Hey kids! How are you doing?
Your teacher Ms. Valorie, wanted me to talk to you today – so here I am – talking! I haven’t decided exactly what to talk about. I thought of a couple of things, but I’d like you guys to help decide what the subject should be.
OK, here’s what we’re going to do. First, I want you all to think quietly for two minutes about what interests you most, and then I’ll talk about that. And don’t worry – I know lots about lots of things, so we should have a good time while I’m here. Give me a shout if that’s OK, and I’ll start the two minutes of quiet thinking.
Wow! Good shout! Start thinking now!
OK, times up. Did you all think of something that you would like me to talk about? Good. Now, we’ll have to figure out what it is. This time I’m going to give you 30 seconds to let me know what I should talk about. When I say start, I want you to shout out what you want to hear about – Start!
Times up! Times up! Times up! Times up! Wow, you guys do know how to shout. It was kind of hard for me to hear exactly what you were shouting, or what subject was the most popular, but let me tell you what I think it is, and then you can tell me if that’s what you want to hear about. I think you wanted to hear about how to play baseball while you were swimming, or dancing, or maybe it was when you were sewing. Is that what you want me to talk about? No? Hmmm.Should we try the shouting again? No? Hmmm.
There are a lot of you here today, and although we seem to be having fun, we’re not getting much done, and I don’t want Ms Valorie to come back and find out we’ve just been making noise. I’m supposed to tell you something that will be important to you.
Just how many of you are there? Do me a favor and you there in the end seat in the front row, shout out “1,” and the girl next to you shout out, “2,” and we’ll keep going until we know how many you all are. 64! OK. That’s a good number for something I’ve been working on – it’s kind of an alternate way for big groups to figure out what they want to do. I think it’s better than electing a Leader, and then doing what he wants you to do. Anyhow, how long does it usually take your classes to choose a Class President? Right, a few days of campaigning by the few who like to be Leaders. And then how long do you have to put up with him or her once elected? A year. I’ve got a system where you don’t get a Leader who decides what you will do. In my system, you all continually decide for yourselves, and then reach an agreement, or an Accommodation. The Accommodation is the best decision for all of you at that moment. Want to try it? It will only take a few minutes. Great!
Now, what I want you to do is to get up out of your seats, and come up to the front of the auditorium. Come on, come on, everybody. We don’t have much time, and I’m supposed to be telling you something good. I don’t want Ms. Valorie to be mad at me. (You know what she’s like when she’s mad!) Good, good, good – hurry.
OK, now I want you to group yourselves together in groups of 8. Since there are 64 of you, that will be 8 Groups of 8. And you can shout if you want to, but I want you to group yourselves together according to what you have in common. Primarily in this case, what subject most interests you for my talk. Let’s see if you can do it in 5 minutes. That will still give us a little more than half an hour for me to give you a talk on your subject. OK, go! This isn’t the end of the world, so if you find yourself in a Group with your favorite enemy, just relax. You seem to be doing fine. Yes, you can change Groups, but we have only 1 minute left. Those solid Groups that don’t want to change any more, move to my left. The ones still forming keep going until you are pretty solid, then move to my left. OK, it looks like there are 16 of you left, and not much time left. Just split into 2 Groups of 8, and stay together as Groups. For this exercise, this will be your Group – no more changing.
What’s next is for you to discuss in your Group what your favorite subject is and come to an agreement about what you want. Go! Raise your hands when your Group is ready. And if your Group just doesn’t care, or can’t come to an agreement, that’s OK too. Just raise your hands when you’ve got a majority agreement, or figure you won’t get one soon. Wow! That was fast. Cool! You guys seem to know what you want.
Now, hold mini elections in your Groups of 8, and choose one of you to speak for the Group. This person isn’t a Leader really, he or she is just your representative. Quickly now...
Great, that was quick. Kind of spread around in an oval down there with your Representative towards the center of the oval. Good. Representatives, face each other. You 8 are the 2nd Level Group of the 64 of you. Now move together and decide what the topic of my talk will be. The rest of you stay in your Groups – your Representative will be coming back soon. Quickly Reps! If Ms. Valorie comes back and finds we haven’t even started, she will be very cross with me.
Got it, good. Now this is the really interesting aspect of this type of decision-making system. Instead of going ahead with the decision, you first get the understanding of your 1st Level Groups about what you have come up with as their Reps at the 2nd Level. All of you get to decide. It’s not a matter of electing a Leader and then going to sleep for a year until the next election. In this case you will hear what the 2nd Level Group came up with, and go with it or suggest changes. And here’s a big part of this system: if you don’t think that your Representative is the best one to speak for your Group, just decide on another Representative.
When you have reached your decisions, your Rep should turn around and reform the 2nd Level. The process continues until the 2nd Level reaches a majority decision that the 1st Level Groups have understood. This back-and-forth discussion between Group Levels assures that everyone understands what the larger Group as a whole will be doing and why.
Well, at least you seem to be having fun down there. Did you come up with a subject? Good! No – don’t start shouting again. The members of the 2nd Level elect one of you to deliver the subject to me.
What’s your name? OK everybody else be quiet, and let the Bob shout out the subject.
Sex? Oh, my lord! You guys are going to get me in trouble after all. What? What’s so funny? What are you doing now? Reaching another Accommodation? Great! Ms. Valorie will probably have me shot, but go ahead.“
Tell us more about this system!
”Whew! Thanks for letting me off the hook. I’m starting to really like you guys! OK, I call this system MultiLevel Governance.
Look, we have about 20 minutes left. Please sit if you will be more comfortable, or you can stay where you are and we can continue our conversation via Bob, your 2nd Level Rep. OK. Great.
I call it MultiLevel Governance, or MLG for short. Some of you may be familiar with MLM – Multilevel Marketing. That is a system of commerce, which allows individuals with energy and drive to create their own businesses by getting their friends and family help them to sell stuff. They set up Levels of associates, much like the Groups and Levels with you 64 guys. MLM has been very successful. It completely bypasses the normal need for a store on the street to have a business. It is just people getting together in Groups, focusing their energy into selling something. Some of your parents may be involved in MLM. Some of the biggest and most famous MLM groups are: Avon, Tupperware, Amway, and Herbalife. How many of you know about MLM? Wow! That’s a lot.
Well, MLG is the basically same idea but applied to pretty much anything in which a large number of people have a common interest. It is a way that important decisions can be made quickly without having to trust someone else as your Leader. Throughout history, many Leaders have become Rulers. This means that although they were supposed to be doing what the people wanted, they started doing what they wanted. If the people get annoyed, these Rulers use the army and the police against their own people so that they can keep power.
Just now in this auditorium, you guys have seen how easily MLG can work, and how it makes each person able to know that at least he or she was a real part of making the final decision. You took a fairly large group, and in minutes arrived at satisfactory Accommodations. And MLG can grow to handle a huge number of people – even a country, or even everyone in the world. What we did here today was to form 8 Groups of 8 on the 1st Level. (I call them 8-PAC’s, People in Active Communication, or People in Action for a Cause.) The 8 Representatives from those 8 First Level Groups completed the 2nd Level of 64. The 2nd Level 8-PAC elected one Rep – Bob – for their 8 Groups. Bob was the start of the 3nd Level. Once Bob is joined by 7 more Reps of 7 more Groups of 64, there would be a complete 3nd Level. They would elect one of their 8-PAC, and he or she would be the first person on the 4th Level. On and on the Levels would grow, representing more and more people. But no Group would be greater than 8. And in a Group of 8, everybody gets a chance to be heard, and be a real part of any decision-making.
Just as a spot quiz – how many Levels do you think it would take to contain the whole world? There are now about 7 billion people on the Earth. Yeah, why not – do a quick meeting and Bob can give the best answer you come up with. Great speed! So you figure about 100 Levels. Cool. Now, does someone have a calculator? Good. The way to figure it is to just keep multiplying by 8. 8 is a 1st Level 8-PAC, 8 X 8 = 64, this is a complete 2nd Level – like you guys here today. 8 X 64 is a complete 3rd Level of 512. 8 X 512 makes a complete 4th Level etc. You just keep multiplying by 8. Somebody with a calculator please do that until you get to a Level that can handle 7 billion. We have a couple of you working on that – cool! Bob, let me know the result.
11 Levels! Great! Good calculating. Actually it would be an incomplete 10th Level for 7 Billion. A 11th Level would start at about 8.6 Billion. So right now, it would only take 10 Levels to handle everybody. To me this is amazing! Instead of electing a Congressman who represents 700,000 people, or a Senator who represents millions of people, you would step by step choose one from only 8. Very quickly you could grow this system to include everybody who was interested in whatever you are interested in. And then you could do something about it!
This system would not have worked 20 years ago. There are three pieces of fairly new technology which are necessary for large Groups of people to coordinate their activities quickly and efficiently using MLG. These are first: computers; second: the Internet; and third: cell phones. Before these electronic developments, people just couldn’t get together in large numbers and get things done fast. So far the best solutions in history have been all the various types of Governments. And all these organizations, from Kings, to Dictators, to Presidents have one thing in common – they take the power of the people and concentrate it in a Top-Down structure. In a Democracy, you vote for your Representatives, and then they start giving you orders.
In MLG, the G stands for Governance not Government. As you have seen today, MLG is a Bottom-Up structure. You elect your Representatives, then you agree to their suggestion – you don’t take their orders. And if they screw up, you can get rid of them right away – you don’t have to wait for a year, or any fixed amount of time. Let’s take our friend Bob here for example. If his other seven 2nd Level 8-PAC members had really wanted to hear about bologna sandwiches, and Bob shouted out, “Sex!” – the 8-PAC that elected him could have quickly replaced him for someone who could more faithfully represent their wishes. Or if the other 7 members in his 1st Level 8-PAC decided to replace him, he would no longer be part of the 2nd Level 8-PAC. Bob’s replacement would now be a member of the 2nd Level 8-PAC, and they would just have to elect another Rep for themselves. Bob wouldn’t be necessarily be expelled from his 1st Level 8-PAC, he would just be replaced as their Rep.
When you guys were first shouting out what you wanted, I heard a bunch who were shouting about different rock bands. If you guys organized along the lines of MLG, went on Facebook or Twitter, and got others in the city interested in raising money for a concert, you could probably make it happen.
Oh, oh… our time is up. Here’s Ms. Valorie. Please let her know how I did. I’m hoping for a good grade, so I can come back again.