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Jean-Daniel Cusin

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Reinventing government - what would it look like?

If we were to start from scratch and invent a new model of national governance using current available technology and possibilities - what would that look like?

What criteria would be used to evaluate what a good model of governance looks like? I think a basic premise would be that those affected by decisions must have the means to weigh in on them and that the governance measures must be provably sustainable - other thoughts?

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    Apr 23 2011: there is a fascinating political experiment happening in canada's north in this direction. both the nwt and the new nunavut governments are based on aboriginal ideas of consensus rather than the westminster tradition of adversarial debate. it's been working well now for 3 decades. political parties exist only in federal politics, but don't exist at this territorial level. each hamlet/region elects the best candidate. they gather in yellowknife and in iqualiut and elect amongst themselves those most qualified for the various ministerial jobs and these form the government. the rest make up the "opposition" and keeps them honest. this was made possible by the political participation of the dene and the unuit who make up half the northern population. it has meant the best ideas become law rather than only those ideas of the leaders. it has protected minor interests rather well - local communities often vote themselves dry of booze for example.
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      Apr 23 2011: Jock, love that and would like to know more about that..the founding fathers also looked to native anerican "law" and were very impressed with the Iroquois system(???).. do you know Tom Atlee's work in Co-Intelligence..very similar and I have seen it work in groups where there is great polarity..there is a wisdom that can speak past bias, prejudice, debate and arguement when all parties agree to "the practuce" (of listening to everyone) Tom Atlee at his site for the co-intelligence Insutute writes of the process..everyone speaks in turn saying what they feell or want or think..very soon there starts to be an emerging consensus and then after many rounds there is Decion Making Without Decisions ( the tille of the aritcle)..theer is consensus that is conplete and "woned" and honored by each. Perhaps the nunavut process is similar??? Could you share it with us in more detail? Thank you for making this important and relevant reference
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        Apr 24 2011: http://www.gov.nu.ca/wpc/nunavut.html
        no, haven't heard of tom atlee before. will look up. but you're describing the practice of the "talking stick" or "talking stone" practiced by many aboriginal groups. very interesting to use the technique in a mixed group where typically the extraverts dominate the conversation to the annoyance of the rest. whoever has the stick has the floor. and noone speaks except the person with the stick. including if he/she is just gathering their thoughts or waiting a bit. when done that person passes the stick around the circle. persons who don't want to speak don't. it is incredibly powerful as a tool because suddenly everyone is actually listening to the speaker, and not thinking about their own retort.
        you remind me of robert persig's work on "quality" and his two books "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" and "lila". he's built up a webpresence on the same themes. in lila he made the astonishing claim that it was the 5 nations that invented democracy. and that the founding fathers of the us were well acquainted with the "iroquois constitution."
        http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/IroCons.html
        they had a means of stopping war that is most beautifully put in the image of an eagle atop a tree beneath which the weapons of war were buried. they had a beautiful balance between men and women in their system. there were many clan longhouses presided over by matriarchs. they each sent a man to the tribal councils. if such a man broke certain rules he was shunned and that longhouse would lose a turn sending a rep to the council.
        some have suggested that the only progress we've made is the size of the tribe is bigger. to a lady living in seclusion, that might be some small comfort.
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          Apr 24 2011: Thank you jock for explaining the process.I think it speaks meaningfully and with promise to the possibilities of technology assisted direct democracy in a large plurastic.modern society..I think it would make for a wiser and much smaller government with a far more focused, coherent and rational system of laws and regulations.We tend to think that such practices only work because they arise from deeply held shared values..but my own experience and observation is that such practices can work merely through consent to the practice without any underlying tribal identity. It's one of those things,though, you have to see and experience to believe. I wonder if we could model here at Ted somehow so everyone could expereince how it works?

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