Being considered a professional is important. But most of us are 'old' professionals, not old in age, but old in thinking style and approach to living. Old professionals separate science and spirit and think in terms of either/or - 'you're either for me, or against me.' New professionals connect science and spirit and think in both/and terms. Please read: The New Professionalism: Connecting Science and Spirit, available at www.WisdomAtWorkUSA.com.
Monday, October 22, 2012
One More on Fixing Democracy, Part 2
This is the next to the last in a series of posts on how to
make our democracy work better based on an article, The Wisdom of Crowds, How to involve ordinary citizens in complex
political decisions, by Marco Visscher, in The Intelligent Optimist
magazine (formerly Ode).
“Over the years, these citizen panels, made up of 12 to 18
volunteers, have fueled debate inside and outside the Danish Parliament.They’ve also inspired new legislation,
including a ban on the use of DNA testing by employers and medical insurers.
And the model has found its way to other countries, from South Korea to Zimbabwe. This fall, ordinary
citizens will be consulted in anticipation of the U.N. conference on biodiversity.According to Kluver, this proves that
‘citizen participation can, in fact, be brought to the global level as well.’
“The model has also been applied with illiterate farmers in India.Plans by the Indian government to give
biotechnology a prominent place in agricultural policy would have significant
consequences for farmers in the state of Andhra Pradesh, yet they were not
consulted. So in 2001, several NGOs decided to form a ‘jury’ of local farmers.
For a week they discussed, based on expert interviews, the consequences of the
government’s plans. The week resulted in a prajateerpu,
or ‘people’s verdict.’
“P.V. Satheesh, director of the Deccan Development Society
was there. ‘Great excitement was in the air,’ he remembers. ‘Never in their
lives had the farmers been consulted on such issues to give a verdict as a
jury. The farmers we had assembled didn’t have the social power to ask touch
questions. They were very polite and asked questions softly and a bit
“Nonetheless, a lobbyist for a seed breeder bellowed that he
had come to give a presentation and ‘not to reply to your stupid questions.’
One government official refused to stand in front of the group of farmers and
demanded a table and a chair.
“The farmers advised the government to put its biotechnology
plans on hold. According to them, malnutrition in their region would decline
only barely or not at all, while dependence on chemical fertilizers and
pesticides would increase.They called
for self-sufficiency and a vision of agriculture that better embraced Indian