The source of many of the problems that afflict us in today’s society, come from the system of collective decision-making. That is why it is one of the main paradigms that must be changed in society.
We know the vertical system (dictatorships), and the representative system (democracies), but we do not know a horizontal system of collective decision-making.
Vertical System: organization pyramid type, where the top gives the orders to the bottom, and the bottom gives the orders to the bottom. The upper level has less members than the lower level, to the tip of the pyramid where there is only one.
Horizontal system: all members are equal in importance, but are not uniform ie they are not equal in needs or capacities.
That we do not know about collective decision-making systems, for horizontal organizations, does not mean that they do not exist or that they have not been proven.
When in 1800 the French revolutionaries set themselves the task of creating a new system of collective decision-making, replacing the system of monarchy, which is a pyramid-like vertical decision-making system, where the king is At the top and under him are his ministers, who are on their own level, and so on until they reach the base of the pyramid, where we are the common citizens.
The French revolutionaries faced the problem that they knew no other system of decision-making than the monarchy, what they came up with was creating a time-limited king, and the system of separation of powers that we now call the republic, King of limited time put the name of president.
This president has like the king of the monarchy, a group of ministers who are under him. Thus was created the “democracy”, with a system of election of a temporary king, the president, by means of a voting mechanism, based on the simple majority, but a mechanism of representation of the population that is the congress or assembly.
The problem of Collective Decision Making
The problem of collective decision-making has two parts:
1- The problem of how to reach a consensus.
Nature makes each human being different, both in appearance and thought and opinion. With so many different opinions, how do we agree to make a decision? In vertical systems such as dictatorship, monarchies, there is no such problem, since the decicion is taken by the one on up, the king. But how to do when we all have the same rank, the same importance.
A first approach to solve this problem, is “democracy”, where decisions are taken by simple majority, ie by the opinion of half plus one. In theory, it was thought that this mechanism would work, and that the simple majority, when winning would take into account the opinion of the losing minority.
In practice, the selfish nature of the human being, who enjoys the suffering of other human beings, ignored the opinion of the losing minority. To solve this problem, an improvement was made to “democracy”, and the qualified majority was created, which consists in increasing the proportion to be the winning opinion, this time 2/3 instead of being half plus one.
But the same thing happened again, the selfishness of the man made the winning majority unknow the losing minority. Thus, “democracy” became the dictatorship of the majority.
Other small improvements have also been made to the democratic systems, to press for the achievement of consensus, such as a double ballot, and dissolution. But none of these small improvements have given an effective response to the consensus problem.
2- The problem of the large number of participants.
When the number of participants in decision-making is a collective of 200 people, with 200 different opinions, discussing a topic is a process that takes months, but when there are 20 million, it is totally impossible to discuss a topic, since a first Round of opinions would take months not to say years.
The first solution was to make a group of people the representatives of these millions of people, these people would represent the opinion of millions of people, and a discussion of a topic with a small number of people would be possible.
That was the theory, in practice, the egoism of the human being did that this group of representatives, make decisions that favored themselves, and not the millions of people who claimed to represent, for that reason, what truly is created, was a new version of the old “plutocracy”.
That is, instead of democracy, we have a “plutocracy” that represents us, and that obeys the interests of the elites rather than the interests of the citizens, as this scientific study shows: http://www.upworthy.com/20-years-of-data-reveals-that-congress-doesnt-care-what-you-think And as it is basically the same democratic system in almost all democratic countries, the problem is the same in all.
Plutocracy: A society governed or controlled by a small group of people.
It is interesting to note that even though there are 200 delegates, these do not get to hold discussions where everyone participates. We can verify this, by ourselves when seeing the sessions of the congress or assembly, which are transmitted by Internet.
The sessions of the congress are so long and boring, that the reality is that the assembly members are grouped based on their individual interests and only a few express their opinion in those long assemblies.
In what we know as “democracy,” the problem of the large number of participants was solved through the creation of a decision-making intermediary representing millions of citizens.
That is why what we know as “democracy” is not a direct democracy, but a “representative democracy”, and if we want to be more attached to reality, what we have is a democratic “plutocracy”.
Thus, the citizens delegate their power to this intermediary, who represents them, that is, makes the decisions for them. The main intermediary is the president, the other intermediaries are the congress or assembly.
There are also other temporary intermediaries, these are the “candidates”, since when we vote for a public office, we have no option to vote for any citizen, but for a limited group of citizens, Temporary Intermediaries.
The solution of “intermediaries” in participatory democracy, while solving the problem of interacting with millions of participants by limiting participants, creates the problem that these “intermediaries” can deceive citizens by promising to monitor the interests of the citizens and then do what interests only the “intermediaries” and not the citizens.
In addition, who selects the “intermediaries” or candidates?, we know that the intermediaries are selected according to the capacity that each “intermediary” has to campaign, and to campaign costs money, that is to say the intermediaries are selected according to their capacity of access to Financial resources to campaign, therefore the intermediaries are dependent on the bankers, that is, they can and are selected by the bankers.
Which brings us to the question, because we are sold to participatory “democracy” as the only model of “democracy”, without telling us their failures? Who benefits from hiding this information? – The bankers – and who hides the information? – The education system and politicians.
New Tools to Solve these Problems.
More than 200 years have passed, the world has changed a lot, and we have developed new tools to solve these two problems, we will comment a little what we have achieved with them.
The Intelligence of the Masses
In 1906, Francis Galton, an elitist family of Charles Darwin, made an experiment to demonstrate the ignorance of the masses, arguing that only the elites favored by nature should be able to make decisions, since the crowds are too dumb, since they are born Disadvantaged by natural selection.
And therefore the masses should not be part of the group that makes the decisions. That is, the masses should not be able to vote.
At realizing the experiments, apparently Francis Galton have reason, but at analyzing deeply to results, is was proved all the opposite to what Francis Galton and the Darwinism said. When consulting the masses by the weight of a cow, the values given by each person, are far from the real value, and only few come close to the real value, so Francis Galton was apparently right.
But if you average the result of more than 150 people, the error is less than 5% of the real value. That is to say, although many people make mistakes above and below, when consulting a large mass, errors are canceled and we obtain the information we seek with good accuracy.
That is, individually we can make a lot of mistakes, but collectively we can be very precise and make the right decisions. More in this video:
https://youtu.be/6I6tfyKefss how to apply the wisdom of the masses?
Tens, Agile Methodologies
The software development industry is the most competitive industry in the world, since the requirements to participate are very low, it only requires a computer and Internet connection, since the most important thing is the knowledge of the programmer. And the system of collective decision-making is one of the problems it has faced.
This industry changes so fast that it is even a challenge for programmers to keep abreast of advances in computing. This has forced the development of methodologies for teamwork, as it has been shown that vertical organization is obsolete for this type of business. Thus the agile methodologies were developed, where it was discovered:
- Horizontal equipment from 7 to maximum 11 people. With more people it is impossible to be coordinated, since all are at the same level of importance and communicate with everyone.
- The organization is horizontal, where no matter your specialization, since it was discovered that the opinion of any individual, can solve the problem of the field of another specialist.
- The decision making is horizontal, but the execution is vertical, turning to the horizontal organization at the end of the vertical execution. This being a cyclical process, biweekly weekly or daily.
- For teams of more than 10 people, they are divided into groups of 10, where one representative of each ten meets with other representatives of another ten, to complete 10 people, at which time a second level of tens are made.
This form of group representation of 10 has proven to be highly effective, and has been used in the software development industry since 1990.
But in the Bible, we can see a similar system of grouping and representation in tens, Exodus 18:21. That is to say, the solution of the work in tens is a rediscovery of a form of work that already has more than 2,500 years of invented.
More answers, than only Yes or No.
We are accustomed to voting on each other and not, but there are other ways to enrich the answers, one of them is to add two more options:
- In disagreement.
- I abstain, I do not know, I do not care, more or less.
- Totally against, first dead.
In addition to adding two more options, these votes are repeated again until there is no or very few votes with option 4 (totally against).
This has been given the name of “decisions by consensus”. Replacing voting by a simple or qualified majority.
Loomio It is a tool that implements this mechanism.
Holacracy, Solving is Important.
This system is quite different, here agility is sought by avoiding decision making.
Holacracy is a system for self-management in organizations, where the traditional management hierarchy is replaced by a new peer to peer “operating system,” which increases transparency, accountability, and organizational agility.
Through a set of transparent rules and a proven meeting process, Holacracy allows organizations to distribute authority, empowering all employees to take a leadership role and make meaningful decisions.
|In traditional organizations||In Holacracy|
|Job Descriptions |
Each person has exactly one job. Job descriptions are inaccurate, rarely updated, and often irrelevant.
Roles are defined around work, not people, and are regularly updated. People fill several roles.
|Delegated Authority |
Managers often delegate authority. Ultimately, his decision always outweighs others.
|Distributed Authority |
Authority is truly distributed to teams and functions. Decisions are made locally.
|Great Reorganizations |
The organizational structure is rarely reviewed, commanded from the top.
|Quick Iterations |
The organizational structure is updated regularly through small iterations. Each team organizes itself.
|Office Policies |
Implicit rules delay change and favor “knowing” people.
|Transparent Rules |
Everyone is bound by the same rules, including the president. The rules are visible to all.
Holacracy, is the page of this form of work.
GIT, the Simultaneous Work of Millions of People about the Same Document.
Developing software, is basically writing a text file in a language that computers understand. As this file is modified over time, the problem of version control appears.
When it is a single person writing the file, version control does not have problems, simply with each change of the file is assigned an increasing number of version, and thus we have the control of versions that allows to compare the file in different dates.
When we are several people, we can take turns of the editing time over the file, example: today you, tomorrow you, the day after tomorrow him. But when there are hundreds, thousands or millions of people, version control is a problem. What is the solution?
Thus, in 2005, public software developers (and particularly Linus Torvalds) created GIT, a version control system that allows millions of people to work on the same file at the same time!
The Theory 90 9 1.
Theory formulated in 2006 by Jakob Nielsen. It is also called Participative Inequality. It stipulates that any site that requires the collaboration of a community for its operation, suffers an inequality in said participation, which is represented by approximately the following proportions:
- 90% of the users are “onlookers”. They are dedicated to observe and never contribute any content, but they are important since they are the most numerous and passively support.
- 9% of users contribute from time to time and incidentally, representing 10% of the content of the platform.
- 1% of the users contributes more than 90% of the participations and other activities of the system. This 1% is called “superusers” (Heavy Contributors), as their activity far surpasses that of the rest of the community.
This theory is important because it reveals the reality that we do not need the 100% active participation of all stakeholders to develop an issue in a community.
This buries the false belief that everyone must participate in order for the development of a topic to be successful.
What is true is that everyone should be equally important, and therefore should have the opportunity to contribute. This is in agreement with our article Reviewing:Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.
The Experience of these New Tools.
Thanks to these tools that come hand in hand with the advancement of computer technology and the Internet, problem 2 has been solved. It also removes the problem of “intermediaries” and control of the Elites (although the obviating elites do not want to lose the power they now have).
And this solution has a price, which is learn these new tools. That is to say, it´s necessary to educate the citizens in the use of these tools.
Problem 1, which is the most difficult of the two, has been solved as well, but as say the groupings which using Holacracy, Loomius, Tens and Agil Method, GIT, the problem now is the educational training of the human being. Since these tools work, the problem is we humans are not prepared to work with them.
Therefore, we are in a phase of transition, human beings are formed in vertical structures of thought, but we have to work with horizontal structures of thought.
This generates a mental conflict in the human being, being formed in one way but having to work in another. We are experiencing a paradigm shift process.
Nor is it anything new that we are not prepared to work in a community of equals. That we can easily see in history, even in the history of software.
The educational problem we have is so serious that we have had to accept our inability to work as equals. And that is why a role has emerged in this intermediate phase known as the “Benevolent Dictator”.
Dictator in this context, refers to a person who has the last word and decision power when the community can´t reach an agreement. And Benevolent is refers, that he works for the welfare of the community and makes concessions to reduce disagreements and avoid division.
As we are already aware of the gigantic educational problem we have, we can visualize the problem by analyzing the image of this article, we understand that we do not reach the middle line, since we get caught looking at the contradictory forms of circles and squares, without Being able to reach the peace of the union in the cylinder, since the cylinder is a higher level of understanding of the problem.
Thus, the benevolent dictator, is a necessary emergency measure to the seriousness of the educational problem we have (from cylinders and squares reach the cylinder).
Of course, choosing the right benevolent dictator is not a simple task, and people change over time, and the benevolent dictator of today can be the evil dictator of tomorrow. That is why it is an emergency solution and not a definitive solution to the problem.
The benevolent dictator does not come to power by means of votes, but by the work he has contributed to the community, since he is part of the 1% that are dedicated to the success of the community.
And you do not need an election to replace the benevolent dictator, but, if anyone seems to do a better job than the benevolent dictator, you can make a copy of the project and with much effort make a better solution for the community, and the community will follow him. No elections are needed, just to show that you can do a better job.
In a way it is to take up again the idea of the King. And the monarchies are not bad in themselves, the bad thing is when the king has not as priority the country, but himself and his family.
Examples of benevolent dictators exist even outside the software development environment: such as Lee Kuan Yew and France-Albert René, recognized for the high level of well-being that they brought to their population.
And this is the case of Liechtenstein, a country that confirms all our economic and political ideas. With a benevolent dictatorship that can be replaced at any time by its citizens. Can you be a dictator and totally liberal? Impossible would say many, but reality shows that yes.
The Final Solution
The real solution to this educational problem is the change of the educational system: Ten principles of the New Circular Education, since in the 21st century there are the necessary tools to achieve the Union, the problem is we are human beings.