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The Evolution of Democracy

Democracy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for creating internal cohesion in a community or nation.

Only when communities and nations fully embrace the values of freedom, equality and accountability (Level 4 Societal Consciousness), and fairness, openness, transparency and trust (Level 5 Societal Consciousness) can they truly attain internal cohesion.

  • Freedom: One of the two fundamental values on which democracy is based is freedom—the freedom to voice your opinions, and the freedom to vote for a candidate of your choice in a local or national election.
  • Equality: The second fundamental value on which democracy is based is equality—the recognition that if you have the right to freedom and everything that comes with that right, then others should have the same rights too and those rights should not be abused by any other person. 
  • Accountability: This leads naturally to the value of accountability—the practice of responsible freedom. If everyone agrees that freedom and equality are important then everyone must take responsibility and accountability for making sure that all their actions are in support of these values. 
  • Fairness: This leads naturally to the value of fairness—the practice of being accountable for living the value of equality. Unfairness arises when people are not held accountable for ensuring that their actions support the value of equality. 
  • Openness: This leads naturally to the value of openness—the process by which fairness can be guaranteed. Openness leaves no doubt about the motivations that people have in making decisions. Motivations must be disclosed for openness to be lived.
  • Transparency: This leads naturally to the value of transparency—the complete disclosure of all documents and materials that indicate how decisions have been made. The best way to ensure transparency is to make sure that every aspect of the process by which decisions are made is open to public view.  Nothing must be hidden for transparency to be lived.
  • Trust: With fairness, openness and transparency established, the conditions are right for the development of a culture of trust. Trust also demands honesty and integrity which flow naturally once fairness, openness and transparency are established.

The best way for local and national governments, and public sector organisations to make sure these seven values are lived is to institutionalise them.

Make them the espoused values of the organisations that comprise the public administration. In this manner everyone involved in the development of public policy and the delivery of public services would be accountable for living the values that support democracy. This is an example of what is called called structural alignment.

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TNLP References

Chapter 25: Internal Cohesion in Society