MultiLevel Governance - An Outline
Given any number of Individuals, it is generally recognized that coordinated effort toward a common Goal is more efficient than the same amount of uncoordinated effort. And it is definitely easier to raise a barn with organized help than to do it yourself.
Government is just an expression of the awareness that the above is true. The trouble with Government is that over time, History shows us that a People’s Government with regularity turns as an aggressor on the People themselves.
The challenge would seem to be how a People can organize themselves without the likelihood that they will one day be at the wrong end of the bayonet’s they themselves purchased.
The solution is in the Structure of Governance. (For a good definition of Governance, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance . Compare it with the definition of Government.)
All modern national Structures of Governance utilize Governments. They have fixed offices of Power – this is their seed of corruption. The ultimate Power rests in Presidents, Kings and Commissars. The fact of these Seats of Power in and of themselves is not the problem; it is that the flow of Power from the People to those offices is relatively fixed, and not susceptible to quick shut off if the folks wielding that Power turn it against the People or their wishes.
Individuals in a society are accustomed to operate in their own spheres of interest, duty, and need, and do not put much attention on what those sitting in the Seats of Power are up to. In general, People are trusting, and do not easily believe that their Leaders are evil. This works out fine as long as the Seats of Power do not fall into the hands of fools, or worse yet, the evil intentioned.
Let us take Hitler as an example. He was probably the most powerful Individual in the world at one time. But how can that be when he was not an athletic figure? He was rather short, out of shape, and in questionable health. He was powerful only because he could direct the coordinated Power of the German people, who were themselves physically vigorous, well educated, technologically advanced, philosophically unified, extremely well organized, and respectful of Chain of Command. Hitler did not pull all the triggers, arrest all the undesirables and drive them to the camps; all those actions were done by Individuals within the Structure of Government that Hitler controlled. Had those Individuals thought that they could just say, “No!” things might have been a lot different. But given the fact that Hitler had assumed the Seat of Power within the laws of Germany, very few thought that they could just say no.
The Source of Power
It is important to emphasize that all Power of Government is derived from the Individuals over whom the Government governs. Every act that is attributed to any Group, is in actual fact done by one Individual or another. Government is just a big Group. In the Real World there is no Group, no collective entity, in the same way that there is a chair or a mountain. Groups are not tangible; they are only Associations of Individuals.
In the area of Ethics and Morals, it is not logical to assert that when folks form a Group, that the Group somehow is endowed with more than the Rights of its constituent members. For example, if no Individual has the Right to murder, enslave, or rob another Individual, then an Association of Individuals – a Group – likewise has no Right to murder, enslave, or rob. But what happens is that when a Group gets large enough, it seems to miraculously take on a life of its own. The People are sold the notion that their Group is now senior to them, and any of the other Individuals who constitute it. Then the folks who run the Group arrogate to themselves Rights that have no basis in fact. Outrages are always explained away as necessary for the good of all – “For the Fatherland,” “For the Homeland,” “For National Security,” these are the excuses and explanations that are offered up to explain unethical and immoral behavior.
If the above is true, then once again – the challenge would seem to be, how a People can organize themselves without the likelihood that they will one day be at the wrong end of the bayonet’s they themselves purchased. (“We don’t torture people!” Right! Just don’t forget to read the fine print!)
The Sovereign Individual
I take Classical Liberalism’s definition of the Individual. Just as Kings were Sovereign, so is each Individual. In secular matters each Individual is the highest Authority unto himself. Each Individual is Independent of all others. And each Individual can Associate and disAssociate with others at his own will. Each Individual has the Right to his own Life, his own Liberty, and his own Property. No Individual has the Right to another’s Life, Liberty, or Property.
For my purposes, I have chosen to call the Individual a Sovereign Individual (or SI for short). The concept of his inalienable Sovereignty is critical to emphasize, because it is the foundation of all that follows. Inalienable Sovereignty means that it is impossible for an Individual to ever not be in charge of himself. He is always at Cause over himself and always Responsible for himself. He appears to be the Effect of others only because he chooses to be Effect. In all his Associations, he is the Creator of the Association in concert with the others with whom he chooses to associate.
Take for example two Kings, each indisputably a Sovereign, who choose to play a Game of badminton. Although each has agreed to be the Effect of the Rules of the Game, neither looses his Sovereignty when the Game begins. To play that Game, they must accede to that Game’s Rules, but neither is forced to play, each voluntarily chooses to be the Effect of the Rules. And each, without so much as a by-your-leave can quit the Game at any time, his Sovereignty intact.
If the two Kings do not allow themselves to be the Effect of the Rules, then they will not play by those Rules, and by definition are not playing that Game – they may be playing some other, unnamed Game, but it won’t be badminton. To play badminton, they have to agree to be limited – to be the Effect of the Rules of badminton.
I reject the Statist definition of the Individual – “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole. . . that above all, the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual. . . we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow man.” - Adolph Hitler. (We all know where that definition gets us.)
I have developed a Structure that can solve the problem of stuck flows of Power to those undeserving of it. It goes beyond Government, but solves the traditional problems of Government. It incorporates the best qualities of Majority Rule without subjecting unfortunate Minorities to the meat grinder. It allows for whatever Power can be gathered for a given task, but it immediately staunches the flow of that Power to any Individual the Majority determines is abusing it. The Structure is just a codification of what Individuals do naturally – I call it Multilevel Governance (MLG).
Most folks live in Association with other folks. They align their actions with those other folks to accomplish their agreed upon Goals. The great bulk of Sovereign Individuals do not engage in activities that harm others – it is Human Nature to respect the Life, Liberty, and Property of one’s fellows. Of course there are those whom most folks see as Criminals because they tend towards the murdering, enslaving, and robbing of others. The trick is to recognize such Criminals, to disAssociate from them, and to not leave governmental Structures lying around that a Criminal can usurp.
One of the biggest problems of Majority Rule is that when the Group reaches a certain size, it becomes impractical to get everyone together in the same room to discuss and vote on some proposal. So, I decided to limit the size of any one Group to eight. Eight is large enough that it is more than just a few friends getting together, and it is too small to get out of hand. It is easy for folks to keep track of seven other people.
I make the assumption that one’s life is improved by the Realization of that which is in his Interest, and that a SI (Sovereign Individual) working alone towards that Realization is at a disadvantage relative to what he could realize through his Association and coordination with others – the more the merrier. The concept of expansion of an Individual’s Association beyond seven other people in Multilevel Governance (MLG) is both arithmetic and geometric in Structure. First, arithmetically, he may align himself with as many other Groups as he wishes, and with as many other Sovereign Individuals as he pleases. By the Rules of MLG, all these Associations are entered into freely, and one is equally free to disAssociate from any Association at any time, for any reason. No Association of less than eight is deemed a Group, and no Group is greater in number than eight.
When there are eight Groups in Association, they may create a higher Group of eight to represent their Interests. So the 1st Level is 8 SI’s; the 2nd Level is a Group of 8 SI’s representing a total of 64. If eight 2nd Level Groups wish to Associate, they can create a 3rd Level – representing a total of 512; a 4th Level is 4096; a 5th Level is 32768; etc. In each instance of eight Groups creating a higher Level to represent them, one of their Group of eight is chosen to be their representative in the higher Group. This is the geometric aspect of the MLG.
Now that I have insisted that every Group is limited to eight members, I will back off of that requirement on the 1st Level only. On the 1st Level there must be a minimum of 8, but no maximum is set as a limit. There are probably many instances where there are Groups in place that would be interested in the theory of MLG, but would see no reason to limit their current Group’s size. But on the 2nd and every succeeding Level, 8 is the Group size. The purpose of limiting the size of the Groups at all is so that the number won’t be too large for any one SI to feel he personally has critical input to his Representative. And of course, the size of the 1st Level Group will be self regulating – if it seems too large to any SI, he can just disAssociate from it.
Each Representative takes the lower Group’s Interests to the higher Group. If ever a Representative ceases to adequately represent the Interests of his Group, the other seven members can elect another from their Group to represent them.
Power always flows up, never down. A Group’s Representative serves at the pleasure of his or her lower Group, and not a minute longer. There are no guaranteed terms in office. If the SI’s in a 5th Level Group enjoy their exalted position, they must keep each Level below happy with their performance. In the 5th Level, a SI is responsible with his or her seven mates for 32,768 SI’s, but if he or she falls out of favor with their seven mates on any lower Level, he or she is recalled as their Representative. In this example, if a Representative were recalled as the Representative for the 1st Level, he or she looses all their positions as member in, and as Representative for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Levels (any cessation of Representative status at any Level, terminates membership in any higher Group.) This is not to say that they are taken out and shot, they just continue life in that 1st Level Group. (Or s/he can take their marbles and go home – just like the kings above, their Sovereignty is in tact.) The Group that recalls its Representative just elects another, and life goes on.
So as to minimize the possibility that a higher Group might attempt to intimidate a lower Group, a lower Group has access to all meetings of the higher Group, but a higher Group has no right of access to the affairs of the lower Group (except to the extent that a lower Group’s Representative wishes to disclose information).
Let us take a step back for a moment and see how this might work in the Real World. Let’s look at an analogy of a human vehicle built on the Rules of MLG versus the same human vehicle built on various traditional methods. The purpose of these different vehicles is to take the People where they want to go. Our imagined vehicles have about 40 million SI’s each. In the MLG model, this would be an incomplete 9th Level Group.
Each 1st Level MLG Group creates a platform with a trap door on which to elevate one of its SI’s to represent it in the 2nd Level. Similarly, the 2nd Level Group of eight elevates one of its members to represent it at the 3rd Level, and the 3rd Group of eight elevates one of its members to the 4th Level, and then eight to form the 5th Level, and so on up to the 9th Level. At each elevation there are only seven SI’s supporting one as their Representative. At any time any Group can open their trap door and replace their Representative. It is a very strong, very personal, yet very fluid Structure. The folks carrying the Structure can efficiently contact the highest Levels through their Representatives. If they feel they are being required to carry the Structure somewhere they don’t want to go, they can instruct their Representative to change direction to align with their Interests. If that fails, they always have the freedom to disAssociate from the offending Group. Both SI’s and Groups have the Right to disAssociate whenever they please.
Compare that vehicle with some traditional models. In a Monarchy all the 40,000,000 are supporting one – and there is no trap door! There is an impenetrable ceiling between the Monarch and those whom s/he rules. The accident of birth generally determines who gets to be the next Monarch. Rule by the Peoples’ Committee tends to spread the centralization of Power somewhat, but the average SI has little input unless s/he can rise in the ranks. Good-old-boy politics generally determines who gets to rise to the levels of Power – and no trap doors there either.
Democratic Republics tend to spread the Power around a little bit more, but the results can be the same when things go wrong, e.g. Hitler. They have Constitutions which folks hammer out for their own purposes. Each Representative can represent thousands if not millions of SI’s. One solitary SI can feel totally cut off from having any influence on his Representatives. There are trap doors here, but they have time locks on them, and it is often very difficult to replace a bad Leader. (The time locks are set for the term of office.)
Under Monarchies and the Peoples’ Committees, the common folks know to keep their mouths shut, blinders in place, and go where they are told. In the Democratic Republics the people get to complain more openly, but have little latitude in changing the direction taken. “We’ll get it right next election!” they grumble. Unfortunately, it seems that over time an Oligarchy arises from which Leaders are consistently chosen.
All the traditional Structures have definite Command Lines, Buildings, and Offices to administer the concentrations of Power. In comparison, the MLG Structure could be completely virtual in organization. (In fact without computers and the Internet, it would be difficult to organize a MLG Structure of any great extent.)
While we are taking that step back and looking at how this might actually work, I want you to break out of the traditional box of thinking of Governing Structures in terms of Centers of Power. Remember, with MLG there is no fixed structure. Nor am I suggesting that your Governing Structure should be this way or that. Your Governing Structure will be an amorphous flowing, pulsing, organic reflection of your, and your fellows’ agreed upon Interests. It will probably start with folks like me, who are interested in Philosophy, History, Economics, Sociology, Anthrology etc. It is interesting to consider how we can step out of the traditional paradigm that seems to be racing us to extinction. We all know something has to happen so we can stop repeating the same mistakes of the past.
These same curious pioneers may apply the concepts of the MLG to their hobbies and other interests. Consider that one particular industry finds the MLG an optimum Structure for their purposes. Quilt makers adopt MLG as a freeform way to keep themselves abreast of their craft. Soon they discover that fabric and thread makers have Groups that align with their Interests. Retailers’ Groups and sewing machine manufacturers get pulled in, and Associations grow. At some point perhaps a central hub in the form of a manufacturing and distribution center is agreed upon. Groups representing different cities contact the Site Planning Group and sell the advantages of their own towns. After a time these new Associations lead to the selection of West St. Paul as the ideal location for the factory.
Once the location is determined, Associations with all the building trades in the area are established; an efficient plan is drawn up and acted upon. And now the Interest of the folks in the quilting, thread, fabric, and sewing machine Groups changes. Now that they have their factory, they are no longer interested in Associations with building trades, so those Associations wither. Now common Interest brings Groups seeking employment, together with those Groups seeking employees.
Throughout the process, self-Interest drives the SI’s and Groups to Associate. And through their Associations, they are efficiently able to create what they need and want. Once they have realized one Goal, their Interests change, and each SI, and therefore each Group, looks around for what is next. Whatever is next will bring on new Associations with others who share their Interests.
(There is a new website describing how the MLG structure can be utilized to facilitate action in Society. Please see www.GoIDCSA.com.)
Bottom-Up Versus Top-Down Coordination
Think of a school of fish swirling in an amorphous mass, moving through the water guided by the common, yet unpredictable Interests of each flicking fish. Sometimes the Group moves as one mass, sometimes it splits apart establishing distinct Groups flashing off in new directions. Then they sweep together again, never ceasing their motion, which is the physical symptom of their changing Goals.
Compare that example of free Association, with a parade of troops marching in unison on the parade ground. Every step of every soldier has been planned well before its execution. If one of the troops stumbles and trips in a gopher hole, the whole of the planned coordinated march is disrupted. The changes and planning needed to accommodate for an unexpected hole in the ground have to be made by the drum major, and orders given so that the march doesn’t turn into chaos. The traditional model prizes conformity and predictability. When adjustments are needed because of some unpredicted changes, the adjustments are not made at the point of disruption, but at some point far from the problem. Conformity of action requires a Chain of Command Structure, from the top to the bottom.
In essence the biggest difference between the two Structures is that the MLG is a bottom-up dynamic, and the traditional organizing force is a top-down dynamic. In MLG, Power is generated by the accumulation of similarity of Interest of the moment. The Quantity of Power accumulated at any given moment is in direct ratio to the sum of the SI’s interested at that moment. Traditionally, Power is initially accumulated in a similar fashion by Groups of SI’s with similar Interests, but then those points of accumulated Power tend to continue to accumulate Power by the fixed nature of the Structures of Organization utilized. When conditions change, these traditional Groups are slow to accommodate to those changes. Business as usual, trumps innovation because the Power needed to develop the innovation is withheld in the hands of SI’s who have a vested Interest in keeping that Power in their own hands.
What unfolds is a constant friction and battle within traditional Groups between past Interests and current Interests. It is Human Nature for a SI to want to choose that which makes his life easier. Individually determined Interest is the motivating force of all changes from the Present into the Future. That is just the way things are. It would be the height of conceit to suggest that that which is a native Quality of Man is wrong. I would be interested to hear of examples of folks deciding to change to worsen their personal conditions. If you are anywhere close to sane it just doesn’t work that way.
So King Petunia is likely to be reluctant to give up his exalted position. He’s probably a good guy at heart, so when he sends his ministers to the gallows for suggesting some reform, he will convince himself that he’s not a greedy tyrant, he just happens to know what is best for his kingdom. As a matter of fact, his people are lucky to have his guidance during this threat to National Security.
I don’t wish to second guess Human Nature. I just want to utilize the technology now available to maximize the realization of Man's current Interests. Generally speaking, Kings tend to like their positions of Power, and tend to act to maintain them to the detriment of their Group as a whole. In MLG, when there is a Flow of energy and motion, it reflects the current Interests of the SI’s individually and of their Group, or Groups. There is no throne to grab or hold on to, so there is little incentive to plot to grab or hold on to one.
Even the area where Government shines – that of killing huge numbers of folks in a very short time – War – can conceivably be handled better by MLG. Modern wars are transparently the elite jockeying for Power and money. There are relatively few bad guys who are the real instigators, and they are fairly obvious.
Can you imagine how powerful a MLG Group of 40 million would be if it needed to act to defend itself? A traditional Nation State would be naked before the Power of 40 million focused SI’s. We see the unorganized Power of the Internet today. In free societies the Internet is an annoying loose cannon to the Oligarchs who presume to know best; in un-free societies its Power is also recognized and therefore suppressed. Imagine even a small portion of the Internet organized along the lines of MLG – it would be an awesome force!
But what of those who can’t take care of themselves? Their precious Inalienable Sovereignty won’t guarantee their survival – they need Others to take Responsibility for them! Granted.
Let’s make a short list of those who need help: children, the mentally or physically handicapped, and the elderly. (There may be other unlisted categories.) Since no one has the Right to rob another, even for a good cause, there is no possibility of Forced Charity, i.e. redistribution of wealth. Disadvantaged folks will be taken care of according to the desires of Others who will themselves freely give of their Property to that end. Well-poisoners and other Criminals would find themselves pariahs at the fringes of society.
In a similar way under MLG, just as none are artificially elevated in their condition by edict, none will be suppressed in their pursuit of happiness by edict. The more Value others find in someone, the greater would be the number of Groups with whom s/he would associate, and the higher s/he would rise as a Representative to upper Levels. A SI could rapidly rise to a level of success commensurate with his or her Value to others. I foresee an extremely high level of communication amongst Groups, such that what is needed and wanted will be known in real time – a capable SI could know how s/he could best exchange with others, and be accordingly rewarded.
As more and more time is required to manage the Interests of various Groups at higher and higher Levels, it would make sense that Representatives would be compensated for their time and success in the Realization of the desires of their fellows. As with all other matters, compensation would be resolved within the Groups themselves. There are no senior entities to lay down salary guidelines.
There would be no reason for featherbedding – the keeping in place of unproductive jobs. Once a particular job no longer had a purpose in the forward movement of a Group, it would disappear. The MLG Structure would not promote other than what the SI’s of whatever Group desired at that moment. Of course there are no rules stating that a Group can’t reward someone for non-production, people can do what they want with what is theirs – it is just unlikely that folks will choose to do that.
Governance Not Government
As I mentioned before, this paradigm goes beyond Government. Think about it…. If this system were proven to be successful in organizing folks towards the fulfillment of their Goals, SI’s wouldn’t differentiate between their Associations to educate their kids, their Associations to get health care, and their Associations to hire guards to watch over their businesses. You wouldn’t think, “Oh, this is a private Association, and that is a Government Association,” you would just know that all the Associations you make are for your purposes and Interests in various areas of your life.
Life is nothing if not Change. As SI's change in their Interests, so will their Associations change. The 1st Level Group flows data regarding the desired changes in Goals upwards to the 2nd Level, and on to whatever is the highest Level. The responsibility at the top Level is to correctly identify what is wanted and needed, and then from its exalted position, and with its lines of communication to other Groups, its duty is to gather the data necessary for the Realization of the desired changes. The Flow then reverses and the steps necessary to realize the Goal pass back down to the lower Groups in the form of Suggestions and Plans – analogous to, but not the same as Orders. (There is no need to beat a willing horse. And if he is not willing, that is his sovereign right.)
I think this outline is enough to give you a good idea of the potentials of Multilevel Governance. I welcome any reactions, input, etc.