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

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August 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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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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