How to govern ourselves: How Sociocracy can help Scotland

CommonSpace spoke to John Buck who is in Scotland to share the values of a new system of governance

HOW TO GOVERN, ORGANIZE AND MAKE DECISIONS in a new age where the old ways of running things have seemingly failed to offer change, hope or a sense stability. 

Most organisations are governed by top-down or command and control management. An overall boss gives orders based on his or her sense of where the entity should go without major input from those who work under them. This management approach is based on the idea that the boss has all the answers and that the employees will be slackers if not kept in line.

But a series of workshops called 3 day Introduction to Sociocracy’ has come to Scotland based on the idea that peer to peer governance is the best way to relate to people, make decisions and run anything from a company or council to a country.

Occurring between May 30  and June 1 at the Clyde Community Hall in Glasgow the introductory conference will look at teaching the principles of sociocracy.

“I think people here will be more and more open to the ideas of sociocracy as a powerful way to organise from the bottom up and in mutuality not from the top down.” John Buck

Sociocracy, or “ dynamic governance”, is a principle of structure developed by Gerard Endenburg, a Quaker born in the Netherlands who was the CEO of Endenburg Elektrotechniek during a recession. He developed sociocracy as a way of providing a non-authoritarian type of governance that empowers people to make decisions collectively and creates trust and effective decision-making.

John Buck first came to Scotland well before the referendum when the country was wrapped up not just in the basic constitutional questions of a country but on how to run a new country and the institutions within it.

In 2006, the Findhorn Foundation associated with the eco-village of the same name were making pioneering strides in research around non-violent communication, as a result, Buck found himself in Scotland working alongside the group and ever since has teamed up with a number of organisations across Scotland.

“The notion that you determine truth using competition has not worked.” John Buck

For Buck and Deborah Denham, who have both returned to Scotland to hold the conference and series of workshops on sociocracy, groups such as GalGael Trust, a community and heritage hub that trains and supports communities and the vulnerable holds the key to new ways of organisation and governing.

“Scotland is one of the more politically active societies going now. Where people are asking what people everywhere should be asking. Is how do we want to do it better? That isn't that usual around the world.

“I think people here will be more and more open to the ideas of sociocracy as a powerful way to organise from the bottom up and in mutuality not from the top down.

“Scotland is one of the more politically active societies going now.” John Buck

“The notion that you determine truth using competition has not worked. Since the 1980s, literally that recently, this aggressive style of governance has become turbocharged and it’s had an adverse effect on almost every part of our lives.The golden rule is – he who has the gold has the rule. Ownership is an example - we need a shift in control from the corporation of autocratic control to the consent of all. Both ends thinking.

“As our society has become more complex, we need to think of new ways to govern beyond the current ideological limits.”

Buck, a certified sociocratic organisational consultant, urged those interested in learning about how sociocracy could increase transparency, improve their quality of life and society to also come to the forum theatre event on Wednesday 31 May at 6pm which will be an interactive affair where the audience can learn more.

Picture courtesy of Wiser Earth

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