Collective Agency is a workplace democracy; the way people want their city or village to be, is how we are here in our workplace.
Lately I’ve been working to define democracy, since I’d like it to be a concept and practice of more people in their day-to-day lives, at the level of personal relationships, workplaces, and traditional governments.
I think to sell healthy democracy to people, the best opening definition might be:
“Democracy is a self-governing group where members ask for or make happen what they very much want, while being considerate of what other members very much want, where:”
(and then more info)
It’s attractive to people. And I’m wondering, is that a valid way to start?
Here’s an excerpt from Theories of Democracy by Frank Cunningham (my favorite book on democracy), page 7:
“Broadly described, government might be exercised according to [Aristotle] by one person, by a few people, or by many people, and in each case such rule may be exercised properly or improperly. Proper (or ‘right’) rule is undertaken for the common good while improper rule aims to serve private interests, whether of the one, the few, or the many themselves. By ‘common good’ Aristotle did not mean the interests that people happen to share, but that which is good for their community, since a good community for him promotes the well-being of all its members by allowing them to exercise their proper potentials and to lead virtuous and successful lives.”
Governance that isn’t focused on increasing wellbeing for people overall is wrong. Governance to increase wellbeing for people overall is right.
“This yields an initial classification of six forms of rule: royalty, where one person rules in the common interest; tyranny, a ‘deviation’ of royalty, where one person rules in his private interests; aristocracy or proper rule by the few; oligarchy, which is the deviant form of aristocracy; proper rule of the many, called ‘polity‘ by Aristotle; and its deviation for which he reserved the term democracy (Aristotle 1986 [c.320 BC]). …”
So ‘polity’ (the good form of democracy) is what I like (although I don’t think that will sell as a word). And people in the polity can delegate responsibilities and roles to individuals or an individual, in which case I consider it to be not royalty but still a polity, if the people can get their power back when and if they want it.
More to come.