Re: Formal Consensus vs Sociocracy
From: Maggie Dutton (
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 13:44:47 -0700 (PDT)
This thread was on the Cohousing List and Brian Bartholomew replied to me
off list. I felt that the thread could still be instructive to both the Coho
list and the Sociocracy list.

Maggie wrote:
> It is true that the success of Sociocracy is partly dependent on a
> group having similar Aims...but that should be true of any
> group...otherwise what are they doing together?

Brian wrote:
Picture a large organization like an automaker.  Lots of little groups
inside are competing for resources.  They have a few similar aims and
a lot of directly opposed aims.

Brian...picture a large manufacturer of Europe somewhere (I
forget where).  They produce buses for 40% less than the competition, have
1800 employees and do this with only 9 management level people. Somehow the
top circle must be communicating the organizations aims in a way that people
understand, support and work towards...whatever other differences they must
have.  Competing aims often means another circle needs to be formed...or the
decision needs to be resolved at the next higher circle.  
> but unlike you we have gone beyond the negative zone

Negative results are positive work and very important; they keep us
from going down dead ends or repeating past mistakes.  Humans have
5,000 years of experience and analysis with social organization, so I
don't expect novel, workable improvements to be easy to find.

I wasn't referring to negative results as we had not mentioned
specifics...rather I meant it seems as though you are skeptical that there
could be anything that would work and your expectation is that there are no
workable solutions...but what if there was?

> Maybe nothing would work for you.

Possibly; but then my "block" would be majority-voted away and
whatever structure the majority wants would be imposed anyway.  The
more I hear about consensus, the less it seems to respect individual
consent, and the more it seems like socialism.

Have you ever experienced a Sociocratic meeting?  There is no blocking. It
is possible that you would find a real feeling of equivalence.  Many of us
were drawn to Sociocracy for just that reason...not feeling that your
paramount objection was welcome.  In Sociocracy, if you can explain to the
group why you would be unable to work toward the aims if the policy was
approved, your perspective will be included or the proposal will not go
forward.  I didn't trust this at first...but I do now.

I find that it is easier for folks to "get" what consent and Sociocracy is
about by experiencing it in a circle meeting process.  In discussing it,
using real examples of objections and proposed policies works better than
talking theory or hypothetical examples.
Maggie Dutton,
For a real life "for profit company operating using Sociocracy and Holacracy


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