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Innovations in Democracy

A project of the Co-Intelligence Institute, Innovations in Democracy is a list of links (with brief descriptions) to over 100 democratic innovations. Initially compiled in the year 2000 during the contested presidential election process in the U.S., Innovations in Democracy aimed to make available hundreds of innovative practices, ideas, experiments, organizations and references useful for building wiser democracies that work for all.

From the Innovations in Democracy home page:

“Wiser democracies” are systems of politics and governance, of citizenship and activism, which creatively engage more of our human capacities — not only to better address today’s pressing social and environmental problems, but to help us build more desirable futures for ourselves and all the generations after us. As we build wise democracies, all the good things people are trying to do for the world will become so much easier to accomplish.

We hope to catalyze a movement to build wiser democracies using powerful ideas, resources and stories from around the world, and engaging millions of people who realize how vital this goal is.

Innovations listed as of 8/18/10:

Many of these links go to pages on the Co-Intelligence Institute’s website; others link to other sites.

Accurate Democracy – If we understand that different sorts of voting are appropriate for different situations, we can design “ensemble” legislative bodies that are inclusive, well centered, and decisive in their creation of policies that enhance the quality of life for the whole community.

Americans Talk Issues Foundation (ATIF) finds that scientifically random telephone polls sampling a national statistical cross section of one thousand Americans can often identify a genuine “wisdom of the people” — farsighted, globally aware policy alternatives not offered by either political party or any mainstream political figures, experts, or pundits.

AmericaSpeaks organizes large-scale forums engaging thousands of citizens — both face-to-face and through telecommunications links — integrated with laptop-computer and keypad-polling technologies — to deliberate on public issues and provide input to shape government policies.

Anticipatory democracy is the public’s active, conscious engagement in collectively shaping the future of their community, state or nation. It is usually applied to instances where future-visioning processes or telecommunications technologies are being used to support or shape public engagement.

Approval Voting. Voters vote for as many candidates as they wish. The candidate with the most votes wins. The winner is therefore approved of — at least to some extent — by a significant majority of voters.

Asset-Based Community Development. Communities can grow stronger by exploring and organizing all the gifts that citizens and associations (formal and informal) can bring to their community life, rather than by treating people as problems and clients.

Awakening Earth by Duane Elgin. How we rework our democracy is part of our evolution as a species — and, indeed, part of the evolution of the universe. See also conscious democracy.

Awakening Technology. Trudy and Peter Johnson-Lenz, who coined the terms “groupware” and “using diversity creatively”, have for decades advocated bridging humans and technology to faciltate collaborative exploration, learning and work. Their latest collaborative inquiry on Practicing Our Wisdom Together in Cyberspace explores dozens of questions vital to building a wiser democracy.

Beyond Left and Right by A. Lawrence Chickering. It is time to move public problem-solving from political professionals back into our individual and community lives. Political lables like “Left” and “Right” obscure more significant differences like those in both liberal and conservative camps who advocate “Order” (centralization) or “Freedom” (decentralization).

Bioneers. A remarkable network and annual conference where vision and practice meet in the service of life. Paul Hawken calls it “central to the re-imagination of what it means to be human.”

Borda count voting. Voters rate available candidates in order of preference. Their votes are then weighted, and the weighted votes added up. The candidate with the highest total wins.

By Popular Demand by John Gastil. Citizen panels are the seed from which the garden of effective deliberative democracy can grow. Here are five ways to use citizen panels to establish real answerability in electoral politics and the legislative process. For other ways to use citizen panels see Citizen Consensus Councils, Deliberative Inclusionary Processes and Citizens juries.

Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, edited by Hazel Henderson, Jon Lickerman, and Patrice Flynn. Here are detailed, sensible ways to measure a dozen diverse aspects of our national well-being, so we as citizens can tell if things are getting better or worse, and take action. (See also Redefining Progress)

Canada’s Maclean’s experiment: “The People’s Verdict”. Could a dozen Canadians selected for their differences and meeting in the media spotlight for three days, come up with a common vision for the future of their country?

Candidate debates, open. If citizens can’t hear a candidate’s views, they can’t judge whether to vote for them. Debates organized by the two major U.S. parties naturally exclude Third Party candidates. This could and should change.

The Center for Consensual Democracy offers practical tools, a sequence of steps, and training for ordinary people to establish sophisticated civic sector associations staffed and funded voluntarily by citizens interested in shaping and managing their collective futures.

The Center for Visionary Leadership. This values-based, non-partisan, non-denominational organization is helping an expanding network of spiritually-oriented voters and social innovators to successfully apply spiritual principles to tough social problems and effective citizenship.

The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future, edited by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane. Details about 18 group/organizational practices that could empower our public life. Each method has at least a five year track record; provides dramatic results with a moderate amount of time and resources; involves people in a meaningful way; and provides a means to discover and share information.

The Chaordic Commons was founded by Visa co-founder Dee Hock, who combined elements of uncontrolled creative chaos and orderly common purposes and principles to help communities and organizations self-organize. Among their projects is an ambitious worldwide network to help a new civilization self-organize, called Terra Civitas.

Citizen Consensus Councils. Diverse citizens are convened to seek, with the help of professional facilitation, shared understandings, solutions and wisdom about social concerns. Their unanimous conclusions are publicized to their entire community or country. Examples include Danish Citizen Technology Panels, Wisdom Councils, and Canada’s Maclean’s experiment.

Citizen Councilor Groups. This proposal suggests officially appointing volunteer citizens to gather in small study circles in their homes, workplaces or public gathering spots to study and discuss issues of concern to public officials and then advise those officials on those issues.

Civic Journalism attempts to engage people in public life by finding out what they are concerned about, providing them with balanced information about the issues involved, getting them talking about those issues, and reflecting what they say back to the larger community in broadcast, print and online media.

Citizens juries involve a randomly selected and demographically representative panel of citizens meeting for four or five days to carefully examine an issue of public significance, hearing from a variety of expert witnesses and presenting their recommendations to the public.

Civic Practices Network. Dozens of organizations with practical approaches to enhancing civic life have banded together to share “best practices” with each other and you.

“Co-Intelligence and the Holistic Politics of Community Self-Organization” by Tom Atlee. Can the principles of ecosystem design be used to help a human community organize itself without top-down leadership?  It turns out there are many tools to help us do this…

Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference by David Chrislip and Carl Larson. Here’s how to use collaborative process to generate civic will that can break through bureaucratic and and legislative gridlock to solve tough community problems (overview and examples available in this interview). Augmented and updated with practical advice in the Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook.

Community Initiatives provides resources and services to help communities organize themselves for enhanced quality of life. Their site has a great links page.

The Concord Principles. Ralph Nader’s blueprint for institutions through which citizens could control what they own (airwaves, public lands, pension funds, etc)…. operate powerful watchdog groups to keep corporations in line…. and make the electoral process work more for them….

Conscious democracy (also reflective democracy). A society can be more wide awake and intelligent — not only individually, but collectively. Things can be set up to empower informed citizens to make self-determined choices together. By creatively including all viewpoints and learning from errors a conscious democracy can confidently respond to (and anticipate) changing conditions.

The Consensus Classroom. A courageous teacher decides to have her elementary school students choose what they are going to study. Of course, she is one of the people who has to agree on the final decisions….

Consensus Councils bring together the full diversity of stakeholders around a contentious issue to agree on recommendations to policy-makers. These exist only in Montana and North Dakota, but a United States Consensus Council is being proposed.

Consensus process. How do we start with our actual diversity and weave it into something that makes sense for all of us?

Co-op America. Q: What if consumers, investors, employers and employees all knew they were citizens first, and that their economic actions had real impact on real people, communities and the world? A: They’d exercise tremendous power for a better world. Co-op America empowers all forms of economic citizenship.

Creating a World that Works for All by Sharif Abdullah. Poor, black, and radical, he knew the world didn’t work for black people. Then he realized it didn’t work for poor people of every color. But then he noticed it didn’t work for middle-class people, either. When he found out The Mess we live in even degraded rich people, he broke through to some really interesting insights and experiences…

Creating Community Anywhere by Carolyn Shaffer and Kristin Anundsen. Without community, democracy is empty. M. Scott Peck, author of another classic on community, The Different Drum, calls this “The most comprehensive book I know of about the community movement.”

The Cultural Creatives. 50 million people in the U.S. (and more around the world) — liberal, conservative and beyond — are creating the next wave of civilization, barely aware that they are all doing it together. If they woke up to that fact, democratic innovation would accelerate….

Danish Citizen Technology Panels (aka Consensus Conferences) – About once a year, the Danish government convenes an official panel of ordinary citizens to investigate some controversial technical issue, cross-examine experts, and come to consensus about policy recommendations for their parliament and their fellow citizens.

“Deep Democracy and Community Wisdom” by Tom Atlee. Given adequate group processes, a community’s decisions will always tend to be wiser than an individual’s by integrating a wide variety of viewpoints, which ameliorates blind spots.

Deep diversity. Human diversity is a problem when oppression is involved. It is a delight, a resource or a simple fact of life, when understanding and respect are involved. There are thousands of people doing good work on this issue. On the leading edge are people, like Harris Sussman, who tackle the full spectrum of human diversity without ignoring the role of oppression.

Deliberative democracy is outlined, and criticial issues explored, in this brief, dense, but clear academic review, “Is Face-to-Face Citizen Deliberation a Luxury or a Necessity for Democracy?” by Dr. John Gastil. Another excellent overview is from the Civic Practices Network website, “Deliberative Democracy” by Carmen Sirianni and Lewis Friedland.

Deliberative Democracy Consortium is a professional affiliation of researchers and practitioners linked to the growing movement of deliberative democracy. It plans to develop relevant theory, innovative practices, increased capacity and real-world applications of deliberative democracy.

Deliberative Inclusionary Processes (DIPs) of many different types are being used in hundreds of instances around the world to involve the public in environmental decision-making. This report describes 35 varieties and reviews many important issues surrounding their use. (There’s also a separate, less exhaustive review of 10 fascinating approaches to citizen deliberation, which goes into more detail on each one.)

Deliberative Polling. It can now be demonstrated how much people’s views on an issue change when they have a chance to study all sides of it.

“Democracy: A Social Power Analysis” by John S. Atlee. Democracy is about balancing many forms of social power, in many different ways. Here is a coherent theory of social power.

Demos. A U.S. national research and advocacy organization focusing on electoral reform and sharing economic opportunity more broadly. They are also trying to map the entire domain of democratic reform.

Demosophia. The complexity of modern problems requires that we move from “the power of the people” — which is the Greek meaning of the word democracy — to the “wisdom of the people”, or demosophia.

Dialogue to Action Initiative offers excellent resources on dialogue and deliberation of all kinds, as well as news, a calendar and shop talk for the community of practitioners and leaders in dialogue and civic engagement.

Dialogue. How can we talk to each other so that we all feel heard, and so we actually learn something and accomplish things together?

Direct Democracy. Citizens can make decisions, laws and policies directly in town hall meetings. Can they do it in whole states and countries? For an international academic site focused on direct democracy see C2D – Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy

Dynamic Facilitation. When groups are wrestling with difficult problems, they often stumble onto truly innovative solutions together if they’re allowed to follow their own interests and energy.

The Earth Charter is a people’s charter of enduring fundamental principles widely shared by people of all races, cultures and religions. It is intended to serve as a universal code of conduct for citizens, educators, business executives, scientists, professional associations, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society organisations, and national councils for sustainable development.

E-Democracy (Electronic Democracy). See Teledemocracy.

Empowered Deliberative Democracy is popular government in which ordinary people exercise active voice over important decisions that affect them through discussion, debate, and collaborative exploration.

From the Four Directions. What would happen if leaders involved in making a better world got together in a network of self-replicating circles of support and learning, designed to empower their capacity as servant leaders?  Meg Wheatley and her colleagues are finding answers to that question, as they bring together leaders on every continent.

Future Search Conferences – When it is time to review or co-create the future of an organization, community or situation, gather representative stakeholders together to look at their shared history, the forces currently shaping their shared lives, and the visions they can all buy into.

The Global Citizen. Articulate, extremely readable syndicated columns by Donella Meadows which help us to think systemically while enjoying a good story and soaking up vital information.

The Global Rennaisance Alliance. This citizen-based, international network of spiritual activists take a stand in local and national communities for the role of spiritual principles in solving the problems of the world.

Guaranteed Income. As odd as it may sound, more and more serious proposals are popping up all over the political spectrum suggesting that justice would be efficiently served if everyone were given a guaranteed income. It could be that people would have more time for citizenship, too, if they didn’t have so many money worries.

Harmonization through Dialogue. Richard K. Moore is one of a handful of radical progressive theorists who, while still grounded in a non-reformist anti-capitalist agenda, believe that the movement that’s needed must (a) embrace the full diversity of humanity and (b) be based on dialogue.

The Healthy Communities movement. The Coalition for Healthier Cities and Communties and the International Healthy Cities Foundation tackle a surprising range of of issues in empowering, democratic ways by simply asking what it takes to make a healthy community.

A House Divided by Mark Gerzon. America is divided into six seemingly mutually-exclusive belief systems, but believers in each subculture are reaching out to people from outside their enclaves.

Human factors in parking enforcement. (This URL is indirect. When you get to the linked page, type title:”human factors in parking enforcement” in the search box and <return> or <enter>. When the next screen comes up, click on the article name.) Designing a parking enforcement system that works for everyone in Chicago offers lessons in creating a democracy that could work for everyone. Taking into account how people actually think and feel and respond and function is crucial — and it requires both expertise and the involvement of stakeholders.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), also called Plurality-with-elimination. Voters rank the candidates in order of preference: first choice, second choice, third choice. If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and a second round of counting occurs. Ballots cast for the eliminated candidate would then count for the voters’ second choice, just as if those voters had come back to the polls for a runoff election. Rounds of counting continue until one candidate wins a majority of valid ballots.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The more economically self-reliant a community is, the stronger it can be, improving the health of its citizens, as well as of the region and country it is part of.

International Simultaneous Policy. Any country that tried to pass legislation controlling corporate power would be punished by international markets. At the very least, corporations would move their business elsewhere. So there is now a grassroots effort to coordinate passing the required legislation in the vast majority of countries simultaneously.

Living Democracy. Frances Moore Lappé and Paul Du Bois point out that “Democracy is not something we have. It is something we do.” Democracy is actually a way of life based on very different assumptions than we’re used to… (Their former Center for Living Democracy website is a great place to explore democracy book titles, among other things. It can be surfed through the Web Archive. Type http://www.livingdemocracy.org into the Archive’s WayBackMachine, and when it gives you a list of pages, click on Jun03,2001 and start surfing…)

The Loka Institute. Explores how technologies support and undermine democracy, and asks: “What role should democracy have in the development of technology?”

Mettanokit Prison Program. Real democracies don’t have full jails. Empowerment, spirituality, peer counseling and — above all — community can transform prisoners into stable, valuable citizens.

Motor Voter Registration. Since 1995 federal law has required states to provide uniform registration services through drivers’ license agencies, public assistance and disability agencies, and mail-in registration. However, the idea was to increase voter turnout — and the problem has proven more complex than it looked…

Multiple-Viewpoint Drama. What does a public issue look like when you see all sides in their raw, dramatic expression. Anna Deavere Smith created two monologue docudramas acting out the actual statements of people she interviewed who were associated with riots in Los Angeles and New York City. This could make the human complexity of any issue more real to decision-makers and citizens in their deliberations.

The National Budget Simulation: A computer game from the Center for Community Economic Research designed to give citizens a better feel for the trade-offs needed to balance the federal budget — you can cut or increase spending in various areas. This sort of thing would be informative on a variety of issues.

National Civic League is a 107-year-old nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works directly with communities to foster cross-sector collaboration and grass roots problem solving. It’s motto is: “Strengthening Citizen Democracy by Transforming Democratic Institutions.” It puts out the National Civic Review (“Making Citizen Democracy Work”) and recently established the New Politics Program“to recognize and promote innovative political reforms implemented across the country at the state and local level.” (NPP)

National Initiative for Democracy. (NI4D) Many states in the U.S. have “initiative processes” whereby citizens can propose, qualify and vote on laws of their own creation. NI4D offers a very powerful model for doing the same thing on the national level, but with lots of quality controls and in full partnership with the existing institutions of representative government.

Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. If we include nature in our calculations of costs and benefits, efficiency, and productivity — and develop some powerful nature-based technologies — market capitalism begins to make some real sense.

Natural Resource Leadership Institutes. Diverse stakeholders from all sectors — many of them long-time opponents gridlocked over natural resource conflicts — come together for six three-day sessions to explore how to creatively resolve such conflicts in their state. Their learning and their actions often bring about a shift….

Open Forums. Arny Mindell believes that the solutions to our conflicts and problems lie in the heart of the disturbances we try so hard to avoid, and we can find them there through a process which encourages all the voices involved to really speak to each other, and really be heard….

Open Space Technology. An amazingly simple way for dozens or hundreds of people to get together and talk about a topic they’re all passionately interested in — and have it feel more like a coffee break than a conference.

Pairwise Comparisons voting method. Voters rate the candidates for an office, their favorite first. In counting, each candidate is matched head-to-head (one-on-one) with each of the other candidates. Each candidate gets 1 point for a one-on-one win and a half a point for a tie. The candidate (alternative) with the most total points is the winner.

Participatory Budget. In Porto Alegre, Brazil (and more than 70 other cities), thousands of citizens and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) participate every year in deciding how their municipal budget will be spent — and then overseeing the resulting public works projects.

Participatory Deliberative Democracy. The idea of ‘government by discussion’ appeals to Elizabeth Meehan, a political philosopher from Northern Ireland, in her essay “Reconstituting Politics:  Democracy Unbound”.

Participatory Systems Thinking. Governance needs to move from problem-solving to systems-thinking — which, Roy Madron notes, requires properly led, designed, conducted and sustained processes for citizen and stakeholder participation, “since it is they who, collectively, ‘know’ the whole system in its current state, and it is they who will have to implement the new system….”

PEGS – Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society. A nonpartisan, ideologically diverse group of academics whose goal is “to promote serious and sustained inquiry into innovative institutional designs for a good society” and “to create a theoretical basis for the eventual restructuring of real world political-economic systems.”

“A People Science” by Alexander N. Christakis. Bringing out “the knowledge and wisdom of the people affected by a complex issue is necessary for the definition and resolution of the issue.” But the necessary and suffient level of dialogue to accomplish this “is not easy to practice.”  Developing this know-how is what “people science” is all about.

Perfecting Democracy’s Tools” by Hazel Henderson in Building A Win-Win World. One of the world’s premiere alternative economists reviews the expanding failures of 20th Century’s economic and political experts and power centers. She suggests that social innovation to make democracy more rich in self-organizing feedback loops is necessary to deal with the growing complexity of society’s affairs.

Pew Partnership for Civic Change. What workable solutions exist for communities? These folks have some interesting thoughts about collaborative leadership.

Plan for a Healthy Democracy is a project to synergistically combine two randomly-selected citizen deliberative bodies — one, a Citizens Panel of 12-24 citizens, the other a “Televote” audience of 600 — to pass informed public judgement on an issue, a ballot initiative, a slate of candidates, or the performance of elected officials.

The Plurality Method of voting. The candidate with the most votes wins. The winner does NOT have to receive a majority of the first place votes! (If this sounds familiar, it is. It is only included here to contrast to the other innovative voting methods…)

Plurality-with-elimination method of voting also called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Voters rate the candidates for an office, marking which they like best, second best, etc. After each round of vote-counting the candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated and a new round of vote-counting is done with the remaining candidates. When only two candidates remain in a round, the candidate with the most votes wins the election.

The Post Corporate World by David Korten. There are many actions that citizens and communities can take to create “create truly democratic, market-based, life-centered societies” that will serve them well over the long haul.

Principles of Public Participation. Getting a lot of people involved in public decision-making is always a good idea, right?  Well, that all depends….

Project Vote Smart. A one-stop database for candidate’s positions and links to advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum working in 56 different public issue-areas, including many that directly relate to democracy.

Proportional Representation. Contrasted with winner-take-all elections for legislative districts, any candidate or party in a state or (much larger) district who got a certain percentage of the vote (say 5% or 10%) would qualify for office. This produces legislatures that better represent the variety of perspectives that exist in the community, state or country. (This is the way most democracies in the world operate; so it is only innovative in the US and a few other countries.)

The Public Conversation Project. What happens when “pro-life” and “pro-choice” activists get together and talk? You’d be surprised how such conversations can deepen the humanity of all involved…

The Quickening of America by Frances Moore Lappe and Paul DuBois . Millions of Americans are learning “the arts of democracy”, redefining “self-interest” and getting just plain creative in their democratic citizenship. (A good introduction to their ideas can be found at “Living Democracy”.)

The Real Utopias Project. Some utopian visions are not as far-fetched as they seem. In fact, some social experiments we might think of as utopian are already underway, and worth some careful attention from academics and citizens. These folks do research, convene conferences, and then produce books on the results. Their online articles are inspiring and rigorous.

Redefining Progress. It helps democracies to have some measure of how they are doing. Communities around the world have developed local statistics to measure their collective well-being. This organization, Redefining Progress, tracks such innovations and has also developed a national measure of quality of life. (See also Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators)

Referenda. It is possible for people to vote directly on proposals and legislation, and in many states they do. But a process that started out as a means to empower the grassroots has attracted monied interests like flies to honey. What can be done to fix up this basically great idea?

Restorative Justice. Determining the harm resulting from a crime — not only to the victim, but to the victim’s friends and family, to the community, and even to the offender — and figuring out what needs to be done to repair these harms. Often contrasted with “retributive justice” which focuses on determining guilt and punishment.

Reworking Success by Robert Theobald. There’s more agreement for change than most of us realize, even among people in power. The core survival need is ecological integrity but this is only possible with effective decision-making. This, in turn, requires social cohesion achieved through a commitment to equity and justice. We can only find out what these changes imply if we provide people with safe spaces for conversation and dialogue.

Scenario and Visioning Work. “Without a vision, the people perish,” says the Bible. It turns out that looking into the future is one of the healthiest, most powerful things any group or community can do. Democracy without it is democracy blind. (See also Anticipatory Democracy and Future Search Conferences.)

Search for Common Ground. Get people on opposite sides of a polarized issue to debate each other — but with a twist: they have to “mirror” back to each other what the other said before they can reply. While clarifying their differences, they discover they share a lot more than they thought — and sometimes come up with projects to do together!

Simplicity Circles and the Simple Living Network. Consumerism has stolen our lives, our communities and our world from us — and we need to get clear on how that is still happening every day. Then, together, we can take them back and create new ways to live that contribute to the well being of people and the planet….

Socioeconomic Democracy proposes dealing with democracy-eroding wealth disparities by periodically and democratically adjusting a Universal Guaranteed Personal Income and a Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth.

Spiral Dynamics by Chris Cowan and Don Beck. How do we build politics and governance that embrace the different stages of human and cultural development?  Success at this will require a different kind of wisdom than we’re used to. For an introduction to this approach see Beck’s “The Search for Cohesion in the Age of Fragmentation.”

Spirit Matters by Michael Lerner. What is the proper role of spirituality in our public lives? Although “church and state” have been held separt in the U.S. for good reason, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need more spiritual sensibility in all parts of our culture to ground our democracy in values, caring, and wisdom.

Study circles. Ordinary people get together once or twice a week to study public issues together, explore what they think should be done about them and, often, take action together. Millions of Swedes do it.

Summer camps for youth action: Every now and then you stumble on a summer camp that’s all about helping youth make the world a better place…

A sustainable pattern language. What design elements do we need to take into account when we try to build a sustainable community?

Teledemocracy. There are dozens of ways telecommunications technology impacts — or could impact — democracy: people are proposing electronic voting methods, citizen activists are using email and websites, online dialogues are discussing public issues, candidates are campaigning through the web, governments are informing citizens through web pages…. This is a rapidly expanding field of democratic theory and practice — also known as “e-democracy”, as in Steven Clift’s online book The E-Democracy E-Book: Democracy is Online.

Tobin Tax (named after Yale Nobel-laureate economist James Tobin) is a proposed international excise tax on cross-border currency transactions that could help tame currency market volatility and restore national economic sovereignty — as well as raise billions of dollars raised could finance not only global environmental and human needs, but also — and we believe most importantly — democratic innovations like the ones mentioned on this page…

Towards a Global Ethic by the Parliament of the World’s Religions. A two-year consultation among more than two hundred scholars and theologians representing all the world’s major faiths produced this initial statement of those rules for living on which the world’s religions agree.

Transborder participatory democracy is (a) worldwide democracy practiced by the people of the world and (b) the right of the people to participate in any decisions that affect them, regardless of where those decisions are made. In its current stage of development, it manifests as the self-organized integration of grassroots civil society and activist networks around the world.

Transforming Human Culture by Jay Earley. Our prehistoric ancestors had a very grounded sense of life, from which modern societies have emerged into more alienated but (in many ways) powerful approaches to life. Our new challenge is to integrate these two ways into an “integral culture.” For a summary of these ideas see Earley’s “Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis”.

Visioning and Scenario Work. “Without a vision, the people perish,” says the Bible. It turns out that looking into the future is one of the healthiest, most powerful things any group or community can do. Democracy without it is democracy blind. (See also Anticipatory Democracy and Future Search Conferences.)

The Voters’ Bill of Rights is a 10 point campaign advocating some of the voting options described here plus campaign finance reform and a number of other reforms.

The Voting Game is a workshop designed to provide a hands-on non-judgemental experience of five voting systems. Participants vote for the same slate of fictitious candidates, using each of the systems, to see how the results differ.

Voting mathematics. It turns out that elections with more than two candidates can get rather complicated. It is really easy to get an unfair result using apparently good methods. This article explores how five voting systems work — Approval Voting, Borda count, Pairwise Comparisons, Plurality, and Plurality-with-elimination (also called Instant Runoff Voting)

Voting reform. Many of the ways to creatively reform our voting system aare described in detail here by the Center for Voting and Democracy , including descriptions of efforts around the U.S. to actually put them into practice.

Wisdom Councils. Every 3-12 months — with great fanfare — pick a dozen or two people at random from a population and then tell them to explore, using their own experience, what The People want and think should be done. Use dynamic facilitation. Then announce their agreements to the whole population.

The World Cafe. If a dozens of people show up for a conversation, put them around separate tables and, after 20-40 minutes of talking, ring a bell and have them move to different tables to continue the conversation. After a few rounds of this, a lot of interesting ideas will have arisen and moved around the room…

WTO: Shrink or Sink: The Turn-Around Agenda is an international campaign endorsed by over 1000 organizations from around the world, with a 11-step program for transforming the World Trade Organization into something that is nontoxic to democracy, community and life on earth.

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