Global governance through shared operating platforms

As Joanne Richardson once wrote, the rhizome is not characteristic of civil society-based peer production communities but a general characteristic of all power structures:

“It is naïve to invoke a rhizomatic mode of organization as a means of contestation and as an alternative to global capitalism since it has become what they have in common rather than what holds them apart.”

Alec Evans and David Steven have published a series of articles proposing a new approach for public diplomacy that can deal with contemporary global crisis such as climate change. It is a good example of how global and national institutions are called to move even further towards their own kind of participatory and ‘rhizomatic’ structures.

A recent overview article summarized their views, which they have presented in expanded form elsewhere.

Their calling for what they call ‘shared operating systems’:

First, public diplomacy is about building shared awareness – a common understanding of an issue around which a coalition can coalesce. The task here is not simply to accumulate information, which often exists in abundance, but rather to invest in analysis, synthesis and dissemination. Are state and non-state actors using the same data? Has a common language emerged? Is there a hub for discussion and debate?

Shared awareness should be the precursor to the construction of a shared platform. The new public diplomacy will usually – perhaps invariably – be a multilateral pursuit. The objective is to build a network of state and nonstate actors around a shared vision or set of solutions: something a bilateral programme will seldom be able to do. This vision or solution need not be provided by a particular government and then ‘sold’ to its partners. The approach is less top-down that that: a really compelling vision will in itself have sufficient power to draw together a network and motivate it to campaign for change.

The end point is institutionalising this network’s beliefs, thinking and structures into a framework for managing a particular problem. Given the amorphous and dynamic nature of the challenges we face, this framework will seldom be a permanent one. Rather, it will involve the creation of a shared operating system that distributes our response to a risk, and is flexible enough to evolve as that risk evolves. The result should be a change in the structure of globalisation, a rewiring of our ability to act together in the face of a collective challenge.”

From a civil society point of view, this is of course fine as far as it goes, but crucial is of course, how much participation goes into the process, as, if only the elite is heard, this shared response can only be inadequate.

A more recent expanded treatment of their ideas can be found in the as yet unpublished draft document: Multilateralism and Scarcity.

1 Comment Global governance through shared operating platforms

  1. Dante-Gabryell Monson

    Hi Michel , nice to see you mention the topic.

    following up on the excerpt taken from Joanne Richardson on subsol :

    “It is naïve to invoke a rhizomatic mode of organization as a means of contestation and as an alternative to global capitalism since it has become what they have in common rather than what holds them apart.”

    I would add that I do believe it happens at the level of consciousness of individuals and systems , and that choices can be made.

    The rhizome may be everywhere , and connect everything , but we may navigate on it using different kinds of consciousness.

    I see notably to main directions :

    1 – a consciousness of ” creative processes ” … that goes towards greater unconditionality , contemplation and understanding , inclusiveness through transparency – towards holopticism ,
    and through such kind of attributes ,
    further self organization
    as such a consciousness , I believe , further opens up potential for ( shared ) inspiration , opening of trust / channels , and through the opening of such opportunities : action towards a shared intention , and open contemplation and understanding over such processes which may further lead to inspiration , … ;

    2 – or a consciousness that is specifically addicted and goes towards specific need for control and conditionality , panoptic retention of information and lack of transparency – artificially created scarcity , … and which for its survival is dependent on taking control over ” creative processes “.

    Each of these attributes can be visualized at various levels of abstraction.

    The ” specific need for control ” / ” addicted ” type of consciousness , when it looses control on what feeds it , needs to be more aggressive to maintain control on it.

    While the creative consciousness can open up to other channels more easily , and open up detachment through contemplation of what it can not have control over at the moment.

    A creative process , following my own experiences ,
    when it is at a level of abstraction that is not lost/contained within a limited specific control awareness/consciousness ,

    but be at a greater level of abstraction/detachment then a certain specific need for control consciousness approach related to a certain situation and structure ,

    can use its detachment to reverse the flow of the addiction and de-crystallize the specific need for control.

    The same can happen if a specific need for control consciousness with greater abstraction is applied to a creative process contained within it – it might tend to crystallize it , until it dies out , unless enough energy can be exploited from other resources to feed it coming from lower abstractions.

    Today , it is interesting to see what is happening in our economies.
    It seems that many creative processes are being trapped within the conditionality of a greater abstraction of conditionality that rests , for example , in the currency system – a debt based currency with interest , which leads to further increased debt to sustain itself.

    Understanding , not necessarily the experience in itself , but the different characteristics , at all levels , that lead to one type of consciousness or another , will be , I believe , important in maintaining and developing a increasingly complex system that would be sustainable.

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