Saturday, October 20, 2012

Democracy Doesn't Scale

In readings about indigenous governance, a recurring principle of harmonious social organization is that democracy doesn’t scale. American Indian tribes’ consistent rejection of the plenary power concept in U.S. law is partly based on their view that respectful relations and good governance cannot obtain when power is so distant and concentrated.

While not a new idea to the anti-globalization movement, the fact that American Indian experience with self-governance over long time frames led them to institutionalize limits on scale, as well as establish protocols for confederations and diplomacy that acknowledged this principle, lends a scientific validity to their claim. Given this principle, it is left to us to develop ways and means of transitioning to a more responsible system without neglecting the obligations incurred by the previous one–Indian treaties and Social Security being two primary examples.

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