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Consent vs. ConsensusEdit

Just a note to explain why I've reverted to the former. I don't have time to dig up the references right now, but based on my familiarity with sociocracy, I can assure you that "consent" is in fact correct. "Consent" differs from "consensus" in one important way: not all participants need to be in agreement. To ratify a motion by consensus, you ask: "are we all in agreement?", and if everyone assents, then the motion passes. To ratify a motion by consent, you ask: "does anybody wish to block this motion?", and if nobody does, then the motion passes. In many versions of sociocracy, you are also required to make a cogent argument for why you do not consent to a motion; merely saying "I don't like it" is not sufficient to block consent. The inventors of sociocracy felt that having a relatively high bar to block a process -- at least relative to true consensus -- was an important part of making sociocracy a viable system.

Ah, that sounds like a good reply to the criticism of political paralysis. I'll add that. See if I got it right. A problem is, though, that the consent article is mostly about law with just a short reference to the political meaning at the end. That should be expanded a bit (more than a bit). And maybe it should be turned into a disambiguation page, because the term is too general to focus so much on law. I kept hte link to 'consent' (but moved it), but this needs to be addressed then.
By the way, does this not also apply to Wikipedia? That should then also be mentioned. DirkvdM 07:04, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
Interesting semantics. I've never participated in a group that claimed to operate by "consent." I have participated multiple times in groups that operated by "consensus." The typical process in the consensus decision making groups, after a proposal is made, is to ask, "Is anyone opposed to that?" To be more formal, sometimes the question is phrased, "Does anyone block consensus?" If no one is opposed to the proposal, then it is adopted. Sometimes, to make it easier for the group to adopt a proposal, consensus decision making even allows for one, two, or more people to express opposition without allowing that opposition to block consensus. Jkintree 15:06, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Problem paragraphEdit

The problem paragraph is: "To apply sociocracy in larger groups a system of delegation is needed in which a group (also named sociocratic circle) chooses representatives who take the decisions for them on a higher level. This higher level is named the 'nexthigher' ('naasthoger') level because the policymaking organ within the sociocratic organisation is not allowed to impose its policies on 'nextlower' ('naastlager') policymaking circles."

  • "(also named sociocratic circle)" in English or Dutch? says who? why is this name rather than another name relevant to anything? says who?
  • "named the 'nexthigher' ('naasthoger')" same critisism
  • "'nextlower' ('naastlager')" same critisism
  • "because the policymaking organ within the sociocratic organisation is not allowed to impose its policies" this makes no sense at all for why this name is used instead of another name. WAS 4.250 19:51, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
This article is originally a translation from the Dutch article. Which explains the last sentence. I'm interrested in the subject but lack sufficient knowledge to interpret what was written. If you know the theory and know something to be wrong, then feel free to alter it. The reason to use (translations of) Dutch terms is that the theory is a Dutch one. DirkvdM 09:22, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
POORLY translated. My changes to this paragraph are a better rendition of the meaning intended. I don't lack the knowledge you say you lack. Please don't revert me based on your lack of knowledge. The article this was taken from is Dutch. The theory described is in no way original to the Dutch. Naming something doesn't mean the thing named did not have a prior existence. WAS 4.250 14:26, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
Why would I revert based on lack of knowledge? That would be stupid. Are you suggesting I am stupid? :) Anyway, do you understand Dutch? You must if you claim the translation was poor. That last bit is interresting. Was there a similar theory before the Dutch theory and name came about? That's how I understand what you say (maybe you're referring to the Amish?). But then that theory can not claim the name Sociocracy and alter its meaning. If it is different it should come up with its own name. DirkvdM 18:14, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
I understand from your edit that you cannot conceive of a 'higher' level (hierarchically) that is not really 'higher' (authoritatively) (at least that's how I understand it). However, this seems important to the theory, so it certainly should be kept. Unaltered, except by someone who really knows about this. DirkvdM 09:22, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
You understand WRONG. To apply sociocracy in larger groups a system of delegation is needed in which a group chooses representatives who take the decisions for them on a higher level. This higher level is not allowed to impose its policies on "lower" policymaking circles. explains that the "higher" group is higher in a limited sense. What you wanted kept WAS kept. Read it again. And don't tell me what I "really know". WAS 4.250 14:26, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
That last remark wasn't aimed at you. It was a general remark. We seem be have got off at a bad start through misunderstandings. Basically, you just removed the terminology. And I suppose that has to do with the (wrong) idea that it is originally a Dutch theory, so the Dutch terms should go. Or do I get this wrong? But then why didn't you remove the bits about that the term itself is a translation from Dutch and even that the theory (in this sense) is is developed by Dutch people? Also, you removed the bit about possible paralysis (unless applied to small, homogenous groups). Why did you do that? DirkvdM 18:14, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Don't pretend to know what ANY other editor "really knows". Yes, basically I just removed pointless Dutch terms that in a proper translation would not be on the English version. And yes you "got it wrong" again concerning what I think about the origin of the concept and the term "Sociocracy" and how that affects the article. Just let it go OK? The article says "A requirement of consensus makes political paralysis possible. One person can block any decision with a firm reasoned objection." How is that removing "the bit about possible paralysis"? "(unless applied to small, homogenous groups)" was removed because it is false. Even a group with only two people has "paralysis" under this system if one says "no" to everything. Let it go, OK? WAS 4.250 22:21, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

If you tell me to "just let it go, OK" (twice) that's one sure way to make me persist like a pitbull :) . However, it just happens that I have too many other things to do right now. I want to dig deeper into the subject, so I'll get back to this. DirkvdM 08:14, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
This paragraph is confusing to me. Could a global sociocracy impose gasoline rationing on citizens of the United States if citizens of the United States did not want to limit their consumption? Jkintree 18:18, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Sociocracy is a management tool to help workers be more productive. It could never be a form of sovereign government anymore than anarchy, but dreamers build their castles in the sky anyway. They dream their dreams with this management technique plus their imagination. If it confuses you to try to imagine actual real world behavior while also imagining a "global sociocracy", then congratulate yousdelf on seeing the castle in the sky for being the unrealistic fantasy that it is. Sociocracy can not even impose a rule of DO NOT MURDER if one person insists he has the right to kill. WAS 4.250 22:21, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm, all I know about sociocracy is from the article. My understanding of the article is that if one person insists on having the right to kill, but can not express an acceptable argument to support that, then the group can impose the rule DO NOT MURDER. The implication is that the group can restrain the individual if necessary. To be consistent with that, I would think that a global level might agree to allow regional differences, or that the global level might impose a rule on all regions, for example, NO SLAVERY. This is great. We're doing it. We're arguing. :-) Jkintree 23:02, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

"Consent" refers to the state of mind of the person consenting. If everyone ELSE rejects my argument, that doesn't turn my nonconcent into consent. The right of a majority to dismiss my nonconsent is called democracy. WAS 4.250 02:11, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Gee, WAS 4.250, I always thought that democracy was people power (demos-kratos). Seems like words are often subjective: consent, consensus. It's a problem of language I guess... I recently read Boeke's essay Sociocracy: democracy as it might be (added the link to english version btw). Boeke mentions his being influenced by Quaker meetings & talks about his school. Hope this is helpful for you Jkintree -- I assume that you (like me) couldn't read the Dutch version. I'm always a little shy about altering the body of an article, but this subject interests me. According to my trusty copy of Peter Marshall's Demanding the Impossible, Boeke was a christian anarchist. So perhaps the anarchic side of sociocracy could be mentioned... Btw, WAS 4.250, murder happens even tho' it is illegal -- i feel you are being OTT. The anarchy (as envisioned by anarchists) does not allow imposed on people, that is the golden rule -- no imposition; like sociocracy, it builds a consensus & allows for dissent & secession through the principle of free association. A majority of people may oppose murder (or anything else) & try to prevent it happening, if that is what they believe, provided that they do not impose their belief on others -- see the non-aggression principle or zero-aggression principle. They can argue their case, use pacifistic means to protest against murder & may use self-defence against attempted murder. So, what i'm trying to say is that you misundertand the point of anarchy/sociocracy. While such a method of decision making may have problems, when people have equal power they can more easily work through things (given time) than when a 'solution' is imposed. If there is no agreement, a cooling-off period, like separation. And if you can't agree, then divorce is the solution -- complete separation, secession. So, while it may be used as a management tool by the bosses, i would argue that sociocracy is like anarchy, as percieved by anarchists (and others). -- james, a dreamer

Rainbow Gathering's extreme democracyEdit


I'm removing this sentence from the end of the paragraph about Rainbow Gatherings: "Thus, no one needs to be principally excluded, not even children (they normally wouldn't be able to sit through it) and thus this is a very extreme form of democracy." Saying it's "a very extreme form of democracy" is a bit problematic and controversial, and the sentence seems to serve more of an interpretative (rather than informative) function. Chira 07:42, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

FWIW, I agree. Rl 11:42, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Could the word "Sociocracy" have two meanings?Edit

Could the word "Sociocracy" also be short for "Social democracy"?

It makes sense, don't it?

Ожиданиесчастья (talk) 05:04, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

No, only one meaningEdit

Sociocracy means rule by the "socius", ie, people who have a social relationship with each other. Democracy means rule by the "demos", i.e., the general mass of people who have not special relationship with each other. So, you can see that social democracy is an oxymoron and doesn't have the same meaning as sociocracy. (19 December 2008)Johnnybuck (talk) 00:21, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Too much ComteEdit

Something needs to be done with description of Comte's use of the term, because (from what I can tell) it has nothing to do with the contemporary meaning. Bracket it off, edit it down or merge it into an article where it is relevant -- I'll leave those of you that know best to figure it out. 67.237.228.218 (talk) 19:02, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

This thought, while welcome, is so cryptic that it is not comprehensible. Why is one citation of Comte "too much Comte"? The description simply notes that Comte used the term sociocracy and doesn't talk about his use of it. So, what "use of the term" are you referring to? Johnabuck (talk) 13:10, 2 July 2012 (UTC)johnabuckJohnabuck

Needs a Criticism sectionEdit

I'm always amazed at the variation in which Wikipedia articles have "Criticism" and which do not.

Generally, if something can be threatening to someone, then there is a "Criticism" section (e.g. "ESP") and if something is only known to its own enthusiasts (e.g. "Sociocracy") then there is no "Criticism" section. 162.205.217.211 (talk) 23:51, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Agree with the above. This entire article is nothing but boosterism for Gerard Endenburg's fantasies (a revised version of Endenburg's teacher's vision, Kees Boeke, and his Montesori vision). The linkages to Auguste Comte and Lester Ward are misleading rather than informative as the ideas of these latter two people are unrelated to the genesis of Boeke's and Endenburg's ideas. Comte's and Ward's sociological ideas were widely influential in their respective eras, and had a formative impact on thinkers in their generation. There is no lineage of a "new system of governance" called "sociocracy" as suggested by this article (something that rivals systems of thought such as socialism, communism, democracy). On the contrary, Ward envisaged democracy developing through Government's relying more upon the expert advice of sociologists - governance by technocrats, </ref> see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Frank_Ward#Influence_on_U.S._government_policy). Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). ) when they are flogging their wares and attempting to provide a "history" of their supposedly ground breaking contribution to group organization. Endenburg's four principles are simple variations of principles discussed in literature on organizational structures and management. A dose of business studies 101 in organizational change and management would provide some useful context for this article. From the context of developments in this field, Endenburg's disciples are but one more marketing cult in a field in which legions of them rise (and fall), deceiving the gullible with promises of a cure that will unleash your organization's 'creativity', 'productivity', etc etc. Asd154 (talk) 22:48, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Dude, that's a bit harsh. I'm all for a criticism section, but I think you need to give some credit to the fact that the method is now around for about 40 years and has been successfully implemented in many organizations around the globe, albeit predominantly with non-profict and "socioal" organizations (e.g. healthcare, schools, social services etc.), as well as intentional communities. Maybe that counts for nothing in your view of the world, but it made a hell of a lot of happy campers. You are also forgetting there's a law in the Netherlands about sociocratic organizations, they are exempt from having a worker's council, so a few people seem to be convinced it works in at least some cases. Also, your view on the history is but one interpretation, you could also see it as a slow evolution from Comte's government of Sociologists, Ward's seeing the Sociologists more in an advisory role, and putting more emphasis on the individual's responsibility, and finally the (for some people quite radical) focus on consent of the individual to all decisions that affect them in SCM. Of course many things in sociocracy are not new ideas, but in some areas the difference to what you claim is simply business studies 101 is quite substantial. You might want to take the time and review the publicly available sociocratic norms, I grant that they are not written in the most accessible form, but to the curious mind they demonstrate quite well that this is a coherent and well-designed system which creates a different kind of organization that puts the people to the centre and makes sure there's no way of deciding without the consent of those affected. Of course, this will never work in a corporate environment, and they will not even consider trying it (this is the market segment holacracy wants to address) but for many a small organizations (less that 2000 ppl.) this is exactly what they need. 95.90.236.197 (talk) 18:47, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Agreed a criticism section is necessary. To understand a system, people need to know both its strengths and weaknesses - where and how and when it is likely to work, or not. For example when there is no common aim that can be consented to, the SCM (Sociocratic Circle Method) is unlikely to work well. Likewise when it is not possible to generate enough equivalence among participants in a decision. And so on...JSchinnerer (talk) 16:41, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

You don't need a criticism section, but you do need third party sources. I've removed a lot of unsupported claims but the references are poor and a lot more could legitimately be removed ----Snowded TALK 17:21, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
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