Creating New Societies - by John Boik Ph.D.

Although this book suffers from a “we should do things different” problem (words on these lines do not change things easily!), it does contain some useful concepts in terms of “hard” cultural engineering. Business leaders need to appreciate that the kind of ideas expressed by Boik are becoming increasingly accepted by a wider public. Local currencies particularly are a strong trend as are non debt based local banking arrangements – eg Credit Unions and full reserve banking. We also see throughout Europe and the World growing public desire for identity and local autonomy – even if just in the flying of local flags and re-discovery of local languages and cultures.

Boik starts his analysis by listing the faults/difficulties inherent in present institutional systems – money, politics and business. This is useful. He goes on to give his ideas on how things should be done differently. Quite how we get from here to there is not so clear!

Money – the essence of his suggestion here is that local currencies are the ideal way to build up local economies without interference from outside events. They can also include features that reduce the dangers of boom/bust and eliminate the problem of debt interest (i.e. they are not debt based currencies).

Business - Boik dreams of a society which is “principled”, removing the profit motive as the prime motivating force for action. His business structures would fall halfway between the charity/non-profit sector and the current corporate approach. He says, quite rightly, that many people do not do things purely for money. He hopes people like this will adopt his ideas.

Politics – Boik sees the future of “principled” society in terms of making local governance a priority. He would prefer to choose leaders by lot (a good idea favoured by the greeks who originated “democracy”). He also want to use internet based systems to provide full consultation with everyone in the community. He favours having competence or experience qualifications for those who wish to make themselves available for public office. These are all good ideas – but, again, getting from here to there is the challenge.

There are many books of this type. They can be said to fall into the “motherhood is beautiful” category – great ideals floating in the air. Although they have no easy key to implementation, each one helps to move the ideas more into the public domain and therefore closer to practicality.