Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: Ergonocracy

‘ERGONOCRACY: A new ideology for a Human Adapted 21st Century Regime’, by JORGE ALVES, is about a new ideology for a Human Adapted 21st Century Regime that boasts of a few sublime tenets like, “Power  is  a  necessary  evil  and  must  be  shared  by  all community members”, or, “The people's destiny is too important to be left on the hands of politicians”.
The beginning chapter of this book gives an overview of the proposed system and specifies that promoting a system where there is an effective reduction of centralized power with the help of information technology, is the ultimate result. Citizens are provided with the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process, leading to a horde of benefits. The next chapter analyses the real characteristics of contemporary human beings, making clear how those traits are addressed by the proposed system. While investigating into human relations in general, the book identifies the present family arrangement as unsuitable to human nature and mentions that the proposed social model should take this into consideration and give everyone the opportunity to maintain the type of relationship best suited in each case. The book in fact suggests an overhaul of the present family structure.
Next chapter examines ‘ergonocracy’ in its political sphere. Making a good observation that most citizens demonstrate no fondness for ideologies and find it increasingly difficult to situate their logical viewpoints within the traditional right or left on the political scale, it analyses various facets of political power, like transparency, equality, financial control, justice, and redressal of grievances. The next chapter is about the ‘ergonocratic’ society, how the local communities shall flourish, and what model of governance will they follow. The economic model of such a system is studied next.  Placing strong emphasis on the professional development of working individuals in terms of their continued learning and training, the book advances alternate directives for managing individual and collective wealth and efforts to strengthen team spirit, to make a more interesting and “playful” workplace and, maximize motivation and dedication. The principles of administration of justice and its delivery, is analyzed in the next chapter. The book here proposes some sweeping changes in the way we look at crime and justice. And in the next chapter, impact of driverless transportation systems and its effect on mobility of good and services in the proposed system is presented.
Finally, transition to ergonocracy from the present setup is examined. Mentioning that the aims of Ergonocracy is to provide all citizens with equal political intervention power and to create one single class of workers who are simultaneously company owners, the book proposes a three stage strategy. The final phase of ergonocracy occurs on the day when there is only one army in the world, and as the book says, ‘this army can bury its weapons, because as far as we know, aliens pose no military risk to humans.’
Though the description of the system is sound and logical, one cannot but feel inadequacy of practical suggestions. Though the book mentions humans as ‘good or bad, according to that characteristic that better contributes to ensure his survival’, no suggestions are given as how these are to be incorporated into the framework of ergonocracy. Also, another of the perennial problems faced by democracy, the multitude of identities one can wear any time for ones convenience, and the disruptions that can cause to the society at large, has not been covered sufficiently.