Chapter 5.a

June 11, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

THE MODERN VILLAGE

We have seen that every change can be considered as the solution to a problem and every problem as a need for adaptation; the human being is the species that has developed far more than any other the ability to cultural adaptation, which is much faster than the genetic: it is one of our features, our successful evolutionary strategy. Finding solutions is therefore part of our nature, is a challenging activity but certainly within our reach, we are the best in the world in this field. The root problems are the obstacles to the exercise of these faculties of ours, that is why they must be approached first; the main difficulty is to recognize them as problems: we are all grown up with the belief that we are well informed by watching the news, not belonging anymore to the ignorant populace because we have reached a certain level of education and we live in large democratic communities.
This difficulty is something we have now overcome, perhaps today finding the solutions could be easier than expected because the root problems, once recognized as such, become routine problems. So let’s avoid to be discouraged by the old clichés about insoluble problems or unattainable dreams.

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5.a.1 – Shall we pursue the utopia?

June 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Shall we pursue the utopia?

Utopia is often defined, although it is not its original meaning, as a project not feasible but  based on principles universally judged as correct; from this definition derives that of utopian, seen as a person who decides to follow an ideal that feels to be right even knowing that this ideal will remain unfulfilled. This concept applies to projects which tend to an ideal and perfect society, a fraternal society without injustices, while recognizing that this is an unrealistic and unachievable condition.
There are those who exalt the utopians as men on which placing the hope of a better world, like those who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for a right ideal; others see them as examples to follow, trusting in such a universal spread of utopian ideal to enable its actual implementation; in other cases the utopians are considered pure men without sin and, as such, worthy of utmost respect; finally there are those who, while considering them as incurable dreamers, are still fascinated by them.
Even this time is appropriate to stop and reflect: when a project, although based on principles deemed fair by all, is judged unfeasible, what is the point of bringing it forward? If a project does not lead to concrete results, we can study some corrective actions and try, but always in the belief of reaching sooner or later the objectives set; being stuck instead on a project which by definition is unattainable is simply absurd. Furthermore, how an unachievable ideal may be universally considered right? If really we all agreed, this would be an ideal not only feasible, but already achieved; if this was an ideal truly shared, such as maintaining the physique we have at twenty years until we are ninety, or the possibility of breathe under water, failure would be due to the fact that this is not a legitimate aim, but simply against nature. Extreme examples have been made to stress the paradox implicit in this definition of utopia, but it is important not to confuse the right ideals with those unattainable: that confusion brings to a very serious consequence concerning the psychological pollution, i.e. it leads to accuse of utopianism, and therefore of unfeasibility, innovative and valid projects, only guilty of breaking the existing schemes, schemes that are maybe exceeded and therefore unfit to new environmental and social exigencies. Instead, we saw how, in full adaptive emergency, it is essential to adapt quickly to changing conditions without being stuck to bias, nor to sayings of which we do not even know the exact meaning.
We can therefore conclude that:
– if the utopia is an unfeasible project, then it is a project to be abandoned
– the Utopians do not exist: those who believe in the realization of an unachievable project are people who are wrong; those who do not believe in the feasibility of a project and still insist on pursuing it, are masochists; those who boast of being utopians, having suffered the charm of a paradoxical definition, are simply foolish
– an innovative project of which we do not know about similar experiences, it is not necessarily unrealistic
– a project widely experienced for a long time but that has not ever brought to the desired results, it is probably unrealistic: it therefore should not be changed forever with useless remedies, but it should be abandoned completely in order to leave time and energy to new valid projects. Often utopian projects are not abandoned, in spite of successive failures in time, only because there are no alternative projects and this suggests that the corrective actions are sufficient; once convinced to pursue a feasible project, although in need of improvement, we will tend to shy away from any truly alternative project and perhaps to consider this as unrealistic because never experienced.
A project involving the organization of our society, which aims to improve the quality of life but that is not unrealistic, therefore, must necessarily be based on a profound knowledge of human nature, both from a biological and a cultural point of view, and lead to concrete results with respect to the real problems. Who decides to undertake such a complex path, must expect to encounter various obstacles on the way, must be prepared to assess from time to time the changes of direction which may be necessary up to profoundly revise his beliefs and, above all, must not be discouraged by all those who inevitably will consider him as utopian.

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5.a.2 – Demagoguery, populism and political apathy are synonymous?

June 13, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Demagoguery, populism and political apathy are synonymous?

Demagoguery can be defined as the ability of politicians to obtain some advantages from people with misleading speeches and then pushing them to act against their own interests. So in turn feeds the hatred toward immigrants, increases the fear an authoritarian state, makes unattainable promises, declares to be against drugs; this is a very old technique known since the time of the ancient Greece and even then was seen as a degeneration of democracy. Reflecting a moment, however, it appears obvious that in a true democratic system, demagoguery could not exist, it would have the same social organization, with a provision of an efficient training and information to citizens, to make it unworkable. The demagoguery is based on the root problems of misinformation, ignorance and social fragmentation, cannot be a degeneration of democracy and indeed is a striking proof that a true democracy has never been realized.
Populism is a term with different meanings: sometimes it is used as a synonym for demagoguery and sometimes to identify those political movements which, riding the wave of popular discontent towards the ruling class, try to make a political replacement to their own advantage by using an aggressive language that is easy to take on the population. Politicians in power use this term in its depreciatory meaning, considering it as an improper behaviour on the part of opponents, “not very correct” between competitors, but in reality it is yet another deception for the population, a population uninformed, ignorant and fragmented to manipulate anyway.
The political apathy is also based on lack of confidence in institutions and in political parties, seen as distant from the people, not representative and therefore an obstacle to freedom, but there is the tendency to identify it as a physiological situation of democracy, leading to dangerous anarchist drifts. Also, the word political apathy is used as a synonym for demagoguery and populism when it is attributed to political actors who want to oust those in power stirring up the crowds.
It is important to know well the meaning of these terms because very often they are used improperly, but effectively, against one’s opponents. It happens that those who are teachers of demagoguery accuse of demagogy their antagonists, the most populist politicians blame the emerging politicians of being so, those who have won their parliamentary seats using massive political apathy now speak with anger about it against new opponents. Not knowing the true meaning of these terms means to allow the expansion of demagoguery, populism and political apathy, can mean not to recognize the carriers of social healthy reforms, which is why we wanted to do some clarity before starting to talk about possible solutions to our problems.

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5.a.3 – What small groups are based on?

June 14, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What small groups are based on?

We have identified four root problems and they are so closely interconnected, that they cannot be solved separately. In terms of the targets we have set ourselves, we can note that almost all can be achieved only collectively; the first obstacle to be removed, therefore, is that of social fragmentation.
In order to reconstruct our social structure we have set two objectives:
– organize the small groups that form a structure which respects the human nature, selected to live in a tribal society, and at the same time is compatible with modern life
– be able to make this structure truly democratic.
Organizing small groups it is quite common, like a football team or a group of tourists, but it should be noted that in any case it is necessary an activity that requires collaboration; this feature, to be considered of major importance already in the tribal villages, has maintained unchanged its importance until today, but now modern communities are released from the way of life based on isolated settlements, economic self-sufficiency and dependence on the territory. Structures of this kind already exist and are well known, so the method to achieve the first objective already exists and certainly is within our reach: this method is to define a clear target, easily reachable, in which everyone could have a role in the common interest.
When the need that inspired the group endures over time, as in the case of voluntary associations, the group takes on characteristics of stability and tends to grow in number. It should be noted that, beyond a certain size, the group tends to be organized into sub-groups associated among them, which tend to restore a degree of physical proximity between members; despite the variety of means of communication made available by technology, is no doubt that our nature leads us to prefer direct contact.
With reference to the second objective, we have only direct democracy as a model but we cannot extend it to large groups, already facing huge problems in groups of twenty people.

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5.a.4 – Can a mixed democracy exist?

June 15, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can a mixed democracy exist?

The only valid model of democracy, so far known, is the direct one, but it applies to our hypothetical group until it does not exceed a number of about a dozen people. This number corresponds to that of friends we usually associate with, as well as it corresponds to that of a team of hunters or of another working group of the tribal society, so this is the number that by nature can be used in order to successfully perform a collaborative activity: beyond this number we would tend to organize in parallel groups.
Considering that the purpose of a democracy is to reach a decision that best meets the common interest and that this is clearly a collaborative activity, it seems logical to try to apply the same principle.
If, for example, we consider a group of seventy people well organized, we’ll have seven meetings of ten persons during which direct democracy is smoothly applied and each of them selects what is considered to be the best decision. At this stage we can note that seventy people are too many for direct democracy, but very few for indirect, and to compare the different ideas it can easily uses the principle of representation by a delegate to a general council of seven persons, who in turn will be able to apply within the group the rules of direct democracy.
It can be seen that with this procedure there aren’t the typical problems of parliamentary democracy as the delegates know all of those they represent and therefore do not need any propaganda that should be funded by someone to whom return the favour; also a manipulator might succeed at the highest to circumvent his group, going to compete in the general council with others who have reached the same level honestly, without obtaining therefore a significant advantage over them. He could certainly try to circumvent even the members of the general council, who however will be people with consolidated ideas, recognized as leaders and probably as the most prepared, therefore less susceptible to manipulation.
So in a group of numbers comparable to the tribal village, which conforms to our nature, we managed to merge the two systems of traditional democracy, taking the advantages and avoiding their problems.

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5.a.5 – Can we have then a democratic village?

June 16, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we have then a democratic village?

To make our modern village actually democratic, we must respect the two minimum requirements:
– all members should actually be the highest authority
– the village should be run as a form of self-management, and then must follow the will of the community.
As we know, in the parliamentary system there are several reasons that make it very difficult for voters to control the actions of their representatives. This is because the media are corrupt and unreliable, because people do not have the culture and mentality to control them, nor to elect them because they usually say they do not feel to be represented and yet continue to vote the same people or the same parties.
In the modern village, with the system we proposed, each one can directly have information on the work of the delegates and may do so with some knowledge of the facts, since it regards the topics personally discussed at the assemblies of the group. Yet it would be even easier to exercise on them their own authority, since the appointment of delegates is done by a dozen people, there are not long and expensive election periods and, therefore, the representatives may be changed at any time and for any reason at no cost: it is enough that only six people agree. For a deeper competence, it could also be possible to change the delegate according to the item to be discussed at the general meeting. It should be noted that on such a small population, there are also other natural systems of self-control: the representatives personally attend the people they represent and are often linked by bonds of friendship or kinship, and then only in very rare cases they would betray their confidence, knowing the risk to lose their face in front of all of their group.
Regarding the second point, we have to see if such a system allows a form of self-management; in fact, because all, or almost, of the subjects dealt with in the general council are already discussed in the meetings of the groups, the representatives must express in a much more detailed manner what is the will of the people and will be tied much more to it than the current system.
Whereas the modern village was founded by the development of a small group of friends who have chosen each other, with the same spirit  they accept the new associate ones, and therefore is composed of persons of similar character and values, is likely to occur a remarkable uniformity of thought, such as to minimize differences and have frequently unanimous votes or nearly. In this context the various meetings, including the general assembly, cannot but express the will of the people, actually creating a form of self-management. In the ancient tribal societies, to which one belonged by birth, without possibility of choice, such a uniformity of thought was rather achieved through a strict upbringing of dogmatic type: the collective suggestion and the natural misinformation; in the new forming villages, based on the selection of individuals who already have similar attitudes and interests, these phenomena are no longer needed and can be minimized by favouring both greater freedom of thought and more cultural richness and thus meeting the needs of the modern world.
However, even this system is based on the assumption that individuals have a democratic culture, or know what is the purpose of democracy, what is their role and that of delegates, and know what are the tools that the system shall provide and how to use them properly, in order to protect their interests. To achieve real democracy, even in a small village, we cannot forget the problem of cultural management that values the democratic preparation of individuals.

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5.a.6 – How to manage an assembly?

June 17, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to manage an assembly?

The Assembly is the primary democratic tool and everyone, when necessary, must be able to use it. To this end, it is surely necessary to know how to express our ideas clearly, but even more important is knowing how to listen, as we cannot claim to be always right. Again we find the need for a degree of humility, as much as to admit our mistakes.
In a meeting, people shall not only speak to state their ideas but also judge objectively what the others say; for this reason, it is also necessary to have time to reflect, to understand, to ask and perhaps to review our beliefs. The model that is often presented to us on television of a democracy based on the debate, on discussions or worse on disputes, is highly disinstructive: with this method, the ideas of those who have the most ready reply or who screams stronger will prevail, surely not the best ideas and the common interest. True democracy is based on dialogue, interrupted by long pauses to think, whose purpose is to seek the best solution for everyone and not to impose one’s point of view, this is indeed the most anti- democratic attitude possible, which reveals a lack of respect for the community.
We have discovered another key concept: the decisions to be taken must be valid for the entire community, the proposals that are made should not be limited to protect the interests of one faction but should actually achieve a collective agreement; choosing a representative to protect our personal or faction interests to the detriment of the others, is not a democratic choice but the exact opposite: it is to place ourselves outside of the community for exploiting it. For respecting the people will, there must be a unite people, which a pool of factions at war with each other obviously is not.
In order to obtain from a meeting the best decisions for the community, it is therefore necessary that values such as tolerance, respect and solidarity are familiar to participants. This is why if we apply a rule known by all, that of the majority, to two peoples who do not respect each other and thus remain distinct, the result is that the largest group, being in majority, will oppress the minority like any ruling class would; this paradox, called dictatorship of the majority, shows us how a prerequisite for democracy is a cohesive group that recognizes itself as such.
At this stage, it is appropriate to stop a moment and talk about the difference between a pluralistic group and one with internal divisions: the first is a group in which there are different opinions and where these are tolerated without weakening the identity of the group, an identity which is precisely based on solidarity, on the esprit de corps and on collaboration; the second is a group in which the different opinions, even if tolerated, push the different factions to identify themselves in different groups, undermining the respect and mutual solidarity; in a short time it will be difficult to still talk of a single group. Pluralism and division are very different because, as we know, the first is an asset for the community because, just like the genetic diversity, it increases the probability of survival; the other instead is a ruin, as it undermines at its foundations the community, which is one of the main resources for the survival of man. For having a democracy is therefore not necessary uniformity of thought, which is harmful, but only respect and solidarity.

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5.a.7 – How to protect minorities?

June 18, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to protect minorities?

If in this world rules exist, is because it is not always natural to follow them; the same way, even if everyone recognizes respect and solidarity as important values, our behaviour is not always consistent with them; that’s why we must set some rules and make sure that they are respected. Starting then from our values, we need rules that ensure the respect and solidarity within the group; the aim is to prevent the development of a dictatorship of the majority.
In a group of three people it can happen that two systematically agree against the third; we formerly said that everyone in a community should have an advantage in being part of it: if there is a disadvantage instead one would not be a member of the community, but a victim of it; in order to have an advantageous coexistence and cooperation, it is also essential the right to dissociation as well as to association. The group should not be a prison and then, going back to the example of three people, the third element, always in minority, should have the right to leave, if deemed convenient. This option certainly puts a limit to the arrogance of the other two, but is not enough to get rid of it because, relying on the need that the third party has, like all others, to belong to the group, they can continue harassing him without arriving to the point to convince him that remaining is no longer affordable.
According to the principle of solidarity within the group, all decisions should be to the benefit of all or at least should not harm anyone, but in some cases this is not possible and then someone will have to sacrifice for the good of others (not for the collective good, since he is excluded from the benefits and gets even damaged). In a real community it would be natural that the benefited seek to reward those who have sacrificed for them, limiting or reversing the damage that they have received. If this time we consider three people linked by a sincere friendship, and two of them can earn ten thousand euro, causing a loss of two thousand to the third, they would immediately agree in sharing the eight thousand Euros in three, using the remaining two thousand to cover the damage caused to the third, which would ultimately obtain a benefit rather than being damaged. Therefore for a correct behaviour, consistent with the objectives of democracy, it is good to set the following rule: when the majority considers it appropriate to make a decision that harms a minority, it is required to compensate it and share with it the benefit obtained.
With this rule we can expect that many decisions are taken unanimously or, if the gain does not exceed the compensation, would not be taken at all. Unanimity is the situation of maximum agreement, does not mean to have all the same idea from the start, but to find a good compromise through dialogue and confrontation; anyway, also with the rule of compensation for damages, we know that is not always possible to achieve it, for example in case some do not agree even without being damaged in any way. So if it is right to try to achieve a consensus in as many cases as possible, it is not realistic to always succeed: a system which does not provide alternative solutions cannot work.
If total agreement is not reached, the position that leaves unsatisfied the least number of people is certainly that of the absolute majority; the minority can only accept compensation, if due, or leave the group.

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5.a.8 – How to choose a representative?

June 19, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to choose a representative?

Even in a very small group of four or five people, it may happen that a member is unable or unwilling to attend the meeting. In this case we can adopt various strategies:
– we can postpone the meeting if it is a temporary impediment and the decision to be taken is not urgent
– the meeting takes place regularly and the assembly also decides for the one who is absent, as if him, with his absence, had delegated the assembly to automatically decide for him
– the missing member, instead of delegating to Assembly, chooses one delegate who will replace him.
The delegate can represent his delegator basically in two ways: in the first, he will present to the assembly the issues directly reported to him by the delegator; in the second, he decides what he thinks is the best on behalf of the delegator. The second way is a necessity if the absent member does not know the topics to be addressed at the meeting or does not have the knowledge needed to take a responsible decision.
In larger groups, representatives are used mainly to avoid too numerous meetings and then subgroups form, each of which will send a representative to the general assembly; however, the characteristics of the representative remain the same: according to the different cases, he will report the decisions already taken or will autonomously decide for the others.
Considered the key role played by representatives in the indirect democracy and especially in the structure of our modern village, it is clear that the criteria for choosing the representative is of enormous importance: they must be freely chosen by the delegator, and may not be imposed, since otherwise his freedom of choice and thus his ability to be adequately represented would be compromised. We must remember that these criteria, because of their importance, must be chosen with great care so that they can perform their function well, because otherwise the democratic participation of the individual would be compromised again; it is not enough to ensure the freedom of choice of the representative but we must implement a system that enables an effective representation, that is a true protection of the interests of the delegator.
The fact that everyone can choose the criteria he wants does not mean that the criterion chosen are always valid; it is easy to see that the criteria normally used, based on sympathy, on the party to which one belongs, on the promises made in election campaigns and propaganda in general , are a resounding failure: the representatives selected through these methods put the interests of their electors at the bottom of their list of priorities. For lack of democratic culture, the individual citizen does not control over the effectiveness of his methods of choice  as well as he does not control the work of the voted politicians.
For the same reason, almost none of us knows some valid criteria and is therefore essential the question of finding them. Suggestions can come from the context: the choice of representatives shall of course be limited to people available to carry out this task; this choice will also be directed towards those who have an adequate preparation, i.e. sufficient to carry out their task. From this latter banality, a very important concept appears: the person delegated by us must be chosen depending on the task that the sam has to play and generally no exceptional skills are needed; for example, an electrician must be able to repair the electrical system failures, speaking instead of the preparation of an athlete before the races, we cannot say that his preparation is appropriate when it is able to win all the others because there could not exist two athletes with this preparation. In the competitions, it makes no sense therefore the concept of adequate preparation, if the aim is to win, we will seek the best possible preparation. If a switch has burned, we will not seek the best electrician in the world, since for an ordinary job he can only act as a common electrician.
To attend a meeting and report back our thoughts, or decide in a responsible way in our place, is surely not a competitive sport: the preparation of our delegate must therefore be adequate, not the best possible; in such cases we do not need a genius because the matter is to choose a representative, not a boss. Since this is a task given on trust, it is obvious that the representative must first of all be reliable and worthy of consideration; however in the current parliamentary system is common practice to elect hypocritical and unscrupulous people dedicated to every kind of cheating, and we can make such a thing in the belief of protecting our interests.
In a village where everyone knows personally the others and where the groups are formed on the base of the bonds of friendship and of having similar character, culture and interests, to choose a trustworthy representative is the most natural and simple thing in the world: in our circle of friends all are virtually reliable or we would quickly be aware of it; apart from exceptional cases, dealing with topics of common interest that are usually discussed together, an adequate preparation will be available to all. It follows that, in most cases, all or most persons will be able to play the role of representative of the group and in the end the choice will be based on the availability of time that the candidate has. In case a particular issue requiring specific expertise is to be discussed, the group of candidates is narrowed and the choice would be even easier.
Considered the simplicity of a group of at most ten or twelve people and the ease with which anyone can replace the other on the most common topics, it will be quite simple to send a different representative to the general assembly according to the needs of specific skills or availability of time. Moreover, nothing prevents one to send two representatives at the assembly if two issues that require different skills are to be addressed: why not taking full advantage of knowledge of the group? Obviously from time to time only one will vote for the whole group. Each group will then have different representatives, according to the different needs, which will then be stimulated to a more active participation.
Going back to the example of the village consisting of seventy people divided into groups of ten, where each group sends two representatives to the General Assembly instead of one, the number of members of the Assembly from seven will be of fourteen, and this may seem a burden that could negatively affect the decision-making process. It is to be noted instead that the assembly actually has not doubled its members, as it is made up of seven pairs of representatives; each pair expresses an opinion and only one vote in the group that represents, but with obvious advantages over the previous situation:
– with the double representative, a group may be represented in the various assemblies by a constant delegate, to ensure a continuity of presence and relationships, and at the same time the delegate may be accompanied by a second person who will instead vary from time to time, depending on the topics covered in the various assemblies, which is chosen for his specific expertise
– the two representatives will be comforted by not being alone: they find mutual aid, immediate advice and mutual control.
The greatest advantage offered by a continuous contact with the representatives is of being able to continually observe the quality of their work, thus making it possible to apply a more important criterion now totally neglected, that is the evaluation on the basis of objective results; only in this way it is indeed possible to replace, with full knowledge of the facts, a delegate who has disappointed his delegators.

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5.a.9 – What does unite the group?

June 20, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What does unite the group?

In principle, a group is formed to perform a particular activity, like hunting or a mountain trip, after which the group is dissolved. In cases where the activity is not temporary, but recurring or ongoing, the group of course takes the same characteristic, such as happens when five friends form a football team to have fun and keep fit, or when people who have a passion for the history of ancient Egypt open a website devoted to this subject.
In the modern world we associate with more than one group: there is that of the usual friends, which meets for various activities, that of colleagues and a series of occasional groups that are formed for various reasons such as meeting among parents of pupils and teachers or the meeting of the condominium.
An important difference that we can immediately see between modern and tribal groups, is that not always their members are known to each other; even while remaining within the friendships, many of us attend two or three separate groups of friends totally unrelated between them. This is clearly a novelty in human society, a phenomenon totally impossible before the formation of large cities, but these groups also find similarities with the few surviving tribal societies.
It is rather easy to observe that, alongside the normal recreational activities within groups of friends, other ones overlap, which is very important from a social and emotional point of view: the friends exchange confidences, seeking an advice or moral support, if necessary they help each other with various forms of assistance, but even in the absence of specific reasons, the friends talk to each other, for the simple sake of it.
It may seem an activity without no purpose, a simple entertainment, but it is not so: it plays very important functions from a social-biological point of view: speaking friendly of various issues, we all exchange views and information, reasoning and cultural paths, that is how it is generated the well-known word by mouth, that is still the channel of communication more used in the world. It is therefore only logical that natural selection has endowed us of a sense of pleasure in speaking with friends, even for speech that seem to be empty and devoid of meaning; this happens in large cities as in the tribal villages in Borneo or in Amazonia.
Therefore, if the original activity, such as playing football, was the cause that led to the formation of the group, social activities that overlap are the glue that hold together, knit and then keep efficient the group itself.

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5.a.10 – How to exploit the group?

June 21, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to exploit the group?

 Why small groups that we form do not ever extend to form the equivalent of an ancient village? Just as the group dissolves when stop the activity it plays, the same way it stops its growth when it reaches a sufficient size to carry it out at the best. Our groups carry out activities that allow a limited growth because the others are made by large private companies or institutions of the State; also the few associations that can become very large, such as trade unions, not having other reference models, are organized in parliamentary systems similar to that of the state, hence imitating the defects and interacting so well with it that they become similar to state institutions, losing all the positive characteristics of the small original group. It is indeed not by chance that trade unions, born from the workers base to protect the interests of the same, turn into large structures, non-democratic and very distant from the interests for which they were founded, as it is natural that the original workers feel that distance and try to reorganize into new unions. It also should be noted that the fact that workers are forced to establish new trade unions rather than to reform existing ones, is the clearest proof of the lack of democracy within the unions.
The problem of non-representation of workers is thus mitigated by the freedom to establish a new union, but history shows us that this tends to evolve negatively just like the previous one, in a cycle that does not ever solve the problem permanently. This example reiterates what previously stated, namely that it is not enough to have the freedom of choice of representative, but a system of effective representation is necessary.
For making a group of friends becoming the foundation for building a modern democratic village, it is necessary not just to carry out temporary activities or having too a little growth: let’s then look at what activities are best to meet our expectations.
We have already noted that issues such as social fragmentation, lack of democracy, social misinformation and ignorance are so closely linked that they cannot be solved separately: in fact they support each other, making each one regenerate the other. At the same time, one cannot hope to find a unique solution to problems so different between them and so we can only try to find a set of solutions that, like the problems, are linked and support each other. Among the activities that our groups should perform there should be democratic participation, management of information and management of culture. These are activities that, unconsciously, friends already tend to do naturally, but without the appropriate technique, i.e. without the right cultural adaptation. They are also undoubtedly of unlimited duration and which do not impose specific constraints on the growth of the group; anyway, this is also true for our football team, which, counting the reserves may exceed by far the five people, but coming to ten will form two teams and start the growth cycle again.
In order for the group to remain such, it should always carry out the activities of social cohesion that allows to express the friendship of the participants and helps them to maintain good relations: especially to take part to rich banquets on important occasions and providing some form of mutual assistance, based as in the past on the exchange of favours. No matter what kind of favours they are, their key feature is to encourage the gratitude of those receiving and satisfaction of being helpful in those who did the favour, thereby strengthening the emotional bond and providing the recipient to reciprocate, feeding a virtuous circle. In fact, even the professional services, when they are provided to friends are in general free, if not too expensive, or will be significantly discounted in other cases, just to confirm the friendly relationship; in fact this happens even if the friend-client is rich and does not needs discounts.
As evidence that altruism, and not only the selfishness, is part of human nature, many today try to make a positive contribution to society by providing voluntary work in their free time; this way, they compensate for some shortcomings of the state, but such services are often provided to unknown persons who remain such and therefore their gratitude, however, although gives as much satisfaction, cannot contribute to the strengthening of social ties.
We also know that there are still more numerous those who spontaneously provide support to their relatives and acquaintances, with a kind of individual volunteer service. In this case, in addition to the pleasure of helping a relative or friend, it also adds that of assuming a role and a reputation within the group (or a federation of groups), gaining prestige and importance to the people important for them. The group then has to be a place where it is possible to make available one’s qualities, obtaining in return a great psychological gratification and improvement of public relations. In this form of internal (or neighbourhood) voluntary services activities of any kind can be included.
In general we can summarize the characteristics of the group:
– there must be an original activity (to play football, open a website on the Ancient Egypt), which causes the formation of the group, which is permanent in nature and allowing a not too limited growth
– one or more recreational activities must be performed to strengthen the bonds of affection within the group
– the exchange of favours must not be limited to the individual initiative but the whole group must collaborate, everyone must know the available internal resources
– a management of culture and information of common interest must not be missing
– the collective decisions are reached through a real democratic participation.
In the group, as we can see, different activities overlap and the democratic participation is just one of them. Nothing compels that a group thus formed also specializes in a working activity but this will never be the only activity or oppose to the others, otherwise the function of social aggregation would be lost, becoming a simple private firm. When the group, by growing, becomes too numerous, the same shall be split into sub-groups that will have anyway to be tied to the common activity which allowed this growth. This way, a small modern village will spontaneously be formed, following the human nature and exploiting the resources that it made available.

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5.a.11 – What are the functions of the village?

June 22, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What are the functions of the village?

As it was presented, the village can be seen as a source of easily available resources, which are given by people who know each other directly and are linked by bonds of friendship. It is also a reference point for the coordination of individual sub-groups in the activities held in common and therefore allows a greater specialization of the activities themselves, relying on the contribution of various internal groups.
In case of need, in a small group it is possible that none is currently available or has the necessary knowledge or other, but in a village made up of over 50 people that eventuality becomes highly unlikely. In this case the individual has therefore rightly the feeling of not ever being alone: there is always someone we can rely on and to contact. The psychological benefits in terms of peace and security are immediately obvious. Especially in the management of culture and information, it is possible to get much higher performance, in fact in a population of several dozen individuals can be collected a huge cultural heritage and the same applies to the information useful or potentially useful. Here is then defined another concept having fundamental importance: the growth of the group is important to increase the skills and synergies, and then the growth makes sense only if it allows an improvement of the effectiveness of the group or a reduction in effort of individuals, otherwise it is a useless growth, if not harmful. When the size of a group may weaken the bonds on which the group is based, it is better not to increase it or may even be advisable a decrease, but this must not make renounce definitively to growth: it must instead be seen as the necessary step to develop a different structure that enables an advantageous growth.
Today, the associations formed by a few tens of people are innumerable, carry out several thousand activities and could all take the form of a village, taking a greater role of aggregation and social organization. In fact, the activities that would be added (information, cultural, psychological and material) would make the new organization similar to a real community with a certain autonomy from the social point of view; this would be just that community which has been lost for some time in large cities, leaving the citizen increasingly alone.
Some time back, the young mothers who had the need to work, not having nursery facilities nearby, organized themselves taking the weekly day off on different days so that each one, in turn, would have taken care of children of all others. Facing the problem of road accidents continually occurring on Saturday nights making massacre of youth returning from night clubs, a father who had thus lost his son  managed to organize some families to hire a coach that, like a school bus, did the rounds of the nightclubs nearby, greatly reducing the risk of accidents. These systems seem to work well, while from years the Government does not know what to do, or worse still spends money on useless initiatives.
If those who have had these two brilliant ideas had been part of a village, how much less effort would have done to achieve them? How much less effort would be needed to make us imitate them? Although these initiatives have worked, they have been isolated cases, as building an organization from scratch is not easy; however, with a village of any kind that there would be no problem, whatever the activity carried out is , its structure could be reused to test new solutions.
We previously said that a single individual, to address a problem, should be limited to individual solutions or for small groups, having the possibility of involving three or four friends. The problems that have not solutions of this kind are outside his reach but by joining in a village he can implement solutions much more challenging, to be achieved by twenty or forty people and maybe more. In this case, the number of problems that can be solved will be much more extended. The village is therefore also a tool to broaden our ability to solve problems.

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5.a.12 – What advantages can we obtain?

June 23, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What advantages can we obtain?

Considering that in a village live and work several groups, equivalent to the ancient clan family, which may have different specialties or different activities, we can see this village as a multipurpose facility to be contacted as needed. Let’s recall that in nature social animals do not form a different pack according to different needs, but it is always the same pack that fits and supports the needs of individuals as appropriate.
The village follows the same principle and this brings some advantages over other forms of associations that provide services. The modern citizen, for meeting some needs must address to a government entity, a private company, a cooperative i.e. to many different organizations. Of course he cannot actively participate in all of them, often in none, and therefore has great difficulty to be able to exercise control over them, because he is forced to observe from outside. In the village, instead, we have a single structure to be kept under observation and to which we participate from the inside, so it is easy for everyone to watch. Also, if it has an effective democratic system, everyone can have a direct impact on its domestic policy.
This is a new model of organization based on the ancient laws of human nature, a democratic model and adapt to man: the simplicity of its structure requires very few rules that all, freely participating, soon learn by heart without ever having studied them; all of us, when following a football match, know the rules of the game, but nobody has ever studied it on the books, we have only played a few times and followed with passion the games played by others.
Undoubtedly, many activities are cheaper if done in large scale, with much larger bodies than a village, but often we find ourselves in front of the opposite problem: activities that are easier to carry out in small local groups are assigned to large structures, having a very heavy bureaucracy, with very poor results. We could then release many utilities by the impediments of bureaucracy, on which however we have no authority, and make them more efficient and put them under democratic control.
As for democracy, it is a value which, like all others, must be practiced and not only remembered in words or exalted; living in an apparent democracy, leads to follow an apparent democratic culture, which teaches us to vote someone who does not represents us, to consider not as serious a matter when a politician or a party lies to its their own electors, not to ask who has chosen the candidates that present themselves for election, not to how the party that we have chosen has voted for a law that is important to us. If instead we found a way to achieve true democracy in a single village, participating in it, we can learn a true democratic culture. The dissemination of that culture is certainly one of the most important benefits we can get, because it is the indispensable precondition for a democracy at the national level.
The village anyway also has a limit: over one hundred members there are major problems of organization, because by nature human beings are capable of maintaining a limited number of contacts, just those needed to lead a tribal life. Above this limit, it must be divided into two or more villages. To manage large organizations with hundreds or thousands of members, or to deal with the problems of a big city, we must use something different as a federation of villages, in which however we should maintain the fundamental characteristics of democracy, a problem which we have not yet faced on large populations.
Waiting to solve this issue, we can however remember that the activities that require a number of persons less than one hundred are many and that they are now entirely out of our control; in these cases then we must recognize that using a structure like the village would bring many advantages in terms of convenience, efficiency, psychological well-being and quality of life in general.

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5.a.13 – Can we rebuild a real community?

June 24, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we rebuild a real community?

If you take the example of Egyptologists who meet to manage a site on the Internet devoted to their favourite subject, we can imagine that at the start they are only three or four and that they slowly upload on the website their knowledge, documents and photographs collected from different sources. If the site is of good quality, it is likely to obtain a certain success and that other enthusiasts wish to participate. If the founders of the group are organized according to our criteria of aggregation, when the number of participants will rise, they’ll be divided into work groups, each of which will deal with a different period of Egyptian history, or with different aspects of their culture such as architecture, religion , art, economics, etc …
In the village developed around the site, it will then be natural to make information circulate about guided tours in museums or directly to archaeological sites in Egypt. It will not be hard to find opportunities to meet, having to manage the site and organize visits in a group; it will then be appropriate to associate leisure activities with these meetings, to facilitate the socialization of the participants. If the number continues to grow, it will necessary to subdivide into several villages, each with its own specialization having an ever higher level. In this process, however, another problem may also occur: if among the new arrivals there are some also interested to other ancient civilizations who had contact with the Egyptians, they may introduce new sections on the Sumerians, the Babylonians and others, initially to outline better the context in which it has developed the story in Egypt, then to develop a specific study independently, thus extending the website subjects from Egypt to all major ancient civilizations.
We can thus see how to the progressive increase in the number not only follows a growth of training internally, but sometimes even a decrease of global specialization of training, seen from outside.
We can find a similar process with the example of the football team as well: increasing the players, they will share in different teams and be able to organize real internal tournaments. A communication system will be necessary, to keep everyone informed about the availability of playing fields, on schedules, on the possibility of contacting technicians for training and so on … Even in this case we have an increasing number of activities, roles and thus of specializations. If some then wanted to practice some other sports, certainly will try to involve the friends from the group, including them as secondary activities. From a simple football team, we will then move to a multi-sports association.
In both cases, being more and more numerous will bring other benefits, like having more economic and cultural resources, but also more psychological satisfaction as a result of the participation in more important activities and of the spreading and consolidation of their network of friends.
What then would happen if some Egyptologists, to have fun and keep fit, decide to play football? They could easily reuse the same structure of their village to organize cultural activities and sports and, although not everyone will chose to participate, there will be not need to form a new sports village. The work groups that will play, will form their team, just like the various cities do today in the football league.
We can observe how, with its growth, the group usually tends to differentiate internally, multiplying the roles and skills, but it can also increase its activities, becoming multi-disciplinary and more and more resembling to a community. As we know, this reflects our human nature, because as social animals we turn instinctively to a single social organization (the community) for all our needs. It is unthinkable to try to meet all the needs of modern life with organizations such as small villages or groups of villages, but this is not a real problem: the purpose of the village is not to be a substitute to the State, but to return to the citizen one of its most important evolutionary resources, an organized group that will allow him to easily do things otherwise impossible, increasing his freedom of action and also its ability to contribute to society, just like the voluntary activities are currently doing. If a federation of villages can play many different activities, it follows that if necessary it may be more independent from the rest of society, but usually will be more integrated in the same, offering more services also to people outside, and then in the end more linked to society as a whole.
The village is a tool for the contemporary citizen, it is inspired by the tribal village as the organic farming is inspired by pre-industrial agriculture: this is not a return to the past, but a way of facing the future while respecting the nature, especially the human nature. We recall that the modern village has no geographical references, has not a territory  like the tribal villages, is not tied to settlements where people live; it is primarily a network of relationships, a way to organize which is valid both in the city and in the province or even on the internet, but it is never a virtual reality: it is a working structure that binds real human beings. We should also recall that the benefits of a small group are immediate, it was born to do a little work with very few people; who forms a group knows what will get in return and that will not have to wait long. The same is not true for the village or for larger structures, which is why nobody is organizing a village from scratch; the village is formed simply from a growing group, which can be seen as an embryo village. We can form a large structure step by step, following short-term goals within our reach, since only these can ensure the success and satisfaction of the group, laying the foundations for its growth, to become a large community.

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5.a.14 – Public or private?

June 25, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Public or private?

The various forms of association of human beings depend on the activities for which they were created. A factor of crucial importance, therefore, which cannot be overlooked, is the economic aspect.
Previously we have defined wealth as the whole of assets, i.e. what we use to live at best; our clothes, appliances, our homes are an example, but also public goods such as roads, water and schools are included in this definition. We can see that some goods are personal by their nature and other are of collective type: what would be the meaning of considering my shoes or my toothbrush as collective goods when I’m obviously the only one to use them? An asset is by definition something that helps our lives, but if it has this function only for a single individual, it cannot be considered a collective good. This kind of considerations can certainly be used to justify the concept of private property, but with the same logic we can do the same with the concept of collective and then with the public property: if in fact we take as an example a source of drinking water, this will be a valuable asset for the local population and it is therefore reasonable to consider it a good of the whole community of the surrounding territory. With a similar reasoning, any good of national interest should be considered public, i.e. owned by all citizens, but we can go further: if we think of air pollution, this does not respect national boundaries, but is spreading everywhere: in this respect the air acts as a single asset for all humanity.
It follows that the notions of public and private are not in conflict, but both necessary to human nature; they have traditionally been presented as contradictory as a result of the historic conflict between the two major economic and political ideologies of the past, liberal and socialist, both resulted into a failure. Looking at these concepts objectively, this opposition is now entirely without foundation, even if it is not always easy to determine to which category assign a given asset; a hospital, for instance, can be both public and private: it depends on who has funded its construction or purchase. Furthermore, the same good may perform different functions: a forest can be seen as a resource from which to obtaining wood for the people who live close by, but it is also a source of oxygen for the entire planet; a glacier may be a tourist attraction for practicing winter sports, but also a water reservoir that feeds throughout the year the rivers downstream. It is therefore not always easy to distinguish public from private, but it is not even very difficult when you have clear ideas.
On similar reasoning today are based green taxes, which are designed to make consumers of a product pay the indirect costs due to environmental damage caused by the production of such property, such as hospital costs for pollution-related diseases, for the reconstructions after floods due to climate change or deforestation and the like. These costs typically weigh on the whole community who, in this way, is damaged twice, first suffering the damage and then paying for it; that form of taxation tends then to attack the industry, whose production processes are well known both for the resources they use and for the slag that create, in proportion to their environmental impacts; such taxes, which inevitably will be repaid in the price of products, make clear directly on the product the cost it has to the community in monetary terms and performs at least three positive functions:
– makes the activities that harm the environment less convenient, thus discouraging the purchase of the final product;
– leads to shift consumption to environmentally friendly products, by encouraging an economy respectful of the environment and a technological research in this direction;
– allows to at least partially compensate the community for the damage suffered.
Although this system cannot compensate for the damages, difficult to calculate in monetary as well as in moral terms, it is an important step in the right direction and it is worth recalling that the traditional systems for controlling the environmental compatibility of production cycles, in addition to very poor results, are also much more expensive, based on a complicated bureaucracy associated with inspectors for the controls, proceedings in court, prison costs for the convicted and the like. All these costs are reduced instead to a minimum with this system, which is now universally known among politicians and economists, but applied only in sporadic cases; this reveals a lack of political will, in open conflict with the interests of the population and favouring the major economic lobbies which never fail to fund the corrupt politicians. Again we see the need for a truly democratic system that can apply similar strategies on a large scale.
Within a modern village, it must therefore be established from time to time how to evaluate a given resource and how to manage it, choosing between a public, private or collective type of approach.

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5.a.15 – How did the figure of the chief of the village evolve?

June 26, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How did the figure of the chief of the village evolve?

We talked a lot of specialization and of the variety of roles and activities within the village, in the tribal as well as in the modern one. Among the various roles, there has always been that of the expert, one who knows more than others, that becomes a point of reference for all who rely on him with confidence. The chief of the tribal village was an evolution of this figure, reinforced by cultural tradition, and whose appointment was governed by specific rituals. The role, the criterion of selection and the authority of the chief greatly differed in the different cultures: for example, sometimes the figure coincided with that of the shaman while, in other cases, they were distinct. In agricultural societies the village chief has been replaced by the King, which in turn had a slightly different characteristics according to the culture or era; for example, in Europe  was elected from a list of nobles of higher degree, then this office became hereditary, up to present days, when the king shares his power with a parliament, even having to pay taxes as a common citizen.
We have already pointed out that nations are not a simple evolution of the ancient tribal villages and the same can be said of the Kings, who are not descended from the village chiefs, but more properly have replaced them, exalting the most of the characteristics of the leader: authority, severity, magnanimity, ostentation of power and wealth. Historically, therefore, the figure of the chief disappeared with the village, but not its role: in the modern world in fact we know that instinctively the man is trying to rebuild around him some social structures that in many respects remind of the tribal village, especially in the work, where we find managers and heads of department.
The role of representing a hierarchical authority, along with the authority derived from expertise, today is covered by the presidents of companies, by the management, by the heads of department: they are the true evolution of the chief of the village.
In the modern village there are several working groups that contribute to the main activity of the village, in every group there will be a manager or a contact person whose role corresponds to that of the expert or of the elder of the tribal world. Even if in many different forms, it will be generally needed a figure to take charge of coordinating the various groups, whose importance will depend on the coordination, which in turn depends on the type of activity. This figure may be, as appropriate, a leader or a director of internal communications; his influence in any event, is not restricted to one group in particular, but includes the entire village. We have found then an excellent candidate for the role of modern chief: this is a role closely linked with the activity performed, a sort of works director, not a political leader in the usual sense. The guidelines of the village policy and the decisions involving the whole community are taken by the General Assembly: it plays the role of thinking body of the community, the leader will deal instead with managerial, operational tasks, will take decisions on matters connected to the activities performance. These are specialized tasks related to the particular activity; such work cannot be entrusted to the assembly as this would rely on a specialist or a supervisor who has time available to perform this role and therefore it would only encumber the flow of management operations.
This distinction, dictated by practical needs, reflects that existing in some cultures between tribal council of elders and chief of the village; this figure is not in principle contrary to democracy, provided that its authority depends on the will of the people. This condition can be met with ease in a village, in fact, a small group of people, where everyone is familiar with the other and where, although similar, no one is equal to another, the most authoritative figure is usually easily identified directly by the people by acclamation or, in the most controversial cases, it is possible to proceed to a vote, where the decision of the majority is followed. The modern chief, or the manager, can then have a mandate in a democratic manner with the utmost simplicity and with the same method can be easily removed and replaced.
In the village, therefore, the hierarchy and authority are not imposed from above but built from below; in case of irreconcilable internal disagreement then nothing prohibits to divide into two different groups or villages. In a not too large association, then, is the direct acquaintance that allows to exploit the different individual qualities in a democratic manner. In larger associations, the direct acquaintance is reduced and the process may not be natural; the major political parties, whose leaders have voluntarily assumed a tribal structure in parliament, but by no means democratic, are a confirmation of it.

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5.a.16 – How to find the time?

June 27, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to find the time?

In the Western world time becomes an increasingly precious asset; we must carry out an increasing number of activities and thus it takes longer or more speed, a speed that we are trying to get with ever more sophisticated tools at the pace of which, however, often we must adapt. We live a more hectic life, more and more convulsive that we struggle to endure and in this context phenomena like stress, anxiety, depression and aggressiveness, which drastically reduce the quality of our lives, are widespread. Some are trying to recover from the stress by going to spas relaxing or doing relaxing activities, others are turning to the advice of psychologists, and others, perhaps considering that previous activities, however, require time, prefer to use antidepressant drugs. Then there is an increasing number of people who, instead of trying to compensate for the stress suffered, try to bear it with stimulant medicines, up to use drugs. It is also largely increased the number of those who tend to flee from this oppressive world by isolating themselves as much as possible and limiting the maximum human contacts, which have already been damaged by lack of time, with even more negative results.
We can see that in the above behaviour is not ever sought to remove the cause of stress and this is simply because it is widely believed that the frenzy of the modern world is a disgrace, not a problem to solve. We know instead that the speed of change is due to a state of evolutionary emergency and we have already discussed on how this can be managed.
Some might think that to participate in the life of the village is necessary to find the time, that in the end this would be one more engagement; nothing more wrong, the village should be a tool to solve problems, not to make any more. The village is a form of organization to do better what we already do, like to keep ourselves informed, having fun with friends, sharing a hobby, doing it all with an equal or lower use of time.
This tool can also be used to do things now we would like to do but we cannot, for example opening a kindergarten or a school according to our criteria of quality; these activities typically involve a saving of time, that’s why we feel the need of them: how much time we lose to take our children to facilities too far away or too expensive? That is always the rule of the benefit, if an individual participates in an activity of the village is because he has his advantages.
The human being is genetically predisposed to live in a village, so being part of it should not subtract free time, the time utilised is free time instead, time spent with our friends, or planning to do things that we like to do and that we normally do outside work.

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5.a.17 – Is the village based on the family?

June 28, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Is the village based on the family?

Speaking of the value of the family, we had discovered that the current State is not based at all on the family, as it should, and that historically is against his nature to do so; its form of government in fact is based on a clear separation between the institutions on the one hand and the population scattered in totally disorganized families with no political role on the other. The great nations then, although acknowledging to have the duty to protect the family as the basic brick of society, can afford to ignore this duty.
We can note that the modern village is exactly the opposite, as it is inspired by the tribal community formed by an aggregate of families, whose union was based on collaboration and mutual assistance; it was therefore a structure created to enhance and protect the families of its inhabitants.
A similar model can be easily reproduced in the modern village, which will then make a valuable contribution to building a society truly based on the family. Here’s another example of how our solutions, as well as problems, can be mutually supportive; but we must remember that the solution we proposed for the problem of social disorganization has never been tested thoroughly, so must pass the test of facts before being considered a viable option. It  should be especially really respectful of our values and a strong support to the solution of other root problems.

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5.a.18 – How to start testing?

June 29, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How to start testing?

The concept of modern village must be experienced in reality; for doing it, we do not need test animals, but people who want to solve one or more problems in common. We must start from a small group of consolidated friends, that maybe already play activities in common and that making their friends (which do not know each other, at the start) interact between them, come to be a super-group of a hundred people.
The trial must also have a playful approach: none of us needs new commitments or to engage in strenuous things, but we all need to relax and have a little fun; welcome then the establishment of a group of friends with common interests who enjoy in performing an activity together. To enjoy something together, there is no need to enter into an official association with its regulations and tax code, nor of special regulations or official bodies (with all this bureaucracy, the fun would end before it even starts), but once consolidated, the group will naturally perform other functions and will organize both inwards and outwards.
The experiment should also take advantage of tools that are available today: sophisticated computer and mobile high-speed connections, chats and forums, search engines and social networks, if we meet for a pizza, why not do it with a round of e-mail revived with funny emoticons? If we work together to develop a project, why not set a wiki? Having fun to achieve concrete results is a waste of time? A good starting point for our village can therefore certainly be the use of tools support that accelerate the achievement of the first targets and then of the first rewards; these tools also allow the comparison between the ideas, activities and results of several extraneous groups that have started separately, or in parallel, the testing of their village.
The combination of the leisure aspect to the informatics leads to the idea of experiencing the village with a social network inserted in a role play on line. With it is possible to have fun comparing our own ideas for a modern village, to see them selected and valued up to their realization, it is possible to meet people with whom sharing projects, to compete on equal terms, respecting the best ideas of others and challenging the same in a new game. This will be a game where participants will be however the winner, because the real purpose is to improve the quality of life of players.
During the experimentation, new methods of exchange and control of information will be implemented, new mutual training activities, new forms of solidarity, in short it will be possible to trigger a process of cultural conversion that leads to specifically address the other root problems such misinformation and management of culture.

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Chapter 5.b

June 30, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

THE HUMAN CORAL

Let’s dive together to admire the corals. Corals are marine limestone constructions of acknowledged beauty, the work of small animals remotely related to jellyfish. These animals live in large colonies inside the coral from which they never part, exposing only outside their tentacles that look like small flowers. The thing that interests us is that the limestone skeleton of the colony, the coral, is a structure that appears to us of a certain complexity, considering its many ramifications, but the method by which is built is very simple: every small “colonist” builds his house, a piece of coral in which it lives, and generates other colonists who do the same, always repeating the same pattern. The beautiful corals we can admire are therefore the result of hundreds of animals that have the same role. We have a construction that follows the typical design of its kind, due to a large number of individuals equal to each other, who perform, without having any specialization, all the same type of work. It is indeed a small miracle of nature that teaches us how sometimes it is possible to perform complex tasks simply by adding simpler activities together, with no particular specialization.
This is a possibility that we humans can take into account to face problems such as misinformation or management of culture. As we know in fact, those who control our information and our culture also control our choices, and to be free, i.e. intellectually independent, we must manage the information and culture as autonomously as possible, just as we do with our bank account in order to be economically independent. An individual management is the most decentralized system that we are able to conceive, but it appears to be also against our nature as social animals, as we cannot be totally independent from each other.
The corals indeed suggest us that a solution that meets both the exigencies, i.e. a highly decentralized management that creates a collective efficient and more complex system than what would be achievable by a single person, is possible. Let’s see therefore how to build systems similar to corals, but formed by men.

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5.b.1 – What are our ultimate goals?

July 1, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What are our ultimate goals?

We have repeatedly emphasized the importance of culture for the survival of the human being and should therefore not be surprising that the inability to manage our own culture and evolution is one of our root problems. To address this problem we set two basic objectives:
– develop a cultural adaptation that allows a management of culture by the individual
– entrust to a truly democratic organization the management of culture on a large scale for the community.
The management entrusted to an individual should correspond with the production of a small cell of coral, the sum of the various units should then form a democratic structure for the collective management of culture, the second goal we set.

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5.b.2 – What is the use of culture?

July 2, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What is the use of culture?

From a biological point of view, culture is an integration of the genetic heritage that, over time, in the human being has acquired its own autonomy. Each cultural adaptation is the solution of a problem, the main function of culture is therefore to give support to our lives, so it is an asset having an enormous practical value. It is good to remember that there are also other purposes, such as transmitting features of collective identity: every region has its own dialect, every generation has its own vocabulary, but all languages are equivalent to each other, these differences are not solutions to different problems, they are just like the innocuous individual genetic variations, which don’t damage or favor the survival, but still have a fundamental role in evolution.
When we talk of cultural management, however, we intend first of all to assess precisely what culture we really need in life, from an essentially practical point of view, because the environment where we live, and then our problems, are deeply changed and many of our cultural traditions, starting with many clichés, are no longer valid.

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5.b.3 – Where does the management of our own culture start from?

July 3, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Where does the management of our own culture start from?

A child learns by following his personal curiosity, playing alone or with others, either children or adults. The role of the adult is important also in the game, during which he participates in the education of the child. A further contribution is in the encouragement that is given to children to play certain games rather than others, which is an elaborate form of teaching such as a “guided experience”.
Children trust their parents, and the motivation of the first is closely tied to the approval of  the second. No matter how hard a father and a mother try to explain to their child at an early age the benefits that will have in adult life from being obedient or from obtaining good marks at school, the main reason for the child to obey will always be to make his parents happy and not take care of his interests far ahead. In the education of their children are therefore the adults who decide what a child needs to know.
Even adults are curious, they like to play too, but if they have to learn something usually they do not do it to please their parents, but to satisfy their needs or solve some problems; this is a way to manage their lives, an activity that typically distinguishes adults from children. In adult life, it is the individual himself who determines what he needs to know. It is then perfectly natural for an adult, for choosing his cultural interests, to follow the criterion of practical usefulness, further than his personal tastes and the collective tradition. The possible criteria for assessing the significance of the various cultural fields have already been discussed before, but it is appropriate to remind them: a concept is more useful than another if:
– is used in a more important activity
– its applications are more numerous
– is used by more people
– is used more often.
According to these criteria, we can easily identify as particularly important the following cultural categories:
– the culture of collaboration, which includes verbal and written language and any other form of communication, and the education to values such as friendship, respect, work, family, team spirit, democracy and the rules for a proper social behavior (good manners), honesty; its importance is linked to the key role it plays in the survival of the individual and of the community, but we can obtain the same result with other criteria as well;
– the culture of taking care of our body, spreading the rules of hygiene, sport, a healthy and balanced diet, and safety rules in different situations: work, travel, leisure and education in values such as life and health; also in this case the importance for the survival of the individual is evident;
– the basic culture, on which the specialized culture is based, which includes many school subjects as mathematics, history, geography and philosophy, and values such as knowledge, objectivity, consistency and humility; its importance is linked to the number of applications that derive from it and to the number of people who use it;
– the specialized culture, typical of the working life, which role for the survival of the individual and the community is unquestionable;
– the common culture, which includes everything related to frequent and widely used activities, such as the use of cars or TV, which importance is due to the wide use that is made of it.
These five categories are certainly all included in the culture of which we have a real and objective need in life, just the one that we have to deal with in our personal opinion. We can easily notice, however, that most of us feel to be well prepared only in the last two or three; in the first two, which are so closely related to survival and well-being both physical and psychological, we all have serious shortcomings; in fact we have been educated to delegate their management to the traditions or institutions. How many will indeed raise the question of which group they belong or would be good to belong? Don’t we adhere to the group of supporters of a football team just because it is a fashion? Is there some practical benefit?
All of us find rather difficult to identify with the group of dissatisfied citizens, of the cheated, of those who pay the taxes, simply because the tradition hasn’t provided us with distinctive symbols to identify ourselves as such; fraudsters and dishonest politicians, the source of our main misfortunes and dissatisfactions, are hidden groups, speak and dress like us and this is enough to let them in our generic and anonymous group, while we are ready to compete if not to struggle with supporters of the opposing team, easily identifiable by their colors. How many of us today, despite of having a good job, consider it a value rather than a burden to be avoided?
We have already spoken at length puff poor education about democracy, to which we are all submitted: we only want to recall that it is the basis of almost all our problems. Even more evident is our poor education regarding the care of our health: how many of us neglect the safety rules for driving, at work or doing sports? How many of us start a diet without criterion copied from unreliable magazines for the sole purpose of looking good at the beach? How many of us smoke or use other toxic substances? There is no doubt then that there are very important cultural traditions that we are accustomed to neglect by simple imitation or habit. A good cultural management therefore starts by determining what we really need to learn and what maybe we should forget.

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5.b.4 – Who can we trust?

July 4, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Who can we trust?

The management of our own culture also requires other activities in addition to determining what is good to know; one of these is to assess whether what we learn is valid, if it is true or false or right or wrong. By what criteria can we achieve this purpose? Talking about the imaginary world, we said that the human mind aspires to the truth, but in fact searches anything that satisfies its needs, psychological or practical, and has a minimum of consistency with the evidence of the facts. We know that, by strengthening somewhat this consistency with the experimental verification and with adequate accurate measurements, the current science is achieved; the basic criteria are therefore the consistency and usefulness.
The difficulty of these evaluations is that they are often made at the unconscious level, uncritically, without checking if the result is satisfactory from the rational as well as from the psychological point of view; in other cases these evaluations are not done at all, just because we instinctively trust the dominant thought, the rumors or the authority of some famous personages.
Let’s start from the simplest case, by assessing our own personal discovery: we know that we are not infallible, that by our nature sometimes we reject or alter the truth of the facts even when it is obvious, but we also know that this mechanism is the basis of the process that allows us to know the world; we cannot do without it, but just try to manage it at our best. Historical experience has taught us how:
– our ideas should be carefully compared with the evidence of the facts with which they must be consistent, and then respond to every doubt raised through verifications;
– to reject the notion of indisputable idea, be prepared to question everything, to cultivate the humility necessary to accept the criticism;
– not to seek perfection immediately, but to improve our own system of beliefs over time.
Let’s accept our nature then, our culture can be not always right, what we believe can be not always true, but can be improved it by removing what is unnecessary, harmful and inconsistent with the experience, because obviously it cannot be either useful nor true.
With a little practice, we can apply these principles to what we know well and that is the result of our experience, but what can we do with what we learn from others instead? This is obviously something that has been conceived by others, therefore always the result of the human mind and therefore can be not always true or always right; to expect to have an infallible friend, expert or teacher means to live outside of reality. Friends in particular play a crucial role in cultural formation of the human adult: we know that it is by pleasantly chatting with acquaintances that opinions, ways of thinking and seeing the world spread, as well as tips on how to deal with new situations and new problems. Among adults, the culture mainly spreads among equals and modern studies confirm that we learn more effectively through this channel. In the modern world there are also other important channels, such as television, newspapers and magazines, which make not only information but also culture; then there are the post-graduate or professional training courses.
When someone talks about topics that we do not master well, it is often not possible to check their consistency or effectiveness nor to evaluate any criticism; are we then forced to trust blindly? This can be avoided considering the way the issue is presented to us: this way in fact can be understood if the person who talks, the expert, has made a serious study on the issue and has also applied the above rules. If the presentation makes no mention of the facts upon which the speech is based, if it rests only on the custom and the like, then it is clear that we cannot trust it, it may be that is all true, but there is no reason to believe it: better to be cautious.
From an evaluation of culture we are moved to an assessment of people who give us their culture, by their reliability follows that of their teachings. The advantage is that to judge people we do not need to be experts in their field, is an activity we all can do. This assessment may be the more precise the better we know, on a personal level, these experts; it is good then to address as far as possible to well-known persons, within our circle of friends or even inside our own village, persons for whom we have a consolidated consideration in this respect.
The final aim is to maximize the probability that what we are told is true or equivalent to truth, at least compared to our needs; it is not a behavior that ensures the absolute truth, but at least is consistent with the human nature and possibilities.

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5.b.5 – How does culture spread?

July 5, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

How does culture spread?

To ensure that new ideas can be used, it is often necessary to spread them, so that they are shared with the community. A third core activity in the management of culture is its spread, both among adults and to the younger generation; this typically involves many individuals, even thousands, and then we must face the problem of the organization.
The first channel we consider is that natural of speaking by mouth among friends and acquaintances: through it everyone can present to others the results of his management, or his personal selection of topics and evaluations. At this point the others must only repeat the operation, or assess the importance of the subject, and the credibility of the person who spoke and his sources, and spread the message to others; here is a first example of human coral. The matter is in fact just doing what everyone already does but with a little more technique, in order to filter only the most reliable opinions, knowledge and information. This technique cannot be applied during an interview, because this is a moment of leisure and entertainment and not a work commitment that requires quiet and concentration. The choice of subjects and their assessments are to be done alone, with calm and lucidity, and later the opportunity will be taken, between a chat and the other, to express our opinion with competence. This channel appears to be easy to use only for very short discussions on any subject, it is not efficient for speeches that require more time than a brief chat.
A system in some respects similar to the above is the teaching that parents impart to their children by talking or playing with them: it is also in this case a direct transmission of culture and custom in which each parent transmits the education that considers appropriate to the children, just like everyone says what he wants to his friends. In this case, however, this is not a peer diffusion, the roles are markedly different: parents teach and children learn. Moreover, children do not repeat the operation until they are adults and will have children in their turn; the cycle is extremely slow and dissemination is limited to the family and the community.
However, in this case is even easier to apply our principles of cultural management as we all generally feel on our shoulders a great responsibility when we try to educate children and pay much attention to it. Unlike when we talk with friends, in this case it will be natural to use the best management techniques we know, taking care of what to say and how to say it. Also in this case, however, it is necessary a preparatory work in advance because otherwise instinctively we would uncritically imitate the behavior of our parents, even copying their mistakes or outdated traditions.

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5.b.6 – It is important to manage the television?

July 6, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

It is important to manage the television?

Television is a tool for communication and entertainment extremely powerful and versatile; like all the instruments it can be used well or badly. The television movies are a miracle of technology: thanks to them we can see and hear people and things distant in time and space as if they were in our house. This tool can be used to make a show or to materialize fantasies and stories like at the cinema. However, when one tells a story, like it or not, it is culture; this is the main function of the stories and, for whatever reason the stories are narrated, our brain perceives them as examples, as possible models of behavior to be imitated when necessary. Another way to do culture with the television is to transmit the speeches of someone expressing his views: we know in fact that it is through such discourses that culture spreads among friends at the bar, during a break from work and the like, then television is inserted in the natural circuit of cultural diffusion and does it in the privacy of our home.
If therefore we must be attentive to the culture that we receive from friends, family and various acquaintances, it seems logical to do the same with television, but in this case some particular requirements are needed, due to the fact that anyone who speaks to us through television is not a friend of ours, is always in our house, but it is not a family member, is a perfect stranger who is working, but not for us and sometimes against us, as in the case of advertising, political propaganda, etc. ..
Who among us would entrust his children to a passing stranger? Nobody will answer yes to this question, but the truth is that we do it all, because when we leave them in front of the TV, we are doing just that, even if only by an educational point of view. A misguided use of television is not only a danger to children but for adults as well: to follow a soap opera, the variety shows, films or TV series, involves a considerable loss of time that is subtracted to public relations, to the spouse and again to the education of children. In the families we are talking less and less, time is increasingly scarce and the little that remains is dedicated to the TV; this phenomenon leads to social isolation even within our families, already in crisis.
Television has undoubtedly a great charm, and this leads us to devote excessive time to it, further of being very suggestible and susceptible to its messages: have you ever noticed that those who speak on television appear automatically more authoritative and reliable than the average of people? This is even if this person has spoken like a perfect idiot; all this means that we are much more vulnerable to adverse conditioning in front of the television rather than with our friends.
The previous considerations invite us to a more moderate use of television, which responsible use should be determined by adults, but how? What does a responsible use mean? We said that each instrument can be used well or badly: which is therefore a positive use of television? Certainly if we watch is not to harm us, there must be a reason to do so. Once there was, in fact: the TV was a window on the world able to broaden the horizons of the individual like no other ever did before, its potential and its benefits seemed unlimited. Today things have changed, it has become the main vehicle of misinformation and poor education, has lost all or most of its positive features. So why we still watch it? Habit, tradition, ignorance and fear of regressing to the days when it was not there.
It should also be noted that it is not logical to forego the benefits that television could bring to the community and this means that in addition to managing the timing, we should control the quality of its programs, but today we are not quite able to do so. Each of us can choose to watch less television, it is an individual problem, but to check its quality is a collective problem like it is the management of any instrument of cultural diffusion: newspapers, magazines, schools, universities; again the need of some form of organization appears. The modern instruments are very different from the direct talking with close friends or relatives and to manage them in a democratic way we need to change a little our strategies.

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5.b.7 – Who manages culture and information today?

July 7, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Who manages culture and information today?

Managing the word of mouth among friends like in a human coral is a simple matter because it has always been for its nature a decentralized activity; the opposite is true for the management of schools, newspapers and television stations. The schools in our tradition have always been managed by the State, which selects the teachers and establishes programs for each subject, using the same criteria across the nation; in this way a certain uniformity throughout the country is ensured, which is very useful, so that the degrees may have the same value everywhere are issued. This system, when properly applied, can provide an advantageous uniformity, but in a non democratic State it does not in any way guarantee the quality of schools. In such a context, if the service is poor, people do not have a way of imposing that it is improved, or to suggest how it should be.
Currently people can only organize themselves, with the great effort that this entails, to conduct protest demonstrations, demanding, like a mass of subjects, that their proposals are heard (there is no need to stress that sovereign people do not protest, but provide and require: have you ever seen a sovereign to recommend to another authority? Or parading with banners to protest?). Now and then requests are heard, but seldom answered. Alternatively, the citizen should remember which to which party the minister of education belongs, not to vote it for the next election and hope that the message is understood, which is very unlikely since that party has participated in many policy initiatives, many of which are not agreed by everyone, maybe other are good, so for which of them will be punished? The same would happen attributing responsibility to the whole government coalition. With a single vote one cannot clearly express his opinion about the work of the government on school, health, work, security and everything else; so if a government had also run well in many areas, so much better than the previous rival government, people could not express their dissent about the school policy without adversely affecting other sectors of the community.
People therefore cannot intervene to obtain an improvement of schools, but with regard to universities things are even worse. Universities in fact enjoy more autonomy than the State schools: it follows that, in many cases, they should not give account either to the State nor to citizen, who is then completely excluded from a formal point of view. Universities are run by the so-called barons, irremovable professors who must give account for their behavior only to the political or economic lobbies that have supported their appointment.
University professors are appointed holders of the chair after many years, during which they are kept in conditions of semi slavery, underpaid and serving the elderly, because on them will depend their admission in the elite of professors holders; only those who show loyalty to the system can hope for advancement as to get the chair it is indeed necessary to undergo the examinations of the older course professors. We must not forget the hidden influence of politics on funding for the university through which the parties unofficially affect all academia life, including the professors’ careers.
The result is a university governed by a caste of noble type (the “barons”), all focused on maintaining its power; in such a context, one can well imagine how much the innovations of all kinds and new ideas in general can be disliked and opposed. Over time the universities are likely therefore to change from a center of production of culture and innovation into institutions symbol of backwardness and mental closure, as well as of the arrogance, given the attitude held by some teachers against students and their assistants, who do not have adequate legal defenses against their harassment.
A similar situation is found in newspapers, which today depend for their survival on the State funding and are thus subservient to the most dishonest and corrupt politicians, who so control both culture and information. While for the State television, the situation is obvious, for what concerns the private ones the party lobbies may affect them in at least two ways: by affecting the license to occupy the channels (which are limited in number) or by encouraging the purchase or the majority shareholding of the television stations to friends and people loyal to the party.
We can therefore say that the control of citizens on the management of culture and information is zero, while that of unscrupulous politicians is almost absolute.

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5.b.8 – Is a collective management of culture possible?

July 8, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Is a collective management of culture possible?

Previously we said that the solutions of the root problems must support each other and it seems then logical to try to exploit the structure of the village to build a democratic culture.
At the base of the village there are domestic groups, which characteristic is to be formed from at most a dozen people, who play the role that once belonged to the family clan. In such small groups a single idea can be quickly spread by word of mouth and can also be discussed in a collective meeting; it is certainly possible that even with this system a good idea is rejected, but it will not be a mistake imposed from above and therefore, if the error is discovered, it is possible to correct it in the future by directly intervening.
The purpose of a democratic management of culture, therefore, is not to avoid mistake, but to prevent that these are imposed by a higher authority, deaf and obtuse; how to avoid and correct any oversights is a different problem that we have already addressed, but each solution found will always be useless if the system does not allow us to apply it because it is not up to us to decide.
If we take again the example of running an Internet site devoted to ancient Egypt, any subject concerning the normal cultural management activities (to choose what to talk about, to evaluate the validity and disseminate knowledge) can be collectively carried out within a small group through word of mouth, through appropriate meetings, also virtual on the website, or directly by an individual member recognized as particularly prepared.
If we turn to an entire village dedicated to this work, we’ll still have decisions collectively taken in groups first and then by representatives of the same through the usual procedure. If the village is made up of groups specializing in different areas, then some decisions will be entrusted to a single group according to the related competence, as well as they were before entrusted to a single individual. By the same principle, within each group there may be a further specialization, with leading characters as considered such by the majority.
The same pattern can be repeated with a group of villages or with a set of these groups:
– if we consider a group of ten villages, if for each village we put a limit of one hundred individuals, this could include up to one thousand people
– If we imagine now that these one thousand of people come together in a circle to form a common assembly, we know that this meeting would be unmanageable from a democratic point of view
– we have already solved this problem by bringing together the participants in groups of ten, which held separate assemblies and then send representatives to explain the results obtained
– then we will have one hundred representatives we can bring together with the imagination in a second circle inside the previous one, as if the original thousands of people were trying to approach to discuss better through their representatives
– but a hundred people are still too many, and rightly will meet again in groups of ten to form an assembly for each village; by these assemblies will be elected in total ten representatives, one for each village, which will form a council, this time manageable, in a third imaginary central circle.
In this structure composed of concentric circles, ideas flow toward the center along with the representatives, like water in a funnel, and at each circle a few are discarded, other modified and improved; along the way then the ideas considered more satisfactory are selected by a sort of filter with multiple layers.
This system differs from the classical, i.e. the multi-level pyramid, because the various circles simply collect and select ideas from outside, they do not produce their own to impose them on the levels below. Each inner circle can rather be seen as dependent on those external, because it is obliged to receive and process the ideas imposed by the previous circle and is therefore subject to its authority. Another advantage is that each representative is elected by people who know him personally and can judge and control him; then it is right to represent the circle of representatives surrounded by that of their constituents because they are in fact able to control them by sight as if it were surrounded.
The outer circle can also be seen as a big hug to the internal one, people who send a relative or friend to represent them will be of course willing to provide any assistance, to complement or replace the representative according to the issue to be addressed.
With this concentric system, the best ideas and, when needed, the best people are selected towards the center and from this then radiate outwards, where they’ll produce their effects and stimulate a return wave in a virtuous cycle.
If we consider a set of ten groups of villages, which with little imagination we’ll call tribes, we can keep the pattern simply by adding another circle in the center and the same thing will happen with even larger groups.

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5.b.9 – Can we participate in different groups or villages?

July 9, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we participate in different groups or villages?

So far we have seen groups of working adults, all committed in the same cultural sphere, we have then described a village culturally specialized. Now consider a great sport rowing association organized as a group of villages; among its many members we will find all kinds of professionals, from doctors to lawyers, people with a very different cultural background. The members of these villages have in common the passion for sport and as a result they will meet to collectively manage the activities of the association; however, when needing to have legal advice, everyone will first seek a lawyer within his group of friends and then even within the rowing circle and the same would happen for medical advice or other assistance. Similarly, if someone was to learn a second language for professional reasons, such as English or French, he might find a teacher in his village.
Here a group of villages built for any activity which can become the basis for cultural exchanges of all types, from professional advice to teaching. In each village one will find one or more experts in a particular discipline, which could possibly form a culturally specialized group to better cultivate their discipline and provide services to other members. An example can be a group formed by a lawyer, a notary, an accountant and a work consultant, another may be given by an electrician, a plumber, a painter and a bricklayer. It is clear that they are professionally engaged in these activities and then in exchange for a fee, but within the village, people who need to renovate the apartment will entrust the job to people they trust and those who have a profession will have a stable base of customers and equally reliable payments.
Another example is given by three doctors who, belonging to the same village, are linked by bonds of friendship and then advise and help on common professional issues including professional updating. It is then formed s a culturally specialized group, such as the Egyptologists already taken as an example, who joining with other similar groups from other villages will form its own structure inserted into the original group of villages.
We know that in a tribal village is normal to recurrently form working groups as needed (to hunt, to build huts, to prepare a feast); these groups are often composed by the same persons, even if combined in a different way. It is then perfectly normal that a person belongs to different groups of workers, and among them it would be good that there was at least one dealing with the management of culture, since culture is one of the major resources of man, both as individuals and as community.
Therefore, if a small group is by its nature linked to a particular activity, the village or a group of villages tends to miss this feature in order to satisfy the basic needs of their members: activities, socialization, culture, information, this way, it will be formed a community for them. This issue is no longer valid for specialized villages or groups of villages that are born within even larger communities, because social animals like us live permanently in a single pack, so these villages are not new communities, but specialized shares of the original one, as the working groups from which they originate.
In very numerous human communities, with many thousands of individuals, comparable to the farming villages of antiquity, some villages should then form to manage the community and many others intersect with the first to perform the activities of cultural management, or even management of work as agricultural cooperatives and commercial companies. This overlap of villages may seem complicated at first sight, but in reality is only a repetition of the same pattern of rather simple organization. The repetition of a successful strategy is rather common in nature, we recall that the cells of our body are in harmony with the colonies of simpler beings and have inside of them organs specialized for certain tasks; in turn, the specialized cells form colonies in different tissues that form even more specialized organs; the various organs from our bodies and we form new colonies called communities and so on … if a system works well is convenient to re-use it as much as possible.

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5.b.10 – Is it difficult to achieve a mutual cultural enrichment?

July 10, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Is it difficult to achieve a mutual cultural enrichment?

In a community everyone can offer his culture and capacity for management of the same, participating in a process of mutual cultural enrichment. Even within a specialist group we can achieve the same process by sharing our experiences; sharing culture is usually a very advantageous behavior because while by giving an object we are devoid of it, by passing knowledge or just a good idea we do not lose anything. If in fact two friends with ten Euros each exchange their notes, at the end everyone will still have ten Euros, while if they have a good idea each, after the exchange they will have two ideas each. By repeating the game with four friends, after the exchange of ideas everyone will have four ideas: cultural heritage grows in proportion to the number, the money remains untouched. Trading knowledge is therefore like to buy without paying anything, is an exchange always and only beneficial.
In a village with a good system of internal communication, the individual has a good tool to find the answers he needs, if they belong to the collective cultural heritage; he is also able to evaluate their validity with the knowledge that has of its sources. Such a system is now very easy to be implemented with a computer network and various programs are already available to achieve a concentric structure as the one we created, which can be easily extended to associations also much larger than a single village, so to make available a body of knowledge ever wider.
To aggregate several villages in an increasing number of groups also brings benefits in terms of producing new ideas: in fact, if only one member out of a hundred produced a good idea a year, in a federation of ten villages everyone would have ten new ideas each year, provided there is a good management system that collects, evaluates, and spreads them. Today we know that such a system is rather easy to achieve.

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5.b.11 – Who is to teach young people?

July 11, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Who is to teach young people?

So far, everything we have said about the management of culture is valid only for the adults. In fact we started from the premise that children are driven primarily by a desire to please their parents, while the adults by that of solving the practical problems to manage their lives, just as an adult should do. The problem of spreading the culture to the younger generations is therefore different than spreading it within the community.
Also in this case, however, this operation must be handled by adults as they are the ones that hold the assets to be transmitted, who know their value and usefulness, or at least should; the kids do not have the opportunity to do so unless on the advice of adults. However, the transition from child to adult is very slow and gradual, and this means that in fact in the youth there are some characteristics both typical of the child and of the adult. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the various forms of education should gradually change from those typical for small children to those for the adult. Young people then have to be driven by adults, who should also ensure that along the way young people become fully autonomous.
To educate the younger generations has become over time more and more challenging, due to the increasing amount of information to be transmitted; this from a biological point of view has led to a prolonged immaturity, allowing young people to have more time to learn; from a cultural point of view instead it is born a specialized category, i.e. the teachers, that unload parents of a considerable part of their work as tutors. This absolutely does not mean that parents have lost their role: indeed in the early years of life they are, with the help of grandparents, the only guide for children and later, once school age is reached, they remain the primary point of reference for education even if not from a sciolistic point of view.
Teachers should not replace parents just like the books should not replace teachers: the school books are born as a help and support for teachers, have a clear and subordinate role in teaching and the same way the professors are a help and support for parents who usually do not have the time nor the appropriate knowledge to give a complete education to their children. It is therefore obvious that unfortunately the frequent disagreements between parents and teachers are the best we can devise to confuse the ideas to the children and to culturally damage them. We must seek the full agreement and full cooperation between the two categories, since both have to work for the same purpose. In principle, schools are paid by parents in return for a service which is the preparation of children, but today many are unable to judge the service, nor their own children. For the historical reasons we know, often the adults are much more ignorant and backward of their children and even more of their teachers, who find themselves hindered in their work by their own employers.
Well-trained parents should be able to determine which is the type of school best suited to their children, and to collaborate with teachers in the education of children in the programs of study established by mutual agreement. To improve things is therefore necessary to train the parents first so that they can at least not obstruct the work of teachers and then get to work with them and finally become able to fully exploit their educational potential. Recalling also that parents are the customers, i.e. those who pay to get something in return, they must be able to judge the service they enjoy and have the possibility to intervene if dissatisfied.

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5.b.12 – Is it possible to run a school from below?

July 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Is it possible to run a school from below?

If adults cannot afford to leave to others the management of their own culture, for the same reason they cannot allow others to manage that of their children. In a way similar to how the Ministry of Health coordinates and manages hospitals that operate according to the diseases and the demands for care of the population, also the Ministry of Education must coordinate the schools that provide services in accordance with the requests of parents.
How parents can agree between themselves and the schools to manage the training of children? Through the concentric system for the collection and selection of ideas, used for the selection of topics for adults, we can also choose the topics for the programs of the school. Thus it would also be easy to reconcile the demands of uniformity in the programs with a variety of local needs: the most popular topics will be the programs common to all schools, which will be added to the topics most popular locally as complementary assets that will make richer the culture of young people in their entirety.
Is it likely that parents have the ability to assess the quality of school curricula? The democratic management easily solves this problem: the fundamental skills that must be common to all is to know how to assess our limitations and to know how to recognize who is a reliable expert. It is obvious that a parent is not in any position to assess the need to incorporate or not a part of the mathematics or chemistry program, but certainly in his village (or group of villages) there will be someone who can do it and everyone will give suggestions about what they know; fortunately the mathematics teachers have children too and are part of society, then there will be no problems to find the right ideas.

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5.b.13 – Education or training?

July 13, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Education or training?

Speaking of the service that should be offered by schools, it is good to ask ourselves what we want for our children and what they actually need. Human cultural heritage, as we know, is and has been handed down in different forms: there is a whole range of behaviors and rituals that are passed by imitation; there is a huge amount of abstract concepts, which are passed through tales, stories and school teaching; there are also mixed cases like the language, which learning combines imitation and oral explanation.
The school has the function to pass the heritage made of abstract concepts and notions of various types that are transmitted through the word, so there are teachers specialized in the different subjects; this process is usually defined education. With regard to less abstract activities, transmitted by imitation, their teaching is called on some cases training and on other education. We talk of training if a particular behavior is taught, a practical exercise, linked to the world of work or sports, we talk instead of teaching good manners in other cases, such as we behave when receiving visitors, or what attitude it should be kept in front of an elderly person. The values are generally passed through rituals and social habits, are therefore included in the educational process of the person, but are also enhanced by oral tradition and are a hybrid case. Education and training have in common the continuous repetition of certain behaviors that ultimately will become automatic, and therefore it is a learning process that involves the unconscious mind. Even the games of children and the religious rituals use this technique because they are highly educational processes whose importance should also be reassessed for adults too.
We might think that the school is created to give an education to children and education rests with the family; this way of thinking can easily be put into question by the following considerations: the first is that theory and practice to be well understood should be complementary, there isn’t a long and complex preparation only theoretical or practical. We all remember that at school we were persecuted by countless homework, or exercises whose aim was to make us master of the theory. It follows that education cannot be separated by the training, and the same goes for teaching good manners, because children spend much time at school, during which they engage to live with their peers and with older people external to the family. Education can have a theoretical part based on recommendations and educational stories, but certainly requires a lot of practice to develop the right attitudes and imitate the right habits; a lot of practice means a lot of time and the children, going at least half a day at school and often much more, need that time for their education.
We must therefore conclude that the school cannot be excluded from the educational process, even from this point of view it should be of support to parents, with whom the collaboration is to be very close, having to send to kids consistent messages. But today we are very far from that goal, in our mind education is transmitted simply by following the old traditions without thinking too much on it, it is not usually a conscious act such as training. The old traditions in modern life often cannot be practiced or are antiquate and harmful, then there is a strong need for cultural adaptation in adults that allows to transmit again a good education to their children.
Many of the concepts of mathematics, history and geography are then forgotten in time, but education is rather always necessary in the lives of our children, the educational support service is perhaps the most important. When we think of what kind of school is appropriate for our children, we should ask ourselves first of all what kind of education we want for them, or better, they need. In parallel with the school programs we must also start to discuss the educational programs, including the right attitude towards the study and its management once become adults.

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5.b.14 – What do we mean by information?

July 14, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What do we mean by information?

As we have seen talking about the value of knowledge, culture is transmitted in the form of information or starts from them. This means that for a good management of culture, a good management of information is also essential.
It should immediately clarified what we mean when we use the word information because this has several subtly different meanings and therefore it is quite easy to be confused. In general we tend to attribute a meaning to our perceptions, that is to interpret them: that meaning is also called the information received. When information is transmitted intentionally it is also called message.
There are some information whose usefulness is immediately apparent, such as train timetable, while in other cases it is not apparent at all but proves over time to be invaluable; the descriptive information, i.e. those that describe the world in which we live, are the basis of our culture and, like knowledge, can be useful long after the time when we come into possession of it.
Another important concept is that of the information of public interest, which are all the information that are useful or potentially useful for the whole community and this should not be confused with the information that arouses the interest of the public or its curiosity.

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5.b.15 – Where were we?

July 15, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Where were we?

To solve the problem of misinformation we set the following objectives:
– develop a cultural adaptation that makes us less vulnerable to natural misinformation
– operate a democratic control of the bodies of public information.
Regarding the first objective, we know that our kind has many weaknesses in the modern environment because our inclinations and our curiosity have been shaped by nature to live in a world, the tribal, which no longer exists; the consequences of this fact are catastrophic, we give importance to useless but curious information, as the gossip on television, and we neglect or ignore the truly important ones; we are definitely bad users of information and our nature requires us to report to friends the news that strike us and thus we become bad sources of information; the methods to consciously evaluate the reliability of the information is completely absent in the common cultural heritage and even more so it is the habit to use them. Usually we completely ignore our role and its importance in information of public interest.
Fortunately for us it is part of human nature also to integrate the instinct with the new cultural adaptations and it is now possible to have some criteria to distinguish good information from those who are not; we have already spoken of those criteria at length about the value of knowledge but it is good to recall them here briefly:
– consistency with objective evidence of the facts
– distinguishing facts from opinions
– pay attention to the completeness of the information
– use caution with information based only on hearsay
– doubt the information based only on authoritative opinions.
As we have already said they are not methods that guarantee the validity or accuracy of the information, but can broadly assess the probability that they are valid; they are born to counter the natural misinformation and it is against it that are most effective, but they are so only if we include them among our habits.

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5.b.16 – Curiosity or public interest?

July 16, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Curiosity or public interest?

A crucial problem is learning to distinguish the information of public interest from those of interest to the public. The first are those that actually affect the lives of the community and are therefore at least potentially useful to all (or many), the second ones are those that stimulate the curiosity of the people because of the natural and instinctive inclinations of which we have already spoken. Nothing prohibits that a news story could belong to both categories: a plane crash with a television spectacular shooting is certainly a story that raises a lot of attention from the public, even for those not involved in any way in the incident; the same news is also potentially useful to the community because everyone has an interest in knowing that flight safety is not absolute, to know the names of the victims to make sure there is not one of his relatives and much more.
How to determine then what are the news of public interest? And who should do it? To the second question, both the spread culture and our considerations reply that they must be the citizens, the common people, it is indeed a fundamental act of information management. Good but …. who of us knows how to do it? Who among us can do that? How many of us have the habit of just asking themselves which news respond to curiosity and which is genuine information? This is clearly a macroscopic cultural and especially educational gap that requires a cultural adjustment more necessary than ever. If we do not know how to fix our refrigerator, we just instinctively seek someone nearby who knows how to do it, similarly if we do not know how to distinguish useful information from simple curiosity we will look for someone to do it for us. In this way we become easy prey to those journalists, opinion makers and the like whose career depends on their ability in cheating us favoring that politician or that product. We cannot therefore afford to ignore the first question: how to recognize the news of public interest?
Simple curiosity is, according to the definition which we have given, characterized by being instinctively interesting even when completely out of our lives, without any usefulness. Its function is to satisfy our instinctive curiosity, but even more: many news, especially those classified as gossip, are topics of which we can talk, an opportunity to express and disseminate opinions. In the tribal world this was a very important social and cultural function, but today, with television gossip concerning perfect strangers, this function has lost much of its positive aspects and has maintained in full only the negative ones.
The difference between the two types of information is not only in the news in itself, but in the use that our mind intends to do of it: for example, many news on traffic accidents, homicides, robberies could be very useful if collected in statistics even very approximate, but we know that this is not the use that we do of them. We do not read these news because we think that they affects us in some way or that we can obtain some benefit, we do it by instinct and we talk about it with friends just to say something, ignoring their utility even when it exists.
The true nature of curious news is to support public relations, providing topics to talk, we do not need them to be informed, in fact, some call them entertainment information or news to pass the time, like when you watch a TV show.
Now that the phenomenon of the curious news is explained, it is not so difficult to separate them from serious information, that is what makes us informed about the world around us, those that can really affect our lives thanks to their content. The first step is to get used to recognize our own attitude: do we read a newspaper to pass the time or do we want to know something that we will be useful? In the first case we have to say that we enjoyed it but we have not been informed, in the second case we will seek in vain the useful news and say that we threw our money away, as newspapers have lost from longtime their original function.

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5.b.17 – Facts or opinions?

July 17, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Facts or opinions?

Imagine a newspaper or newscast in which the facts are presented naked and raw with no additional comments; how much would they appear as cold and boring? The truth is that often to our mind the opinions are more important than the facts; remember the old law of tribal life: it is more important to believe all the same thing rather than believing in what is true; both beliefs are helpful to survival, but the second is too difficult and sometimes impossible, therefore is not worth sacrificing cultural cohesion for the truth. Our nature of social animals leads us instinctively to speak and to compare our views with those of others, in order to participate in forming the public opinion. It follows that very often what we actually seek are the opinions of others regardless of the nature of the facts to which they relate.
Even this attitude can be helpful to distinguish whether we are looking for serious information or if we are just pleasantly passing the time, but it is also important to note that many times a comment on the news is essential to understand its significance or importance. Once again the problem is not in the comment itself, but in the use we instinctively do of it; to satisfy both needs it is better is to present the news, i.e. the objective fact, clearly separated from the comment: in this way it will be easy for our hypothetical reader or listener to give greater weight to the news or to the opinion according to his needs.
Depending on the type of comment then it will be easier also for those who spread the news to understand what they really want to do, if information or opinion. In the first case, the commentary will only illustrate how to interpret the fact, to explain the importance and to point out to which public it is addressed; in the latter, instead, the opinion will be used to support the issue, to assert a way of thinking, to justify an ideology.

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5.b.18 – What is the use of chronicle reports?

July 18, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

What is the use of chronicle reports?

We noted that we do not make good use of the news, those that talk about what happens day to day, resulting in a kind of information in real time. It is clear that many of the chronicle information acquire their importance thanks to the connections they allow to do: if one day an incident happens on a stretch of highway, it could appear to us as one of the many incidents, but if we notice that it happened in the same stretch where another incident happened last week, here the news acquires a new meaning: it says that this tract is probably dangerous, and then if the week after a new incident occurs in the same area, the suspicion would be certainty.
So the reports are as a raw material on which the information user should work getting the additional information that goes beyond the individual reports. Again we must ask the question, how many of us are able to use the news in the right way? And when it’s worth it? Under the present system, it seems to be something very difficult because among the events to link, often a lot of time passes and memories soon become confused and uncertain; also the national or international news, the most followed, inevitably relate to events far from our lives, events in other cities or even other nations, which details to be connected with similar news are rarely memorized. For the local news is much easier to remember the information because the news are related to the place where we live and there are many references that can trigger our memories and make the necessary connections. Also at the local level, it is easier to realize when they are lacking in some details for a complete picture, and get informed in a targeted manner. A similar work can be done with news of specialized type that affect our business or the like.
It is therefore plausible that the common user of information, if well prepared, can develop directly or very closely the news that concerns him, though initially he had read them for pure curiosity. The more the news seem rather distant from us, the greater the difficulty of this operation is and the news is reduced to a simple set of disconnected information to which no one can give the right weight, only good as a curiosity. This phenomenon is widely exploited by driven disinformation which, when it cannot censor news, can present it chopped in the form of report, so no one will understand what must not be understood and no one can make accusations of censorship. It is therefore not credible that the citizen can profitably process daily news stories which link to his life is not immediate, it is necessary the intervention of specialists to do it for all ,and this leads us to the second objective that we set ourselves: the collective and democratic management of information.
Let’s briefly summarize the results for the first target we set (the development of cultural adaptations that make us less vulnerable to natural misinformation); we have identified the following cultural adaptation:
– distinguish between curiosity and the collective information
– distinguish facts from opinions
– give weight to the news only if we are able to make a summary of it
– apply criteria to evaluate the validity of the information.
We all know that changing habits is very difficult and that learning new ones in a new context is instead pretty easy; to absorb effortlessly these cultural innovations is good to insert them in a new activity. From some years, thanks to the spread of the internet, we are all learning to use new services and new channels of information: this is an opportunity we shouldn’t lose to insert new habits in our lives. We will instinctively continue to damage ourselves by reading the newspapers or watching television, but nothing prevents us from being also responsible users using the internet and over time, gradually, we will obtain a general improvement also in the offline world.

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5.b.19 – Can a village of information exist?

July 19, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can a village of information exist?

Wanting to create a collective, democratic and decentralized management of the information, it is immediate to ask if we can reuse the model of the human coral and of the village which have already been used for the management of culture. Considering that culture is transmitted through the information, it is in fact a problem already addressed and resolved.
The primary activity of the individual in the management of information of public interest lies in the following steps:
– collect information
– assess the reliability on the basis of specific criteria
– assess the importance and urgency, ensuring that it is not a mere curiosity
– transmit it in turn, taking care to separate the fact from comments,
while for the opinions and curiosity is valid the procedure already discussed for the cultural management:
– select topics of which talking
– assess the reliability of what we want to say on the basis of specific criteria
– report freely what defined.
To process information in the public interest so requires only two more steps: to eliminate the curiosity-related news and separate the fact from the opinions.
As it was obvious, the word of mouth works with all types of information and is the best method when applied to a small group of people. With the increase in the number, we know how easily the news can be altered; let’s see if even in this case, the concentric structure based on the village can help us.
Remembering how in a federation of villages ideas slip into the center of a funnel formed by concentric circles, and at each circle they were filtered, rejected, approved or completed, we can note that for a news story of public interest such operations are completely unnecessary as the bulk of the news is a fact that may be true or false, it can be believed or not, but certainly not improved, experienced and less than ever discarded, i.e. hidden, because in this case, the assemblies would become bodies of censorship. The structure of the village may be useful to comment on a matter of importance but not for spreading knowledge: to obtain this effect is sufficient to publish the news on a dedicated website.
The publication of a news allows to avoid the natural deformation of the news that we have with the word of mouth; of course, a written text can be misinterpreted, but these cases are much more rare. Instead another problem rises: how to assess the reliability of information published by a perfect stranger on the web?
In this case, the modern village is rather a valuable aid: within it, unknown persons do not exist and each can be easily judged by others. If we think of a village whose operations are to manage information in a democratic way, groups and meetings will form to comment on the important news; it certainly does not depend on the groups if the news is true or false, but everyone can make its contribution to interpret them and to evaluate the validity of the source.
We can imagine that there is a site where any member can post a news that considers important for the community: that site will act as a bulletin board or newspaper for the whole village, everyone can make its contribution, if possible, to verify if the news is true, if it has been well understood, doing in-depth researches; obviously not everyone can do it, but one in ten is more than enough.
In the information management, a particularly important activity is to assess the reliability of the source; in our case means to judge the seriousness and objectivity of those who published the news. Today, every program for the management of electronic mail allows to refuse spam mail from specific addresses, and store favorite contacts in a phonebook. A similar program would save all members of the village or of largest structures, with our personal opinion on each of them, automatically discarding those that we judged unreliable. If desired, these opinions could also be expressed in a collective manner giving to the individual a starting score as it is today used for driving licenses: who commits too many errors or is deemed unfit for obvious malpractice is excluded from the dashboard of the village.
With the same system we could make an automatic selection of news based on the fields of interest, highlighting for example the news of economy or medicine, thereby saving an enormous amount of time and with much greater reliability. A well-known example of how a decentralized but efficient organization would save time is Wikipedia: how long would our research last without it? The network also presents the possibility that a bulletin board or a newspaper does not have: in it the user can also ask questions, making it also a technological evolution of the word by mouth, not just of newspapers. Speaking of cultural importance of chats with friends, we had said that it was unnatural to apply at the time the rules of cultural management, they were to be applied before, in solitude, in a moment of personal reflection. As we know this is a change of habits that can be very difficult, but when applied to the internet is much easier, there are already many sites where visitors ask questions and ask for advice to other users who, not being involved in verbal dialogue, have more time to reflect well and even to read before answering. Here’s an example of how is easy to apply, in a new context, the new criteria, so much so that in large part has already happened spontaneously. Other important benefits offered by the internet are the possibility to access to an infinite store of information, to receive an enormous amount of statistics, to have immediate results and all at minimal or even zero cost, but the real news compared to the newspapers and television is that we cannot just be passive users, but we can turn into active producers.

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5.b.20 – And in the meantime?

July 20, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

And in the meantime?

We should ask ourselves whether now, in the absence of a sufficiently extended system of villages, a journalist could sell directly to people his work and then disengaging from the current employer that affect (or commissions) the opinions. Technically, thanks to the internet, encrypted connections and other modern technologies, it would be feasible with a system of micro-transactions but it is currently not allowed by law; micro-transactions are the movements of small sums of money (even a few cents) against the receipt of a service, all via the internet, with the technology, the simplicity and the cost tending to zero of an e-mail. By applying the micro-transactions system to publish news and views, a journalist completely independent would need around 3,500 readers a day to pay a cent each what is daily published and, considering that the network allows to easily find and obtain also opinions published in the past, we are talking of a number of users far from being unattainable. If with this system the journalist could earn at least double what he is currently paid and citizens may obtain useful information, always available and at ridiculous cost, why such a system has not yet been legalized? It’s obvious that someone else commands, someone who does not want to lose the control and the management of information. 


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5.b.21 – Can we go beyond the village?

July 21, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we go beyond the village?

We can see that the potential of information management, just as for the management of culture, grows with the number of the participants: if we think of a federation of ten villages with several hundred members, we will have more news from different sectors and will have a greater chance that there is someone who can correct any errors; once reached a sufficient number, it would also be possible to hire professionals to draw up accurate statistics and to better interpret the news or to verify the dubious news. Considering the importance and sensitivity of the information for the community, it should be obvious that journalists should be paid directly by the citizens because they must depend on them and such a system would enable us to do so.
Addressing the management of information and culture on populations made up of thousands or millions of people, means having to face the problem of how to implement a democratic system on a large scale: we have therefore the complete the solution of the fourth root problem that until now has been examined only at village level.

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Chapter 5.c

July 22, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Teamwork and team spirit

THE DEMOCRATIC STRUCTURE

Let’s look at the future: they say that changes must come from young people, but which young people? Let’s make some clarity: by young people do we mean children? Adolescents? University students? Or the young people who, reached the full maturity, should face the problems of adult life? We are certainly talking about young adults, especially from a psychological point of view, those that have entered a phase of life when they are independent, and not just economically, young people who are aware of the difficulties of adult life and that must operate in their own interest. When one tries to confuse them with other young people, generally he does to get a pretext to manipulate young people still lacking of the right experiences and thus more easy to be circumvented. To incite the change by those who cannot do it, is clearly a strategy to not change anything in the name of reformism.
A satisfactory society should respect human nature and be democratic, but a true democratic culture is now non-existent. The social order of democratic structure that we are about to present is therefore currently impossible, although it is a serious project for the future, to be pursued after that the right cultural adaptation will spread; it is an important precondition in order to distinguish the problems within our reach from those which are not. The concept of modern village, however, as we have seen, is readily achievable and may even be the right mean for the dissemination of the democratic culture. It also is not in conflict with the political system into force, but it complements this system, just like the non-profit organizations, with the difference however that compared to these, it offers immediate benefits to those who take part to it and allows to save time, which is the resource that is now more valuable. The consolidation of the activities of the village can afford to entrench the culture of participation and sharing, while the development of federations of villages will allow to exceed its limits and may facilitate the spread of this model. On this basis we can then begin to define a new truly democratic social order.

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5.c.1 – What are the objectives to be achieved?

July 23, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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What are the objectives to be achieved?

To achieve a truly democratic society we set the following objectives:
– all people should actually be the highest authority
– the government must be a form of self-government, then it must follow the will of the people skilful, but dishonest, speakers should not have advantages over poor – but with good ideas – speakers
– real representatives must be elected
– there must be an effective control over the representatives
– there must be a selection of the best ideas
these objectives have been achieved on a small scale at village level, but now we must find ways to achieve the same result on much larger populations of thousands or millions of people.
Since the human being is a tribal animal, we believe that a society respectful of its nature should have as basic brick something resembling the modern village, as well as this latter, for the same reason, will be based on the families who form it.

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5.c.2 – What are the leaks of the ship on which we sail?

July 24, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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What are the leaks of the ship on which we sail?

Let’s try to remember the many weaknesses that we discovered in the current system:
– the lists of candidates are not democratically drafted by the people, but by political parties, private associations of a minority of citizens who are not organized in a democratic way, then the characters more in view of the parties, or even the  presidents, are those who compile the lists of candidates, thereby establishing who will be elected, and people are actually compelled to vote only the candidates who have been previously approved by the new ruling class. The remaining part of the population has the right to form new parties but in practice it takes years to organize themselves and to overcome all the difficulties that the current system requires, such as procuring the funding needed for the propaganda and participating successfully in the elections, where often there are thresholds of the barrier below which the party can’t get any representative. It follows that, in order to succeed, the new party must be born already corrupt and willing to betray his supporters; after years of waiting, having formed a new party would almost certainly appear to be unnecessary. The vote therefore is not truly free.
– in a population of several million inhabitants a representative is elected out of tens of thousands of voters who, not knowing him personally, are forced to choose him on the basis of the propaganda that have been made, the support of his party, newspapers and television, which means on the basis of the funding that he has obtained, extorting them or selling himself. In other words, under the current system, citizens are encouraged to elect the most corrupt and the most dishonest and not those who represent and protect their interests. The current system does not allow then to select the true representatives;
– citizens participate formally in politics only through voting in elections, the rest of the time they are completely excluded, have no way to discuss or require changes to programs presented by their representatives. With a single vote they must express their opinion on the management of the State in its various forms: foreign policy, security, health, environment, work etc… Since there is only a single vote to be expressed every four or five years, they can only choose between the programs formulated by the “Policy Masters”  who promptly rejected them once elected. The population is then managed from above, this is not a form of self-government;
– the current system, created with the best intentions at a distant age, without the present knowledge of psychology and human nature, does not take into account the fact that the individual citizen has not the possibility to develop on his own a proper democratic culture, nor considers the natural tendency to instinctively follow a leader or the tradition, without rational criteria. The basic premise on which the parliamentary system was based is that the common people naturally vote in their own interest by responsibly electing their representatives. Experience shows us today that, contrary to expectations, the common people cannot elect their own representatives and unknowingly they regularly vote instead against their own interests;
– in the current political model it is maintained the rough as old division between subjects and aristocrats: the ignorant people was politically uniform, devoid of decision-making power and was governed by aristocrats, to whom people had to ask for favors and protection. Even today the people, by a vote actually expressionless, chose their protector within the ruling class, but does not participate in the political debate. This also deprives people of the opportunity to develop through practice the skills and culture appropriate to participate in the policy management;
– in the parliamentary system the people are rightly regarded as equal in their rights, but it is not taken into account that they are different in their skills, experiences, culture, needs. It is not considered the importance in human society of specialization and especially in the political management, the system is designed as if all were equally expert on everything, when it is clear that they are not and can never be; the same principle is also applied to parliamentarians. The result is that it is often asked to express an opinion, to take a decision through a vote, to someone who is not competent to do so. Dispersed groups are then generated needing to be guided by the manipulators in office, whose number covers the voice of those who actually have the right skills;
– if the management of political programs, in theory, should be indirectly exercised by the people through the Parliament, the State administration, namely the practical application of the policy, is even more distant from the population; the ministers are not elected directly and they must give account for their actions only to parliamentarians and therefore to the lobbies who backed their appointment. The citizen, therefore, since parliamentarians are not real representative, has no means to exercise control over real politics.

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5.c.3 – Why didn’t we notice it before?

July 25, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Why didn’t we notice it before?

When, shortly before 1800, the first parliamentary systems were introduced in the United States and France, the people entitled to vote was only a small part of population: all slaves, all women, all illiterate persons, all poor people etc… were excluded. They were therefore the application of democratic principles within a very small minority, not real democracies. At the time, it was considered that only those who had received an education and possessed a certain income could participate in democratic politics; today we know that usually even the wealthy graduates are not able to do so.
Whereas the number of parliamentarians was about the same as present and with a voting population so small, it was possible to have an elected parliamentarian out of about 300 voters, while today we have one in 50,000; the current problems concerning the representativeness were therefore minimized. In addition, the voting population, belonged broadly to the same social class, was more uniform than the current both for requirements and views; it was thus much easier to feel represented. Rightly the social injustices were attributed to unequal access to the vote, but otherwise the system seemed to work perfectly; it is natural then to think that, in total good faith, the theorists of democracy saw universal suffrage as the ultimate goal to be achieved, together with the construction of public schools accessible to all.
Experience has taught us instead that with the population growth, the parliamentary system is unable to secure a real representation and thus democracy; also it tends to corrupt and degenerate progressively, even by an administrative point of view. In an indirect democracy, to extend the vote to all the people has a sense only if those votes allow to elect true representatives, otherwise it is useless, although it can make the citizens and many politicians too believe to have achieved democracy.
From an educational point of view, we should notice that a more extended culture does not necessarily bring a more extended democratic culture; the schools also have the task of preparing good citizens for tomorrow and surely not some subversives, showing them the flaws of the system; all of us, over the past two centuries, have therefore been taught to think that the current system works and is complete thanks to universal suffrage. It was probably impossible in the nineteenth century to foresee that the extension of the right to vote to the entire population would have triggered a vicious spiral, formed by manipulators, propaganda and funding, such as to make the system inoperable. At the time, for communicating with the electorate made of a few hundred people, usually friends of friends, it was enough to make a political meeting in a square. Skilful unscrupulous speakers were certainly an advantage, but it was slight compared to the present ones, nor it was necessary that the candidates sell themselves to get funding for propaganda. Today, before the proliferation of scandals and inefficiency, we can no longer avoid asking:
– why after so many years, people are so unhappy with their politicians?
– why people cannot find worthy politicians?
– why even the most despised politicians, guilty of having created the most serious problems, manage to retain their office for decades?
– why the political propaganda becomes increasingly expensive and goading?
– how come citizens feel increasingly powerless and frustrated?
– why a policy replacement does not happen?
We must therefore conclude that the universal suffrage, first milestone towards real democracy, has remained an isolated stone and, paradoxically, has been exploited so far by the leaders of apparent democracies to consolidate their power over people.

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5.c.4 – Equality at all costs?

July 26, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Equality at all costs?

In the previous section we saw how our policy moves towards a social degeneration ever more accelerated. If the objective was, as still is, to improve the quality of life of citizens through the reduction of social differences between them, then we have to restart from the analysis of that objective.
This entails first of all, as usual, to clarify terminology: equality to be pursued is that of cultural and economic opportunities, not that one which is synonymous of forced flattening.
The men are not all equal and it would be a trouble if they were, because the evolutionary success of human beings is based on the great variety, therefore on the genetic differences between different individuals; there are most eclectic and less eclectic men, more strong and less strong, more sensitive and less sensitive, and so on in an endless list, but nobody has all the virtues and even if there was someone who had all of them, still he could not possibly do without the others (especially in today’s world where we always tend to greater specialization and a specialist in each subject can no longer exist).
Therefore, we must be aware and proud of our diversity, knowing that this is our winning weapon; we must strive to make the most of our genetic and cultural differences, not suppress them, because that would mean to go against our nature. No one, speaking of equality, intends to eliminate these differences made by nature, but only those created by man and then imposed by society, including racial, sexual and religious discrimination etc… Trying to remove the natural and inevitable differences, then, means to try to flatten the men; it does not mean to fight discrimination but to go against nature. We can distinguish between natural and artificial differences, and are the second ones only those to be discarded.
An efficient society must understand and then enhance the qualities of each, and ensure that the individual has the right personal and economic rewards for the role he plays in the common interest.
Once realized that people by their nature are not all equal and should play more varied roles, what is the point of talking about equality? The answer seems obvious, but in fact there is an equality to be pursued and defended at all costs, this is the real target: equal opportunities, which are determined by the society where we live. To enhance the potential of our diversity, it is indeed necessary an environment that allows everyone to be able to express his qualities; this with great satisfaction of the individual, but also with inevitable collective benefit. This is after all, a component of the previously examined rule of the benefit, in which all members of the society should benefit from belonging to it; it is in this respect that we should all be truly equal.
The differences to be eliminated are the social ones and it is obvious how they are supported by the well known root problems: ignorance, misinformation and social fragmentation.
Once understood that universal suffrage is not the goal but the means to achieve a society based on equal opportunities, we cannot but conclude, after sixty years of experimentation, that this instrument alone does not work. To implement universal suffrage without a system of self-management adapted to large numbers is like going into a jungle with a rifle loaded with blank cartridges, but believing to have real ones.

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5.c.5 – Are there other ways?

July 27, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Are there other ways?

When a model does not work, it is natural to try to replace it with another one already known. We have already seen how to confuse the current system with democracy is a serious mistake; it will lead to erroneously infer that democracy does not work and then hope the return of dictatorial models, although they also will never achieve the good of the community.
The truth is that the instrument needed is the one that will lead to democracy, not its opposite, but it is an instrument that does not exist yet. So what? Did we not seen that one of the main resources of the human being is to use a variety of instruments by the same imagined and created? We have built flying and underwater machines, we can instantly communicate with people at the antipodes, we have computers with computational possibilities impossible for us, we use robots that work in conditions impassable for men, why then should we be discouraged by facing the need to design, test and implement an effective democratic tool?
The important thing was to focus on the real problem: at this point we can be optimistic, a solution will be found!

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5.c.6 – The tripartite powers is really the foundation of democracy?

July 28, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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The tripartite powers is really the foundation of democracy?

In the eighteenth century, with the rise of modern apparent democracies, it has been designed a system that provided the tripartition of the basic powers of the State into legislative, administrative and judicial, and entrusted such powers to separate and independent bodies. These powers are in fact ways in which the State may impose its authority to the citizen: for this reason they were so feared by the first democrats in the Western world. If one man or one institution had taken control of such coercive means, although democratically elected, could easily turn into a dictator. It was therefore thought to share and to confer such authority to other institutions, but it is obvious that if these institutions are not controlled by the public will be controlled by others and will not be too difficult for these latter to agree between themselves to the detriment of democracy and of people. More than the foundation of democracy, therefore, the tripartite powers is a fundamental protection.
The so-called fundamental powers, which together represent the power of an absolute sovereign, must always be kept separate and independent in the society, with one obvious exception: the same people that control all three should be the only link between them, otherwise some other entity would rival the authority of the population. Anyone can easily verify that today, with the parliamentary system, in general the public does not have a serious control over any of the three, indeed people are not able to make a real political change nor within the parliament or the government or even of the leaders of the Judiciary system.
It is good at this point to make some clarification on the three powers, as in common parlance it is easy to make confusion: how can they be independent if the first makes the laws, the second applies them and the third judges on the basis of them? It seems that from the first depend the other two. According to what we have said, what needs to be separated is their ability to impose and harass the population, i.e. their authority; for the legislative power we do not therefore intend, in this context, the general ability to enact laws, but that of establishing rules that directly affect the lives of citizens. The population is afraid of new taxes, of the raising of the retirement age or of the reduction in the protection of workers: the rules that require the lights for lighting the car plate or those to determine the frequency of maintenance of lifts, also being technically laws must be seen as different types of laws, placed outside of our discourse. Similarly it is feared that the administrative power is not the management of the environment or foreign affairs, but the authority of police to impose emergency measures restricting personal freedom, thus the power to dictate orders. We must therefore take care to entrust to separate entities the exercise of such authority, and not the normal legislative, administrative and judicial activity which in their performance are inextricably linked.

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5.c.7 – Are we looking for a representative or a leader?

July 29, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Are we looking for a representative or a leader?

Our nature leads us to be commanded and not to be represented, to have a leader then and not a representative, but our nature has also selected us to live in a village made up by no more than a hundred people: how can our nature conciliate with the modern states been formed by millions of people? How is it possible to have respect for the leaders without knowing them? How can we acquire an identity and a national pride without a real community?
In our opinion this is the way to go: if we respond to these questions in harmony with our nature, then we can begin to design our prototype of democratic instrument.
The modern village, although it is designed to give immediate benefits to those who take part in it, can also be a viable training for democratic culture. The village is made up of similar people who have freely chosen to join and can freely decide to divide (not only due to conflicts, but also and especially to grow), people more or less interchangeable on the basic concepts, who choose their representative depending on their availability and elects a leader, when necessary, according to esteem gained from direct knowledge. The villages are represented by a permanent delegate to ensure continuity in relations with other villages and this is accompanied by an expert of the subject to be discussed; the various levels of the federation of villages lead to the innovative concentric model already discussed above and thus villages may be the cells of a new social fabric, the components of a new structure: the democratic structure.

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5.c.8 – Who wouldn’t like to have a relative in the parliament?

July 30, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Who wouldn’t like to have a relative in the parliament?

An old popular saying states that “there should be a doctor in every family.” Considering the sensitive nature of the role of the doctor, we would always rely on a person on whom we have the utmost confidence, that is at least a relative or a friend. Something similar is true of a political representative and it is no coincidence that when a person has a relative or friend in parliament, another popular saying that says “that person has a saint in heaven. ” That saying tells a lot about how we see the new social order: the parliament is not the center of the concentric system, it is rather the summit of a pyramid, a pyramid so high that the summit is located above the clouds in a sort modern Olympus.
Who can participate in this paradise is therefore venerated as a saint, but in a system where parliamentarians are a few hundreds, while the population is made up of many tens of millions of people, is mathematical that only a few fortunate persons have a relative or friend in parliament. In this context, the problem is not finding enlightened parliamentary governing impartially, simply because this is impossible, the objective to reach is that of a new system allowing to confide in someone close, with whom is possible to confront and to whom address for our needs, to whom lending support when needed and upon whom exercise the right control, in short, a system that is an extension of the concentric pattern already described in a previous chapter.

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5.c.9 – Who should be the first ring?

July 31, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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Who should be the first ring?

Let’s try together to see if our model of concentric democracy is applicable to a city or an entire nation (recalling that first we need to disseminate the necessary democratic culture through the experience of modern villages).
If we want to create a truly democratic structure, it is obvious that the first ring should be composed by all citizens of full age, i.e. by the people, who in a democracy holds sovereignty. The concentric structure is one of the tools that this structure uses to organize and self-manage; in particular, this tool is used to make decisions collectively, and, according to human nature, this occurs through dialogue between acquaintances, relatives or friends; we all indeed love to talk and ask for advice to the persons we most care for and trust. The  Kings have always had ranks of advisers and experts, why then the sovereign citizen should do without it? So to give a valuable contribution to the democratic management, a team effort will be automatically required. The ring is to be divided then in very small groups of well-knit friends, which in fact already exist, but with the new system they will take a key role in the society that is institutionally recognized. And if a person does not want to deal with policy or the topic of the day? He can automatically avoid it, delegating all the others or one person in particular. The problem is not that some decide for others, this is what already happens, the population accepts this principle and indeed, in some cases, even relies on a dictatorship just to have someone who decides in its place; we must once again remind our nature: we are social animals, selected to organize in groups and rely on a leader, there is nothing more natural that we rely on another, the real problem is who should we choose and according to what criteria.
We already know that to vote a stranger following the TV advertising or similar means to renounce to democracy and is also known that skilled unscrupulous speakers can handle the crowds obscuring who has better reasons, but less skills. We can add that it is very dangerous to judge a representative on the basis of educational qualifications, professional achievements, the capital owned, the income, the fact that has no criminal records or a combination of these or other factors, because it would be very misleading, just a waste of time. Each of these criteria could select the most capable and most reliable only in the presence of a context that ensures real equal opportunities for citizens, because only then the degrees would establish who are the most studious, the success would reward the most deserving, the wealth would belong to the most capable, etc. .. In a context where everything is distorted due to lack of true democracy, in which degrees can be so bought by a kilo, in which the professional and entrepreneurial successes are ever more due to political support, in which wealth means lack of scruples, where the criminal record is kept untouched if one can afford the best lawyers, or through targeted amnesties and pardons, these criteria would be useless. Finally, there are no educational or professional achievements that ensure the most important virtue for a representative, which is his reliability. The problem of choice is instead immediately resolved in a small group: no outsiders, no advertising, no crowds that can be manipulated; perhaps the choice is limited, but certainly is much more reliable and this is the most important thing.
The first ring therefore must be divided into small groups, mainly to select a representative to whom listing our discomforts, talk about it or even ask for advice. Most of the population in fact, although suffering hardships of various kinds, often does not know the real cause of these and even the real problems to be solved; not knowing how to act, people is in search of someone who acts in their place, but now do it by choosing among perfect strangers who emerge thanks to the support of election campaigns that cost hundreds of millions of Euros. If we are to achieve genuine democracy, we should not encourage all people to daily take care of politics, it would be against nature and also would never work;, it should be rather created a system allowing a real representation, which can be easily obtained in small groups through direct acquaintance.
The first step for solving a problem is to be aware of its existence and know that this is manifested through a hardship. This first step occurs spontaneously in the first ring, when common people speak of their problems to people nearby, particularly to those on which they rely.

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5.c.10 – How small a group should be?

August 1, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

10-piccoli-rid

How small a group should be?

In each group people talk, propose ideas, ask for advice, so autonomously the will of the people starts to form, a fundamental prerequisite of authentic democracy. This activity is conducted in the most natural way in two or three, maximum four people; with a higher number a real assembly will start to form, which requires a minimum of discipline, of organization and commitment, to allow all participants to express their opinion without hindering each other. Similar meetings did not have problems in the working groups that we met in the modern village, but these groups were formed by persons particularly interested in a particular subject or a certain activity and then gathered spontaneously. The groups we are now talking about should be fit for the entire population, even the most disinterested, then challenging meetings should be avoided and the social channels that already exist should be maximized. It is then easy to deal with a subject in two or three people during routine visits or, without moving from home and with more time to reflect, address it in an organized group on the Internet, which is simple and functional with a dozen people. Finally, nothing prevents to combine the two systems on a website showing virtual ideas emerged in a dialogue at the bar during a break from working: in this way an even greater number of people might participate in a discussion.
We have, however, to recall that these groups are not reserved only to those who are motivated by special interests, they also must protect the common interest and within them everyone has the opportunity to be appointed as representative of all others, so it’s good that the participants are related by friendship and esteem and that confidence reigns in the group. But how many people we know so well that we can choose as our representatives, or be chosen by them as such? Again we would find ourselves in front of numbers like four, five, maximum seven or eight. It is natural that we can receive full trust from a very limited number of acquaintances and this should be seen as an advantage, since this way is easy to be close to our representative to support or control him as required.
If we first decide that the right number of people to form these groups is five, we can easily imagine to divide the first ring in parts of five people, but this would be very difficult and impractical to implement in reality for several reasons:
– the choice of the group to which belonging must be free, but a fixed number would mean having to be satisfied with the remaining vacant posts
– the number of citizens is constantly changing: every day several people come of age and every minute many people die
– the bonds of friendship often link groups of higher number that they rightly would not divide
– not all are interested or feel prepared on the same subjects so we need to provide that not always all participate in the discussions; to ensure a minimum of involvement in some cases, it would be more appropriate to have a number higher than five, though not higher enough that a meeting in which everyone wanted to participate becomes chaotic.
Therefore, it is physiologically necessary some flexibility and it seems to be appropriate a number variable between five and nine because it is clear that a group of ten can be easily divided into two groups of five. This is an agreement to balance the different needs, we may also make the number fluctuate between six and twelve, the important thing is not to reach numbers too large and that there is little numerical difference between the various groups so that the various representatives have roughly the same dignity in the second ring.
In this way it is possible that members enter or leave the group without compromising the entire system and only in special cases divisions or merging will be needed.

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5.c.11 – What is the role of representatives?

August 2, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

11-rappresentante-rid

What is the role of representatives?

The groups of the first ring should communicate with each other the hardships they share, but also the ideas, projects and perhaps the first solutions that arise from their activities: these must be collected and compared, and then further discussed; these tasks belong to their representatives.
It is good to remember that there are two ways to represent someone:
– to accurately report the decision taken by delegators
– to make the decision instead of delegators.
It is obvious that it is the delegator, in our case the group, who chooses how it wants to be represented, according to the issue dealt with or to the context.
Returning to the graphical representation of the concentric democracy, we can note that the outer ring has changed its appearance: no longer a circle made up of individuals, but a ring composed of a smaller number of basic groups (which henceforth we will simply call Groups) for each of which we will have a representative in the second ring.
To be designated as representatives by four relatives or friends in a Group, it is clear that no expensive nor irritating campaigns are needed, nor frequent and boring elections; just a simple expression of will is needed, and as such may be changed at any time, as we are already accustomed to do to choose, for instance, a family doctor.
The State has already associated us with a code that uniquely identifies us; to create an institutional database to manage the composition of our Groups of the first ring and their representatives is truly a child’s play that can be achieved at virtually no cost. Every citizen could then access that database and change with the utmost comfort their preference for the representative (according to the delegations already received by the person chosen) or the Group through an interface very simple and intuitive to use through the computer or dedicated workstations made available at municipal offices or other public institutions.
With this first step of the new system, 80% of the population could ignore politics, but would have at home his representative, i.e. a person who, besides being worthy of the utmost trust, would also be available daily to confront on the priorities of the problems to solve, problems that actually he also lives together with the persons he represents. It should be noted once again that not everyone has the time, the passion or the capacity for being interested in politics, however, with the Groups we avoid that people are marginalized from politics, because everyone has the opportunity to contribute if he wants.

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5.c.12 – How to organize the second ring?

August 3, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

12-secondo-anello-rid

How to organize the second ring?

Nature teaches us that when we find a formula that works, we must repeat it in order to exploit it as much as possible, just think of the sexual reproduction, the chewing of food or the stereoscopic vision. Then, we must humbly learn the proper instruction and continue on our path.
We have already implemented some basic evolutionary strategies: the cells of the first ring in fact grow up to nine members then split into two identical cells made up of five people (reproduction by fission); the members of the cell attach to one of them the task to represent them (specialization), and these representatives, we can call trustee, will in turn join to form a new body (collaboration). These new groups will be composed of people more motivated than the previous ones and their participation will be more active, just like it happens in the working groups of the modern village, and they will play a role similar to that of ancient family clans.
For this reason we’ll call Clan the Groups gathered together in the second ring through their representatives, which group will take the name of the Clan that it represent. We can immediately see that now their similarity with the clans of the past is even more apparent, because the former are formed by several Groups as the latter were formed by different families. Previously, the working groups had been limited to ten units due to the practical needs of management of the meetings, but this problem did not exist in the past, because the family clans were not democratic institutions and they could bring together only the heads of the family, as well as in the Clan the representatives are brought together. There is an almost perfect similarity between the Clan and the old families, whereas the latter remain the most natural form of human association together with the family and the tribal village; this is exactly what we wanted: a structure democratic and respectful of human nature.
In order to keep this similarity as much as possible, a future representative of the Clan must be very close to its delegators of the first ring, it is necessary therefore that he represents a whole that is not numerous, just from 15 to 30 persons. To comply with the limits that we have just set, in the second ring there will be Clans of three to five people.
In this way, all people belonging to the Groups will regularly meet their representative and also their indirect representative who often will be even be relatives. This means that with the new democratic structure about 95% of the population can delegate the management of public affairs to a relative or friend and can do so with the utmost naturalness; neither meetings nor votes are needed, or minutes or other special formalities; the delegate shouldn’t even have a particular age or a particular qualification, or a particular training curriculum: in other words 95% of the population may appoint a representative they prefer according to their personal criteria and may not be concerned about the public management without giving up protecting their own interests as they will have delegated someone close.
In such a system is not necessary to establish a minimum duration of the office of trustee or delegate, nor a time-limit; it is not even necessary to set a given number of meetings because they would be a group of people who usually meet, and who are then in a sort of permanent meeting where the delegate will always know what are his group needs.

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5.c.13 – The political structure starts in the third ring?

August 4, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

13-struttura-rid

The political structure starts in the third ring?

Once you reached the third ring, the representatives of the Clan will once again gather in groups to form a Village, called so because it reflects the natural form of human association which is the tribal village. It is the largest structure within which everyone knows the others quite well, in which we can then take advantage of direct acquaintance, but already at this level it is unlikely that members of the group are people who usually meet, and therefore we must start to establish rules of behavior to be used as standards to ensure efficient cooperation and to allow, if necessary, an easy shift from one group to another. Although the group members, not being strangers, will reach in a short time an adequate degree of confidence, it is good to address this problem immediately to avoid a recurrence magnified with successive groups, which are obviously much larger and their representatives will initially be strangers. If we say the various Clans are formed on average by 28 people, from the union of six Clans will be formed a Village of 168 members, about double of an ancient tribal village. In order not to go too distant from our nature, therefore we fix as 170 the maximum number of members of a village.
The groups of the third link do not resemble either to families, or to family assemblies: they are the first official bodies of the new social order. These groups represent a Village which is only a modern variant of the villages presented in a previous chapter, but it is appropriate to highlight some differences: remember that the modern village is a whole of people who decide to organize privately to try to resolve the root problems and thus improve the quality of their lives already in the current political system, while the village referred to in this paragraph is an entity of the new democratic structure, much like the first, but made up of one more ring, in order to include and also protect those who do not have a great spirit of participation.
An official body must have well defined functions and the task of the Village is to compare and discuss the problems felt by its members, in order to arrive o a correct and common definition of the same. We expect therefore that at the third ring it is achieved at least the second step towards the solution of a problem: its grading. This work is predominantly done by the trustees of the second and third ring, but remember that each ring is linked to the previous one and that there representatives are a liaison between the various groups, usually are the coordinators and spokespersons, they rarely decide independently for the others. That is the basis for establishing common rules in the assembly of the Village, but for carrying out this work, no particular formality or special structures are needed: just remember that the members of the assembly are only five or six and that aggregations, while being free and having the internet available, in all likelihood will also follow a criterion of physical proximity; then the official meetings, when necessary, will take place at the home or the office of a member or maybe at the restaurant.

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5.c.14 – Should we also innovate the concept of official assembly?

August 5, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

14-assemblea-rid

Should we also innovate the concept of official assembly?

Terms of the meeting, agendas that cannot be modified, assemblies to which participate wearing a suit, majority vote, minutes with ritual formulas: what a bore! What would we say to our kids of “the generation I” that are growing? That we couldn’t do anything better? Once again let’s roll up our sleeves and think together: once defined which is the function of the Village, will be the members thereof, adult and responsible persons, who will manage to carry out this function at their best; the sense of responsibility is automatically triggered when one is nominated by his family and his friends, i.e. from people one has to look in the eyes every day, while the enthusiasm grows when one covers an institutional role which rewards can compensate for the daily hardships.
Anyone who has attended a meeting organized from above (a condominium, a school council, a working meeting etc..) can confirm that it is boring and often an inconclusive experience; the self-organization of a group of peers to achieve a purpose is completely different:
– no official summons to be notified by registered letters with advice of receipt are needed, simply because often there will be no need for a physical meeting; the debate on the problems to be defined can be made in a network with a forum dedicated to the village (in a democratic structure it is obvious that the entire territory is covered by high speed connection lines and that members of the village, having a role of public utility, have free access to the internet) and then each member may make proposals or comment on those of others (even those of other villages) in the spare time at his sole discretion
– no agendas that cannot be modified, except by a new date and with all the necessary formalities, are necessary simply because it would make no sense. Each member can enter in the forum the topic that he prefers and if the other members will comment that, it means that it was worthy of debate, otherwise they will not.
– normally to summon an assembly is not needed, because we saw that the work may take place on the web; the members of a village will naturally consolidate their relationship by personally meeting, but it is preferable that they meet all together around a beautiful table.
– usually no majority voting is needed, because in a small group of members familiar to each other will tend to reach unanimity; note that consensus does not mean that all think the same way, but to converge towards a common position, albeit starting from different views; when a group must often use  voting, it means that is not a cohesive group and it is better that it winds up.
– no minutes are needed with formulas of old notary rite e.g.: “on the 24th  (twenty-fourth) of the month of September, 2008 (two thousand eight), at the offices located in …, the Assembly meets .. . duly convened by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt sent on …, provided that all the attendants … “ and so on in the general alienation. The result of the discussions in the forum is stored and, upon reaching a common position on a given topic, it will be summarized in a writing so that it can advance to the fourth ring.

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5.c.15 – Can we overcome the concepts of hierarchy and control?

August 6, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

15-gerarchia-rid

Can we overcome the concepts of hierarchy and control?

Our cultural evolution has created systems based on authoritarian hierarchies, on suffocating controls and on the consequent heavy penalties; they are systems as widespread as to become normal at all levels: in families, workplaces and society in general; this tradition is so rooted as to be adopted and passed by our religions, becoming even stronger.
The natural aversion to such systems has led to a gradual dissolution of the same, but since in the meantime no alternative models could be found, it has also led to a gradual disintegration of every social institution: teachers mocked and insulted by their pupils, although adolescents, doctors reported by patients, parents entirely dominated by their children etc..; in this chaotic progression the demand for more authority, more control and stricter penalties grows exponentially, in short we feel the need to go back. We must then realize that we haven’t lost a good model, but simply we have not replaced it with a new and efficient model.
The modern village, the human coral and the democratic structure Endeavour through the application of the concentric democracy, to implement a new model that seeks to replace the hierarchy imposed from above with a shared organization(which is not a flattening or repudiation of the different roles that people necessarily have to cover) and wants to replace the exasperation of controls (also regularly evaded) with a responsible personal pride, with minimal pyramidal controls and replacing them with direct responsibility (self-control) and collaboration (peer monitoring) . In a system of rings there are no vertices, each circle embraces and circumscribes the inner one,  at the same time helping and limiting it; we have already said that in this system the needs and problems of people, all equal on the same ring, converge toward the center and find solutions when centralizing; such solutions are then radiated outwards with a kind of pulse that will keep our society alive and will make it grow. Let us build our model.

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5.c.16 – What happens beyond the village?

August 7, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

16-oltre-rid

What happens beyond the village?

Considering a population, however large, even many millions of people, we can apply the system of rings to break up and organize it in Villages. Following the same scheme, each Village will send a representative to the center, forming the fourth ring; at this stage we must note a few things:
– the representatives of the fourth ring are less than 1% of the total population because we can assume that the Villages on average exceed the 100 units
– in a group of villages many may not know each other directly, this means that everyone will know the representative of his Village, but could not know that of others; then when electing one representative to be sent to the fifth ring this is unrelated to many, then the connection of knowledge within the group and its representative will be lost. The fourth ring is the last where we’ll certainly find a person of our village, then known to us.
– once the link of direct knowledge is missed, the only numerical limit in the formation of groups is the need to form an assembly of representatives that is easily manageable and functional, that is made up of a number of members not exceeding fifteen, henceforth we fix then, that the groups can vary from seven to fourteen members, but, for ease of calculation and exposure, we’ll assume that they are on average composed of ten units.
At the fourth ring thus groups will gather ten Villages, overcoming the thousand members and then send their representatives to the next. At the fifth ring all the considerations made for the fourth become even more valid: the number of members was reduced to one tenth compared to the fourth and the possibility of meeting strangers is higher. The relationship with the first ring become formal because of the loss of direct knowledge, and from the fifth on the rings lose their family and informal features, so we’ll call them institutional rings.
Although the population of the fifth ring is less than a thousandth of that of the first, if the original population is of many millions of citizens, it will be anyway made up of thousands of people. It will therefore be necessary to repeat the usual procedure by creating a sixth ring, then a seventh, etc. .. This will make smaller and smaller rings to achieve one of less than fifteen people. At first glance it may seem that to achieve this we need a large number of subsequent stages, but we can easily calculate that in order to saturate a system with 11 rings are needed more than 10 billion people, about double the world population. This means that on any nation or group of nations we should apply the concentric system, it will take no more than ten steps. This calculation was done also considering the informal rings, i.e. the first four, which with no doubt don’t involve a cumbersome bureaucracy; if we consider only those institutional, the possible steps are reduced to seven.
Reached the penultimate ring, this will be made of about a hundred members who will be coordinated from the last central ring, it is up to them then the task of translating the contributions from all the structure into laws and concrete policy goals, making the final choices.

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5.c.17 – Are the tasks divided among the different rings?

August 8, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

17-compiti-rid

Are the tasks divided among the different rings?

If the first ring expresses through the discomfort the perception of a collective problem, the second and the third are responsible for the defining the same in the best way. Doing this the will of the people, often uncertain and confused, becomes conscious and determined; we believe it is right that this process takes place inside the village, where everyone knows everyone else, and then each one contributes to the formation of that collective will.
At the fourth ring, the next step must be taken, that is to evaluate and select the issue or assess its priority and its possibility of being resolved internally. The selection of the problem, as we have seen is not a trivial activity, it is indeed of paramount importance not to waste time and energy; if it is preferable or even necessary that the solution to a given problem is delegated to a larger structure, it is good do so immediately to focus on problems within our reach.
The fifth ring therefore must carry out the task of studying the first solutions to problems by identifying precise objectives to be achieved. To accomplish this task it will of course possible to collect the proposed solution from the outer rings, because it is very likely that out of thousands of members someone has already had some good idea.
To benefit from the synergies that can be exploited at national level, it is important already in the fourth ring that the work of various groups and of their underlying Villages is shared. The assessment of how a problem is felt in a context wider than ours is the key to choose the timing and alliances with which to address it and then give it a proper priority.
The sharing of this work will be very simple, it will be enough to publish on the network the summaries already developed by the various groups, synthesis already developed for internal use that will not cause any extra effort, but will yield great benefit to each other.
Finally, we note that the comparison and affinity between established priorities is also a good criterion to form the coalitions of the fifth ring, since it is almost certain that they are formed by people who initially do not know each other.
At the sixth ring, we expect that the definition of solutions, namely how to achieve the targets set, should be completed; to the subsequent rings remains to compare the different solutions, evaluate them and select them and then pass them to the next ring. Whatever the number of rings is, it is up to the last two to take the final decisions: according to the different case, the proposals will be voted on to penultimate ring (largest) and the votes will be collected and validated by the last one (performing coordination functions), or the central ring will simply receive the information from the previous and will direct vote the best proposals.
Finally we want to highlight the usefulness of the rings after the sixth whose selective work makes it possible to lighten the workload of the last two rings which will have only a few alternatives to choose from, only two or three. Another factor that makes it possible to avoid an excessive workload in the last ring is the fact that the groups of the seventh ring represent already more than one million people, as it is contained in a current province or a city of considerable size, and have themselves human, cultural and economic resources to deal locally with most of the problems.

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5.c.18 – Do we need the assistance of specialists?

August 9, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

18-specialista-rid

Do we need the assistance of specialists?

Within a village there is a considerable cultural diversity, being made up of over one hundred people, and any issue everyone seeks advice from those who know more. When the various Clans send their representatives to the Village, they should also take account of their technical expertise regarding the subject to deal with. Since there is no reason to always send the same representative, they may also change it depending on the agenda, or send two or three specialists in different fields that will alternate at the meeting according to each issue discussed.
If this way to proceed does not involve any problems within the Village, as in a Clan the expert’s choice is immediate, going to larger structures things will be more complicate. In fact, in more internal rings indeed, the assemblies are made up of strangers who, if replaced continuously, will remain such, there wouldn’t be continuity in their work and, even worse, they could not competently choose a common representative, compromising the entire system.
On the other hand, the purpose of the concentric structure is to exploit cultural resources of the entire population by selecting the best ideas, therefore a specialized training is essential. Therefore, in order to ensure stability and efficiency to the system, each Village will send in the fourth ring a stable representative with coordination functions, who will maintain relations with the other Villages, and one or more experts who in their field will be confronted with their colleagues. The same system will be applied by all the subsequent rings. From a single representative we pass then to a team that presumably will grow in the more internal rings, together with the growth of needs and the variety of subjects. This will also help to address a number of different problems at the same time.

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5.c.19 – How is the government formed?

August 10, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

19-governo-rid

How is the government formed?

Once  reached the last two rings, as we have said, they must determine what are the policy objectives at national level in their final form. This is reflected in laws applicable to the entire community (especially by the external legislative ring) and in guidelines for the executive body (drafted by the internal legislative ring). To highlight this important function we’ll call these rings Legislative Center, within which dozens of teams coming from the former ring, each equipped with high-level specialists, work.
These experts are chosen with the usual system by the colleagues from the former ring, therefore they follow an elective channel separate for each specialty. Legislators generally have both the technical expertise on the field that they have to deal with and mediation skills for collaborating with colleagues in the same field and with those of their team. The ability of mediation is especially important for the role of representative coordinator to whom is also entrusted the safeguard of coherence with the popular will of people he represents.
At this point the problem arises of choosing those to whom entrust the task of implementing the political programs set by the Legislative Center, i.e. how to form the executive body equivalent to the current government. Even in this case, these are specialized tasks, then a team to collect the necessary skills will have to be formed. Considering the similarities with the teams existing in the concentric structure it appears immediate to entrust them, with the usual procedure, the choice of ministers of what we’ll call Executive Center. Just like the members of teams in the Legislative Center are selected, the candidates for the office of minister will be selected too. Those candidates, according to the functions entrusted to them, should have the following qualities:
– technical competence, they must be experts in the sector they must deal with
– organizational competence, therefore they must be experienced in management
– ability to mediate, then they must be balanced people, wise, able to intercede between the parties to reach an agreement.
But how many people have these qualities? To select for each ring such wonders may seem very difficult, however, for these cases nature has provided us with two basic strategies which are very effective: the specialization and cooperation. For not giving up any of these qualities and make sure they are all present in every ministry, we can set that each group of the penultimate ring chooses a list of people, so that each of them presents a different quality. By this criterion specialized and well-assorted groups are formed, made of an experienced management minister and two assistants (a technician and a mediator), who should ensure a high degree of efficiency.
In order to reduce as much as possible the risk that, as we are witnessing today, in the selection of ministers would overlap interests other than those of the nation, it seems appropriate to introduce a system of drawing lots for each three people group: in this way to protect a private interest it will not be enough to try to promote a corrupt candidate, but it would be necessary to try to bribe everyone first, because everyone can be drawn, and this is obviously more difficult. The draw also has not problems for the technical competence because with the concentric system they all will be automatically ultra-selected, and that just because we are talking about directors and not of sports champions, they must be prepared to do the job and not to win competitions. So if by chance it happens that the worst group among those available is drawn, they will still be able to do a good job.
It should be stressed that the office of minister is held by one person only, the expert in management, which holds total responsibility for their own area with no alibi as he personally responds to citizens. The management office is made up of a list of three persons, but the technical expert and the expert in mediation mainly have an advisory or however subordinate role.
It is also to be reminded, finally, that the ministers, although carefully selected and then up to the office received, can always rely on the work done in the different rings with respect to their field of expertise and will be able to do so thanks to modern technology which enables the creation of indexed archives, archives accessible at all times and with great ease, with different query methods etc…

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5.c.20 – How to maintain the separation of powers?

August 11, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

20-separazione-rid

How to maintain the separation of powers?

To protect democracy while maintaining the separation of the three fundamental powers it is necessary that nobody, except the first ring, can control all three. The Legislative Center is controlled directly by the third from last ring: this ring therefore will  have no authority to interfere with the work of the Executive or the Judicial authorities. This objective can be easily achieved, considering that from the fourth link each category of experts elects through the usual procedure the experts of the next ring; each category thus follows a path of election separate from the others and the same will happen to the Executive and the Judicial categories. The paths of those who carry out the three forms of authority of the State will be then completely separated, as well as their respective functions are. For the same reason also the professional contacts between different authorities should be limited to the minimum necessary and subject to special regulation.
It should be noted that the Judicial Authority shall be managed and that it includes not only the judges, as well as the Ministry of Health is not only formed by doctors but also nurses, accountants, biologists, chemists and who knows how many more categories. The Ministry of Justice cannot be considered as separate by the Judicial Authority: even today it is a single system for the judicial activity; it follows that the ministry, of which the Judges are a key component, still must be separated from Government in order to maintain the separation of powers.

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5.c.21 – Would new problems arise with the population growth?

August 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

21-popolazione-rid

Would new problems arise with the population growth?

The concentric system is such that each ring is strictly controlled (and supported) by the previous one. This system is an extension of the modern village which can be seen as a simple structure with two rings. Considering that the village democracy is based on direct knowledge of the members and on the low number of participants in meetings, we can doubt that it can lose its quality by applying this type of organization to millions of people.
Let’s look then at these qualities and try to see if they can be maintained increasing the number of rings:

– there is no need for expensive advertising campaigns for elections
– there are no lists of candidates imposed by the parties, then there is full freedom to vote
– all belong to the same political structure, therefore the parties are no longer needed as political organizations
– individual activities can be decentralized or centralized as needed with ease and flexibility
– the structure is able to stimulate and raise the political participation of the whole population and with it an
– enormous amount of human and economic resources which are currently unused. The citizens are involved in the definition of political programs and do not have to choose the projects of others
– the simplicity of the system provides equal political opportunities and thus also facilitates the others (related to employment, education, health etc…).
– everyone knows directly his own representatives
– direct control of Representatives.
We can note that the first six characteristics can be kept without difficulty and especially the flexibility and the better exploitation of resources should be even stronger, while for the latter two things are different. In fact, in a large structure everyone knows the representatives of the first four rings, those informal, but not those of the institutional rings. Although within each ring everyone knows and controls his direct representative, we cannot ignore the fact that for the ordinary citizen the institutional representatives are strangers and that he has no direct influence on them.
As for the direct control, things are even worse: if a representative of the fourth institutional ring behaved very badly, the ordinary citizen should agree with the members of his group and ask to their direct representative to replace him, repeating the operation with his representative and so on for seven rings. This is already a process that seems long, but if a representative of the third ring does not accept such a request, that we believe right, from another group, what will we do? Would we start a similar procedure to oust him for having saved the other? Maybe until then he had always behaved well and this action would seem excessive; and if this occurred in an informal ring, would we dismiss an acquaintance of ours because we wanted to condemn a stranger? Clearly, ring after ring, a sort of protective barrier will form that would make the representatives more independent from the authority of the first ring as they approach the center, and the same is also true for administrators.
Experience shows that if citizens are unable to enforce their authority, their interests will sooner or later be ignored. So if the concentric system on the one hand may work very well to gather ideas and to refine both the solution of problems and the political program, on the other it is unable to secure control of the citizen on its representatives when the population grows. Although our system has many advantages over the current one, there is a risk that, just like the parliamentary system, when applied to with millions of people loses the ability to be democratic.
To avoid such a risk we must complement our democratic structure with appropriate control systems, tools that allow the first ring to exert its authority over all the others.

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5.c.22 – Is a direct control possible?

August 13, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

22-controllo-rid

Is a direct control possible?

Previously we concluded that in the current system, the control of citizens over their own representatives is in fact practically zero, while that on ministers and judges is non-existent, not just in fact but also formally, not having these offices the need for a direct legitimacy from the population. This occurs for several reasons, such as the belief that the parliamentarians are true representatives and that consequently can, indeed should, control on behalf of the people even the executive power, that the parties have the honesty not to exert undue pressure on judiciary etc. .. These problems in the concentric system simply do not exist, but we came to the conclusion that it is not enough to have eliminated the old problem: the people, when they deem it necessary, shall have the right tools to impose their authority, otherwise the democracy ceases to exist. This is a necessary requirement for any system that intends to be democratic.
To this end, in the forms of indirect government based on representatives, it is possible that people operates a “political replacement”, i.e. that replaces a number of important political figures that have disappointed them, having betrayed their expectations or trust. In principle, also with the concentric system a political replacement is possible but, as we know, it is too difficult to achieve and the more something is difficult, the less we are free to do it. We have also seen, in a previous example, as a monarch who could be dismissed by his people is no longer a monarch, being no longer the ultimate authority.
The experience of parliamentary systems teaches us that people have great difficulty in recognizing the valid representatives, but have many less to identify those who betray their trust. With our structure we have solved the problem of selecting good representatives, but not to eliminate any cases of system failure. It therefore seems appropriate to separate the elective activity (made indirectly in the structure) from that concerning the removal of a representative from his office, to be directly entrusted to direct the first ring. Noting that the institutional rings are six at most, we can see that each village must monitor and in case expel from their task at most six people. In fact, the seats of the various rings are not held by individuals but by teams, within which however the protection of the will of the people is entrusted to the representative coordinator; therefore the coordinators are those who should be judged directly because it is to them that the highest responsibility is entrusted. As for the rest of their team, they will be judged by experts within the village by the same procedure or, as accomplices of the coordinator, will automatically follow his destiny. But what destiny? What should happen to those who are removed from their office? If the direct intervention of the first ring has been necessary, it means that our representative has been guilty of a serious fault as having deliberately betrayed the trust of the group that represents or has intentionally acted against the interests of the whole community.
We believe that such conduct is incompatible with the role of representative, then that individual will be removed and declared unfit to this office by the unquestionable will of the people. In other words, he will be cut off forever from politics. In less serious cases, the representative may be removed and disqualified only for that ring and the next ones, or will be suspended for a defined number of years. It is clear that the direct judgment  of the citizens will be required only in particularly serious cases, while to replace those who simply were not good enough, the concentric structure will be used.
The main tool to guarantee democracy, the Validation of fitness of a representative that allows the population to assert its authority when the ring structure is not enough, will be similar to a referendum rather than repeal the law will remove the representatives from their office . We conclude by noting that such a system can be used only if an effective information system and adequate cultural preparation are available, issues that we have already discussed in previous chapters. Experience shows that the direct elections are not democratic when applied to large masses: it follows that the proposing or repealing referendums and the verifications should not be considered as means for achieving democracy but as instruments to defend it when the indirect process is not working well. These are protection systems to be used in case of emergency and, when their intervention is needed, the fault that has occurred in the indirect system should  be immediately fixed with appropriate reforms.

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5.c.23 – How to ensure control over the three powers?

August 14, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

23-garanzia-rid

How to ensure control over the three powers?

To exercise control over the Legislative Center, it is enough to apply the Verification to it, as to all other rings, but to make things even easier we can predict that the popular view is activated automatically every two years so that everyone knows that he has to give account of his work to the first ring within a short time. Is it appropriate to apply such an instrument at the Executive Center and to the Judicial Center? We think that  perhaps it is even more important since the work of the Executive Center is immediately reflected in the daily life of the population: let’s think of a new system of management of medical specialized checkups at public hospitals that significantly shortens the waiting time, of a new system of access to university lectures that allows to anyone who wishes it to follow them, of a new system of allocating jobs in the public offices that it is fast, impartial etc.. It is therefore a crucial point of our concentric system, that must radiate outwards its actions with the benefit of the entire population. Ministers must not be subordinated to those who appointed them directly, but must respond directly to the People, the real sovereign in a true democracy. A quite similar procedure can be applied to the judicial authorities, on which the security and confidence that the citizen shall put in the State depends.
We believe most appropriate, indeed necessary, that the various ministers and the head of the Palace of Justice are subject to a verification every two years. We have already said how it is difficult to exercise the democratic rights with one vote and it is therefore logical that people confirm or do not confirm the various ministers with separate votes: why dissolve an entire government when, for instance, only the ministers of Defense and Education are not fit for their role? And why keep inefficient Ministers of Defense and Education not to dissolve the entire government? Voting separately the various ministers  would solve the problem.
In our democratic structure based on a concentric system in which the entire population is involved, although with different functions and with different degree of involvement, we have seen how it is essential a flexibility that allows continuous aggregations in the first ring and consequently continuous reorganization of the groups in levels thereafter. However, we cannot forget the need to give a minimum time to the  members of the central bodies, both Legislative and Administrative (of the Executive Center and of the Palace of Justice), to express their work done through a continuity of direction.
To balance these needs, we can establish that the greatest flexibility remains for the formation of groups of different rings (through the mere expression of willingness, to be expressed using the special institutional software), while the Legislators and the Administrators, once appointed, cannot be replaced respectively by the or the Section of origin for a period of four years.
However, strong of a four-years power, the Legislators and the Administrators may take advantage of it to reap some personal benefits or, worse, to exploit the concentric system on the contrary, so that it radiates towards the outside a generalized system of corruption that would consolidate their stay in power. Accordingly a popular verification every two years perfectly fits in the system: after being elected to any office, all our senior officials must give account of their work to the first ring; in order to avoid being dismissed in mid-term they must necessarily take into account expectations of the population. After the first check they will do likewise if they wish to remain in politics.
As a further security measure, to prevent that over time they can consolidate, in an hidden manner, a system of private power based on their political office, we can also establish that the positions of Legislator and Administrator are not renewable; they shall therefore continue to cover official roles only in the outer rings.

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5.c.24 – Does the concept of verification complements that of election?

August 15, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

24-verifica-ridDoes the concept of verification complements that of election?

In the existing political systems, where the people are called to the polls, we rightly talk of electoral competition; there are more candidates for the same office and each must compete to win. So in a system based on propaganda, there will be a continued revival of special effects: the speeches prepared by staff of experts in communication, in statistics and psychology, TV commercials made by the best directors, screenwriters, make-up artists and musicians, convention in the major sport facilities with majorette, giant screens, star shows, fireworks, etc.., but who pays the hundreds of millions of Euros needed to do all this? We have seen that there is no lack of sponsors, but they are those groups of economic power that inevitably will require and then obtain by those elected what is needed to strengthen their dominant position.
With the democratic structure we have already solved this problem because one becomes Legislator or Administrators through a concentric system of appointments that do not provide for any election campaign, while with the system of popular verification we overcome the protective barrier that is formed by the accumulation of rings.
It is to be noted that there is a big difference between an election and a confirmation; in an election, the candidate must compete against other suitors (in a more or less correct manner); in a confirmation the representatives must compete only with themselves and the only way to win is to achieve the results that people expect. In case of removal, the office will be obviously entrusted to another person with the usual system. While now, trying to be re-elected, a representative must pay his debt to those who have supported him and still it does not warrant a reappointment, with the new system, he must necessarily take into account the needs of the population and this will ensure him to keep his place until the end of mandate, and the possibility of continuing to hold political roles in the outer rings. It follows that in case of opposing interests, those of citizens will always prevail. The elections, however, surely remain necessary, but in our structure are much more reliable and, through verification, also subject to direct and specific corrections.

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5.c.25 – Can we sum everything up in a graph?

August 16, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Can we sum everything up in a graph?

It’s now time to pull the threads of what we said in this chapter and to outline the new democratic structure by taking as example a Western country whose official figures tell us that the last elections had 47,126,326 voters.

   

INFORMAL RINGS

     
FIRST RING
(Groups)
   
       
     47.126.326   Adults who gather in groups of 5 to 9 members
       
                      7   Members who in average form a group and appoint a Trustee
       
         6.732.332   Groups representing on average 7 peoplethat need to express their discomfort to their Trustees
       
       
SECOND RING
(Clans)
   
       
         6.732.332   Trustees who meet Clan made of 3 to 5 members
       
                      4   Average members that form a Clan and who appoint a Trustee
       
         1.683.083   Clans representing an average of 28 personswhich should list the problems considered the cause of the discomfort felt bythe first ring to the respective Trustees
       
       
THIRD RING
(Villages)
   
       
         1.683.083   Trustees who meet in Villages made of 5 to 9 members
       
                      6   Members who are on average a Village,appoint a team of experts choosing in the outer ringsand appoint a Director who coordinates the Team of expertsto be sent to the fourth ring
       
            280.514   Villages that represent on average 168 peoplethat should frame the issues to be entrusted to the respective Delegates
       
       
FOURTH RING
(Alliances)
   
       
  280.514   Teams that gather in Leagues of 7 to 13 villages through the delegates
       
             10   Delegates to form on average a League,appoint a team of experts choosing them in the outer ringsand appoint a Delegate who coordinates the team of expertsto be sent to the fifth ring
       
              28.052   Alliances representing an average 1680 people andwhich should select the problems to be presented, in order of priority,to the respective Delegates
       
       
       
     

INSTITUTIONAL RINGS

       
FIFTH RING
(Suburb)
   
       
              28.052   Teams who meet Villages from 7 to 13 Leagues through the Delegates
       
                    10   Delegates who form on average a Suburb,appoint a Team of experts choosing within the outer ringsand appoint a Delegate who coordinates the team of expertsto be sent to the sixth ring
       
                2.805   Suburbs representing an average of 16,800 people andthat must study the solutions to problems, implement these solutionsto local problems and present to their Delegates the possible solutionsto collective problems
       
       
       
       
SIXTH RING
(Contradas)
   
       
                2.805   Teams that come together in Contradas made of 7 to 13 villages through their Delegates
       
                    10   delegates to form on average a Contrada,
      appoint a Team of experts in choosing within the outer ringsand appoint a Delegate who coordinates the Team of expertsto be sent to the seventh ring
       
                    280   Contradas representing an average of 168,000 people andthat need to refine and arrange the hypothesis of solutions fromfifth ring, apply these solutions to the problems of their own territorial competence
and present to their delegates the possible solutions
to problems having wider extent
       
       
SEVENTH RING
(Provinces)
   
       
  280   teams who meet in Province made of 7 to 13 Contradas through their Delegates
       
  10   Contradas that on average form a Province,appoint a Team of experts choosing them within the outer ringsand appoint a team of 10 Legislators with different and predefined skillsto be sent to the Outer Legislative Center
       
       
  28   Provinces which represent on average 1,680,000 people andthat need to refine and plan the possible solutions coming from the sixthring, apply solutions to such problems of the Province
and submit to their Legislators the possible solutions to
regional and national problems
       
       
       
       
       
     

CENTRAL RINGS

       
OUTER LEGISLATIVE CENTER
(Regions)
   
       
                28   Teams who meet into 7 Province Regions
       
  10   Legislators for each team with different and defined skills
       
  280   Legislators divided into  Legislative thematic Sections with 28 membersFurther divided into 4 regional groups
       
       
                    7   Provinces forming the Regions
       
                    4   Regions that on average represent 11,760,000 people andthat need to refine and manage the possible solutions coming fromseventh ring, apply these solutions to regional problemsand formulate law proposals having national effectiveness for the Internal Legislative Center to which they send their team
       
       
       
       
       
INTERNAL LEGISLATIVE CENTER
(Nation)
   
       
                    4   Teams of Legislators that represent the whole Nation
       
                  10   Legislators for each team, with different and defined thematic skills
       
  40   Legislators divided in thematic Legislative Sections Legislative made of 4 members
       
                      1   Chamber representing the whole national population, which has to coordinate
      the work done by the former ring, in order to reach an agreement on law
      proposals coming from the Outer Legislative Center, to implement the selected
      solutions to national problems and to maintain the relations with the Executive Center
       
EXECUTIVE CENTER    
       
  10   Ministries with different thematic skills
       
  10   Ministries drawn from the 280 Legislators of the Outer Legislative Center
       
  10   Pairs of Technicians and Mediators for consulting purpose (one for each Ministry)also drawn with the same system
       
       
       
PALACE OF JUSTICE     
       
  1   Body independent from the Legislative Center and the Executive Center
       
  1   Person in charge drawn among the 28 members of the Legislative Justice Section of the Outer Legislative Center
       
       
  4   Pairs Technicians and Mediators selected one for each region for consulting purpose, also drawn with the same system
       
       
LEGISLATURE    
       
                      4   Years of charge for Legislators and Administratorsthat cannot be dismissed by the ring that appointed them
       
       
INTERMEDIATE VERIFICATIONS    
       
                      1   after two years of term
      through which the entire adult population to vote to confirm or remove
      each  minister, the Head of the Palace of Justiceand the individual thematic Legislative Sections
       

 

            It can be added that in this system both the preferences for choosing the representative and the confirmation votes of midterm reviews are evident; everyone can check on the institutional software whether his position reflects his expression of will, and then the problem of electoral fraud would be finally solve. Also can be noted that political parties no longer have reason to exist and that they are not the referents of economic powers, which will have to start to rely on their entrepreneurial skills rather than on corruption. It is finally clear that any citizen, once arrived the third ring thanks to the confidence of his family and close friends, with only five steps can aspire to the office of Legislator.

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5.c.26 – How much does the democratic structure cost?

August 17, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

26-costo-rid

How much does the democratic structure cost?

When the democratic structure becomes applicable, it will be priceless; any costs to be paid to achieve would be well spent; it would be indeed an excellent investment, that will produce huge profit which only a true democracy can give. Anyway,  we can also do the following accounts: taking our Country as example, for a Parliament composed of 952 members in 2007 incurred the following costs for current expenditure (amounts in Euro):

EXPENSE    
 AMOUNT IN EURO  
     
FEES TO PARLIAMENTARIANS              245.963.000,00
GRANTS TO FORMER PARLIAMENTARY OFFICIAL PERSONNEL              209.950.000,00
EMPOYEES WAGES              482.510.000,00
GRANTS TO FORMER EMPLOYEES              167.505.000,00
SOCIALSECURITY CHARGES                 22.785.711,00
BUILDINGS LEASE                 44.215.000,00
ORDINARY MAINTENANCE                 18.999.000,00
CLEANING SERVICES                 12.305.000,00
UTILITIES (WATER, LIGHT, GAS)                   4.620.000,00
UTILITIES (TELEPHONE)                   3.080.000,00
POSTAGE                   1.000.000,00
CONSUMPTION MATERIAL                   8.967.500,00
PRINT OF PARLIAMENTARY ACTS                   8.870.000,00
OTHER PRINTING EXPENSES                   1.453.000,00
TRANSPORT COSTS                20.296.000,00
SERVICES OF NON EMPLOYED PERSONNEL                44.772.000,00
PROFESSIONAL UPDATES                   1.780.000,00
STUDIES AND RESEARCH                   3.071.000,00
OTHER STUDIES                      600.000,00
INSURANCES                   6.114.000,00
EXTERNAL INFORMATION                15.068.000,00
COMPUTER SERVICES                  8.224.000,00
CATERING                  2.779.000,00
GOODS, SERVICES AND OTHER COSTS               60.095.000,00
CONSULTATIONS                      100.000,00
   
CONTRIBUTIONS TO PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS                73.730.000,00
CONTRIBUTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL BODIES                       510.000,00
SCHOLARSHIPS                      255.000,00
MISCELLANEOUS CONTRIBUTIONS                  2.696.000,00
BALLOTS VERIFICATION COSTS                  1.060.000,00
COMMITTEE FOR CRIME INQUIRY                      300.000,00
COMMITTEE FOR WASTE INQUIRY                         75.000,00
COMMITTE FOR HEALTH INQUIRY                         40.000,00
OTHER INQUIRY COMMITTEES                  1.200.000,00
COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COUNCILS                  2.670.000,00
BICAMERAL COMMITTEES                      745.000,00
RADIO AND CCTV SURVEILLANCEI                      285.000,00
PROSECUTION PROCEEDINGS                           5.000,00
INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES                  4.283.000,00
CEREMONIAL COSTS                  4.400.000,00
TRANSACTIONS                      900.000,00
SAFETY AT WORKPLACE                      920.000,00
TAXES AND CHARGES               60.385.000,00
REFUND OF AMOUNTS                        80.000,00
UNFORESEEN COSTS               19.964.289,00
CAPITAL EXPENDITURE               48.955.000,00
   
TOTAL AMOUNT           1.618.580.500,00          

From the above budgets of Parliament also appears the capital expenditure (i.e. expenditure that do not expire their utility in the year in which they were incurred, such as electrical installations, furniture, etc..). For the year 2007 these expenses amounted to Euro 48,955,000.00, but according to correct accountancy  principles, precisely because they relate to utility assets having pluriennial utility, they should be attributed only in part; for example, where it is estimated that the equipment can be used for five years, the corresponding expenditure should be charged to 20% for each year. Why this fundamental accounting technique, called depreciation, is not applied in the budget of the Parliament? Because for some unknown physical law, those that are normally durable goods inside Parliament wear excessively and do not last long, so much so that every year it is spent an amount similar to that of the previous year. These costs then, although known as “capital account”, should actually be regarded as current expenditure.
Even without wanting to economize on these costs (but on the 1,290,000.00 Euros spent a year for the service clothes maybe something could be done), we should remember that in our concentric model the Legislators are much less than the current 952 MPs and then, by comparing this total to 40 members of the Internal Legislative Center, you get a saving of Euro 1,550,572,915.00. If we add to this an amount of 200,819,044.00 Euros, which was allocated to political parties as reimbursement of electoral expenses, we obtain a total savings amounting to Euro 1,751,391,960.00.
By using this sum to pay the representatives of the institutional rings, we might get the following breakdown

Level  Number        Monthly Fees         Annual Fees
                      of       persons           per capita             per ring
Teams of the fifth ring (4 members)

         112.208

                   850,00   1.144.521.600,00
Teams of the sixth ring (6 members)

              16.830

               2.000,00      403.920.000,00
Teams of the seventh ring (10 members)

            2.800

               5.000,00      168.000.000,00
External Legislators

               280

             10.000,00         33.600.000,00
       
TOTAL ANNUAL EXPENDITURE        1.750.041.600,00

 This is just an accounting exercise, but it shows that without adding a euro to what is already currently spent, the democratic structure would be financially sustainable.
Finally, it is to be noted that in a democratic structure, no more taxes should be paid, but associative dues and the difference is not only lexical but also substantial: tax imposition (it is no coincidence that it is so called) are tributes imposed from above to subjects, the associative dues are shared among peers to support the expenses of common interest. It will have no more importance to the extent of the contribution, but satisfaction subsequent to obtaining the public services; in private, we all bore some expense exceeding the average for a given asset (a pair of shoes, a cell phone, a car) as we strongly desired it and then, with satisfaction, we exclaimed, it is well spent money! With the democratic structure the same thing can be realized, because once again  we are those who decide how much to spend and on what.

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5.c.27 – How the flow of money should be?

August 18, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

27-flusso-rid

How the flow of money should be?

When you create an association, it is to achieve a common goal and drawing a common advantage; let’s accept to contribute financially to the costs that we have set for achieving the goals that we ourselves have chosen, it could not be otherwise. When an association decides to join other similar or complementary associations, it does so in order to exploit economies of scale and this union will be managed through the representatives; for individual associations it will be normal to financially contribute to the new structure and this will be shared according to the need thereof. Growing up in the territory, the association probably will have more extensive facilities that group the local ones, always replicating the same model. Assuming an association with three levels (local, regional and national level) and having to determine the flow of funds needed for the different needs, no one would plan to delegate the national or regional council to assess local needs, determine the necessary funding and collect the money needed to then pass on to various levels of government, which will support the costs; nobody would do it simply because it makes no sense: no one knows better than local people the needs of the same and the resources available, so why delegating it to a more distant body? How much tortuous bureaucracy more would be needed? It is also obvious that if the local association was not satisfied with the results achieved by the regional or national group, it would withdrawn from it, having failed the requirements for joining it.
Why, then, the national tax system has always worked this way? The answer is simple: the tax levy, up to a very recent time, was imposed by the monarch with his sovereign power to maintain its structure (buildings, courtiers, servants, weapons, soldiers, etc..), surely not to fund services for the people. When the kings were deposed, real democracies were never created, the noble class was replaced by a different ruling class that inherited the handy tax system still applied. When it was thought of dividing the legislative, administrative and judiciary powers for the reasons we have previously discussed, an even more important one was neglect: the economic power. It is with the economic power that people can be controlled, laws and judgments of convenience can be organized; It is to whom is holding the cash that people must address with devotion for some benevolent gift, even though the cash is continually and largely filled by those who find themselves in the position of asking.
It is to be noted that the centralized economic power also hampers any attempt to political replacement that starts from those bodies closer to the population and therefore theoretically more feasible. When with free votes new representatives are elected, perhaps organized into a new civic list, and a district badly administered by the branches of political parties at national, regional and provincial levels is conquered, what happens? If the new representatives will submit to the vassalage system, they will suffer the same influences of the previous administration, the population will not see any tangible benefit than before and would lose all hope of being able to change anything, resigned to its role of subjection; if instead the new representatives will be faithful to the principles for which they were elected, they will remain invisible to the central power and suffer from the same low-money donations to be used in local public works; so the local population, often unaware of this system of management of financial resources, will not see the results, will consider the representatives of the civic list even more inadequate than the previous ones and will return to the past from which it had fled.
It can therefore be concluded that no true democracy can really be achieved if the system does not leave the control of economic resources, where the same are produced; it should be noted however, that larger groups (compared to those of the town communities) are convenient to trade, production, employment , cultural, military level, etc.. and will be created and financed by all possible solidarity because freely chosen, and of common benefit.

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5.c.28 – Did we achieve our objectives?

August 19, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

28-centro-rid

Did we achieve our objectives?

Let’s check together if the newly designed system meets the starting needs that we have set:
– the democratic structure puts all adult citizens on the first ring and gives them equal opportunities; anyone, with only seven steps, can take the office of Legislator
– the structure is based on a concentric system of small groups in which the speakers capable but dishonest cannot be favored
– the people who do not want or cannot take political positions in the different rings can still rely on direct knowledge of their representatives (presumably at least until the fourth ring); since representatives of the third ring have direct relations at least until the fifth, every citizen can relate with a Legislator with only two mediations
– The Executive Center, formed with the concentric system, is a form of self-government which of course will follow the popular will; in any case it is to people that it has to give account for its actions during verification for mid-term confirmation in office
– the system of verification for mid-term confirmation allows an effective control of Representatives
– for the above one can say that citizens are the highest authority
– the people who now abstain from voting, which in that country taken as an example exceed the 19% of the population, often discouraged and resigned, may find in the new system new interests and new enthusiasm, bringing their contribution in the selection of the best ideas.
Based on the above, we can therefore say that the democratic structure, as designed, realizes a true democratic system, but once again we shall remember that these are laboratory tests, which although accurate, will have to be tested in order to be considered truly valid. Our democratic structure is probably not perfect in its current form and should be perfected over time based on achieved experience; however any democracy must also be able to improve. It is important to note that even those who do not appreciate our system will have the opportunity to change it by participating: is there any other political system having this characteristic?

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5.c.29 – Where to start?

August 20, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

29-inizio-rid

Where to start?

Building on the trail of thoughts that we did, it should be remembered that:
– the novelties that crack our system of beliefs, namely that disorientate our mental map, are unconsciously denied
– the syndrome of serfdom and the natural tendency to rely on a leader make us to remain inactive in expectation that someone else will solve our problems
– if we set ourselves targets out of our reach, soon we will not have any results obtained and the resulting demoralization will be the greater as greater is the effort made in vain
– the increasingly hectic life makes increasingly little the time available
– human values, to be truly such, must be put into practice in daily life.
From these observations one might think that the realization of the concentric democracy is not feasible, but we must also recall that:
– novelties, although upsetting, are accepted to an extent directly proportional to the increase of discomfort generally felt
– the concentric democracy has not the presumption to involve the entire population but only 5% of the same, namely those who are already recognized as leaders in the family and circle of friends and acquaintances
– the creation of a modern village, within the group of relatives or friends with whom we share several similarities, brings results in the near future with consequent gratification
– participation in a modern village develops immediate synergies that also lead to a saving of time
– the value of true democracy is made real our own with the participation in a modern village.
In parallel to the experience of modern villages, the experiment of the democratic structure could be done in groups that already exist but that do not have an efficient system of true representation. The perfect test for the new model of democracy is thus made up of unions of workers: they in fact, despite being set up to represent the interests of a given category, are never able to fully play their role for their lack of democracy and then of representativeness; proof of it is that within a given category of workers, various unions are formed in competition and in conflict with each other, in the general disaffection and demoralization of the workers themselves; it is also odd that members of the union, when they feel not adequately represented by their delegates, they find nothing better than organize protests of dissent to those who should be their subordinates, and perhaps even form a new union. It is obvious that if they were democratic organizations, such representatives would be immediately removed.
If workers, not just employees, but also professionals, craftsmen and merchants, were able to create trade unions and associations organized under the rules of concentric democracy, they would immediately have great benefits in their working life, would feel at last protected by an effective system (not by perfect people ,who are not there simply because they do not exist) and gradually they would extend this system to even wider areas.
It is to be noted that such testing could be performed in parallel in the various categories of work, making the same experimentation feasible and reducing much the time needed for the test.

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5.c.30 – Have we arrived at the end or is it a start?

August 21, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

30-fine-rid

Have we arrived at the end or is it a start?

Here we are, after several ups and several holes, we have reached the end of our path of reflections which represented a kind of self training. Such a journey can be covered only by a small unified group, maybe reduced to just two people, but never alone and never in too many, even if there is nothing to prevent that many small groups, groups on a human scale, can proceed side by side.
During this journey we have learned that we are all on the same boat and that we must all rowing in the same direction, but we also understood how to interpret our mental map and how to horizon with the compass of our values to overcome the perils of navigation. We therefore designed new routes, to sail with several boats that can increase in number at each port, to be a large fleet.
For the last time we remember that every new idea must be subjected to the test of facts to be considered valid: here then ends our theoretical course and the experimental start, the results of which will be the basis for further consideration.
So, courageous captains, are we prepared to organize our little crew, and finally take up the helm of our life?
Come on boys, as we are not to sail into the unknown, but we are starting a wonderful cruise: let’s untie the last ropes that bind us to the pole … and full steam ahead!

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