The model I have developed represents human behaviour as an emergent property of the human activity system. It is the simplest I could make it which allowed all the major sub-systems to be covered. Look into any of the things represent ed on the schematic and they soon becomes massively complicated. Thats just how it is. However, and this is vital, it is sufficiently rich to capture the interacting elements which generate the emergent property of human behaviour. Emergence is only observable at the system level.
Human behaviour is the critical property of our current political economy and for the development of an alternative.
My case is that the current system seems almost perfectly designed to bring out the worst in people and is a caricature of democracy. OK it clearly is not the worst in the sense that we don't do mass executions, but it is close to the worst we could get if we were to use Organisational Design to devise structures that allowed for cooperation and were intended to produced good governance. My case is that we can actually design a political economy which will bring out the best in people. Why? Because political economy is a thing we made - we can alter it. How? Well first, by knowing improvement is practical and well within what we can achieve as a species and second, by acting decisively and collectively on that knowledge.
Neither hierarchy (posed as old school) nor network (posed as the new metaphor) captures the nature of the system. In practice people in groups can relate to each other as an interlinked network of shallow hierarchies – provided the culture and beliefs are established to support it. Such an arrangement would be entirely within our primate nature should we be able to bring about the mindset and culture to support it. Big ifs granted, that is what this site is all about.
We have much larger groups with massively deeper hierarchies and tolerate the exercise of coercive power much more than is found in our primate relatives. An alternative politics would aim to make hierarchies shallower and groups smaller.
Our propensity to collaborate in groups is much greater than our current cultures give credit to. An alternative politics will seek to create structures that encourage more co-operation.
The study of class and caste (whilst they provide some insights and acknowledging the variants of them used in targeted advertising) are for political purposes a distraction. This is simply because they are abstract notions drawing boundaries where non exit in the human activity system
In these ways our current political-economic culture is not in line with what we know about ourselves as human beings (as a species including our natural behaviour) and our culture seems to be designed to bring out the worst in us rather than the best – clearly this varies throughout the world, I cannot escape the fact that I am writing from a privileged part of the world
From this we can postulate two clear objectives for an alternative politics
Firstly one of the key objectives of new politics must be to stop the aggregation and concentration of power and actually reverse and disperse it, alongside this is should seek to give as many peoole as possible access and the ability to influence decisions that effect them.
This stands in sharp contrast to the common argument of professional politicians that the purpose of politics is to capture power in order to use it. This means to use it top down on someone behalf perpetuating the dichotomy of doer and done to.
Secondly the new politics must have a clearly articulated vision of what good looks like, and how it will be achieved.
Whilst it is easy to advocate using what we know (both about how we work and the world we find ourselves in) it in no way make it possible or even likely. Some of the ideas explored on this site will come into the mainstream culture and one option is to wait until they become widely accepted. We could just wait. I think there are pressing reasons to try an accelerate this process. This means there is a requirement to spell out an alternative vision in some conceptual detail. To bring this to life it will need to be supplemented by real working examples so that "seeing is believing" or in business language we can spell out "what good looks like".
This stands in sharp contrast to the normal process of presenting a shopping list of well meant reforms often worked out by remotely from the intended users. The reforms proposed are usually framed within the constraints of the status quo and therefore never likely to change it. A well crafted alternative vision will use different framing and when backed up with concrete working examples will drive a different policies to the top of the agenda.