The question to addresses is this; if we had a political economy based on what we know (that is the state of our current knowledge about the Human Activity System which we looked at in the Review section) what would it look like?
The Human Activity System has a context
The natural environment within which all human activity takes place is a complex closed system, therefore it is necessary for the political economy to operate accordingly. That means endless growth has to be redefined. My suggestion is that we measure change and look at the outcomes.
Buckminster Fuller famously devised an Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Fuller)
Recently Kate Raworth defined Donut Economics (where the objective is to support a social foundation that no one should fall below and an ecological ceiling of planetary pressures that we should not go beyond) (Raworth)
Tim Jackson describes how we can achieve Prosperity without Growth (Jackson)
Knowledge and the way we acquire it
If we are all citizens then knowledge should be open so that good decisions can be made. Policy has to be made pragmatically, based on what works using approaches which are multi-disciplinary and use systems thinking. There may be several ways to solve a problem, all need to be considered in the light of their consequences so that the best (must likely to succeed with least damaging consequences) can be chosen. Policy implementation would be based on small changes that can become self-sustaining, feedback loops allowing lessons learned and best practice to spread would be built in allowing solutions to be scaled up when they looked sustainable and support the creation of virtuous circles.
Our Nature and Physiology
Recognising we are part of the animal kingdom and have neurobiology that makes us behave in certain ways we would not be too idealistic but would seek solutions that are in tune with (go with the grain of) our natures. So for starters it seems to utopian to expect total equality; we are hierarchical as well as social after all but to quote Robert Sapolsky;
“When humans invented socioeconomic status, they invented a way to subordinate like nothing that hierarchical primates had ever seen before” (Sapolsky, op.cit p673)
So the political challenge is to the rest of the tribe, let’s keep those silverbacks in check. We should recognise the dangers of hubris and self-promotion in individuals and learn from the fact that many leaders display psychopathic tendencies by limiting their power (we’d keep our silverbacks under control).
We'd understand the power of groups for good and ill so we would have facilitation as our preferred model of leadership. To quote Thomas Paine:
“Mankind, as it appears to me, are always ripe enough to understand their true interest, provided it be presented clearly to their understanding, and that in a manner not to create suspicion by anything like self-design, nor offend by assuming too much. Where we would wish to reform we must not reproach.” (Thomas Paine)
We seek contributions to grow commitment to collective action. We would develop structure that foster co-operation and collaboration and discourage or damp down destructive and uncooperative behaviours
Recognising our propensity to act irrationally and emotionally we would build institutions based on what we know makes for good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour e.g. parliament in the round (structure), proper consultation (process), wider contributions (commitment). We would design things to make the right way the easy way, to reward collaboration and discourage selfishness