Climate change, biodiversity loss, income and wealth inequality, soil degradation, groundwater depletion, and other interrelated social and environmental problems pose grave risks. Although these problems are old and well understood, progress so far has been incremental and insufficient. As a result scientists, global policy experts, and the general public increasingly call for bold change across all sectors of society. At least two kinds of bold change are conceivable, both of which target societal systems (e.g., economic, legal, education, and governance systems) and/or their institutions, policies, rules, and priorities:
The focus of the Principled Societies Project is on #2, transformation. Reform is viewed as an important and necessary complement. John Boik, founder of Principled Societies Project, has proposed a science-driven (evidence-based) R&D program to design, test, and implement new societal systems that can better serve the common good.
A society can be viewed as a superorganism that expresses an intrinsic purpose of achieving and maintaining vitality. The systems of a society can be viewed as a societal cognitive architecture. The goal of the R&D program is to develop new, integrated systems that better facilitate societal cognition (i.e., learning, decision making, and adaptation). Our major unsolved problems, like climate change and biodiversity loss, can be viewed as symptoms of dysfunctional or maladaptive societal cognition. To better solve these problems, and to flourish far into the future, we can implement systems that are designed from the ground up to facilitate healthy societal cognition.
The proposed R&D project represents a partnership between the global science community, interested local communities, and other interested parties. In concept, new systems are field tested and implemented in local communities via a special kind of civic club. Participation in a club is voluntary, and only a small number of individuals (roughly, 1,000) is needed to start a club. No legislative approval is required in most democratic nations. Clubs are designed to grow in size and replicate to new locations exponentially fast. The R&D project is conceptual and not yet funded. If it moves forward, transformation on a near-global scale could occur within a reasonable length of time. The R&D program spans a 50 year period, and early adopting communities could see benefits relatively fast.
Participation in a club could offer numerous benefits to individuals and communities, including more stable economies; higher incomes; healthier and happier communities; improved problem-solving capacity; reduced uncertainty; increased funding for education, environmental restoration, and other worthwhile projects; and the creation of stable, high-quality jobs in local businesses. By design, incomes for club members rise and equalize over time, regardless of work status. This eliminates poverty and resolves other major problems that arise from income and wealth inequality.
Use the menu to view recent articles, science papers, and interviews; download the book "Economic Direct Democracy"; learn about the LEDDA framework; and interact with a simulation model of currency flows in a LEDDA. Please subscribe to our (low-volume) mailing list. We will use that list to announce developments and opportunities to further engage.