material knowledge thanks to the concentrated specialized, fragmented functions of expertise that developed over time. This would never have occurred if this phase of humankind had not taken place. For a long time it was very constructive. Now it has become destructive.

We hence do not criticize our past but use the best of its elements in our new progress. We can of course be critical to those old time forces that try to prevent us from creating purpose driven progress. It is just a matter of time for that opposition to disappear. Eventually the purpose driven economies will develop there where the old one has become obsolete, entered into a crisis, providing room for renewal, not just in a physical, organizational sense but especially emotionally, spiritual and rationally when people become aware.

Complex transformative process

It is a complex process that is typically developed locally and bottom up with executive support to make it happen. The reason that it happened in Eindhoven first and not yet in another region is simply because this small Dutch town unites the essential ingredients to make it happen. What are these ingredients:

  • Awareness at executive level
  • Open democracy of true equality
  • Level of education and experience
  • The right people at the right time

These qualities produce the necessary flexibility that can address the future with adaptive determination in a complex modern world. People take responsibility individually, convince their surroundings to support change and find ways to make it happen. The purpose is found in the essentials of human existence: food, health, security, wellness (housing, energy, etc) and knowledge. When it becomes clear that the global consequence driven consumer economy is obsolete speed is required to create a new sense of reality and responsibility, including a change in behavior. When the time of old abundance is over, new abundance needs to be created, preferably on time.

Wellness is not a cost or right but the result of a responsibility and hard work (purpose) together. When circumstances change stability is found in change too. In a sustainocracy the purpose driven economy is initiated together. We do this by making human wellness a purpose driven issue of the local population with the support of the accumulated institutional excellence and enhancing potential.

The purpose driven society develops local for local using the institutional excellence of the old paradigm


Purpose driven economic development based on sustainocratic complexities is needed to save humankind from the present day destructive expectations caused by the consequence driven consumer economy. If not we will face disaster. Yet if we assume responsibility individually and institutionally we also face a huge transformative challenge that will upset everything that we have known so far. The choice between destruction or working together on a healthier perspective is easy for me. I have become self aware and dedicated more than a decade to come to these views and initiatives. It is a start, giving comfort that humankind has a choice indeed. A choice that simply depends on one own and not someone else. But I realize that it is a difficult one, not only when one has to make it, but also for me to reach out to the world and make the choice known to all. If one does not know than no choice will be made. My personal challenge is hence multiple. Make it happen for myself, provide proof to my surroundings and reach out to all of you with sufficient clarity that you take sufficient confidence in the course that I have taken in order to let go of old securities and create new ones for yourselves and your direct surroundings.

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.

Capital injections don’t work – end of phase 3

When I traveled to Madrid this week (june 2012) to present AiREAS as a sustainocratic solution for the city problems with air polution the very first reaction of government executives was the traditional and classic public negation. “We have no air polution problem!”. This was interesting because I had just landed in the dense smog of the city and have information that Brussels threatens with sanctions if certain norms are not complied with in 2015. I also know that the local government has been trying to do its best to address the problem but that the issues go beyond the complexity of government regulatory authority and consequence driven measures.

The problem most government officials have is that they are so used to cover up their impotence around truly complex issues, publically claiming that they are in control and things will get better somewhere in the future, that they feel automatic resistence when someone walks in with a new proposition. This we see also in the world of finance. The traditional blind negation of an economic bubble, ignoring it until the bubble blew up in everyone’s face in 2008, was exaactly the same. When negation is not posible anymore because of undeniable proof the next psychological phase is entered: the one of disbelief and urgent correction. Then the negation continues. A quick massive capital injection should solve the problems overnight. 4 years and many billions of money later we all see that the problems continu.

When I got home from Madrid I watched financial analists on TV explain for the first time why the capital injected was only pushing the problems forward but not solving them. This remarkable first announcement of acceptance was a great relief to me. Of course, all huge capital injections had given the rats to cash their risks and leave the ship befor sinking, but still. It indicated to me that the phase of resistance to change and negotition for recovery of lost financial stability was ending.

The next phase (following my own model of cyclic phases of awareness and human development) is the one of fear. The large financial institutions had recovered their long term loans against public debt so that the institutions would not go broke. The citizens only had democratic rights and fear. A few 10K extra debt per person was institutionally acceptable. Of course, the public itself was never asked. It is all a game of big financial interests and liabilities played over the back of unaware masses of people. Institutions now need not fear anymore. Their power play is now over the civilians which hardly get organized to oppose and which can be submitted still under the pressures of financial law of debt.

Then the acceptance of the crisis and need of total renewal is opened. This openess is what I have been waiting for as it announces the total culture change needed to address the shaping of a new paradigm and corresponding new complex social structures such as sustainocracy. The crisis is reaching the general public now definitely. Capital injections saved the speculanting institutions but not society. The problem of greed was resolved and now poverty could stand up and protest.

But in Spain, from a sustainable progress point of view, the government executives were still hiding between their wall of negation. This will be the case in every government around the world. Reluctance to let go of old authorities and structures is largest when no alternative is know.Experts are consulted from inside the system only. Expertise from outside, like the one’s I  am offering, are not recognized let alone taken seriously. One will fight against change simply because one does not know where to change into. When I presented sustainocracy in Madrid the first reaction was defensive but the seed has been planted. Before my presentation they had no choice, now they do, just like the population. Just like in Holland before, it will do its psychological work (like this blog), and some time in the near future the officials will lower their defences and accept shyly the hand that I reach out to them from the new world.

We are reaching the natural point of a psychological break through, because resistence does not seem to work but also because an alternative shines through at the end of the tunnel. I hope to find enough executive interest to join me in a world changing congres on 12.12.12 to let the crisis behind us and definitively open up to sustainocracy around the world. Sustainable human progress is more important after all than keeping up artificial, obsolete systems, even if they are called politics or banks. Capital injections did not bring back stability, it just saved some banks for some time.


When we live our life today we find that we need money to survive. If we take away money we have no access to the seeming abundance that surrounds us. We would have to create it ourselves. Our lifestyle is so complex and filled with gadgets that 100% individual self-sufficiency cannot create the same abundance. We would have to totally change our lifestyle or change way we gain access to the things we cherish in our daily life. This means that for an equivalent lifestyle we would have to transform our society into a new complexity. This only takes place when we start with ourselves.

When I became aware of my own vulnerability in a money driven dependency I needed to learn a whole new set of competences in an attempt to become more and more self-sufficient and therefor independent from money. With my university degrees and 8 spoken languages I could perfectly well get by in the money driven world that valued these talents in a globalizing world of financial speculation and supply chain efficiencies. But when I wanted to grow tomatoes in my back yard I was a total nitwit. In fact, from massive consumer to an independent self-sufficient producer was a frustrating encounter with my own uneducated discapacity.

It became clear to me that a global transformation would go from a highly complex, well organized world around systems of greed into an idealistic world of wellness that did not yet exist. Not because we do not want it to exist or even see the logic of it. Not because we do not have the insight, awareness, scientific knowledge or technology to shape it. We have it all.

No, simply because we lack the personal competences to get it organized. This new society, that needs to provide us with abundance with our direct involvement, is still totally empty. We all need to be re-educated, taken by the hand to show us how it is done, with a new mindset, a new mentality and a new motivation. This I can do for myself because I have the freedom of choice to a certain extend. But 7 billion people mixed up in financial, religious, state and other dogma’s will not come to insight together to stand up and start the change.

Meanwhile our financial markets and dependencies are leading to a point of overall collapse which is eminent. The abundance of today is unsustainable but the sense of urgency to transform is not there. Chance is that our current system collapses even before we have started to shape the new, value driven society. In fact, it has started to collapse already and many people around the world are suffering the consequences. Instead of learning from it and applying the proof to our own circumstances and start the change while we can, we sit back and let it all happen. When we go to the supermarket and find that we have no money we will not be able to buy our bread. But maybe we go to the supermarket and find that there is no bread anymore, even if we have money to buy it. The few remaining pieces of bread will cost a fortune and will feed someone for a day. And then it is over.

The sense of urgency is not just to gain awareness, we need to change our dependencies through self-leadership, acquire new competences and learn how to work together in new complex, value driven systems. And we need to do all this with the opposition of the old systems of dominant power that try to keep us away from taking such actions. This is virtually impossible. Even in the most favorable situation of individual, collective and institutional insight, the transformation will take many years (decades) to take place. And if so then we would need to put all our wit and talents together to avoid immense human suffering around the globe.

“Can do” is not just relative to “Undo” first but to “Let do” and our commitment to join forces and make it happen. Fast in this case is never fast enough. Experience in AiREAS shows that under the right circumstances human co-creation is virtually instant, with instant results. Knowledge how to do it is available, now find the right circumstances.

Note: the right circumstances are – when a local regional government (city, province) is willing to let go of control, including public money, making it available for an independent responsibility (purpose) driven coalition of that same government, scientific institutions, creative innovators and the local population.

Government in Content Economy

The transformation from an economy of growth into a content economy also claims an entirely new role for government. Current governments are generally “in charge” of the wellness of a country by determining what has to be done and what not in just about everything that concerns a country. In a democratic government the governance is determined by the public that chooses for its favorite representative. The other political powers, the opposition, are then confined to a political debate and by rule “against” any statement of government. This has its logic, challenging government’s moves and propositions with counter arguments even when these seem far fetched and highly artificial when one watches the debates. The problem we face with any government in an economic growth scenario is that all the discussions tend to go about money, growth and money again, since everything has been translated into financial parameters. That is no democracy anymore and we see that any political party, no matter what color or signature, when in charge does exactly the same as the others simply because there is no other choice than the standard middle way around money. In other times when there was indeed a difference, eg. the left wing parties defending the interests of the working class and the right wing parties the interests of the industrials that provided the jobs, there was still a fanatic debate to be observed and hot emotional encounters in the streets. Now that the jobs have been exported to low wage countries and all the individuals also only care about the amount of money one can spend every month, no matter where it comes from (salary, debt, credit card, heritage), the democratic debate has just one senseless signature everywhere.

The entire political organization has evolved into a machinery to try to create economic efficiency in their own territory and negotiate or even demand forcefully from the weaker around the world, the support to keep that machinery going and growing. This is not something of the last few decades, it is an evolution that is reaching its highest point now but started thousands of years ago. Back then the planet Earth was huge, people has no real awareness of any potential scarcity of resources unless it affected them in the small scale of their own territory and got them to set out to get it from elsewhere, often with violent encounters. In the early 17th century the Dutch started the very first multinational to travel and deal with the East Indies. For over 200 years it traveled the world and is still admired by many. In reality the monopolistic nature, the aggressive speculation, power struggles, self enrichment of the leaders and corruption are equally interesting to see as they can now still be found in the boardrooms of banks, industries and also governments when they obsessively deal with money, power and growth. When one takes on the job of a ruler over such enterprise, political or business, dealing just with money, one automatically becomes a representative of this mentality. Back then it affected over a few 100 years the Portuguese (15th century), the Dutch (16th and 17th century), the Spanish and finally the English (18th century) when they started to “rule the waves”. Now it affects the entire human world with 7 billion individuals in the hands of a few 100 speculative families and political groups that keep up the culture of humanity, producing disaster over humanity for the sake of personal wealth. But then again, it was all possible, they had the opportunity and took it. It is all part of the mentality of an aggressive species that has the morality similar to a cockroach.

The fact that we now talk about footprints, CO2, dirty air, plastic in the oceans, etc only started about 40 years ago. But this awareness does not change the inherited, historical culture of greed and growth that we translated into economies and that drives the political discussion and also the public interest. So why should this suddenly come to end, transforming the selfish cockroach into a (spiritual) butterfly?

Combination of unique factors

We can relate to the results of the Dutch VOC that went down under in corruption, scandals and greed. That was just a minority of people compared to the amount of people that try to outsmart each other today on the world market of speculation, tricks and misbehavior. In the end they will go down the drain, just like the ones that preceded in history and for exactly the same reasons. Especially in time of global crisis in just about every hierarchy that we can think of the secrete codes of conduct that bind the people who pretend to pull the global strings will be broken by themselves. Evil tends to punish itself.

The big difference today is that the speed of backfiring of evil tricks is very fast because of the global interconnected nature of all we do. We see that the bank’s greed exploded into our face after only a few decades of speculative actions. Dictators in Northern Africa and Middle East suddenly face the rise of their populations and within a year disappear from the scenery. Those who feel safe and in power today can be confronted with their own evil tomorrow. That is the effect of the growing educational basis of vast amounts of people that form self-conscious communities willing to claim freedom and auto-determination. Internet, twitter, gsm, fast travel, etc make the human world transparent to everyone including the mismanagement of those who believe in their own power. The borders are opening in a firm step to globalization and even now that politicians start seeing that this undermines their old positions of power it is too late. We are becoming rapidly global citizens that have a growing solidarity between all people. Many people have tasted the wealth of wellness through capitalism and become aware that the same wealth is also possible without the centralized power structures of the few. No one wants to be controlled by the banks, tax offices or dictating commodity speculators, which are the same few that make us vulnerable through their speculation and debt systems. When people cannot pay their debt because of the immorality of the debt system the reaction will be against the system to maintain their wealth but without the impositions. The same goes with food, energy, etc.  To avoid (civil) war against banks, governments, business or personal power positions, all these organizations become aware of their own growing vulnerability and need to change attitude. There is no basis anymore to keep up the power positions and the most logical and even wise decision is to use their wealth to invest in their own transformation rather than trying to stop it.

New role of government

In a content economy the full attention of government goes to the wellness of its population within the context of a globalized world. This new focus is a very simple statement which will result in an in depth transformation of government. The very first question one can ask is what role a central government would play in all this? Centralized country governments are the structures around speculation and self interests of a territory but have hardly a role in a situation of bottom up self-sufficient wellness creation. On the contrary, even while they would have the natural tendency to try to avoid interference of their own public.

In a globalized human world around content economies the emphasis is on the small, local communities where social cohesion and self-sufficiency produces purpose driven human interaction. The smallest community with government attention is hence the village or city quarter.  What kind of government would be needed above that? To control or govern what? Nothing really, except maybe a cooperative structure among the self sufficient communities for trade among the communities, infrastructures or the strategic interaction to exchange goods, experiences or help each other in aspects related to safety, calamities, migrations, etc.   The multi-dimensionality of regional sustainable progress involves the local based interaction of different responsibilities as already introduced in the previous blogs. There is no hierarchy anymore just focus on key responsibilities s.a. applied technology, applied scientific research, local health & vitality and local self sufficient dynamics, all people interacting together on the basis of sustainable progress.

Regional government hence will be small, concentrated on local regional development based on sustainable progress but connected to the global network of communities (local 4 local 4 global or glocalization). Government takes territorial, facilitating responsibility in co-creation with the other pillars for progress. The structure of government will be defined by the community itself without politics but from the individual proven drive and insight of the holistic picture.

The transition has already been happening for some decades as cities started to resemble small countries within the countries, with their own positioning in the world economies and an image of their own. In Europe we see more and more central, general decision making being dealt with in the European Union while provinces or local autonomic regions take more and more responsibility through auto-determination and self-sufficiency. Most government combine now social responsibilities with their speculative origins, creating tremendous bureaucracies over time that are now collapsing because one cannot speculate with human health and prosperity anymore. Global humankind is too well informed to allow new pyramids of power to develop so the financial collapse of the bureaucrats will place the responsibilities back with the public. These will organize their own governance using the know-how, techniques and adaptive flexibility that modern tooling provides us today. The steering that is necessary to manage the freedom effectively is already being experimented with in various scenarios. Sustainable progress is the perfect leading trigger to keep everyone focused. It is only a matter of time for the transformation to show its effects, eliminating the old power structures and hierarchies without excessive violence and with determination. The new government already exists, it is only not yet fully effective or visible because of the old dominance of the hierarchies that still exist and try to keep themselves in place. The more the financial and other crises expand and take their toll the more renewal we will see around us, and many who are now sitting home watching all this on their TV sets may suddenly find themselves standing up and taking the initiatives for self-sufficient sustainable progress in their own street. It can happen just like that.