“Tom, what about the future? Are we headed for utopia or dystopia or maybe Protopia?”
“What is Protopia, Dave?”
“Protopia is a state that is better than today or yesterday. Where progress is steady and measured with the least amount of aggravation.”
“Sounds good. It’s probably NOT possible to have a world where everyone lives in harmony.”
“Dave, how do we make the world a better place, what principles will guide us?”
“Well, reciprocal altruism is one principle. Do unto others as you would want them to do to you.
Another one could be: seek happiness with someone else’s happiness in mind. Never seek it through force or fraud.
The same goes for liberty.
Also find rational reasons for your actions by consulting others first to get constructive feedback.
Finally, contribute to the survival and flourishing of other beings.”
“I think we’ve already done a lot towards Protopia, Dave.
We’ve reduced the size of wars, abolished slavery, don’t tolerate torture or the death penalty, expanded suffrage, defended civil rights, legalized same sex marriage and we are trying to protect the animals.”
“That’s right, Tom. Also centralized power will be NO more and location will be irrelevant because you can go anywhere digitally, instantly.”
“I get it, Dave, there will be NO power centers because power will be distributed all over the globe and placed in the handed of citizens locally. The old idea of political power will dissolve.”
“People will come together in geographical cyberspace. With communications such as Skype, talking to people anywhere on earth will be possible with NO barriers to being connected.”
“Hey Dave, I think the motto should be: Think Globally, But Act Locally.”
“I like it, Tom. City states will replace nation states!”
“I think the best government is INVISIBLE, in the sense that no one will notice them until something goes wrong.
When public systems are running smoothly, people don’t think about them.
But that’s not true of bloated bureaucracies, they’re NOT invisible because they are not designed to solve problems speedily or efficiently, if at all!”
“How can we replace bureaucracy, Dave?”
“With an organizational structure that is flexible and can cope with change and solves problems quickly.”
“Bureaucracies evolved in response to rigid hierarchical and slow changing nation states, premised on the presumption that there is one right way to handle things and then standardize it.”
“Adhocracy is the alternative to Bureaucracy. It is premised on innovation and problem solving in response to changing conditions that require unique solutions to new problems.”
“Who would be the power brokers?”
“City states would work with each other globally, and the most powerful person would be the Mayor.”
“Come to think of it, Dave, cities are NOT burdened with issues of borders and sovereignty, which restrict nation states so consequently they don’t work together.”
“The world would be ruled by cities, local democratic entities rather than top-down power or hierarchy.”
“I got it, Dave, we would become a city planet in which activities bypass national boundaries.”
“Tom, cities are the future NOT nations. We’ve become so used to nations as the norm, we forget the concept is barely 200 years old, where as cities date back 10,000 years.”
“The goal would be a global community with a communication system such as the Internet.
Knowledge available to anyone, anywhere and anytime.
A World Economy with markets where anyone can trade with anyone else without interference from governments.
A global culture in which ethnic differences fade away and all people feel they are part of one global species.”
“The democratic way is about a process, in which power is shared equality and liberty is realized within the community. Cities can be the building blocks for global governing.”
Silence while we pondered.
“Well, what do you think, Tom?”
“I think the nation state is failing us on the global scale.
The city was the habitat of first resort and now in today’s globalizing world it has become democracy’s best hope.”
“Yes Tom, I see the emergence of Smart Cities that will be on the cutting edge of urban innovation and promoting intercity cooperation.”
A GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF MAYORS—BOTTOM UP DEMOCRACY, CITIES WITHOUT BORDERS, THIS IS THE FUTURE!