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NE Dialogues


It is possible, but we feel unlikely, that the next five thousand years will be just like the last five thousand years and that human beings in AD 7005 will be dealing with the same relationship issues we were dealing with in BC 3005. That would certainly say something about our specie. Some might, on the other hand, argue that things are so different now that comparisons with the ancient past are inappropriate, if not counter productive, to try to make. We take the position that many things are essentially the same as they have been, especially the mechanisms through which wealth and power are shared, and that government plays a central role in maintaining things as they are. There are, however, signs that people will use government differently in the future and the Center encourages us to stretch our imaginations to the fullest as to how that future might look.

One of the consistent factors in our history is war. Wars consume vast resources that ultimately lead to the inability of the warring factions to continue thereby allowing non-war to prevail until new factions develop the capacity to again wage war. This cycle is probably vulnerable since, for most of us, the purpose of war is to establish a safe place to raise up our children. Currently, fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims stand ready to again wage war in the service of God. In other words to wage war in order to have a safe place to raise up their children so that they might serve the God that they believe in and not somebody else's God. Should humanity opt to invest the vast resources such a war would demand, we pretty much know what the near future will be like. Should humanity opt to invest those resources differently, the future awaits human ingenuity and creativity.

The opposite of war is not necessarily peace. The twentieth century invented something called cold war. Essentially, this is the containment of those who would wage traditional "hot" wars. If our specie is able to resurrect the notion of containing those who would opt for active war, we free the future to do other things. Clearly those other things must include a different way to produce, distribute and share energy and an advanced appreciation of the connection between us and our planet and us and each other.

Fortunately most humans prefer to live and let live so the potential exists for fairly diverse points of view to coexist and there are signs that we humans will use government to address common needs more creatively. (see "The Lobster Coast", Chapter Seven, Pgs 276-278, and NY Times 6/29/05 "France Will Get Fusion Reactor To Seek a Future Energy Source", for examples of how this is being done).

We, at the Center, believe there are three categories in which governments of the future might serve the governed more effectively and we are working to support that at all three levels:

  1. At the macro level, there are global cooperatives like the six-member consortium of the United States, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and the European Union to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, (ITER). Such large organizations may be necessary to address certain major issues facing humanity like the production, distribution and sharing of energy; from a global perspective. Such large scale solutions to human problems require an organizational capacity to transition people from one set of tasks to another with minimum disruption both individually and for the organization they are associated with. The Center has developed an outline for such transition capacity which we call Differential Use of Governmental Resources, (DUoGR) and has suggested it as a mechanism through which the health care financing crisis can be resolved. Click here to see an outline of DUoGR.
  2. Local communities, including states and some smaller countries, can do all sorts of things differently when we are free to think outside the box. For example, a percentage of students could be allowed to learn outside the traditional educational structures and be allowed to move to advanced levels of study on the basis of their demonstrated achievement. So far there has been no success in containing the costs of education. Letting some of the students say, after age 11 or 12, study on their own with volunteer mentors could cut those costs. Energy production, distribution and sharing can also be done creatively at the local level. The people of New York City, for example, through a special investment tax, could erect 10,000 wind turbines in the ocean off New Jersey and thereby clean their energy act by 75 percent. The investment would pay for itself in twenty years. Just imagine a New York City in the year 2025 not having to be concerned about the cost of energy? The Center's primary volunteer project is building a data base that communities can use to assess the cost and benefits of their hoped for outcomes against. Such a data base is missing from the tools we now have. Click here if you would like to help with that project.
  3. TEN MILLION BLOCKS are a new way of thinking about how people might come together for a specific purpose that is either not being served by government and the private sector or that is being served so badly on those fronts that large numbers of people are willing to invest together to provide the service more functionally. In other words, to meet our common needs differently. Ten million people unencumbered by presidents, mayors, governors, legislators, CEO's, boards of directors, geography or sovereignty can do all sorts of things for themselves. When ten million people agree they want to do something, they/we pretty much have the power to do it.  The Center for Government Functionality, in order to illustrate how this might be done, has begun building a TEN MILLION BLOCK to provide the owners of that block with a personal site to organize information and communication around. Click here to see if you would like to be part of that effort.