We invite a range of perspectives and blog posts that are broadly aligned with our values.

Compassion versus competition as the new expression of democracy

The Civil Society Alliance promotes a new form of political organisation in the United Kingdom; compassionate democracy. Our objective is to usher in a transformed expression of democratic governance by recalling vital insights from Christian ethics. We contend that the partisan politics of left and right, so-called progressives, and the so-called conservatives, offer no real alternative to the pressing socio-political and economic challenges of the 21st century.

Arguing the case why progressives apparently don’t progress, and why conservatives apparently don’t conserve, civil society asserts that both left and right have forgotten the third vital element of the motto of the French Republic, which is; ‘Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité’.

The notions of liberty, equality and fraternity were originally linked by Archbishop Fénelon at the end of the 17th century. That linkage became widespread during the Age of Enlightenment. The Civil Society Alliance suggests that with liberalism, especially neo-liberalism, the emphasis has shifted to freedom and equality, and away from fraternity – brotherhood or fellowship.

Our political philosophies are now dysfunctional

As a consequence, the West now sits with a highly dysfunctional political philosophy. ‘Equality’ has become synonymous with ‘sameness’, resulting in merit being relegated to elitism, and ‘liberty’ has become synonymous with ‘license’ (anything goes as long as it has sufficient supporters). Moral responsibility is thus relegated to legal process and compliance and away from personal responsibility and personal agency. Consequently, many progressives see it as the state’s responsibility to resolve and be responsible for all human challenges. In contrast, many conservatives see it as the market’s responsibility to deliver human wellbeing; notwithstanding the implicit contradiction in terms.

Liberty and equality first require the responsibility of fraternity

The alternative case being argued here is that when we return ‘fraternity’ to the mix, we can see it as the apex of a triangle uniting ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’ and thereby enabling both aspirational perspectives to function effectively. But this means we must take personal responsibility for the wellbeing of our families, our neighbours, our communities, and our society. And that in turn implies a vigorous, responsive, and capable civil society – hence the initiative being identified as the Civil Society Alliance.

There are those who assert that competition for power is inevitable in the exercise of politics in systems of human governance. In contrast, we argue it is time for a compassionate democracy that re-establishes Fenelon’s ‘fraternite’, as Christian neighbourly love, at the apex of the triangle thereby not only uniting, but in essence sanctifying both freedom and equality.

Claudius van Wyk

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Why Progressives Can’t Progress & Conservatives Can’t Conserve – And How They Could

Joshua Malkin argues that the foundational principles of our long accepted political philosophies are no longer able to hold the contradictions of a technological, globalised world.

Seductive Liberty is over- rated, unless we put Good Will before conquest and self-interest.

Righteous Equality is over-rated unless we put Respect For Diversity before sameness and conformity.

But Mutual Fraternity is always under-rated because it requires us each to take responsibility for our own power and for what we create in, and extract from, the world.”

The amplification of power for good or ill, that technology bestows on us, comprises a wholly underestimated step-change that has overtaken us without our realising it. This constitutes a completely different political context which requires a new level of institutional and individual maturity.

“When 21st century Caesars have the technological, scientific and financial power to undermine, unpick and undo Creation, then the question arises, what is and is not Caesar’s? And to whom should we render it? What is our duty?” [i]

This new era of intensified human power urgently requires an evolutionary mind shift. It forces us to reconsider our picture of the human, both collectively and individually, as a being endowed with god-like powers of creation and mis-creation which demand a new level of ethical responsibility by means of a heart shift – the transformation of free will into good will, from independence to interdependence, that is both self-limiting as well as creative. Put another way we might say that our task is to use our intelligence regeneratively to protect life, real value and create wellbeing.

The problem with liberalism, conservatism and socialism is that they are no longer capable of fulfilling the main purposes of good governance – protecting the sacred and addressing our power to create and mis-create. But a new kind of democracy – based upon fraternity and human fellowship –  as opposed to liberal democracy based on liberty or equality, is beginning to emerge that potentially can do so.


The times we are living through have been described as a ‘fin de siecle’ era, when an old world is dying and a new one as yet has not been born. Often, in such times of uncertainty, instability and change it is understandable that people retreat to old answers within a worn out logic of old certainties that has already passed. Becoming either more left wing or more right wing, promoting either free trade or protectionism or ‘making our nation great again’ are all familiar examples. However, even in turbulent times, occasionally something comes along that shifts our perspective to refresh and reorient our gaze by renewing our wonder.

Recently millions of people have found wonder and awe in watching the miracles of nature that the BBC’s ‘Blue Planet’ documentaries reveal about our abundant living world – the only one – which as yet, present scientific knowledge can say for certain contains life within the unimaginable scale of the whole, known universe.

In these films it is not just every species that amazes, but the rich pattern of diversity itself, as we glimpse how each species fits within and is dependent upon a greater whole. Yet what remains taken for granted is the mystery of the extraordinary species that is examining, recording and celebrating the rich diversity of these ecologies. So it is timely to reflect again on our capability as human beings, not only to create the technology to observe and document the living world, but to appreciate each species as much more than a meal ticket.

Because humans have become a force of nature, how we explain ourselves to ourselves has significant implications, not just for the kind of society we make, but for every creature of every species on Earth and no doubt at some point, beyond.

Our image of the human being has not kept pace with our technological power, our scientific capability and the globalised results they have created. So what might a dispassionate observer – a cosmic film-maker for example – think of us?

In the modern era, we have come to see ourselves as separate from and above nature, above creation and for many as separate from God. The popular media see the human being as an intelligent animal, which at different times is depicted as a machine with a brain like a computer or a calculating predator, or a conditioned robot or a rational economic actor that is inconveniently capable of irrational emotion. These superficial equivalences completely underestimate what we are and are premised on a populist version of a secular kind of scientism rather than a science, which to date cannot fully explain the fundamental laws of the universe and has no comprehensive, provable explanation of consciousness, despite our technological successes.

One might say that in many important respects human beings are inconveniently not ‘evidence-based’. So,  We need a meta-level explanation, to see ourselves more clearly, of who and what we are that is useful, fruitful and coherent and is not reliant on the literal measurement of things that intrinsically cannot be measured. Because, ‘even where science offers understanding of how things work, it doesn’t tell us what they mean’. [ii]

In short, our secular society needs a new story to live by that science to date has been unable to provide and which takes into account our power to create and our ability to experience material reality in seemingly non-material ways.

It is clear that we are inherently inventive creatures and our power to create is both formidable and wide-ranging. For example, just as human ingenuity has allowed us to create ethical vegan menu choices of meat substitutes such as mock duck and mock chicken, super-rich tech-driven corporations using artificial “intelligence” are already well embarked upon a quest to create mock humans.

But programmed algorithms that can create mock “love” in robots will surely never equate to human consciousness, which freely chooses self-sacrifice and self-restraint for the purposes of relating to each other, to the world and in protecting and nurturing life.

Even within the limits of secular, linear, materialist science – given the manifold legions of complex interdependent, chemical, physical, energetic, biological and cultural systems, that make each of us able to think, feel and act in a millisecond with sophisticated discernment and focused strategic and relational complexity – it is doubtful that artificial general intelligence will be able to replicate the human being, even with the billions and trillions of dollars that the military-industrial corporations are currently spending on creating an omnipotent, perfect machine for exterminating life!

This juxtaposition raises the most important challenge of being human – how we deal with power – particularly how we deal with our own power to choose what to be and what to become.

Fin-de-siecle’ periods come about because the way we collectively see the world no longer fits our reality. The problem with liberalism, conservatism and socialism is that they are no longer capable of addressing our individual and collective power to create and mis-create.

The horizontal broken frame of the left – right spectrum has lost the ability to deliver the main purposes of politics

These include:

  • protecting the sacred (what we hold most dear)
  • constraining power that is self-serving whether of the market, the state or the individual (that degrades the common ground of  well being)
  • facilitating a hopeful culture of human evolution [that addresses who we are becoming] to leave a long term legacy for the future as much as merely managing resources
  • providing a frame of purpose to enable the economy to evolve a sustainable, generative life-enhancing model.

In contrast, the new political spectrum is vertical, integrative and evolutionary. [iii] It is vertical because to evolve we have to deal with power, which left to its own devices is hierarchical and, in contrast to human fellowship, compassion, well being, civil society and love has an impulse that has no brakes. Power of itself lacks any inbuilt self-restraining mechanisms.

Put another way the left – right political spectrum deals with other peoples power and not our own, through oppositional might rather than the moral power of human fellowship or love

The societal equivalent of the love that holds a functional family together is mirrored in the ethical values of civil society – namely respect, responsibility and reciprocity which build trust, safety, purpose and ultimately prosperity. This requires a social maturity equivalent to the feminine and masculine archetypes of the mother and the father who are motivated by service to the whole family as opposed to romanticised notions of the warrior and the maiden who both seek conquest and are seduced by the means of conquest.

Civil society is the associative social and economic space between and beyond the control of the Market and the State, where people are free to associate, relate, create, collaborate and reciprocate [in families, friendship groups, communities and through social enterprise]. It is a self-organising sector governed by the values of mutualism, which are protective of the foundational economy of the household and the relational value of the commons – the shared resources or value that are embodied by the services that humans and nature exchange.

If we still believe that the solutions required to meet the challenges of the 21st century lie only within the market or the state, then we are trying to deal with them through what is a part of an 18th century story. It is time to move beyond the French Revolution and the reactions to it.

The perspectives of liberty and equality areno longer able to provide a frame within which to appreciate in practice what it means to be human because both are based on the exercise of power rather than of fraternity, compassion or love.

If we adopt an ideology where we first demand liberty in the name of our own self-interest, we also have to accept the unrestrained freedom of despots – those who feel entitled to use their power to limit the freedom of others. The result is a conducive context for narcissists and sociopaths [for those who are self-regarding, extractive, domineering or degenerate]. This is the liberty of the freeloader’s market founded on the principle of maximising profit and power, rather than the ethical market principle of fair exchange or mutualism.

On the other hand, if we first demand literal equality, we demand sameness of others and reject diversity, enabling those with the most power to impose their version of sameness [political correctness] upon the rest, whether these are the state, the church, corporations or the BBC.

In contrast, human fellowship supports the equality of all beings to be themselves but this fellowship also requires accepting responsibility for our impact on others rather than our entitlement to act in whatever ways we want. Equality is not literal nor is it essentially about rights, it is about equality of being before a higher law – not literal legal equality that squashes diversity.

Social justice can not be achieved by a conformist, censorial orthodoxy of sameness delivered by statist bureaucracy or legal regulation. Fairness is not the same as equality.

Functional families conceive of real wealth not as money but as psycho-social-eco-spiritual prosperity that is ultimately relational. No successful families are organised on the principles of our political economy – that is to say by measuring monetary turnover by GDP   ( which in the UK now officially includes the proceeds of prostitution and drug dealing) or by first past the post democracy where all the kids get a vote to not go to school and stay up and drink beer until 3 am because we should all be equal. Instead, successful families are focused on the well being of all, on the nurturing of capability, the acceptance of difference, the gift of self-restraint and are based on values that generate respect, creativity, courage and accountability and thereby nurture reciprocity.  This creates a context conducive of mutual trust and arises not from our inalienable rights but from our inalienable responsibilities.

Therefore the new -ism for the 21st century is mutualism based on contribution and fair exchange. Progressives can only progress when they let go of their literal egalitarianism and accept that fraternity requires respect for diversity to rebalance the state. Conservatives can begin to conserve when they commit, in freedom, to civil society and its values to rebalance the dysfunctional aspects of the market.

Putting human obligations before rights is totally consistent with social justice and with real wealth creation.

Mutualism is more radical, more compassionate, more disciplined,  more boundaried and more traditional than liberalism, socialism or conservatism. These outdated political philosophies ignore our personal and collective responsibility in bringing into being, either a life-enhancing culture of well being and human fellowship or a degrading culture of disharmony, ill-being and fear based on the entitlement of the most powerful.

Consequently Civil Society requires Compassionate Democracy not liberal democracy and the personal accountability and creativity that is consistent with human fellowship.

Our human obligation is to use our creative power to live as stewards of all life on Earth – even the lives of those of other identities, other species and other tribes. Rights are a birth-right given us to fulfil our obligations.

Therefore fellowship and fraternity must come above liberty and above equality. But currently, no political party stands for human fellowship before they stand for sectarian interests. They are above all focused on gaining power rather than taming [their own] power.

The new paradigm is about how we think, feel and act, personally and publicly, through good will and good practice, which in turn leads to good governance. This involves a re-balancing of the market and the state by resourcing and empowering the family, the commons, communities and civil society, in which care- ability and kindness are fundamental.

In liberal democracy liberty sooner or later becomes veiled anarchy because the freedom to be cruel and life-degrading is held equal to the freedom to be kind and generative, so power is put before compassion.

But vengeful oppositional responses to the abuse of power are insufficient to negate it. For example, egalitarianism in reaction to the excesses of libertarianism becomes part of the same worldview.  Literal equality also puts rights before responsibility or obligations, thereby crushing difference, diversity and creativity. Consequently, egalitarianism is part of the old narrative too.

Compassionate democracy is not at all about righteous moralism; it is simply about recognising the power of who and what we are and the responsibilities that go with having the god-like power to create, which has become more evident in a globalised technological world, and which we ignore at our peril.

The new politics requires we put fraternity – good will and human fellowship – above and before both freedom and equality. By doing so we co-create a context that is conducive to human flourishing and the amplification of human intelligence and human fellowship rather than the amplification of power.

Liberty and equality do not automatically result in civil society, but liberty and equality naturally follow from civil society.

Our responsibility and duty, therefore, is towards each other before any can be free or equal. If we put human fellowship first, we can truly celebrate our individual and collective power to create, for we are then acting in congruence with what Buddhists might call compassion and with what Christians might describe as the Christ gesture.

Our duty then is to act beyond our own freedom. Perspectives of liberty and equality, in their shadow forms of extractive self-interest and life-deadening sameness, are the antithesis of good will and ultimately against life. Both are based on power that has no intrinsic self-restraining mechanism. Therefore freedom and equality are unhelpful foundations for a civil society based on the values of respect, responsibility and reciprocity. It is these values that can restrain the amplification of power because they are the societal equivalent of love, which is intrinsically both generative and self-restraining.


From “Being well : Beyond Liberal Democracy Towards Compassionate Democracy” by J. P. Malkin [forthcoming]


From “Harmony” by HRH Prince Charles, Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly


J.P. Malkin The New Political Spectrum


See David Bollier on the commons –

I would like to acknowledge conversations with Andy Bradley, Raymond Aitken, Claudius van Wyk, Andrew Scott and Sebastian Parsons in helping develop thinking in respect of the relational practice and civic value of compassion, the nature of equality, the evolution and image of the human being and the paradox of power.

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Compassionate Democracy – An Integrative Post-Brexit Vision Of Hope

Claudius van Wyk offers some thoughts on Compassionate Democracy as our collective evolutionary trajectory towards a new ‘Age of Humanity’. In its shift from ‘heroic conquest’ to ‘reverend embrace’, Compassionate Democracy potentially unlocks a holistic socio-political transformation of British society.

  • Compassionate Democracy transcends political polarization characterised by judgement, condemnation and demonization. It considers all people, however apparently misguided, to be doing the best they can with their current available resources; intellectual, social, and material. It embraces the individual, as the agent of evolutionary society, as being capable of on-going growth and positive contribution, when appropriately enabled. (As we forgive others…)
  • Compassionate Democracy is thus the political approach of compassionate society in which the humanity is not a problem to be solved but a resource to be brought forth, people are not treated as political sheep to be herded by commissars and spin doctors, as voting fodder to be wooed for the sake of partisan political gain, but the contemporary agent of cosmic evolution (Thy will be done…).
  • Compassionate Democracy thus prioritizes the management of human and natural resources with a view to liberating responsible and collaborative human potential. It consequently advocates a reduced ‘state’, and commensurate empowered individuals /communities, with a specific focus on self-organisation.
  • Compassionate Democracy transcends both the ‘survival of the fittest’ notion of social Darwinism, and the consequent socialist notion that the state ultimately needs to control resources. Adopting evidence of nature’s evolution as being patently holistic and collaborative, it views human consciousness as equally evolutionary, and the measure of that evolution being its quality of compassionate holism.
  • Compassionate Democracy, by representing the evolutionary emancipation of human potential rather than secular commercial or nationalist state interest, can promote an international collaborative network for globally catalyzed social, political, and ultimate economic renewal. It can be a further powerful agent for global change – re-appropriating that task from the international labour movement.
  • Compassionate Democracy is inherently resilient since its approach of place based social localism enables the optimisation of enriching diversity as opposed to bland collectivism.
  • In a world of AI and robotics the ‘ordinary man’ faces unprecedented challenges of being marginalized at the cost of a technocratic elite. But at the same time ‘capital’ is no longer the sole criterion of economic success – it has been replaced by knowledge and creativity. Compassionate Democracy will focus on unlocking individual and community knowledge, collaboration, and creativity.
  • Compassionate Democracy seeks active, self-empowered and informed civil society. It counters the growing call for an enlightened governing ‘epistocracy’ (as a super competent digital-age technological elite) with the notion that the technologically enabled can best align collaboratively in service with civil society, rather than in service of monopolistic mega-corporations and the state.
  • Compassionate Democracy will thus transcend the divide between capitalism and socialism, embracing the best intentions of the welfare state whilst liberating the creative power of individuals in the interest of healthy and vital communities. It will release the stranglehold of the political elite and give social innovation new breath.
  • Since its vison of human potential is informed by the notion of the sacred role of human consciousness, both in the husbanding of planetary resources that enable its being, and in carrying out its cosmic function a deeper spiritual resilience is activated. Ultimately evolutionary human consciousness is constituted by a quality of collective response emerging from the individual liberation of empowered global citizens – in its shift from ‘heroic conquest’ to ‘reverend embrace’ it unlocks the ultimate spiritual power of love.
  • The ‘welfare state’ emerged out of thinking initiated at Dartington Hall from the crisis of conscience related to two world wars. Compassionate Democracy can emerge from the more profound crisis representing humanity’s current viability as a species.

A Sketch of an Evolutionary Timeline:

From Autocracy (power of the few) – to Political Conservatism – to Liberal Democracy (power of the individual in the survival of fittest – freedom: ‘liberte’) – to Social Democracy (power of the collective in the state – welfare state: ‘egalite’) – to Compassionate Democracy (power of collaborative community consisting of autonomous, active and enlightened citizens: ‘fraternite’).


Magna Carta 1215 – drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury – absolute power of kings in UK curtailed

Medieval times – moral authority exercised through church

Protestant Reformation – 1517 – 1648 – ‘age of enlightenment’ initiated – scientism – see gradual emergence of secularism – morality embraced in laws

Henry 8th – Break with Rome – 1532 – 1534

European colonial expansion – from 1600 ->

English civil war – 1642 – 1651

‘Leviathan’ – Thomas Hobbes (Social Contract) 1651. Common-wealth

Oliver Cromwell – 1653 – 1658

Restoration of the monarchy – Charles 2 – 1660 – albeit reduced power – role of bishops – role of Anglican church.

‘Du Contrat Sociale’ – Jean Jacques Rousseau – 1762

American revolution – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson – 1763 – 1785 – King George 3

Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith – 1776 (rationale for capitalist morality)

French Revolution – ‘liberty, equality, fraternity ‘ 1789 – 1799

‘Communist Manifesto’ – 1848 – Marx & Engels

‘Das Kapital’ – Karl Marx – 1867 (rationale of socialist morality)

American Federation of Labour – 1886 – international labour movement initiated

Russian Bolshevik Revolution – 1917

‘Mein Kampf’ – Adolph Hitler – 1925 (national socialism)

WWII ends – socialist government in UK 1945

Collapse of European colonialism 1945 ->

UK Welfare state/NHS – 1948

Cold War – 1945 > communism vs capitalist west

Triumph of free market neo-liberalism – Thatcher and Reagan – 1980 ->

Collapse of communism – 1989 ->

Arab Spring and chaos – 2010 ->

Brexit brouhaha – 2016 ->


Compassionate Democracy? ->




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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”

 Holistic philosopher Dr.Claudius van Wyk reflects on what we can learn from Martin Luther King and those who inspired him on the anniversary of his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.

Martin Luther King was committed to non-violent social transformation. And that commitment whilst rooted in his enlightened Christian ethos – was profoundly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘satyagraha’ approach. King referred to India’s Mahatma Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of non-violent social change’’. He reportedly contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of these Gandhian principles.

As one of the writers who most deeply guided Gandhi’s political, spiritual, and philosophical evolution, Leo Tolstoy, experienced his own dramatic transformation. From landed aristocrat to social radical, he renounced property and position to advocate strenuously for social equality. It is reported that Gandhi eagerly read Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, the novelist’s statement of Christian anarchism. That book was described thus by Gandhi in his autobiography “(It) left an abiding impression on me.” And after further study of Tolstoy’s religious writing, he “began to realize more and more the infinite possibilities of universal love.”

Leo Tolstoy’s comment, from his great novel, ‘War and Peace’, that “…the greatest science is the science of the whole” has some profound implications. The whole is made up of its constituents – but they become transformed in the whole. This is the philosophical essence of the Christian ethos that informed Tolstoy, inspired Gandhi, and that motivated Martin Luther King. With this insight Tolstoy lamented: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” But then he reassures us that: “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”

From todays insights in complexity science, and our better understanding of the functioning of whole complex adaptive systems, we can see that Tolstoy’s insights are deeply significant. We can all influence the ‘whole’ in some way. Our individual lives matter.

In his inspiring book ‘The Silent Pulse’ (1986) George Leonard described attending a serrmon by Martin Luther King, accompanied by the famous journalist Cal Bernstein who was so deeply involved in exposing President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. King’s theme was simple: “Life cannot be fooled”. Leonard evocatively describes this sermon where King declared that injustice universally would be “…overwhelmed by the intrinsically redeeming forces of existence”. Leonard confirms that King had been schooled in the philosophy and tactics of Gandhi’s satyagraha, as non-violent truth force.

Though the message was simple, Leonard nevertheless describes how King preached his sermon in four eloquent modes of discourse; philosophically, historically, religiously, and emotionally. But beyond the inspiring rhetoric, King also invited participation in the civil rights movement, which, he assured, offered the chance to join with the flow of the universe, “…at the heart of which could be found forever the creative power of love”.

This theme of active engagement is brilliantly promoted in the book ‘Disclosing New Worlds – Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity’ (1997) by MIT academics Spinosa, Flores and Dreyfus. There they argue that human beings are at their best, not when they are engaged in abstract reflection, but when they are intensely involved in changing the taken-for-granted everyday practices in some domain of their culture. That, they suggest, is when they are ‘making history’. But they emphasise, that history-making “…refers to changes in the way we understand and deal with ourselves.

Their study goes on,”For King… the principle of equality was not just legal dogma in the United States; it expressed the early colonists’ sense of the infinite worth of every soul, and the practice of agape love, that ought to obtain if individuals appreciated the souls of other individuals.”

The authors emphasise that for King the American retreat from equality was not merely a legal problem that had been present with the United States from its constitution but a falling away from a concern with spiritual equality that had been part of American self-understanding from the time of the pilgrims.   Martin Luther King seized upon that deeper spiritual meaning of being human as intrinsic to the American dream, and challenged ordinary Americans to rise to their potential.

In today’s fractured world this ethos, that inspired King, Gandhi, and Tolstoy, appears to have become so contaminated with dogmatic religiosity, that the spiritual baby has all but been thrown out with the muddied bathwater – at least in the West. Yet President Donald Trump goes to church in Washington, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin goes to church in Moscow, as do increasing millions of new Christian converts in China, India and Africa.

Herein must lie a potent opportunity, and for that to occur it is surely time for a spiritual re-awakening. As Jan Christian Smuts said at the end of the 2nd world war when the talk was about a new world order; “We don’t need new orders – we need to return to the true order of the Man of Galilee.”


i] The title of this blog comes from Leo Tolstoy

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Above & Beyond Left Or Right Or Centre

Joshua Malkin, a co-founder of Civil Society Alliance, and a member of the Network of Wellbeing, suggests that just as the way that we measure or calibrate economic growth in terms of GDP is out-dated and dysfunctional, how we calibrate politics is equally so. The horizontal political spectrum is irrelevant to where most people want to go.

Re-naming the so called “free market” economic model as “extractive” gives a much more accurate picture of its intention and effects. An economy based on maximizing profit alone extracts value from people, communities and nature. At its worst it can degrade, corrupt and squeeze out shared value, leaving no room for individuals, communities and nature to flourish.

On the other hand the good news is that new economic forms of “for more than profit” do the opposite. They can be said to be generative of life, of civil society, of wellbeing and of nature.

This new compass that is an aid to navigating between actions, forms and attitudes that are generative rather than extractive represents a new perspective on political economy.

The old adversarial politics is about extracting maximum value for separate political perspectives, identities and self-interests. Each separatist political party position on the horizontal political spectrum is not about looking after the whole for the long term but about maximizing value for adversarial, separatist groups and ideologies in the short term. And this is why politics is repulsive and irrelevant to many. The fact that our democratic choice is determined by less than 1% of the population – the membership of the existing parties – makes our democracy all the more unstable and dysfunctional.

Our task is to re-imagine the purpose of politics and economics – to re-establish real value, humane values, principled leadership inclusive of many traditions united by a vision that is bigger than us all. That just may be possible through the lens of a new political compass that is generative rather than extractive.

Diagrammatic sketch J.P.Malkin

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Re-Imagine Britain – Politics But Not As We Know It

Mark Drewell author of ‘The Meaningful Economy’ and former CEO of the Global Responsible Leadership Initiative,  suggests a re-framing of politics congruent for an age beyond scarcity.

Britain was first into the industrial revolution. Now we can be first into “The Age of Humanity”.

In a technological society it is not scarcity that is the problem but redefining our shared purpose. This is about how efficacy, sustainability and social justice can be reconciled in an abundant world.

Our society has evolved beyond the thinking that created the system in which we are now all trapped. Rather than politics as usual, it is now time to re-configure the system. Our collective task is to re-imagine the purpose of politics as a co-creative process – to re-establish real value, humane values, principled leadership.

In the past British people have been ingenious inventors and social innovators. Let us harness the best of who we are by creating a new social contract between people, power and nature, which supports creativity, adaptability, initiative and enterprise from a place that restores human to human and human to nature relationships.

We need to find a new philosophical integration to create a new legitimacy and vision that speaks to and includes everyone –that builds new possibility through new objectives, new ways of measuring success and new ways of organising.

We need to re-balance our institutions to include civil society by re-localizing power and identifying new ways of defining value and exchange. The immature act of using power and wealth for self-interest against others is socially no longer acceptable and in the not too distant future will also begin to be  economically unviable.

It is time to set a new tone and style to politics by moving beyond partisan, adversarial approaches and seeking higher order collaborative solutions.

The new politics will be significantly more traditional, deeply more compassionate and profoundly more radical than any existing party is willing or able to embrace.

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