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Advancing Beyond the Traditional State
The social institution of the state, or what we may call the conventional or traditional
state, emerged about 5,700 years ago in Mesopotamia. Human societies advanced sufficiently
to specialize in the creating and distributing surpluses, and otherwise controlling
their participants. Human civilization gradually developed under the influence of
the traditional states, until we reached our current situation.
Recent history discloses the weaknesses of the traditional state. Powerholders have special access to information, can make decisions and redistribute surplus goods. This centralized leadership and decision making enables them to reward themselves and their supporters at the expense of the general welfare of their societies. Throughout history this was the common characteristics of authoritarian governments. But even the more democratic and open societies can be tainted by this negative potential. The recent examples of "crony capitalism" ÷ more accurately described as "klepto-capitalism" ÷ in Malaysia, Indonesia and other Asian countries demonstrate the harm done even by non-authoritarian governments. In the United States (and in other democracies), the need for politicians to receive substantial funding from special interests to gain and keep their offices similarly taints the political process.
To overcome this potentially fatal trend, a new type of state has to emerge. The
reinventing and strengthening of institutions to form a civil society will provide
the infrastructure of the next development of human societies: the common good
Common good: 1. A desirable end for government or public policy, which is good for the whole society.
2. The communal approach to the structuring and operating of a society, to reach an optimum level of economic and moral achievement and satisfaction for its participants.
The Common Good State
The common good state would modify the traditional state's institutions and operations, so that a higher level of civilization would be achieved to ensure continued human survival and progress. The "Traditional State vs. the Common Good State" table summarizes the changes that must be made to the negative aspects characteristic of the traditional state.
The benefits of reforming our existing form of government to the common good state
would be substantial. Our national problems would be resolved in favor of the national
interest, and not the special interests. World-wide, gradually all the traditional
states would follow our example, and thereby advance human progress and survival.
The terrorist attacks on the United States reinforced the reason for evolving human societies. The report Common Good State: The Next Phase of Human Societies summarizes the need and the actions needed.