The Tao of Democracy presents an increasingly relevant and compelling vision of wiser public policy and vibrant democratic culture. Written by lifelong activist Tom Atlee, The Tao of Democracy is rooted in a simple, yet revolutionary proposition that opens doors to positive democratic change: Given a supportive structure and resources, diverse ordinary people can work together to achieve common ground. Tom Atlee takes readers through numerous examples of how this proposition has been tested and proven hundreds of times around the world in diverse and innovative forms of public conversation.
• In Oregon, a nonprofit involved thousands of ordinary citizens in in-depth conversations about how to best use limited health care funds; the result was a mandate by the state legislature to use such community meetings to guide state health care decisions.
• In Toronto, Canada, a group of a dozen people widely divergent political views created, over the course of one weekend, a consensus vision for improving the nation as a whole—a feat that parliamentary committees, focus groups, and millions of dollars in funds had been unable to achieve.
• In Andhra Pradesh, India, twenty farmers participated in a prajateerpu or citizens’ jury, listening to testimony and cross-examining experts (including international government officials) in order to present the World Bank with practical proposals for managing the state’s agriculture systems.
Ideal for community organizers, nonprofit workers, policymakers, and elected officials, The Tao of Democracy illuminates new forms of collective citizenship that can help us achieve creative consensus without compromise, addressing the diversity and complexity of our society while preserving and utilizing our precious individuality.
“Tom Atlee paints a vision not of some distant, ideal democracy but of here-and-now practices showing us what’s possible in our immediate future. An important gift for our small, challenged planet!”—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section I: An Overview of Co-Intelligence
What Is Co-Intelligence?
Tales and Commentaries
Wholeness, Interconnectedness, and Co-Creativity
Section II: Making a Whole Difference Together
Reaching Beyond Adversarial Activism
Ways to Have Real Dialogue
Other Approaches to Co-Intelligence
The List Goes On…
Section III: Creating a Wise Democracy
Democracy and Wholeness
Cooperative and Holistic Politics
The Canadian Experiment
Citizens Deliberate about Public Issues
Citizen Deliberative Councils
Section IV: Citizenship toward a Wiser Civilization
Citizenship Meets Complexxity
More Approaches to Deliberative Democracy
The Emerging Culture of Dialogue
Consensus: Manipluation or Magic?
Co-Intelligent Citizenship and Activism
The Tao of Democracy
What You Can Do