Home Philosophy Integral polity, integrating nature, СЃulture, society and economy
In pursuit of integrity
Conventional wisdom has it that the "West" leads the way and the "rest" follow, whether in business or economics, politics or even the environment. In our view this is exactly what has landed us in today's mess. In fact, and conversely, we argue that, in the 21st century at least, societally as a whole if not economically in part, it is the "South" (nature) and the "East" (culture) that need to be taking the lead, and it is for the "North" (politics) and the "West" (economics) to follow, coordinated by an integral centre. Similarly, and again according to conventional wisdom, it is conventionally the public and private sectors that take the lead – with one or other in the ascendancy, depending on the country – while civil society and the environmental sector follow in their combined wake. Again we maintain that the environmental and civil sectors should now take the lead, in the 21st century, and government and business should follow. To that end an integral polity, which combines all of the above, in theory and practice, would play a central, coordinating role. "Integral Polity", our core, general process and programme then, needs to be aligned with specialist disciplines (see Figure P.5 below), as with the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development.
Before turning to such an overall and integral process in this book, we want to provide an introductory political orientation, both from a "south-eastern" perspective, via Somali-American Ahmed Samatar (10), and from a more orthodox, "North-western" one, via the renowned Japanese-American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama (11). Indeed Samatar starts out by comparing and contrasting a "cadaverous" (disintegrated) with an "integral" state.
Figure P.5 Heliopolis university Core and Specialisms
Figure P.6 Forms of State
Disintegrated to integral state
For the Somali political scientists Abil and Ahmed Samatar – Ahmed is currently Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College in the U.S. Twin Cities – basic political activities precede the appearance of the state and are not confined to its formal arena. Primordial groups as such, typified by small bands and by kin attachments, have existed and continue to survive, ever so precariously, without a formal authority structure solely designed to perform political tasks. The seeds of what we call the state are buried in those early human activities (Louis Herman, as we shall see – Chapter 15 – resurrects these in Future Primal guise), but the appearance of the state as we have known it is a relatively modern design. States then, for the Samatars, come in many guises: specifically for them, five possible types that vary from, at one extreme, the highly effective (integral), to its opposite, the dead (disintegrated) (see Figure P.6).
Since no state is immune to the vicissitudes that result from the jostling among individuals as well as larger social forces, a quintessential element of human historicity, an "integral state" is emblematic of a moment of delicate balance.
Whereas the Samatars adopt a taxonomical approach to statehood, Fukuyama adopts a historical one.
The origins of political order
For Fukuyama, to begin with, the European path to modernization was not a spasmodic burst of change across all dimensions of development but rather a series of piecemeal shifts over a period of almost 1,500 years. In this peculiar sequence, individualism on a social level could precede capitalism, the rule of law could precede the formation of the modern state, and feudalism, in the form of strong pockets of local resistance to central authority, could be the foundation of modern democracy. Once the combination of state, law and accountability appeared, then, it proved to be a highly powerful and attractive form of government that subsequently spread to all corners of the globe.
We need to remember, Fukuyama emphasizes though, how historically contingent this European emergence was. China had a strong state, but without law and accountability; the Middle East had states and law, but in much of the Arab part it lost the latter tradition. In fact societies are not trapped by their pasts and freely borrow ideas and institutions from each other. But what they are in the present is also shaped by what they were in the past, and there is not one single path that links one to the other.
Interestingly enough then, while Fukuyama puts great emphasis on the social, preceding the individual, he omits to ascribe such to Black Civilization, which is where we begin our review of Integral Polity (see Chapter 3). For each of the five perspectives we adopt, as our overall, integral core:
• natural and communal,
• cultural and spiritual,
• societal and technological,
• economic and environmental, as well as
• centring them all in a particular moral core (religion and humanity).
We start in each of these cases with origination (grounding) and end with transformation (effect), while foundation (emergence) and emancipation (navigation) take up intermediate positions. Our starting point then, is with nature and community, that is grounding in the earth, and with direct democracy, in the "South", specifically here in Africa.
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