Cenocracy: A Declaration for Greater Independence
Developing a New Theory of Government
— Margaret Levi —


The following article Why We Need a New Theory of Government by Professor Margaret Levi, is a short comparative analysis that brings several points to bear on discussions focused on trying to develop an idea for a better functioning government. It does not explicitly state what that theory is, per sey, nor even what it might be called. Nonetheless, it is a good reference for those who are tired of the mainstream arguments about one or another fault in the phony Democracy being spoon-fed to the public, whose typically one-sided journalistically-styled "discussions" don't even begin to attempt a comprehensive approach towards analysis or constructive theorizing. But Professor Levi is not alone in her propositional adventurism. There are many others who sincerely want to develop an idea for creating a better functioning government. Yet, such discussions, or at least the idea about searching for one, must be diffused throughout society in order to get everyone, if not thinking long hours about it, then to at least make everyone aware that such efforts are underway... in order to prepare them for the eventuality, and not be shocked when such a conformation is introduced into practice.

(Additional comments follow Professor Levi's Discussion.)

Why We Need a New Theory of Government
Margaret Levi

In the 1970s some of us endlessly debated theories of the state. The “us” included my recent predecessor Theda Skocpol, my immediate successor, Ira Katznelson, and several others in this room. What intrigued us was a vast literature, grounded in neo- Marxism and covering huge swaths of history and geography. Nearly all the important books and articles were by Sociologists and historians,1 but with Structure and Change in Economic History, my then colleague, economist Douglass North, transformed the debate by bringing transaction costs to bear in modeling the state’s role in economic growth.2

Most political scientists now acknowledge the importance of this perspective, but it nonetheless helped precipitate twenty years of divergence between historical and new economic institutionalists.3

Once again we are increasingly part of the same conversation. We are driven by a common desire to understand what makes for effective governments and how to build them. Effective government is one that not only protects its citizens from violence but also promotes economic growth, supplies the public goods the populace needs and desires, develops mechanisms of popular accountability, and ensures relative political and economic equity. The most effective governments are probably in democracies, but not all democracies have effective governments, and there are relatively effective governments in non-democratic states.

We have made considerable progress as social scientists in identifying the key components of both effective and ineffective government. We have excellent descriptions and even good equilibrium theories to account for stability. We know quite a lot about why states fail and about the conditions that cause them to unravel. We are increasingly expert at explaining post hoc why some governments, performing so well on so many dimensions, suddenly fall apart. Think Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, or even the Soviet Union. But how do we build them back up? How do we improve those (nearly all) that need improvement?

What we lack is a dynamic theory, one that demonstrates how to go from ineffective to effective government, how we move from a problematic equilibrium to one we prefer. How do we generate governments that promote economic growth, relative equality, and political equity?4 How do we go from low participation to high? How do we change an inequitable society to one that is just and fair? How do we end corruption and institute impartial but compassionate bureaucrats? How can we transform governments that have failed their citizens abysmally into governments that protect their citizens, provide them with health, education, infrastructure and other public goods? And how can we transform democratic governments with advanced economies that serve some of their citizens very well and most of their citizens very poorly into democratic governments with advanced economies that serve all of their citizens equally well?

If the story is all in structure, geography, demography, initial conditions, path dependence and exogenous shocks, then perhaps we should simply sit back and let history take its course.5 But to say that there are constraints and that some of those constraints are quite rigid is comparable to describing human mentality as only hard wiring. Humans learn, and so do societies. When a combination of individuals with the incentives and imagination to figure out how to operate better within or even to overcome the status quo, we observe institutional transformation and creation. Trade cartels, bureaucracies, universities, and courts are just a few of the myriad examples of the institutions human beings build.

My emphasis is decidedly on the construction of government that performs well for the polity as a whole. I draw on a wide range of analyses of institutions and organizational governance as well as on significant research on protest and resistance. Others whose work I avidly consume focus on social capital, civic engagement, and social norms—claimed as essential elements for enhancing cooperation within civil society and for producing better government. Although I argue that the causal arrow is more likely to go from government to civic engagement than vice versa, the question of the relationship between civil society actors and government remains intellectually fruitful. Indeed, I believe a theory of consent—or at least compliance—is a necessary element of any reasonable theory of effective government. If the populace—or at least enough of the populace—cannot minimally express support, the government is likely to flounder. But I also want to stress the importance of the combination of governmental institutions and leadership and the role they play in inducing the preferences that help create and sustain the kind of polity we seek.

What we know

To develop a dynamic theory of effective government that is theoretically compelling and useful for those seeking to improve governmental performance requires us to, first, lay out what we know about the reasons for variation in governments; second, clarify the ingredients of an effective government; and, finally, figure out how to move from ineffective to effective government.

Actually, we know a lot. We remain influenced—if sometimes indirectly—by those long-ago debates on “theories of the state.” Fortunately, there is less concern now with rather abstract “theories of the state” and more with government, the organization and individuals who establish and administer public policies and laws. Major shifts in the personnel, policies, or even form of government can change while the state remains stable.6 But those shifts can have significant consequences for the effectiveness of government itself. The officials who staff government are the moving parts of the state. They are selected and deselected; they can be responsive or innovative.

There is now consensual rejection of the pluralist view of government as a playing field (or perhaps the referee of a playing field) in which various groups duke it out. Government actors are important players in their own right: they affect the rules of the game; they distribute or redistribute political and economic resources; they can dissipate a polity’s wealth or enhance it. This is not the government of pluralist theory. But nor is it the Leviathan of Hobbes.

For Hobbes, the key to an effective government is first, foremost, and solely centralized coercive power in the hands of the monarch. His government was neither part of an inter-state system nor the captive of any particular class or group. Its population was homogeneous, and they were happy to gain security in exchange for their compliance with an authoritarian government.

Now, of course, we all know that we have and must go beyond the Hobbesian model. But do we really know that? Have we really gone beyond it? The world of 17th century England may have relatively few similarities to 21st century Britain or the United States, but it has considerable similarity with many parts of the world currently embroiled in civil wars and political violence grounded in religion, ethnicity, and tribe. Does that make the Hobbesian solution a good one for those countries? I think not. My reasons include normative objections to the kind of centralized and coordinated power Hobbes’ government embodies. But my reasons are also far more pragmatic. We cannot assume a social contract. Nor can we assume compliance with a government justified only by the state’s ability to provide security of person and property rights. We cannot now and never really could. So, even for the parts of the world where Hobbes might be most relevant his is a problematic solution.

Government, and especially effective government, does not just happen, even when there are well-designed constitutions and particularly when there are not. Most countries experience stops and starts in their efforts to build states and better functioning governments. We think of France and Japan as highly centralized, but it was not easy to make them so. Forging a national identity required the conquest of provinces and their lords. Britain and the U.S. might now have nearly zero levels of official corruption, but it took centuries to attain that goal. The development of effective governments implies gaining compliance with laws, and doing so sometimes requires the loss of lives, including those of tax collectors, census takers, and draft registrars. Understanding how France and Japan centralized, how Britain and the U.S. eradicated most government corruption, and how all gained relatively high compliance with their laws offers lessons for countries tying to build effective states today. Experiments, adaptations to local and international conditions, social movements, and innovative leadership are all part of the story.

The path of these state builders provides but one possible route—and one filled with byways and diversions even among them. Early modern European states arose in response to wars with each other and within their boundaries. Wars drove the search for means to produce revenues and conscripts.7 Other states emerged as settler colonies of those original modern states and adopted their institutions and constitutions—albeit with significant variation in terms of how well they took root or contributed to democratization and economic growth.8 And many of the current state- and government- building efforts are in response to decolonization and former state break-ups.

The past provides only partial lessons for the present. In a wonderful little book, Prosperity and Violence, Robert Bates elaborates the crucial difference: shielded by the great powers and the aid agencies, the newer governments did not have to confront either the military threats or revenue demands that gave earlier generations of rulers incentives to “persuade those who earned private incomes to pay the costs of government…”9 Even so, the same question that plagued historical states infects today’s: how to ensure that government has sufficient power to tax and to provide security while inhibiting government from predation on the population it is supposed to be serving. Mancur Olson framed the issue as transforming “roving bandits” into “stationary bandits.”10 Banditry is not the only possibility here although it may be one of the most common. It and its variants are points on a continuum of government types. While all governments extract resources, some are kleptocrats, some are Robin Hoods, and some, albeit too few, are partners in the production of prosperity and equity. It is this last kind of government we hope to achieve. Leviathans and/or bandits simply will not do.

Governments are more effective when they achieve quasi-voluntary compliance, that is, compliance motivated by a willingness to cooperate but backed by coercion.11 This requires that subjects and citizens receive something from government in return for the extractions government takes from them. It also means that compliance is always conditional It will vary as governments vary in their performance, honesty, attention to due process, and other determinants of government reliability. When government officials become venal, lose their monopoly over force, or prove incapable of extracting needed resources to produce collective goods, non-compliance, resistance, and even state failure are far more likely. A vicious spiral ensues. Governments unable to collect sufficient taxes to pay public officials create incentives for those officials to expropriate “salaries” from citizens and often with force. This in turn leads to the rise of armed gangs as the populace tries to protect itself from their own government.12 We experience bandits fighting bandits.

We are ever more conscious that the development of effective government is seldom immediate. There is a long learning process during which publics and public officials discover what institutions and which people are reliable and in what settings. The more one develops confidence about others, the more one can then take risks and broaden the range of those productive interactions. Often, the response to insecurity is to develop networks of trust and obligation. However, network-based governance and trade can become more constraint on than facilitator of wide-spread cooperation.13 Recent political science and political economy offer some hints about how to build productive and secure interactions across villages, ethnic groups, and regional divides.14 We now need to take these findings and make them work in very different contexts. We have learned how fragile many states and governments are. This is not just an issue of shifting coalitions in parliamentary systems. The deeper problem has to do with factors that undermine the capacity to govern. It seems all too easy to revert to the “war of all against all,” and a growing body of work on state failure explains why.15 The causes are complex, not easily reduced to racial and religious cleavages, diamond mines, or wide-spread poverty, but scholars are successfully sorting out this complexity. Increasingly, we are also coming to recognize how devastating health and other catastrophes can be, especially when they deplete the revenues and staff of government.16

Even the economically developed and stable democracies have difficulty sustaining effective governments. In the 1970s there was a lot of concern about the “fiscal crisis of the state,”17 that is, that the demand for services by business as well as citizens would far outrun the revenues government could raise. The fiscal crisis is a reality. The poorest among us depend on government services, but so do the rich.18 Yet, throughout the developed democracies, there is increasing objection to taxes and lobbying effort devoted to passing corporations’ expenses onto government. The reduction in revenues is accompanied by rising costs of and need for health, unemployment, and other forms of social insurance.

We know quite a lot about what effective government entails and why states fail. There are instances of relatively effective and just governments, but we still need the blueprint for how to create and recreate them. Our next step must be to figure out how to keep them from failing, how to rebuild them when they have, and how to ensure that they are responsive and responsible to those they should be serving. We should no longer be satisfied with the Hobbesian solution, a government that provides only security against violence. Our goal is not social order alone but an equitable, just, and democratic government that elicits well-earned support and loyalty from its citizens.

Reorienting our thinking

To build a theory of effective government demands some reorientation of our thinking. Too many of us tend to focus on what we object to about government and not enough on what government does for us. By all means, we should—as good citizens—be critical of particular policies and programs. However, one of the most nefarious effects of the neo-liberal revolution is to ignore how much we all depend on government infrastructure, both physical and social.

There is also insufficient recognition, especially (but not only) among rational choice scholars, that “institutions are structures of power.”19 There is a concern with who wins and who loses and the recognition that collective action is a form of power. But by definition a stable equilibrium is maintained by those with effective bargaining power. If these actors or groups are better off with little or no incentive to change the status quo, the government will not change. Equilibrium analysis of this sort becomes a far more problematic tool once we include all of those encompassed by the government. Institutions that make some (but not all) better off also create losers, possibly permanent losers. Without recognizing this, we neither fully comprehend the nature of power, nor do we provide for means to compensate the losers.

But even more critical for the research on both the developed and developing world is the inattention to politics, conflicts and clashes that are at the foundation of many institutions and which do not simply go away once a new equilibrium is reached. They are likely to be disguised, coming to the surface only when change may be possible, but they are still there.20 The language of bargaining is an apt description of labor unions and employers negotiating a contract or of the Crown and parliamentarians reaching a decision about the conditions under which the monarch can borrow funds. It is an awkward and insensitive characterization of the relationships between untouchables and the higher castes in pre-Independence India or of indigenous peoples during most of the history of Canada, Australia, or the U.S..

Even when there are bargains that contribute to state building and maintenance, have we successfully identified all of them or analyzed the reasons for variation in the nature of the bargains among individuals and groups in broadly similar structural positions? Local groups and power structures shape the choices rulers and institutions make, and their capacity to impose costs on the state varies within as well as across countries.21

Agenda control is most definitely a form of power and at the heart of field-defining work on legislatures, but scholars persist, forty years on, in considering only one “face of power”,22 failing to address the ways in which ideology, non decisions and other forms of “mobilization of bias” keep key questions off the agenda.23 “Win sets” and heresthetics offer some corrective, but we are struggling—and will be for some time—with questions of how beliefs are formed, preferences induced, and biases mobilized.24

One way out of this conundrum is to use a different approach. We could revive interest in Marxist theory or focus more self-consciously on the “weapons of the weak.”25

There is something, indeed quite a lot, to be learned from these perspectives (and others). Structure does matter, and interpretive explorations of history and cultures teach us how people frame their world and provoke us to think about why they are more likely to act one way than another. But these approaches only help us, it seems to me, if combined with the rigor of formal theory and, when possible, statistical analysis. But even then, there would be lacuna in our theory of government.

The Quandaries

To develop a dynamic theory of effective government requires us to clarify the questions such a theory must answer and then to lay out the essential components or building blocks. Only once these tasks are accomplished can we derive hypotheses, test them, and provide prescriptions based in good logic and evidence.

Any theory of government must come to term with a series of quandaries, captured by the following quotations:

  • “…a government strong enough to protect property rights…is also strong enough to confiscate the wealth of its citizens”26 (Barry Weingast)

  • “…many of the means by which a state tries to increase its security decrease the security of others”27 (Robert Jervis)

  • “State formation and consolidation has everywhere extracted horrendous human costs. Despite this, in the modern world it seems that only not having a state is worse than having one”28 (Pratap Mehta)

  • "The existence of the state is essential for economic growth; the state, however, is the source of man-made economic decline"29 (Douglass North)

  • “Distrust may be the problem, but trust is not the solution.”30 (Margaret Levi)

In virtually every state- or government-building project, it is necessary to “tame the violence”31 within the country’s borders, to stop the “roving bandits,” and to offer powerful constituents enough in the way of benefits to retain their loyalty and to desist from violent predation. State-building requires ceding to rulers the sine-qua-non of an effective government: the capacity to enforce the laws and extract the taxes necessary to pay for essential public goods. To ensure that the rulers do not then turn around and exploit those they govern requires far more than a “social contract,” however. Good government means that government is designed to be effective and efficient on some dimensions and powerless on others, that government actors have access to some resources but not others. But as important as legal constraints are the limits on the bargaining and coercive powers of the governors. However, these significantly inhibit officials’ behavior only where institutional arrangements also ensure credible commitments.32

The failure to achieve credible commitments is endemic, in large part because many rulers have no incentives to “tie their hands.”33 The Idi Amins and the Sadam Husseins are illustrative. What would ever induce a head of state, particularly one with a reliable army, to agree to arrangements that will evoke automatic punishments should he violate the agreement? There are a number of factors. Competition for control of resources may lead rulers to seduce competitors when rulers are uncertain of the outcome of a battle for those resources. International pressure can also alter the calculations of a chief executive, who must change course to avert military threats or to attract needed aids or loans.

Even governments willing to restrain internal warring may not succeed. Part of the explanation derives from the “security dilemma” populations and their leaders face. Individuals, in their desire for safety in a situation of inadequate government protection, become wary of others, even those with whom they once cooperated.34 Predatory behavior is motivated by greed, security dilemmas by fear in contexts where individuals form expectations of threats by others. Security dilemmas can lead to an arms spiral and offensive/defensive warring that makes everyone a potential victim of violence and everyone worse off. Governments, confronting internal violence, may choose to invest even more in their militaries or even arm their allies within the population. The evidence suggests this contributes to rather than reduces the potential for violence.35

Any resolution of the problem of taming violence and establishing a government among those who are experiencing a security dilemma can be “horrendous.” India, the case that inspired this quotation, is unhappily exemplary. The emergence of its post- colonial government was accompanied by religiously based violence that persists unto this day in the form of riots in many states and outright warfare in contested territories such as Kashmir. Partition led to mass killings, devastated families, and the destruction of property and property rights.

On the other hand, we know that effective governments secure property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide the public goods that enable its citizenry to flourish. But many governments, even those that engender domestic peace and prosperity, are still not doing enough for the populace. By serving special interests, by over regulating the economy, by stomping on civil liberties and rights, by inhibiting scientific and technological progress, government can be oppressive. It can then become a source of economic decline.

Because so many governments engage in venality and corruption or actually harm the personal and professional lives of citizens, there are good reasons to distrust government. Such distrust is in fact a healthy reaction when it produces legal frameworks, checks and balances, and vigilant citizens. Indeed, distrust often generates institutional change and creation: “Good defenses make good neighbors.”36 We do not need to trust our government or our designated leaders or our fellow citizens. Rather, we demand assurances that they will do their duty by us and be caught and punished if they do not.

But seldom, especially in the modern and democratic world, is confidence in a government officialdom based solely on the extent to which it secures property rights and refrains from predation. Confidence also depends on the extent to which each citizen is assured that all others are being held to the same legal obligations; and the extent to which citizens generally believe they are getting something in return for their compliance.37 These are the key factors for producing quasi-voluntary compliance, a defining characteristic of effective government.

A government that holds all to the same obligations is one that possesses the capacity and the will to do so, qualities which are a function of on whom government is dependent. If the selectorate is narrow and the minimum winning coalition tiny, then government is more likely to have discriminatory regulations and extractions.38 If there are constituents able to blackmail government by means of their control of resources, they are likely to get favorable treatment. They are also more able to call the shots without holding the offices.39

People are more likely to comply with government requirements when they have confidence that there is something approaching a quid pro quo. Their confidence increases when they have beliefs that officials are not corrupt, that what is collected in revenues will actually find its way to the public till, that all eligible young men face the same probability of being drafted, etc. Confidence further increases with the actual production and distribution of valued public goods.

Underlying confidence in government and the willingness to comply are assessments of the fairness in the implementation of law and the distribution of public goods. What constitutes fairness and what are deemed desired public goods vary across societies and time. Nonetheless, any government that does not meet widely-held expectations on these matters is likely to suffer resistance and dissent, passive and active.40

To summarize, we require models of the means to:

  • Tame internal violence in ways that do not engender more violence or dysfunctional distrust of government.

  • Constrain government officials by making them credibly commit to refrain from exploitative behavior and betrayal (from defaults on loans to criminal behavior to hiding from the public relevant information about their decisions to go to war).

  • Compensate the losers from institution building.

  • Produce contingent consent by establishing a government that:

    • Meets prevailing standards of fairness and due process
    • Provides collective goods in the collective interest

Where this discussion leaves us is with a laundry list of processes to be addressed by a theory of effective government creation and stability. We already possess models and rather compelling arguments about how many of these processes develop. Yet, some ingredients are missing if the cake is going to rise.

Essential ingredients

In baking our cake, we must be attentive to empirical evidence, reality, and good science, sensitive to the details and particularities of context and history, and committed to improving our common lot. We must recognize the role of human agency. With these guidelines in place, we can now begin to consider the essential ingredients of an effective government, even if we have not yet succeeded in synthesizing them into a dynamic theory. These ingredients are:

  • Institutional arrangements that appropriately align incentives.
  • Leadership that can enable government to deliver security and services to the population.
  • An environment of learning and information that enable the populace to adjust to the new reality, on the one hand, and to hold leaders accountable, on the other.
  • Preferences for outcomes, such as a clean government and a just society, that might not have previously seemed accessible.

Incentives and institutions have long been in the recipe. Economists, political economists, and the decision makers in international organizations, especially those which offer money and aid, have emphasized incentives and institutions for several decades now. Increasingly, they have come to recognize that while these factors are necessary conditions for building effective governments, they are not sufficient. If they were, the establishment and enforcement of a transplanted constitution would do the trick. Yet, there are many instances of constitutions, laws, regulations and bills of rights adapted from successful polities that do not flourish in their new environment. Not everyone responds to the same incentives the same way. Institutions simply transplanted from one country to another or dictated from a list are more likely to fail than not. Often what works best is a mix of “orthodox elements with local heresies.”41 But even then and even when the institutions result from bargaining among significant domestic actors, the institutions by themselves offer no certitude of building or sustaining an effective government.

What is also required is leadership with the capacity to enforce the laws, the competence to produce public goods the public demands, and the facility to evoke popular confidence even among those who disagree with particular policies. Leadership aligns incentives, helps design and redesign institutions, provides the learning environment that enables individuals to transform or revise beliefs, and plays a major role in inducing preferences. Most importantly, leadership—both of government and within civil society—provides the human agency that coordinates the efforts of others.

Leadership empowered by institutions and popular support, but it also curbed by them. It operates within a set of constraints, and our theories must reveal what sets of constraints are most likely to facilitate able leadership. There is considerable rhetoric that representative democracy is the best design for effective government. The evidence remains mixed, given that there are so many democracies that are unstable or poor.42

Nonetheless, leaders subject to relatively well-functioning electoral systems are more likely to be responsive to a wider range of constituents, and there is good reason to believe that they are more able to produce peace and prosperity.43 But it is a tricky business. Representatives and executives elected on one platform may do something quite different once in office. Sometimes they do so because of unexpected wars, natural catastrophes, epidemics, or economic shifts, sometimes because of new information acquired on the job, and sometimes because they simply lied on the campaign trail. How to hold them accountable comes back in part to institutional arrangements, but it is an also an effect of the confidence they are able to evoke among the citizenry. If confidence is high, then there is considerably more discretion to change course as circumstances require.44

At issue is under what conditions members of a polity develop and retain confidence in those to whom they have delegated authority and who now have considerable coercive power relative to them. Credible commitments and other incentive structures play a role, but here is where the quality of leadership emerges as an important attribute of effective government. Leaders establish a set of principles that constitute the identity of the governmental organization and institute the rules to guide behavior in the face of unforeseen contingencies.45 For these principles to constitute the basis of an effective government with a supportive polity, they must be communicated to all and their implementation observable post hoc. Governmental leaders establish reliability through reputations built on these principles. They sustain their reputation and that of the government by upholding these principles even when they are not the most organizationally efficient or in the personally best interests of the leaders. Democracy, we know, is not efficient, and some of our most revered public leaders have made great personal sacrifices.

We are describing here a kind of culture, a governmental culture. It is initiated and reinforced at critical moments in history when a leadership cohort solves the critical strategic problems of recruiting support, coordinating resources, and ably managing conflicts and catastrophes. Governmental cultures survive because leaders continue to uphold the founding principles while revising them to suit the times—and simultaneously producing what the public comes to desire.46

But what gives leaders such abilities? Are they born that way, or are there means by which leadership skills can be taught and learned? Undoubtedly, there is a personality component, but there is also a large dose of learned skill. We may make jokes about lawyers, but attorneys and others with advanced degrees are numerous among our most respected elected officials. Some of these but also many without advanced degrees have come up through the ranks of government or the army or unions or political parties or revolutionary organizations. They have prepared for the roles they take on.

Leaders can be good for a country or bad for it. This we know. What can and should we do to give good leaders the help they need in skills and other resources? The Cold War revealed how often aid agencies and superpowers make morally questionable decisions in efforts to gain allies in an international dispute or to support regimes that seem to promote stability over every other possible value. We should not play God in the affairs of other countries, but we do need a firmer understanding of what makes leaders reliable and competent. And we may need more aid directed at training public officials.

Once in office, a leadership cadre has the power, within the limits of enforceable law and their bargaining clout, to write or revise the constitution and to establish or reinforce institutions. The culture survives its founding leaders only to the extent it builds institutions that continue to reinforce and reproduce the culture by making leadership commitments credible and by structuring both leadership and citizenship incentives appropriately. Leaders supply institutions but are also restrained by them. However, leadership of an effective government is further restrained by its obligations to the population. Leadership transparency, responsiveness, and actual implementation of policies are behaviors most likely to elicit quasi-voluntary compliance or a more active but contingent consent. At the same time, leaders must provide leadership in the sense of clarifying what is possible and providing information that will enable constituents to form beliefs and preferences in keeping with the world in which they find themselves.

The next question then is how can leaders help citizens learn and adapt to changing economies, international pressures, and values?

Sometimes leaders ask constituents to demand less of government. The neo-liberal conversion, led by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, was not simply imposed top down; it also required Thatcher and Reagan to persuade a significant sector of the polity that neo-liberal policies were in their interest. Sometimes, a leader’s task is to persuade constituents that government policies should be broader and more inclusive as during the implementation of Civil Rights legislation in this country or during the introduction of universalistic welfare systems in Scandinavia. Leaders have the power to misinform and to manipulate,47 but they also have the power to inspire.

Leaders provide information about what others, including officials, are likely to do. They help foster beliefs and expectations that then influence behavior. We have already encountered the issue of beliefs in the earlier discussion of security dilemmas.

Expectations of betrayal, especially if the costs are high, lead to behaviors that promote a cycle of violence. It is a belief about another’s trustworthiness that informs a decision to take a risk in cooperative ventures. It is a belief about an institution’s reliability that informs the decision about whether to comply with its rules and regulations. Beliefs can account for why some corrupt regimes are so persistent despite serious reform efforts.48

If the public and officials believe there is widespread corruption, they are likely to sustain dishonesty unless government can actually change the beliefs as well as the practice. On the other hand, if they believe the system is clean, they are more likely to resist, reveal, and punish instances of corruption. Leadership can provide the information and the example to influence what people believe about the system they are in.

Effective governments constrain officials to behave in certain ways, but they also may encourage officials to prefer certain outcomes over others and to exclude some possible actions altogether (such as stealing from the public coffers). Engaged citizens in well-ordered democracies may come to prefer to vote and become informed and vigilant rather than free ride or stay rationally ignorant. Those who blow the whistle on corruption may believe they are in a clean equilibrium, but they are also willing to act, preferring to pay the costs of involvement.

So how do leaders and other governments induce preferences for democracy, social justice, peaceful adjudication of disputes, and other objectives that make effective government viable? If we cannot answer that question, we are left—once again—with a static theory. While it is interesting to note variation in preferences, we need to know their origin.

Experimental research, survey evidence, and behavioral economics offer compelling findings that many individuals are motivated by concerns about fairness and reciprocity.49

They knowingly choose actions that will produce an outcome they consider more just or fair over one that gives them the greatest material return. Perhaps this0 predisposition results from evolution50 or some other factor outside of immediate human control.

However, the probability of acting on such a predisposition clearly varies in response to context and expectations of how others are likely to act. There is a social and political basis for at least some of the variation. Networks51 or institutions52 can generate, sustain or even induce preferences by making some outcomes accessible that might not otherwise be.

There are several aspects of institutional arrangements that permit individuals to act on their preferences. A backdrop of enforcement empowers officials who want to be honest and citizens who want to do their duty. These individuals prefer to be one kind of person rather than another, but they will behave according to type only if they feel confident that others will pay their share and that the bureaucrats will not be corrupt.53

Other institutions, possibly those facilitating political deliberation and communication and certainly those promoting trade and other interactions outside one’s narrow network, help people develop preferences they either did not have before or previously thought unattainable. And we have ample evidence that legal change on matters of contestation, e.g. the abolition of slavery, enfranchisement, women’s right to own property, offer newly empowered people rights and preferences once eliminated from their preference ordering. In the long run, suffrage restriction, slavery, or denial of women’s rights may even be eliminated from the preference orderings of those who might have once wanted them as outcomes.

To summarize: Appropriate institutions are a key ingredient of effective government, but equally important are the quality of leadership and the political environment leaders and institutions furnish. Individuals can come to believe that the world is different than what they once thought, that the outcomes they had never considered or thought inaccessible are possible outcomes after all. They can act according to norms of fairness they prefer because those are the principles leadership and constitutions are upholding. In such circumstances and with such preferences, citizens are also more likely to become vigilant—demanding responsive government, holding leaders accountable, and withholding their compliance and consent when appropriate.

I have now presented the components that are essential to the construction and maintenance of an effective government. I have identified mechanisms by which at least some of those components can—and have—come into being. Human agency, through leadership, learning, preference formation, and wide-spread constituent support, provides the yeast, the missing ingredient of a dynamic theory of effective government. Yet, we still lack the recipe or recipes that transform these elements into a government that fulfills its population, all of its population, while also reproducing itself regularly and without destructive trauma. We are still in the world of comparing and adjusting different equilibria rather than moving from one to another. The accumulation of knowledge and research is now at the point where we can foresee the emergence of a dynamic theory of effective government. This is our challenge as social scientists—and our next frontier!


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Enumerated References:
  1. (see, e.g., Anderson 1974a; 1974b; Barr 2004; Ensminger 1992, 1999; Fearon and Laitin 1996, 2004; Henrich et al. 2004; Huckfeldt and Sprague 1987; Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler 1991 [1986]-a, 1991 [1986]-b; Mann 1986; 1993; Rose-Ackerman 2001; Rose-Ackerman 1999; Skocpol 1979, 1985; Tilly 1975; Wallerstein 1974)
  2. (North 1981). Also, see his earlier work on the “rise of the Western world” (North and Thomas 1973). My own “Theory of Predatory Rule,” also published in 1981, was an effort to combine what I found of value in neo-classical economics with what I found of value in neo-Marxism in order to better understand the variation in revenue collection across countries and time (Levi 1981; also see Levi 1988).
  3. For an excellent summary of the various perspectives, see Thelen (1999). For an effort to create a new convergence, see Katznelson and Weingast, eds. (2005)
  4. Interestingly, the first three public presence APSA Task Forces have devoted themselves to these questions. Two have produced books: (Jacobs and Skocpol 2005; Macedo et al. 2005).
  5. There is an interesting and on-going debate about the relative importance of initial conditions and institutional change and how to measure their impact. See (Acemoglou, Johnson, and Robinson 2002; 2005; 2004a; Przeworski 2004b; Sachs 2000; Sokoloff and Engerman 2000).
  6. For an elaboration of this argument, see (Levi 2002).
  7. (Bates 2001; Levi 1988, 1997; Tilly 1975, 1990)
  8. See North 1981, x; (North 1990, 2005) Acemoglou, Johnson, and Robinson 2002;
  9. (Bates 2001, 82-83)
  10. (1993)
  11. (1988; 1997; 1998)
  12. See Bates (Bates 2005)
  13. (Cook, Hardin, and Levi 2005, esp. chapter 9)
  14. See, for example, (Fearon and Laitin 1996, 2004; Greif 1998; McMillan and Woodruff 2000)
  15. See, for example the State Failure Task Force Report (Goldstone et al. 2000), the World Bank study on conflict (Collier et al. 2003), and the excellent edited volume, When States Fail (Rotberg 2004). For a useful methodological critique, see (Ward and Bakke 2005)
  16. See the recent work by Stovel on effect of AIDs epidemic
  17. (O'Connor 1973)
  18. (Gates and Collins 2003)
  19. (Moe 2005, 215 and passim)
  20. (Kuran 1995; Scott 1992)
  21. (Boone 2003; Hechter and Brustein 1980; Laitin 1994)
  22. (Bachrach and Baratz 1962; Lukes 1974)
  23. (Bachrach and Baratz 1963; Schattschneider 1960)
  24. See (Weingast 1998) on “win sets” and (Riker 1984; Schofield 2000) on heresthetics. There are rational choice scholars trying to sort through these issues, of course. See, especially, (Calvert 2002; Ferejohn 1991, 1993; Ferejohn and Satz 1995; Greif 1994; Mantzavinos 2001; Mantzavinos, North, and Shariq 2004) as well as several of the pieces in Katznelson and Weingast, eds. 2005.
  25. (Scott 1985)
  26. (Weingast 1995, 1)
  27. (Jervis 1978, 169)
  28. (Mehta 2003, 106)
  29. (North 1981, 20)
  30. (Levi 2000)
  31. I take this phrase from Bates 2005. This question is also one of the central concerns of the APSA Task Force on Political Violence and Terrorism.
  32. For an interesting summary and evaluation of the literature on credible commitments in the political economy of development, see (Keefer 2004)
  33. (Root 1989, 1994)
  34. Robert Jervis developed the concept of the “security dilemma”’ for inter-state relationships, and Nelson Kasfir adapted it to inter-group interactions. My discussion in this section is based on (Kasfir 2004).
  35. (Collier et al. 2003)
  36. See Levi 2000. I am also summarizing arguments from (Braithwaite 1998; Levi 1998); Cook, Hardin, and Levi 2005. Also, see (Hardin 2004)
  37. There is increasing body of hard evidence supporting this finding. I will address it more fully in a paper I am currently writing for the World Bank, but for some of the literature that offers empirical support, see (Bergman and Nevarez 2005; Bergman 2003; Fjeldstad 2004; Lieberman 2003; May 2004; Pinney and Scholz 1995; Scholz 1998; Tyler 1990; Winter and May 2001)
  38. For a more elaborated argument, see (Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003)
  39. This claim harks back to the arguments about the structural dependence on powerful capitalists by democratic governments (see, e.g., Block 1977) as well as the arguments about relative bargaining power in North (1981), Levi (1981, 1988), and many others.
  40. This argument draws on Levi 1997 and Cook, Hardin, Levi 2005, chapters 8 and 9.
  41. (Rodrik 2003, 13 and passim)
  42. (Przeworski et al. 2000)
  43. (Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003)
  44. For two of the best social science research programs on these questions, see (Stokes 2001a, 2001b) and (Bianco 1994).
  45. This argument that resulted represents an application and extension of Kreps’ (1990) theory of “corporate culture.” Also, see (Miller 1992) and (Levi 2005) and my recent NSF grant, "Exploring Conditions of Cooperation and Sacrifice in Political and Social Settings."
  46. James McGregor Burn’s presidential address cited here. But I am less concerned with the psychological predispositions of populace and leaders than with their competence, skills, and ability to induce preferences, perhaps what Burns in part means by desires.
  47. Lindblom but also Burns—see presidential addresses
  48. See, e.g. (Manion 2004)
  49. (Bowles 1998; Ensminger 1999; Fehr and Falk 1999; Henrich et al. 2004; Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler 1991 [1986]-a, 1991 [1986]-b; Tyler 1990)
  50. (Gintis 2003; Kurzban 2003; Ostrom 1998)
  51. (Bowles 1998; Bowles and Gintis 2000, 2002; Hagan 1991; Huckfeldt and Sprague 1987; Ostrom 1990) Henrich et al. 2004.
  52. (Wildavsky 1987). Several recent, important studies of ethnic violence and of nationalism (Beissinger 2001; Varshney 2002) support variants of this claim.
  53. (Sanchez-Cuenca in progress). Also, see (May 2004)

Source: (http://sites.lsa.umich.edu/polisci-cpw/wp-content/uploads/sites/223/2015/02/margaret_levi.pdf)


A new theory of government (hence, a "New Government") needs a name... A symbol of reference that both intellectuals and those who are not immersed in academic pursuits, can recognize. Such a reference is made more amiable if it can be associated with a widely known reference through both sight and sound, like someone recognizable as being a part of the group and yet has a distinguishing personality all their own. In order to promote new ideas, they must have some familiarity with old ideas, if for little more than a deferred acknowledgment if one can not bring themselves to afford a measure of respect for one or another quality, even if such attributes are sometimes aligned with undesirable characteristics, whether or not real or imagined because of disparaging hearsay.

Let our efforts for establishing a New Government be so named a Cenocracy. A name is important because it provides not only an identity, but a means by which others can assert a reference for personal empowerment in accordance with— like the words so named as law, peace, God, love, truth, beauty and numerous other perspectives that would carry less weight if they were nameless and thus were absent an assigned personality; however culturally differentiated perceptions thereof remain. A word as a name is the method by which we stake claim to a new birth. And the birth of a New Government as a possession of all will herald in a New Nation unlike any that have ever existed, because it will be the dawn of a new epoch of humanity. Naming is necessary for a transfer of knowledge and a commonality of effort, inasmuch as a given name might contribute within the range of its assigned definition and application. Semantic limitations notwithstanding the implied intent, such philosophical discussions about language usage are quite old and variably recorded. For example:...

Plato thought that the only possible explanation is to suppose that words are by nature connected to the things they name. This view survives in some religious traditions, which hold that it is impious to speak the name of God, and equally in fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin, where to gain the dwarf's name is to gain power over him. It is also closely related to the ideal of plain or self-interpreting speech, as well as to the notion that some languages display an enviable “closeness” to the nature of things. This is in fact what the 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) supposed of pre-Socratic Greek, and it is also suggested in Orwell's metaphor of language as a windowpane.

Source: ["Language, Philosophy of." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2013.]

With respect to language, it is of interest to note that the role of hearing is not associated in its rightful context because of the importance it plays in speech. One need only cite the difficulty the deaf have in using language. With this said, the connection needs to be taken a step further by identifying a recurrence of a three-patterned structure... the very structure in which the U.S. government has been using in terms of three government branches, though multiple other examples exist. Let us look at the ear with respect to a recurrence of a "three" pattern:

Human ear and threes (20K)

3-Patterned Ear Structure
3 overall divisions: Outer ear ~ Inner ear ~ Middle ear
3 middle ear divisions: Tympanum ~ Epitympanum ~ Mastoid antrum
3 eardrum membranes: Cutaneum ~ Collagen fibers ~ Mucosm
3 semi-circular canals: Used for balance (equilibrium)
3 (ossicular chain) bones: Incus ~ Stapes ~ Malleus
3 main malleus ligaments: Anterior ~ Lateral ~ Superior
3 incus anchorage points: Malleus ~ Stapes ~ Bony fossa wall
3 cochlea sections: (Scala) Vestibuli ~ Tympani ~ Cochlear duct
3 extrinsic muscles (Auricularis): Anterior ~ Superior ~ Posterior
3 sound conduction paths: Electrical ~ Mechanical ~ Fluid
or: Bone (solid) ~ Air (gas)~ Fluid (liquid)
3 nerve stimulation paths: Mechanical ~ Chemical ~ Electrical
3 outer hair cell rows typical in mammals
but some sources give 3, 4, or 5
Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is synthesized by inner and outer hair cells of the developing organ of Corti. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is also synthesized. (Prestin is the motor protein of the outer hair cells.)
3 sound qualities: Pitch ~ Volume (intensity) ~ Tone
3 sound wave propagation processes: Diffraction ~ Transmission ~ Reflection
3 main forms of ossicular chain fixation: Fluid ~ Mechanical ~ Otosclerosis
3 classes of ossicular lever action: Force arm ~ Resistance arm ~ Fulcrum
3 acoustic distortion forms: Frequency ~ Phase ~ Amplitude
3 basic properties of vibrating bodies: Inertia ~ Elasticity ~ Dissipation
3 principal types of deafness: Conduction ~ Nerve ~ Stimulation
3 types of hearing loss: Conductive ~ Sensorineural ~ Mixed
3 (inner ear) organs of balance: Semicircular canals ~ Utricle ~ Saccule
(collectively called the vestibular organ {3-in-1})

The usage of language is difficult without an ability to hear. Indeed, even language development may be due to how we hear, with respect to the three-patterned organization being used. And though we may not customarily suggest that a repetition predisposes us towards a particular prejudice, we should also uncustomarily define such a "prejudice" in a non-derogatory way, since it obviously has a survival advantage... even though such an advantage is only advantageous for a given time and context... otherwise it acts as a dead weight binding us to oars while the ship is sinking.

Language 3s page 1
Three-patterned Ear structure, infant babbling, etc...

From the tri-modal structure of all languages (subject, object, verb) to the three sentence ending punctuations (period, question mark, exclamation point) and the description of nouns (persons, places, things); along with numerous other examples... neither our language nor our desire for restructuring the government is being subjected to a critical analysis of environmentally-influenced genetic predispositions that are changing along the path of decadence:

  1. The Earth's rotation is slowing (affecting its electro-magnetism)
  2. The Moon is receding from the Earth (affecting tidal behavior)
  3. The Sun is expanding (perhaps to one day engulf the inner-most three planets)

If we couple this "three" usage to the prevalency of the pattern in our anatomy, we are presented with further evidence that we need to seriously rethink our rethinking: → Remarkable Frequency of Threes in Anatomy ←. What we are being presented with may very well be a different type of Rosetta Stone, Behistun Rock, or Galle Trilingual Inscription being presented to us with the recurrence of "threes" in so many different subject areas. As such, thoughts concerning the development of a Cenocracy (New Government) must go way beyond simplistic economic motivations because they must take into consideration of environmentally influenced predispositions motivated by an adaptation to decadence. We must seriously consider developing a government that focuses all its Nation's resources with an intent of removing the entire public away from the planet, this solar system and eventually this galaxy. Yes, it is an enormous under-taking to contemplate just as were the construction of pyramids and other large monuments during a time when construction tools were crude at best. However, those at NASA and its equivalent in other countries do not have the practiced cognitive wherewithal to initiate such an effort. Governing leadership will have to have an expansive perspicuity of greater breadth and depth to look outward instead of the conventional self-serving inwardness.

Intellectual endeavors, however good intentioned they may be, must traverse the convention so often visible in academic-related discourse. Otherwise they parrot the customary result of remaining in the realm of metaphysics, used as but another aphrodisiac suffusing an interest that never materializes into an actuality. With so much understanding of social processes, one must wonder why there are so few Sociologists, Political Scientists and other Academians striving to lead the way towards creating a better society by running for political office... One must also wonder why erudite individuals can not put aside petty differences and support one or more colleagues to become a candidate in order to fill every single government position with those whose intellectual interests are focused on doing the best for all. In other words, putting their money where there mouth is. For all their tossed about insinuations and presumptive proclamations of being radical, motion pictures are full of radicalisms, but they are still movies... an expressed portrayal of fantasy aligned with economically based ulterior motives. Even attempts at depicting some actual radical event having taken place, what we are confronted with is a rendition of factuality.

Because so many people in so many different walks of life have been forced into some level of government dependency, not just the poor and disadvantaged, but businesses as well (in terms of bail-outs and tax incentives or deferments); we as a society can not function well without such assistance because businesses, government and religions have all played a part in designing the type of government we have. Yet, whereas some people lack the skills of articulation in describing the acknowledged necessity that the social structure must be changed in terms of improvement, they make up for it in insightfulness. Some intuitively grasp the very same intricacies and complexities that are being contemplated, discussed and written about by intellectuals. Some readily see the truth of the fact that we need a New Government, a Cenocracy. Yet, because of their learned dependence, they need but a spark of leadership to inflame them into a stalwart support group. Intellectuals must present their collective ideas for reform with a single word, a singular idea that will filter into the very many different walks of life and act as an inter-linking chain to be grasped like a tug of war between the public and those in authority who deprive the people of an effectual bargaining table that a Peoples Legislative Branch will supply.

It is unfortunate that because of the learned Dependency, some Intellectuals 'buy into' the system and contour their analysis to confirm and conform to the guidelines portrayed by the governing formula they live within, even though their analysis might include an appraisal involving some disapproval. Not all intellectuals are capable of discerning their own culture from the perspective of an 'outsider walking amongst the natives'. While one person may focus on the criticisms being offered, they are also influenced to inculcate the criticisms from a framework of supportive intention, without realizing that a new scaffolding may well be needed in order to accomplish desired goals.

Problems can sometimes occur because of the structure within which one operates... and may contribute to the development of lists highlighting inter-tangled minutiae that, when quantity is used as a substitute measure for quality, it influences the perception of a problematic occurrence into a larger shadow. For example, the owner of an old vehicle begins to encounter the recurring problem of a bad starter or alternator. The owner may thus adopt a vigilance involving sight and sound as well as some degree of intuition in order to forestall an undesirable event of being somewhere distant from a repair shop or parts store for self-repair. If neither of these parts goes awry during a given time period yet the owner retains the behavior of vigilance, other issues involving the vehicle's operation, appearance or interior may become the subject of some attention. However, if the person loses the vehicle by sale or accident, and a different (such as a newer) vehicle is obtained, the former problem sighting frame of mind may vanish, or be retained as a level of apprehensiveness.

Nonetheless, the former problems are "resolved" though one did not actually fix them and even though, over time, the newer vehicle may exhibit problematic occurrences as it wears down and no longer serves the needs and requirements for effective adaptation to the evolved changes having occurred with roads and vehicle operation laws. Such is the case for the present social vehicle we call a Democracy. Regardless of all the sentimentality some people may want to attach to it, and affectionately denoting it as an historical classic, whose worth is immeasurable, and used by vehicle manufacturers as a culturally embossed advertisement gimmick to promote the idea that they too should be sustained at any (bail-out) cost... Democracy, as a social vehicle of governance, nonetheless is outdated. A new model of government is needed. It is named Cenocracy.

But it should go without saying that no matter our sincere our desire for instituting a Cenocracy with a Cenocratic formula is— within the guidance of containing it in a peaceful regime of activity, it is a widely acknowledged historical realization that those in authority are unduly resistive to change and frequently do not yield to the Will of the People; without some measure of violence being provoked, instigated or under-handedly arranged to occur in order to give authority an excuse to use an over-whelming club to bludgeon the populace into conferring its obeisance to their motivations... because they presume to think they are our betters, though such an underlying presumption is concealed by specious expressions of humility and devotion to a Constitution revered as a sacred document that they and their authoritative brethren know how to best interpret for the good of everyone... yet such a mandate was never voted into actuality by the whole of the populace. Such authority wants their right to be accepted as a given by way of convoluted and overlapping interpretations meant to secure their rationality with a Monarchial level of dominion over the public as beast-of-burden subjects.

How so very often we witness an erudite analysis practicing a peripatetic discourse that remains just this side of committing oneself to an applicable formulation, which nonetheless affords the person or group with recognition and accumulated credibility for exhibiting some expertise in a given field of research; but that research becomes buried in a mountain of scholarly texts that most of the public remain ignorant of. The public needs to know, needs to think, needs to be shown that intellectuals are behind them in their desire for establishing a Declaration For Greater Independence. But such support can not be expressed in terms of extended explanations that illustrate the reasons for such. Sometimes the best support is reflected by one's presence in exhibiting the same echo of a single word. We are in desperate need of change in the present formula of (falsified) Democracy being practiced. The recognition and desire for such is expressed in the word Cenocracy. We The People Demand A Cenocracy.

Intellectuals need to collectively raise the same banner in order for it to waft in the prevailing breeze of social discord, from which will bellow a call for all to join the ranks towards the completion of a goal for social improvement under the collective discretions of the public as its own Representative body that must be Constitutionally mandated as being a branch of government in addition to the present legislative design, as an increased Checks and Balances provision.

Intellectuals must assert themselves along with non-intellectuals in calling for a Cenocracy... or, what possible good, with respect to society as a whole, are all the many insightful perspectives being written and discussed in the corridors, classrooms, and coffee shops frequented by career Academians— if such ideas are relegated to some dark and dusty repository 'waiting to be discovered' by those who can apply such to an effective measure of social applicability?... and yet, most of which is lost because it exists in a realm where its own form of language coupled with a clannish ideology, is developed and sets it further removed from the average person? While sober considerations for the complexities occurring with a given social change may be listed and arranged according to some intellectual inclination, the fact remains is that we need to do something. Those in authority are particularly immobile like sloths. They need to lead us towards the application of a Cenocracy with a Cenocratic formula, follow our lead, or vacate the premises so that someone more suited for the task at hand can take the helm.

Intellectuals need to learn how to pick up protest banners, promote petitions, and if necessary, storm the halls of government to bring about the changes they are exchanging with one another... and claim they are speaking on behalf of the people to improve the conditions for all. It matters not if such exercises took place in the past, they are needed now. We need to stop talking about the need for change and do it. Yet instead of a Revolutionary leadership coming from the ranks of intellectuals with all their knowledge, we find a complacency... a collage of wait-and-see excuses and an embarrassing level of deferment to a lost and sometimes abusive governing leadership, not to mention those problems being perpetrated and perpetuated by business and religion. Intellectuals become like the rest of, awaiting for some social spark to flicker in order for them to throw tinder on in hopes that a revolutionary fire will ignite.

But we not only need a Revolution in terms of social governance, but also the thinking of intellectuals who need to stop cogitating with masturbatory intellectualisms and actually bring about desirable change with what they do know... instead of waiting around for some even greater meta-physic of thought to propose itself and be used as a fetish that is sold on the open-market for encephalized orgies sheathed with contraceptive conversation pieces for years of consideration... but nothing actually gets done. The present formula of Democracy is a joke, you know it and many in the general public realize this. We need a Cenocracy, even though there will be some who will try to prevent needed changes because they have learned to wallow effectively and efficiently in the present muck.

Intellectuals need the courage and confidence to make a collective stand and demand a Cenocracy with a Cenocratic formula and stop making excuses that permits them to develop a further engrained rationale for doing nothing except to participate in the various ceremonies, wear the appropriate attire, and speak the jargon of their respective field of interest. Far too often we find a repetitive 'review of literature' with one or point being attempted as a decisive factor of collation in order to stress a point of personalized ownership in a pet theory that may never actually surface or, much less so, come to define an objective point for others to mimic and provide as a summary for non-intellectuals to share amongst themselves... because it is multi-functional as well as having definitive applicability for someone to make a buck.

It is incredulous to be presented with so much information about social problems coming from the many vistas of academia, and not even the hint of an applicable idea that everyone can understand, regardless of their education level. So what if they and their friends, colleagues, and students can grasp the intricacies of social functioning based on comparative history and cultural anthropology when it amounts to a type of group orgy called intellectual intercourse. Regardless of all the understanding and good intentions, we are still standing in the same place... left without an idea to be used as a goal to take a step towards an enhanced way of living. The words "Communism, Democracy and Socialism", to name but a few, do not provide us with a vision that all of us can actively explore, regardless of their status in society.

Whereas knowing that when socially captive minds (such as all of us engage in both individually and collectively) put up our own obstacles... by way of the structures that present governments promote... it is a disgusting commentary to our level of intellectual primivity when we are presented with a doorway to enhanced freedom, yet there are varying expressions of apprehensiveness to venture forth... A word such as "Cenocracy" can provide something tangible to grasp and be used as a weapon for those with lingering insecurities, or as a tool by which we can not only forage the trail being provided; but be used as a torch for both ourselves and others wishing to lead the way— walk alongside— or follow... as suits their personality, disposition and philosophical acumen.

Sometimes, leaders need to be shown the way... since they fall victim to the same types of socially induced captivities that so many others do. We The People not only need to educate those in various authoritative positions on which path we want to take by giving it a name they too can reference in the vernacular of their individual group; we must also collectively begin the sojourn no matter how vociferous their entreaties to remain... in order to keep them company in their insecurities... because they need their hand to be held. If they want to lead, then let them walk up ahead without trying to create detours to double-back or develop obstacles which "encourage" us to turn around;, as a means of trying to project their fears of the unknown onto a situation they want the rest of us to embrace... and share in their own paranoia brought about by the discomfort of uncertainty when blazing a new trail.

To use a cliche', everyone must turn to the same page being referenced and at least be able to pronounce the heading, however un-exercised their articulation may be. The heading of the discussion is "Cenocracy"... meaning a New Government. People need to be taught to expect a change in government and that they will be enabled to directly participate, and that participation can lead directly to the establishment of new laws. They need to be taught about the expectation in achieving a greater participation and the responsibility associated with it... as well as compliance for living in a more widely practiced peoples government which underwrites given expectations for a communally-based citizenship, despite those seeking an isolated form of living amongst others they may not want to personally interact with.

No doubt many of us realize there are a myriad collection of issues to be addressed and that the present structure of government, be it Communism, Democracy, Socialism or whatever, falls short of the task, though some practices attempt to do a better job than others. While some political campaigns focus on a platform of representing the idea that less government will solve social problems, this is due to a misunderstanding about modern forms of governance that require an ever-increased responsibility of the public to participate in a coherent functionality for its well-being. In other words, for example, a Democracy based on the premise of a Of, By, and For ALL the people formula, is the largest of all all governments. A Democracy, by its very nature of being a "Peoples Government", is a huge government. The only way to make it even smaller than it already is, is to disenfranchise the people more than they already are.

This link is to an article with one perspective of → Why We Need More, Not Less, Government

When a government practices a limited form of "Representative" government like that of the U.S., it can not function as an Actual Democracy and becomes problematic when it attempts to include more people by way of an increased size in government... such as by way of an arbitrarily constructed New government office, division or department. Hence, limited democracies require small governments in order to be most effective, though the effectiveness is limited as well, because it can not adequately address problems which arise due to an increasing population.

Solutions to mounting issues can only be addressed, if we are to have a uniform Democracy, by increasing the size of government to be more inclusive; by way of increased individualized Representation through the adoption of a Constitutionally mandated Peoples Legislative Branch, which in effect is the establishment of a social program selected to be implemented by the entire nation and not just some particularlized population. Such a branch will be a means for including the people as a direct means of practicing an active part in the Checks and Balances provision. The nation is suffering from a poverty of self-Representation because the current structure of governance breeds a type of dependence which creates a sense of both helplessness and hopeless that We The People can not and must not try to make changes we know are needed, without being told when, where, and how to do something via the dictates of a legislative-legal process which enforces that it alone has the authoritative means, methods, and constitutional majesty to accomplish such.

People are not even permitted to try to improve the government because to even suggest such can become defined by those in authority as an act of over-throwing the government... and the usage of such wording can be interpreted as a violation of 18 U.S.C. §2385 which, in short, says a person can not overthrow the government, though the Declaration of Independence says otherwise. It's alright for the people to hold meetings, protest in the streets and write academic articles and books to help their careers because of publishing requirements, but any real action to produce actual reforms is met with obstacles forcing us to comply to one or another process that very often is part of a larger governing problem. The process of an Initiative and Referendum path to reform is a joke. The people shouldn't have to resort to a type of Hail Mary pass in an effort to make social governing reforms, such a mechanism needs to be incorporated as a given part of a Peoples Government (a Democracy).

Whereas some politicians may say that running an effective government is a slow process... what they don't say that it is a process set up in this fashion that is particularly exclusionary of the larger population, who are forced into a type of "wait and see" servitude because we are marginalized from effecting the reforms which could speed up the process as well as mitigate problems before they got out of hand. Elected politicians are, so to speak, born into the slow process and once it is understood, come to identify with and support it as a necessity since they become adept at its structure...

Analogously, like the wearing of wigs by those connected to an English court system. Despite the silliness of the attire, what is seen in a reverse role of watching kids dress up like adults, adults in English courtrooms dress up like kids, simply because the public will not collectively say that the king has no clothes on. Clearly, it is not only silly attire that is worn on the outside, but the attire of governing processes that should be relegated to a museum. Educated people who should know better, not only play dress up when engaged in courtroom dramas, but the activities involving Executive, Legislative and larger Judicial acts. So long as governments refuse to grow up, they force the populace to participate in the antics of governments as a survival mechanism, and are thus stunted in its developmental maturity as well. In the case of American government, one small example is the retention of the ridiculous Electoral College. Needless to say, the present formula of Democracy is not adequate for the majority. We do not have much of a "Peoples Government" bargaining power like that which was asked for by the adoption of the thrice adopted Magna Carta, and later used to signify a protection of individual freedoms, though its initial usage was an attempt to increase the power of robber barons against a robber king. We are in desperate need of a Cenocracy... a New Government.

Date of Origination:Sunday, September 27, 2015
Initial Posting Date: Monday, September 28, 2015
Updated Posting: Saturday, 03-Sep-2016... 07:35 AM