Self governance

From Organic Design wiki
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When a trust group collaborate on their shared vision and work together to actualise it in alignment with their defined values, they need to have methods and tools available for making decisions together, resolving conflicts and managing resources in their system. Self governance is the ability for a trust group to do these things without requiring any external parties, and in general, is how a group's system can undergo change in response to feedback from its members and stakeholders and from changes in the environment it operates within.

The manifesto to which Organic Design is aligned follows the bottom-up principle that organisation at the global scale is achieved by organisation beginning with individuals and local regions, rather than being determined from larger centralised institutions downwards. From this global context, self-governance in alignment with the values allows the best known options to be found and selected for all aspects of the social mechanism. This is achieved by making more effective, unhindered use of the totality of available knowledge and expertise.

Box in a Circle (Panarchy)


From Bruce Lipton's book Spontaneous Evolution: The next evolutionary form of governance may be represented by a box within a circle. Under this visionary plan, inside-the-box governmental paradigms would still hold elections and make and enforce laws. However, the box, which contains our Constitutional independence, would exist inside the interdependence circle of We the People.


Time / Issue / Position / Argument / Evidence / Source / Authority (or TIPAESA) is an all-purpose way to organise arguments. In wikis it is generally followed in Talk pages, abbreviated and informal.

Time is the basic organising scheme. If the list is prescriptive like an agenda, then events are scheduled for times in the future. If the list is descriptive like meeting minutes (based on that agenda but deviating from it in whatever way) or Talk files, then generally it's a log from past into present. Keeping files, e.g. meetings, in one form from future agenda to past minutes, and giving them one consistent name from proposal to ultimate review, makes it easy to refer to them elsewhere.

An issue is something that did or will come up at a point in time. If it keeps recurring, it is cyclic, and will appear multiple times on a linear time scale, and is important to resolve or limit early to avoid escalating out of control. Non-obvious issues that are detected only after many concrete issues are observed in the later time-line, should become earlier, abstract, issues... within reason.

A position is a prescriptive statement about an action to be taken, policy or limit to be set. It 'draws the line somewhere'. Typically there will be more than one position on an issue. If not, the issue may not even been an issue, and documenting it may be a matter of form, or simply complicating things. Generally, a dissent creates two positions: majority and minority, and an issue that they disagree on. So time-lines fork into time/issue/positions from time alone.

An argument is a 'reason why' a position is valid. Normally a sentence that includes the word 'because' has a position in front of it, and an argument after it, i.e. "You shouldn't be President of the United States BECAUSE You're a moron". In this statement, "You shouldn't be President of the United States" is a position, and "You're a moron" is an argument that validates that position. In general, facts are arguments, and facts are conceivably disprovable by tests. Positions without arguments are generally relying on some widely shared source or authority (See below).

A piece of evidence is some relatively objective output of a test or trial or some 'smoking gun' that is generally acceptable as evidence of the argument. This means more or less what it means legally.

A source is a documented compilation of evidence, e.g. a history book, a peer-reviewed journal, or something. It can also be a person in popular parlance, but in general it's better to refer to a person as an:

Authority is a person who's bet their reputation or body on the source being accurate, i.e. they are its author, they take risks if it is 'wrong'. A position sometimes is acceptable as valid simply because of authority without any argument, evidence, or source. This is the case in Talk files, mostly, as everyone is assumed to have a right to speak, and signatures are included. An anonymous party who provides argument/evidence/source in depth, however, has as much influence or more as someone known as an authority who signs their name, and this is an important way to remove groupthink from group discussions.


Open source governance advocates the application of the philosophies of the free software movement to democratic principles, to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of new policy as with a wiki document. Legislation is democratically opened to the general citizenry in this way, allowing policy development to benefit from the collected wisdom of the people as a whole.

The core principle is the concept of a "central codebase" in the form of a set of policies that are maintained in a public registry and that are infinitely reproducible. "Distributions" of this policy-base are periodically released for use in localities, which can apply "patches" to customize them for their own use. Localities are also able to cease subscribing to the central policy-base and "fork" it or adopt someone else's policy-base.

In effect, the government stems from emergent cooperation and self-correction among members of a community. As the policies are put into practice in a number of localities, problems and issues are identified and solved, and where appropriate communicated back to the core. Because so much information must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, however, technology may provide important forces leading to the type of empowerment needed for participation in this kind of government, especially those technological tools that enable community narratives and correspond to the accretion of knowledge.

Quote.pngWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
— Thomas Jefferson in 1776 from the United States Declaration of Independence

Quote.pngLife, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
— Frederic Bastiat, The Law

The metagovernment project

The objective of the Metagovernment project is to enable individuals to be much more involved in their own governance, instead of relying on career politicians to take care of the important decisions in their life.

To that end, we are supporting the development and use of internet tools which enable the members of any community to fully participate in the governance of that community. We are a global group of people working on various projects which further this goal.

We expect governance software to be adopted first in small communities, and then to spread outward with the potential to gradually replace many institutions of representative democracy with a new kind of social organization called collaborative governance.

They have an excellent list of related projects too!

Other projects

See also