We continue with the tenth in our series of excerpts from Barry Carter’s book Infinite Wealth. See: 1) The Rise of a Win Win Civilization 2) A Personal Journey of Discovery 3) Why Corporations Don’t Work 4) The Emancipation of Capitalism 5) Mass Privatization: Organizing in the Information Age 6) Decentralized Wealth Creation 7) The Infinite Wealth Potential of Liberated Humans 8) The Mandate for Win-Win Wealth Creation and 9) Breakpoint: Why You Must Act Now
You are living in a period of time that will produce more change for humanity that any previous era in history. It is a time of extraordinary importance that will fundamentally reshape almost every aspect of your life during the next two decades. Wholesale change is taking place in almost every segment of your reality and the pace will only increase in the coming years.
—John Peterson, The Road to 2015
SYNOCRACY: True Democracy Through Synergy
For those desiring more freedom from government controls it is critical to understand that the institutions for an era all fit together. We have the present governmental limits on personal liberty because this is required for a system of Centralized Wealth Creation and controlled economies. In order to get significantly more personal liberty from government we must have a significantly different way of organizing work, business and all of our institutions. If you are a business owner railing against the infringements on your personal freedoms by government, consider the limits of creative freedom and ownership that your system of organizing work in your company places on your employees.
I could spend several chapters defining the problems with Mass Representative Democracy and why it cannot work in an Information Age. However, we all deep down intuitively know that something is gravely wrong with the system of politicians, taxes, representation and elections. We know that it is so deep it will not be fixed simply by electing a new president or even a whole new congress. However, we simply cannot imagine anything beyond “Traditional Democracy” or what would replace it. Over two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of Mass Representative Democracy, warned us of the system’s limits.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, and as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with that change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear the coat which fitted him as a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” –Thomas Jefferson
By today’s standards even Jefferson would have to admit that he was “barbarous” as a slave owner. With his own words Jefferson himself sowed the seeds for the replacement of the representative system of government and civilization that he helped to establish. We continuously look back to see what our forefathers intended. Above all they intend for humanity never to be stuck in outmoded institutions.
The monarchy, overthrown by Thomas Jefferson and his associates two hundred years ago, was part of a system of wealth-creation for an agrarian society which was outgrown and replaced with a system for an industrial society. They needed a new and fresh foundation, one that inherently supplied the levels of liberty, ownership and freedom to harness the power and growth of the coming Industrial Revolution.
There seems to be a trend in which humanity requires more liberty and freedom as it grows and evolves in order to continue growth and development. As humanity has grown, developed and become mature over the past decades and centuries, we have reached the limits of liberty, ownership and freedom with our present system of representation. We now require a new system that will provide individuals with even more inherent individual liberty, ownership and freedom. Having outgrown the Industrial Age wealth-creation system, it’s time for us to take Jefferson’s advice and do what he and his clan did—cast aside the old system and help usher in the new system of social order.
When we synthesize Decentralized Wealth Creation with expanded social and economic freedoms from information technology we see a new system of “True Democracy” arising to replace representation. Most people intuitively know what True Democracy is. However, this idealistic view does not fit the representative government that we have had for the past 200 years.
Most people intuitively understand democracy as a system of individual liberty; one free of authoritarian controls and restraints on our individual liberty; one with opportunity for all. We envision a system based upon synergy where individuals come together through free market interactions to create more than they could separately. These free interactions include thoughts, ideals, culture, products, values and more. We envision a system where social order is largely a by-product of our free market interactions, therefore, requiring little authoritarian controls. We envision a system with family values at the core; based upon responsibility and ownership; a system with spirituality interwoven into the very fabric of the system and our daily lives.
Unfortunately due to technical and other limitations this has been a mere dream. We have not experienced True Democracy over the past two hundred years. At this point in our history we must make a distinction between the “Beginner’s Democracy” of the Industrial Age and True Democracy of the Information Age to which we are moving. For this reason I refer to the “Beginner’s Democracy” of the past two hundred years as one form of Representative Government. As shown in The Age Wave Chart, Representative Government, covers everything from Beginner’s Democracy to communism to dictatorships—all of which use representatives, elected or imposed, to makes decisions for the masses.
Beginner’s Democracy is a good system relative to the primitiveness and control of monarchy and serfdom. It offered significantly more liberty for our ancestors transitioning from an Agricultural Age. Today, however, it simply does not offer the liberty, interconnectedness and opportunity for all that is required to propel an information society. When we analyze exactly what Beginner’s Democracy means and compare it to how it operates, we are shocked that our form of government is not exactly what we thought we had. The dictionary defines democracy as:
1) Government by the people; Rule by the Majority. 2) A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free electionsÖ 5) The absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges. (Merriam-Webster, 1991)
Beginners Democracy is therefore a system of government based upon rule by the majority of people through elected representative politicians who, through laws attempt to deliver social equality to all.
When we analyze the definition above we find even more surprises. Webster’s defines government as “authoritative,” “a system of governing.” Governing is defined as “to control and direct,” “to rule,” “to dominate,” “to restrain.” To rule is defined as “to control by authority,” “to exercise dominion and power over,” “enforcing obedience to one’s own ideas of what is desirable.”
Based upon the above, one can logically define Beginners Democracy as a system of social organization based upon providing individuals with a relatively small degree of liberty, where the majority selects the people to dominate, restrain, rule over or control them, with the ideal of treating everyone equally.
On a relative scale, traditional democracy is an authoritarian system in which the majority merely gets to elect who will be in authority. Some may see this as a specious argument based upon formal dictionary definitions. Much of this group may feel that the answer to representative democracy’s problems can be found with a simple shift from federal to local governmental control.
The thinking of the local government movement is that this will get control back into the hands of the people. This is the same logic that managers in companies are using as they attempt to fix their problems by converting to smaller baby bureaucracies within larger bureaucracies (business units, teams, horizontal organizations, etc). Though they both show the direction of change neither is the answer nor our final destination for an Information Age.
From 1992 to 1996 I worked closely with the public school system in Greene County North Carolina. The school superintendent, Dr. Paul Browning, was extremely progressive, bringing a new level of customer service, openness, democracy and learning to the school system and county. He led the effort to get two of the county’s four schools to Exemplary Status. Refusing to play the political game he had done some things that were in the best interest of the children and county but had offended some well connected people. Eventually he was forced to resign and he was paid $125,000.00 for the buyout of his contract. Citizens were outraged.
In a county where citizens rarely speak out due to apathy and fear of reprisal, hundreds showed up at Board of Education meetings. In meeting after meeting citizens demanded answers regarding what had happened. Newspapers led with editorial headlines reading “Tell the People Why!” Board of education meetings were broadcast on the local news. In one meeting, filling a school auditorium, citizens repeatedly asked why the action had been taken. The board members sat silently and did not answer a single question as the questions flew for a couple of hours. The Board of Education’s lawyer instead responded to all of the questions. In a nutshell his position was as follows:
It does not matter what you people want, think or believe. You have elected these politicians to represent you and they have the legal authority to take the action they have taken and to run the school system as they please. This is our system of government. Good or bad, the system, education included, works based upon politics. If you don’t like the decisions these people have made then don’t vote for them in the next election. However, they do not owe you any answers for their actions and will not answer any of your questions.
He made it clear that they, the authorities, control the school system and the education of your children not, we the people. In future meetings the citizens were treated like serfs. We were constantly reminded that the meetings were not for us and that we the citizens were external to the government, with them being in charge. In many cases we could not hear the discussions. Board members would whisper to one another, we never received handouts of information being presented to the board for consideration and thus could not follow the issues being reviewed. The room was designed so that the people bringing proposals to the board for review sat with their backs to the citizens, symbolically and literally leaving the citizens out of the meeting.
Overhead projectors and other tools that most organizations use to communicate to groups were hardly ever used. In one case a presenter did use a transparency projector. The screen hung in the back of the room where the citizens sat. When it was pulled down from the ceiling it came down directly in front of people in the back row. Not only could they not see the presentation, the back of the screen was inches from their faces pinning them against the back wall of the room. The balance of citizens had to turn their necks at a very bad angle to see, with some others not being able to see at all. At the end of the meeting I asked why were they not using standard seating arrangements and communications tools that organizations use as a matter of course, when they desire is to communicate. Needless to say I got no answer.
As of this writing all of the board members who voted for the buyout lost their bid for reelection. The leader of the coup, the Chairman of the Board, finished next to last out of a field of more than a half dozen. The board members’ loss proved that the majority of citizens did not agree with the board’s action. One could say that Beginner’s Democracy prevailed as the citizens got the last word. However, the citizens did not get what they wanted. The customers’ needs were not met. Browning was gone forever and my four children and other children in the County will get a poorer education because of this. Local Mass Representative Democracy had failed to meet its prime mission, majority rule and was and is light years away from individual liberty. Ironically part of the defense used by board members was that they knew best what was right because they were local and not state or federal politicians. Though they were right as far as they went, they were unwilling to take it to follow the logic to the next level and trust “we the people.”
Local Mass Representative Democracy is not the answer to our problems. One may say that the example above is an exception, however, local papers nationwide, each week have many similar problems. Within two years Greene County had a repeat of a similar issue with the Board of County Commissioners regarding a regional landfill. Again citizens were treated as lowly serfs and the landfill was pushed through against strong citizen opposition.
We have the liberty to choose our dictators and this is largely where our liberty ends. Though people may say dictator is too harsh a word, I refer to the Greene County citizen who told me, “I cannot say anything regarding my opposition. All it takes is one phone call to the state board of _________ and I am out of business.” I met many citizens who made similar statements. Even today I leave out the name of the state board due to the fear of reprisal for the individual.
The best we can hope for with Mass Representative Democracy is an enlightened dictatorship. And even with this as much as 49% of the population may not be getting what they desire since Mass Representative Democracy is based upon rule by the majority. And even when one’s candidate does win none of the individuals voting for him or her gets all of the things they believe in. Customer’s needs, therefore, go unmet. This is because it is a mass production system where regardless of individual’s needs the focus is on the average.
Today there are people ranging from radical militias to conservatives to libertarians to liberals to minorities to many upstart organizations who are almost in rebellion against what they perceive as the tyranny of Beginner’s Democracy. Most believe that the true ideals of representative democracy have been subverted. However, they have not, since Beginners Democracy, at its core, governs, rules, controls and restrains the individual in society through laws, taxes and micro rules. In fact, Beginners Democracy is more democratic than ever with our politicians more intelligent, honest, law-abiding and ethical than ever. The problem is that our expectations have been raised, primarily by information technology, as we better connect and yearn for levels of liberty and maturity beyond what Beginner’s Democracy can delivery.
We must remember that Beginner’s Democracy is an archaic Mass Production system where everyone gets the same equal and “average” treatment, as determined by representatives of the majority, regardless of the individual’s specific needs. The rage people feel against Beginner’s Democracy is the yearning for more liberty, therefore more customization, from a more mature form of democracy for a more mature humanity. We are six years olds demanding that our training wheels be removed.
Beginner’s Democracy is a system of social organization in which order comes from a source external to and separate from the individuals in society—elected representatives in governing bodies. It is a primitive system of liberty providing basic freedoms, where there is very little direct participation by individuals.
Even when Beginner’s Democracy is directly participatory, with individuals directly voting for or against something, it is still about narrow win/lose choices. It is rigid, lifeless and mostly void of synergy, with two or sometimes three opposing win/lose viewpoints, while the world contains infinite viewpoints. Beginner’s Democracy is about debating, pointing out the weaknesses and negatives in other’s views and furthering one’s own point of view at the expense of others. It is mostly void of synergy because it is about analyzing and fragmenting reality and focusing only on one’s own perspective, as opposed to integrating and building on many perspectives. Rather than pulling humans together to become interconnected, it is about maintaining our separateness and divisions. Beginner’s Democracy is mechanistic, Newtonian, analytical, reactionary, linear and slow.
True Democracy is not only replacing Beginner’s Democracy with a new, more liberating and enlightened system, it also replaces the very notion of government with the broader notion of “social order.”
The common belief by most people is that democracy has its roots in European culture. Jack Weatherford shows in his book, Indian Givers—How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World, that the roots of democracy lie in the Indian cultures of the Americas.
It is commonly understood that American democracy was an outgrowth of the political thought of the 17th century Enlightenment. Weatherford outlines how reports on the political systems and way of life of the American Indians inspired those 17th century thinkers.
“Europe at that time was an intensely authoritarian, class-bound society. In fact, the word “freedom” itself was not defined as “personal liberty” in European languages prior to the discovery of the Americas, but generally referred to a nation’s independence or a slave’s release from bondage. Once New World explorers began to observe the native cultures they experienced “amazement at the Indians’ personal liberty, in particular their freedom from rulers and social classes based on ownership of property. For the first time the French and the British became aware of the possibility of living in social harmony and prosperity without the rule of a king.” (Weatherford, 1988, p. 123.)
These ideas provoked a good deal of thinking and writing in the early 16h Century and by the 17th Century many more reports had found an interested audience, particularly in France. A very popular writer, Baron de Lahontan, published a number of works based on his observation of the Huron. He reported on the statement of one Huron to him,
“We are born free and united brothers, each as much a great lord as the other, while you are the slaves of one sole man. I am the master of my body, I dispose of myself, I do what I wish, I am the first and the last of my Nation . . . subject only to the Great Spirit.” (Brandon, New Worlds for Old: Reports from the New World and Their Effect on the Development of Social Thought in Europe. 1500-1800, p. 90)
These ideas were adapted into a “hit” play Arlequin Sauvage by Delisle de la Drevetiere. In true French romantic fashion, the play was about an American Indian who travels to Paris. A young Frenchwoman named Violette falls in love with him and travels back with him to the New World so that she might live in liberty.
This play made a great impression on a young Jean Jacques Rousseau who subsequently wrote Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, 1754. (His name is always mentioned in the list of European thinkers who influenced the American Founding Fathers.)
Another significant name on that list is Thomas Paine. At the age of 37 he went to visit Benjamin Franklin in Pennsylvania and became interested in the Iroquois. During the Revolution he was employed as secretary to the commissioner sent to negotiate with them. He learned their language and in the rest of his writings, including Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason used the Indians as models of how a free society might be organized. Following the pattern of the Iroquois League of Nations, he coined the name “United States of America.”
In fact, the first person in recorded history to suggest a union of the colonies was the Iroquois chief Canassatego in 1744. He complained that the separate colonies, each with their own policies, were difficult to communicate and deal with, and life would be easier for everyone involved if the colonies could unite and speak with one voice, as the Iroquois League did.
Benjamin Franklin also studied the Iroquois extensively. As early as 1754 at the Albany Congress he called for the colonies to unite into a league similar to the Iroquois. Decades later, as the U.S. government was being framed, Franklin continued to promote many of the details of Iroquoian government to the Founding Fathers, many of which were adopted.
Charles Thomson also studied the Iroquois extensively, and at Thomas Jefferson’s request, wrote a lengthy report that was included in Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Not only was the concept of a united federation of states described, but also many other details of government which were later adopted into our own constitution. He describes political leadership won by election, not heredity. There is a separation of military leadership from civil leadership. There is the concept of impeachment. There is the concept of the ratification of new states as equal members. The European model was one of colonization—a new land that was to forever remain a vassal to the colonizing nation. But in our country new lands became territories which were nurtured from the outset to become equal partners.
Another uncanny similarity is in the concept of an electoral college. There was also a tradition of changing the name of a new leader, which anticipates the practice in the Senate of addressing a senator by his senate title, not his personal name, which is never mentioned on the Senate floor.
Franklin wanted to use the Iroquois word for “grand council” rather than the Latin -based “congress.” Franklin proposed, in imitation of the Iroquois, that U.S. officials not be paid for their work. This was not adopted, but the principle apparently was noted, since the Founding Fathers did arrange for officeholders’ salaries to be minimal, just enough to pay for living expenses. Franklin was also very excited about the Iroquoian custom of military leaders being elected by the men they led. He even formed a militia organized this way. Our government did not adopt this, but they did abandon the European custom of military posts being purchased by the wealthy, and they did allow for a great deal of movement through the ranks and avoided the domination of the wealthy aristocracy or oligarchy.
Another likely imitation is the custom of allowing only one person to speak at a time. (European parliament traditionally has allowed the shouting down of any speaker who displeased noisy members.)
“The purpose of debate in Indian councils was to persuade and educate, not to confront. Unlike European parliaments, where opposing factions battle out an issue in the public arena, the council of the Indians sought to reach an agreement through compromise.” (Weatherford, Indian Givers, p. 141.)
One aspect of Iroquoian social order that never was adopted but is very intriguing is the fact that policies were adapted by their councils only when concurrence was unanimous. This is the destiny to which democracy must return. If we are to have a win/win world based upon synergy and synthesizing then it must come through the type collaborative dialogue which could produce unanimous concurrence. It is the kind of communications which can occur in Mass Privatization but will never work in controlled economies, representative government and bureaucracies.
Later research into the workings of Indian systems of social order throughout the Americas has shown that this democratic organization was commonplace. Throughout this whole hemisphere, a chief never possessed the kind of power to which Europeans were accustomed. Even in the highly complex Aztec culture the Spaniards found, Moctezuma was the supreme speaker of the nation, not its emperor.
It is important to understand the history of democracy. However, this is not just about the history of Beginner’s Democracy of the Industrial Age. The Indians have also given us a model to follow for True Democracy of the Information Age. There are significant differences between Beginner’s Democracy and the system of social order of Indian Democracy. Weathford illustrates the difference in his description of a recent powwow in Fargo North Dakota. Weathford states:
To an outsider things, such powwows often appear chaotic. Even though posted signs promise that the dances will begin at four o’clock, there is still no dancing at five-thirty. Drummers scheduled to play never arrive, and some groups drum without being on the program. Impromptu family ceremonies intertwine with the official scheduled events, and the microphone passes among scores of announcers during the evening. No one is in control. This seems to be typical of Indian community events: no one is in control. No master of ceremony tells everyone what to do and no one orders dances to appear. The announcer acts as herald or possibly as facilitator of ceremonies, but no chief rises to demand anything of anyone.
Having attended a recent Iroquois powwow in Washington, North Carolina Weathford seems to be describing the very powwow that I attended. Beginner’s Democracy is authority-based whereas Indian Democracy is more egalitarian. In Beginner’s Democracy someone must be in control—in authority. Based upon Weathford’s description, Indian Democracy was more natural and free flowing; artististic and spiritual; synergistic and synthesizing. At the same time it was practical and supported their system of wealth-creation and social order. Indian Democracy worked because people lived and worked in small communities connected to other small communities.
As we move into an Information Age where information technology is creating a global village of interconnected diverse small Mass Privatization communities, a more natural and liberating form of democracy is mandatory. Toffler refers to the new government for an Information Age as a mosaic democracy—a society of overlapping organizations with direct participation. Peter Drucker calls it a society of organizations. An Information Age must have a system of social order that moves towards a more natural democracy. Perhaps we can provide a new and concise definition for True Democracy.
Social order and abundance through the people’s free interactions, interdependence and interconnectedness. To be even more concise: Social order and abundance through synergy and synthesis—hence Synocracy or Mass Synocracy.
True Democracy or Mass Synocracy moves us away from governing, ruling or dictating even when it is self-induced governing, ruling or dictating. Synocracy is about engaging each individual and each viewpoint in society—the more the merrier. While Beginner’s Democracy chokes on diversity, seeking a homogeneous melting pot, synocracy thrives on it seeking a diverse mosaic. Synocracy is alive with people’s ideas freely flowing and building on one another’s through dialogue, seeking first to understand, brainstorming, connecting and communicating.
True Democracy or Synocracy is a synthesizing and synergizing process of creativity, creating, artistic flow and continuous evolution to a higher abundant and spiritual state. It is a system of connecting and integrating, revealing underlying quantum wholeness to the universe. Synocracy at its core is a highly liberating, participatory and customizing form of social organization, where self-determination and each individual’s needs and liberty are of highest priority—however through this highest priority the greatest group collaboration is produced.
With Mass Synocracy, social order is self-generating from within the system. By each individual creating wealth and working, he or she automatically participates in producing an ordered society based upon norms, not laws and micro rules. Unlike Beginner’s Democracy, which supports our fragmented Newtonian worldview, by separating social order from wealth-creation “government should stay out of business,” Mass Synocracy synthesizes social order into the wealth-creation process itself.
Beginner’s Democracy also separates social order from spirituality. It must do this or risk abuse of power and oppression of people’s religious beliefs, hence the long standing Newtonian separation of church and state. With Mass Synocracy there is no division between spirituality, wealth-creation and social order. The three plus more have been synthesized into one undivided natural whole called life.
Mass Synocracy is the system of True Democracy that results from a society operating upon Mass Privatization, Decentralized Wealth Creation and Mass Autocracy. There are thousands of global Mass Privatization communities, with the common mission of meeting other people’s needs. As they deeply interconnect, overlap and interact, social order and abundance in society is naturally produced. Social order comes through norms, principles and a shared vision of the interdependent whole of which we are a part. Each individual is connected and has some relationship with every other individual globally, either directly or indirectly. It is a system where all boats rise together, with an individual’s wealth directly increasing as the wealth of other individuals and the whole group increases; thus win/win and collaboration is the primary norm.
Copyright 2000 by Barry Carter
About Barry Carter.
Also see Timothy Wilken writing on SYNOCRACY