From Metagovernment - Government of, by, and for all the people
What is a healthy society?
It's perhaps useful for one to elucidate or at least conjecture what a society wants before one embarks to design a system to meet it. The goal of a project such as metagovernment is to design a bootstrapping system that meets not the desires of society, per se, but the mechanisms in which those desires can be best achieved. As such, its goal is to find a commonly agreeable framework and standard about which every individual can agree is fair and applicable to all (what in some circles would be called a constitution).
The idea of the next version of society (Government2.0) within the interconnected age then is:
- to establish the fundamental, bottom-level rules which allow the body of society to organize and construct itself in real time,
- set it in motion to allocate decision-making authority where needed, to those who are most qualified and motivated, while
- rewarding those who contribute and serve the larger whole.
As Thomas Jefferson conceived, for example, it seems relevant that each of us shares a common desire for life, liberty, and the space in which to pursue that which we believe will bring joy and happiness. But without an active, abiding link to a compelling vision, the tendency for any system is to sink, perhaps slowly and imperceivably, to the lowest common denominator, succumbing via various obstacles (cf. Wikipedia:The Boiling Frog: "the frog which dies from a slow boil"). The dream for a cooperative, open society must be continually sustained until the knowledge of its benefit (and how to sustain it) is ubiquitous. The best of what society has to offer, for example, should not forever be sequestered in ashrams and elite institutions.
The Internet allows the global village to become a reality as well as Man's dreams of utopia. Note, however, no such dream can ever achieve its vision without understanding the importance of trust, the right use of Will, and the forces which maintain the Dream.
Its instructive, perhaps, to note that the current industrial economic system, built by a long legacy on the ascent of Will, has achieved its "prosperity" by transferring the value that nature has accumulated over the past billion years and churning it into easily consumable items, creating an empire of enormous waste. While spending this solar, earthly capital, it has also at the same time spent its human capital, borrowing heavily from future society and amassing huge debt. So society finds itself today, depleted of capital, heavily burdened from overspending on both the front and back-end without really understanding why growth has stopped. Now civilization must examine how to create new value rather than just pushing bits around hoping for wealth to accrue. Open government is a model for helping get the system back in shape.