The description comes from an appeal for collaboration related to a Norwegian research project, and looks very promising:
“Analyzing and testing a sustainable ingroup democracy, including the money value analysis, and how a change to such a democracy may come by.
Our hypothesis is that the democracy model represents a political system that opens for a possible change from today’s focus on money profit to a focus on the products and services themselves, and their use and sustainability. This can be achieved in large societies by organizing representative democracy through ingroups in several levels, from each workplace up to national government (please refer to …MODEL.pdf). Each individual will, through workplaces, institutions or schools, be part of a functional ingroup, small enough for social control. Through 4-5-6 levels of representative elections, large societies can in this way be managed democratically. In short, by engaging everyone through an ingroup, we hypothesize that it will be possible to organize worker-owned, sustainable production, supervised and controlled by a democracy that may freely make use of today’s extensive knowledge concerning ecosystem services. When the purpose of work and production is the products and services themselves, a society and its members will naturally share a common interest in sustainable production: The driving forces behind profit and growth are not natural laws. This is the model we invite each of you to analyze from the perspective of your discipline.
Humans have evolved drivers that change behavior according to group size and level of exposure to others (Barkow, L. Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992; Gintis, 2009). Corruption, nepotism, oligarchy, egoism, and Tragedy of the Commons thrive in outgroup situations when there is lack of social control. Humans have evolved in small groups, and are equipped with cognitive drivers designed for such. Modern societies are too large for the ingroup strategies to dominate.
Scenario research has mostly been about «how it will go»; the underlying economic system is often treated as untouchable and unchangeable (see the enclosed document “Maintaining….pdf). Our project will go beyond this limit, and focus on the very foundation and purpose of human production and well-being.
There are three basic points:
The purpose of production is, today, ultimately profit. The concept of “value creation” is today synonymous with making profit. The attempts to cope with this value paradox by integrating ecosystem services with money value and profit, is struggling. (www.teebweb.org). Alienation and lack of democracy in these matters. Western democracies usually have elections every 4th year. Because of large, alienating societies and the basic conservative human nature, political alternatives are overall small and insignificant. The decisions that govern a sustainable and safe future are paradoxically taken by a few individuals employed for the purpose of maximizing each company’s profit, and who are not elected. Within today’s economy and policies, it is unlikely that unpopular and wide-ranging decisions or strategies concerning lower consumption will be accepted by a majority. Human behavior is not evolved to be individually prudent in outgroups. On the contrary, in the relatively near future it is by now likely that dramatic collapses will occur, because there are no effective control mechanisms in the international economy today. Human cultures have a history of over-exploiting their bases of existence, leading to fights over remnants (Diamond, 2005). This knowledge may put us in a unique position to prevent it to happen again. A complete democracy may be able to moderate conflicts by performing just distributions and rationing, that can be accepted and perceived legally in a society of legitimate equality (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2010; Wilson, 1998).
We want to focus on an ultimate democratic ingroup model for our analysis . There are three reasons for this:
By focusing on the same hypothesis, different areas and disciplines may create more unified cross-disciplinary research. The results will be more relevant as a holistic approach, and pros and cons will be more commonly accepted. The conclusion might be that the democratic model might be impossible to implement, but during the process, new knowledge will be produced. By stretching the horizon as far as this, we might see possibilities on a closer range. The model is not chosen by random. It fits all modern behavioral sciences. Democracy, human rights, organizational freedom, solidarity, equality and just distribution are concepts that fit the model well. The ingroup model can be, and indeed already is, in use almost everywhere, in organizations covering all human activities. The reason to focus directly on workplace organization is that we need to organize the ownership to resources and consumption. This is the area that threatens the living conditions for us all, through the physical reality of existence. Each discipline or area of interest is invited to write its own application, including theoretical background, hypotheses, methods and empirical examples, by focusing on the four questions outlined below. Please bear over with the suggested wordings we have put down in the boxes, your area of research most certainly have other concepts or phrases. We have an extensive archive consisting of ideas and problem areas that could be filled in, but we await your responses: Use words and phrasings from your own field of expertise to fill in the matrix, and focus on the four main themes:
1. Today’s democratic and economic situation, acknowledging lack of sustainability (referring to documents from TEEB/MEA, IPCC etc., see also enclosed material).
2. Within your area of expertise, how will today’s situation cope with future scenarios of scarcity? Given the time perspectives from theme 1, how are the possibilities of adaptation? If not, how will potential collapses be?
3. How will the ingroup democracy model be functional within your area of expertise? The model suggests including every person over the age of 18. From your point of view, how will this be functional? Are there other areas than workplaces where ingroup organization can be fruitful (e.g. organizing gigacities)?
4. How can a transition to such a society be feasible? Does your discipline have any suggestions to smoothen a peaceful change to a sustainable economy and society?”