Metademocracy: Governance is not a game. Yet.

I’ve read about this thing called Holocracy which has really got me thinking about governance systems.  Holocracy is a method for governing a company or organization by having small interconnected groups that share responsibility for decision-making and finding consensus.

I think eventually someone will figure out a way for this to be applied to states/nations/etc.  I think that communication technologies will be an important part of the solution, or at least important to enable it to scale up.  But, right now I believe that government on a state or national level gets too polarized and then becomes paralyzed.  Perhaps this is because we’re more concerned with blocking stuff we don’t agree with, than with finding consensus and moving forward on things we do agree about.

So I found myself thinking, instead of having everyone join parties of like-minded people so we can battle other parties and try to get our way, what if we could use our high-speed communications and various social networks to have debates and discussions on a smaller scale, determine where actionable consensus exists, and then notify our leaders of what the will of the people really, actually is.  If a leader doesn’t do what most of the people say they want, the social networks should point it out and remind people around the next voting time that this leader thinks he knows better than the collective.  The leaders would either respect the will of the collective or get voted out.

Then I thought, what if we could turn this into a game, or at least a simulation of some kind.

See, at first the “collective” would be small but the challenge would be to try and reach a diverse set of people, get consensus where possible, and then publish that out in a way that others can express support even if they weren’t part of the collective.  Where consensus exists, a small collective can have a big impact by phoning their leaders and getting them to respond to the collective.  And it has to cut across all the parties and not just apply to folks who are used to agreeing.  Members of the collective have to believe in the consensus and be willing to take the fight to their own leaders, even within their own parties, to make them understand when the will of the people is clear.

When the collective grows larger, people would not need to spend as much time in activist-mode.  Ideally people could simply comment and click their way to an actionable consensus, and take turns delivering the message to government and its leaders.  Once it reaches a certain saturation level, leaders will start to put questions to the collective proactively rather than waiting for the collective to call or publish findings.

In the game or simulation version of this, we would assume that not everyone would follow through and vote according to the will of the collective.  But enough people would support the will of the collective because they feel like part of the process and have a sense of ownership and belonging even if they don’t agree with the rest of the collective on some certain points.

I need some smart friends to help me explore this idea a bit.  (Looking at you, Bryant and Jeff)  Ping me if you’re interested in some conversation over coffee or whatever.

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