Posts Tagged ‘Vatican II’

Evolving Forms of Governance

May 20, 2009

As I type these words I am enjoying the view of Kowloon across the Hong Kong harbour. Beyond Kowloon I can see the distant mountains in the New Territories. Somewhat to my left are the mountains of Hong Kong Island. I can see the moon-shaped Peak Tower on Victoria Peak over the high-rise buildings in Causeway Bay.

Panoramic views from a high place always bring me to a quiet space within me. Very early this morning, in the twilight zone between sleeping and waking, I again experienced an in-flow of new ideas — a process that happens to me countless times before. I am not sure exactly how the process takes place. After I receive them, my mind then shapes and clothes them into words, paragraphs and figures. Today the ideas came at the right time so that they can find their way into this blog. The middle three diagrams below are explicit rendering of the ideas that came to me this morning.

Following the long-term evolutionary framework in the last blog (see “Q27- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the Next Societal Innovations?”), we can see that forms of governance have been evolving also according to the two megatrends (the 3×3 diagram below was first presented to the Futuristics in Education course for Malaysian senior education officers last August 23, 2005 at SEAMEO INNOTECH). Glocality and counter-glocality were discussed in the previous blog on “More Power to Glocals!”

governance 1

The great American democratic experiment can be viewed as a steady movement towards the lower left or indigo quadrant, the direction of the two megatrends (see previous blog). It remains to be seen how it will further evolve in the next centuries.

governance 2

Tibetan Buddhism was never a centralized and doctrinaire religion from the beginning; it has been an independent experiential and learning-oriented practice among generations after generations of lamas or monks across Tibet, Mongolia and elsewhere.

Potala Palace (photo credits to Wikimedia Commons)

Potala Palace (photo credits to Wikimedia Commons)

The political loss of Tibet to the Peoples Republic of China led to the farther spread of Tibetan Buddhism as a personal practice across the globe; from our framework, this is movement towards the indigo quadrant. What has happened is consistent with what Padma Sambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, prophesied 1200 years ago that the Tibetan people “will be scattered like ants across the face of the Earth.”

governance 3

However, we see from our framework that the evolution of Christianity was regressive from Pentecost up to the Middle Ages, and then it reversed back towards the indigo quadrant starting with the Protestant Reformation and continuing with Vatican II reforms.

governance 4

The modern corporation is also evolving (see my blog on “From corporate disregard to corporate embrace of stakeholder capital to socially-embedded corporations”). The advent of knowledge management, organizational learning/presencing, corporate social responsibility or CSR practices, the power shift (see Alvin Toffler and Daniel Bell) to knowledge workers/enterprises and a “flatter world” according to Thomas Friedman, are forces that tend to push the modern corporate practice towards the indigo quadrant.

governance 5

What do you think?

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Q26- Information: another Force for Democratization (Trans-Societal Megatrend #2?)

May 3, 2009

What is common among these three events: (i) the Fall of Bastille in 1789, (ii) the invention of the microprocessor in 1971, and (iii) adoption in 1992 by 118 national governments of Agenda 21?


Here are more hints.

Can you discern what is common among these six trends?

  • Political: the break-up of the Soviet Union and democratization of Eastern Europe; replacement of military dictatorships with elected leaders in Latin America; fall of dictatorial regimes in Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines and Indonesia; end of apartheid in South Africa; recognition by Israel of the Palestinian Liberation Organization; “people power” revolutions in the Philippines, Chile, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Indonesia and Serbia;
  • Economic: the shift from socialist to market economies in Russia, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Eastern Europe where decision making by a few central planners was replaced by choices of millions of consumers; global shift of wealth creation from industry to services thereby a power shift from capital and machineries to knowledge and knowledge workers; global shift of market value from intangible (=mostly knowledge) assets than from tangible assets;
  • Social: the growth of the voluntary, non-profit and non-government organizations, which mobilize civil society for causes such as human rights, rights of indigenous peoples, women’s rights, environmental protection, etc.; the adoption in the Rio Summit of 1992 of sustainable development as the new mainstream development paradigm; the growing adoption of corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investments;
  • Technological: satellite TV, personal computer and WAP-enabled mobile phones which are placing tremendous information, computing power and choice in the hands of individuals and households;
  • Religious: Protestant Reformation, Vatican II (“priesthood of the laity”), women in the priesthood, creation spirituality, personal spirituality replacing adherence to organized religions; and
  • Organizational: the flattening of organizational hierarchies, growth of horizontal networks and virtual communities, emergence of autonomous intrapreneurial work teams and post-industrial empowerment of knowledge workers.

If you said “democratization” (or any of its synonym), then YOU ARE RIGHT!

Democratization is a trans-societal megatrend because it cuts across political, economic, social, technological, religious and organizational domains.

The people side of this megatrend picked up speed over the last three centuries, while the technological side jump-started about half a century ago (see diagram below). Indeed, the information revolution is another force for democratization. Together, the telephone, the personal computer and the Internet is a powerful and empowering combination.


Do you think that it is reasonable to expect that this global megatrend — democratization — will continue to permeate all aspects of life and society throughout the world for the next centuries?

Photo credits to Wikimedia Commons for “The Storming of the Bastille” by Jean-Pierre Houël and the picture of a Hitachi HD6803P microprocessor; thanks to the UN Division for Sustainable Development for the cover page of Agenda 21.

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