Michael Tellinger, a colleague in South Africa, is a founder of a new socio-economic movement in South Africa. It promotes the concept of "contributionism" as an alternative to socialism, capitalism, communism, and fascism. Its focus is on individuals contributing to and benefiting from the community directly. The goal is to reduce the power of the monetary system and its manipulation by financial middlemen in banks and related institutions.
Michael writes "Every socio-political system we have ever had as the human race has
failed us dramatically. South Africa, like the rest of the world, is now
sitting on the verge of complete and devastating financial meltdown
with catastrophic results for its people. The South African economy and
natural resources have been plundered by reckless and ignorant
politicians, with no remorse or any real accountability to its citizens." Read more here.
Urgent Need for U.S. Governance Reform
As noted on this site's home page, institutions of self-governance* are an integral element of the evolutionary path of the species Homo sapiens. When a form of government prevails in any society for several generations it is by definition a manifestation of the collective level of the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development of its members. At varying levels of responsibility, such structures are universally self-chosen. *[The word "governance" is used instead of "government" to indicate the participation of citizens and their chosen leaders,as well as the organized functions of a government.]
In other words, the existing governments that appear to have become unsatisfactory are the results of our collective choices. Weighing the pros and cons over decades, we have chosen the status quo for its current benefits without consideration of their long-term costs.
When people inherit a form of government that is no longer consistent with their highest aspirations, it is their responsibility to adjust its concepts and structures in an orderly manner that protects their well being and that of their descendants. For this reason, each generation must adapt their form of governance to insure that the legacy they leave for future generations makes a constructive contribution to the development of their society and the planet as whole. This applies to Asia and Africa as much as it does to the Americas and Europe.
Only in this fashion is it possible for humans, interconnected with all life in the cosmos, to play their role in the evolution of creative intelligence, life-affirming emotion, and spiritual awareness in this universe. The stark challenges facing citizens in the Middle East and North Africa in early 2011 demonstrate the need for applying the philosophical concept of self-governance to all nations. (Paul was interviewed for an hour each day on January 17 and 18, 2011 by Elena Young and Nancy Lorenz on their radio show Beyond the Ordinary on the principles required for people to govern themselves. You can sample Paul's comments by clicking on any of the six sections of the interviews below.)
Motivated by a vision of a global society consistent with the natural principles of a self-evolving material, conscious, and multidimensional universe, we present below occasional articles by Paul Von Ward, John Heatly, and others that deal with the fundamental issue of self-governance by our self-aware, evolving species. Selected reader comments are also made available below. Download information on various reform initiatives. Check this site from time to time for new material.
Government by the People by American Paul Von Ward (November 2010)
the past fifteen years I have focused my work on interdisciplinary,
historical/scientific/spiritual articles and books. However, our
increasingly complex society makes it clear that we cannot discuss the
human potential and our place in the cosmos without considering the
values and methods that shape our communal institutions. The requires
our attention to the politics of government.
Based on my early career as a military officer and government official, I wrote my first book (Dismantling the Pyramid: Government by the People) 30 years ago. Although now out of print, it is perhaps more relevant today than when I wrote it. This article describes earlier reform efforts and proposes new ideas. Read more .........
Reaction to Paul's Piece by British Historian John Heatly (November 2010)
Ward is, of course, right in his analysis. As Richard Nixon said "Any
change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the
chaos in which they exist."
then it arguable that "Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but
an inevitable complement to it." (Schumpeter). All rulers need
bureaucrats to implement their decisions. And when the ruled are the
rulers (in a democracy) the bureaucracy proliferates because all the
interest groups need to be considered (whereas in a dictatorship only
one decides.) Because any change will create losers as well as winners
(and the losers have votes too) it's much easier just to add new
programs.... Read more.....
Carol Hubbard Queries John Heatly (December 2010)
Reading John Heatly's earlier piece, Carol—a Master's degree student at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver—wrote a stream-of-consciousness comments:
* Special interest groups are the bane of any society, democracy included. Which is why the U.S. was not created as a democracy (which, at its worst, is mob rule -- as Heatly pointed out) but, rather, a constitutional republic designed by (later President) James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (the "apologists" of the Constitution via "The Federalist Papers"). This system of government operates through separation of powers (legislative, executive, and judiciary -- at the federal, state, and local levels) and the rule of law via the Constitution and other statutes subservient to it -- thus preventing the dangers of factionalism run amok (Madison's greatest fear) or mob rule.
That said, the American system of government has gone through -- and will continue to go through -- periods where one branch or another becomes dominant. Currently, we're in a period of the "unitary executive" (an overly powerful executive branch). Will either the legislative or the judicial rein it in? Hopefully so. It's the see-saw flexibility provided by our compound republic that is a strong protective (and corrective) mechanism in the face of imbalance. But the continuation of our constitutional republic requires an informed and vigilant citizenry. We need to elect officials who understand and enforce the Constitution, and we need to do a much better job of teaching our children about our system of government (and how it's supposed to work)....Read more....
Paul Bernstein on Media's Role in Democracy (January 2011)
For democracy to work well, the public must be able to:
separate truth from illusion - distinguish fact from rumor -
become sensitive to when claims being made by politicians are not backed
up by facts - judge a politician's "insides" more by her/his DEEDS
than by her/his WORDS - know HISTORY, in order to accurately perceive
the present-day reality and to participate wisely in determining their
But people don't necessarily possess such
abilities automatically. Instead, they must be acquired and cultivated
over time. Journalism can do that, by the way it reports on the events
voters are already reading about, listening or viewing.
in America, however, news outlets have not been doing this enough. And
some media outlets have been consistently moving in the opposite
direction: Read more...
John Heatly Responds to Carol (December 2010)
Carol's query: How did you become so interested in these topics?
I first fell in love America, both geography and people, when I spent several months back-packing around the States between leaving school and going to university at the end of the 60s (yes I am that old....) and Greyhounding in the early 70s. The vibrancy, optimism and can-do attitude of Americans at that time, despite all the societal dislocation of Vietnam protest/Kent State/Chicago Convention/Civil Rights battles etc, stood in sharp contrast to the dreary, class-ridden, mean-spirited and defeatist society of Britain in the 70s (is better now) and, as a young man, I wanted to see what made it "tick."
I believe that, to understand a society you have also to understand how it came to be the way it is - i.e. its history and the history of the societies that influenced it. So I set out to study it. Luckily, despite being "separated by a common language," that language is English (sorta) - and it is accessible through culture and history in a way Chinese, for instance, isn't (to me.) So I got immersed and have stayed that way. I'm actually less interested in politics than the forces that mold societies and cultures - my way in is to try to understand the historical roots and converse with people living in the society (thank you Tim Berners-Lee). Hence my interest in this debate......
It's also axiomatic that, to understand the world we live, in you have to understand the viewpoints of the major movers and shakers - and how they came to be what they are. Understanding the 18th/19th Century world is not possible without understanding the British Empire and European philosophy and conflicts, understanding that of the 20th/21st is not possible without at least trying to understand America, postwar Europe and, now, China and the BRICS. Thankfully information is now more accessible than it's ever been (no, I don't mean Wikileaks!) So that's my excuse.
Re Carol's comments on "Military etc": I draw a sharp distinction between the military itself and the uses to which is too often put. My school was founded in honour of Britain's most successful soldier, Wellington, and my nephew has served in Iraq and is currently on his 2nd tour of duty in Afghanistan - so I have nothing but admiration for those who serve in the military. Indeed, in most Western Societies, the (non-conscript) professional military represents some the finer values of civic society - responsibility, duty, honour and selflessness. The Roman Legionary continued to uphold the values of the Roman Republic long after the Republic itself had been corrupted by the Punic wars, Sulla, Caesar and the rottenness of the Imperium.
David Korten is a key figure in our world today helping completely reframe mainstream thinking and debate on economic issues. He is the author of several best-selling books, including, "When Corporations Rule the World," "Agenda for a New Economy" and "The Great Turning." Read more.....
Selected Comments from Readers
From Victoria: "I'm so happy that you are sharing John's valuable insights with your audience. He has such an extraordinary mind and I'm delighted his voice is being heard by more people in America ...! If America is to truly survive and evolve it has to speak with an inclusive/global voice, rather than exclusively." Read more....