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Empowering Public Wisdom

A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics
By:
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Evolver Editions
 | 
August, 2012
ISBN:
9781583945001
Quantity: 
0
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Banyen's Description: 

Beyond elections, public participation, and citizen input, we must find a way to produce wise public policy. In Empowering Public Wisdom, lifelong activist Tom Atlee shows how diverse views can be engaged around public issues in ways that generate a coherent, shared “voice of the people,” infusing the political process with common sense and guiding intelligent decision making.

True public wisdom results when the public—as a whole or in randomly selected mini-publics—engages in learning about, reflecting on, and discussing what needs to be taken into account to produce long-term, inclusive benefits. Such a process, Atlee suggests, moves us beyond partisanship to a place of collective responsibility for our shared destiny.

Atlee presents a wide array of practical solutions, including citizen deliberative councils, conversational processes for mass public participation, and ideas for institutionalizing the power of public wisdom in our government. Combining a broad vision with practical solutions, Empowering Public Wisdom provides a unique and refreshing voice in the political arena.

Atlee’s core approach is through citizen deliberative councils which engage in the study of a public issue and make recommendations to public officials and the community, but disband afterward; when new issues arise, new councils are formed.

 Over the last two decades I’ve learned a lot about where wisdom comes from and how it can be generated by ordinary people who they can use it to govern their collective affairs. In this book I share what I’ve found, including proven methods, leading-edge research, and thrilling visions of what is possible now.

Since virtually every issue has to make its way through our political and governance systems before it is addressed by the society as a whole—and because those systems are currently incapable of dealing with those issues wisely, and because our foolish, dangerous policies now threaten the very survival of civilization and life on earth—I basically let go of all the other issues I was concerned about in order to focus on this.

I urge you to do the same.

Publisher’s Description: 

Lifelong activist Tom Atlee proposes innovative ways to distill the wisdom of ordinary people in order to better guide public policy.InEmpowering Public Wisdom, Atlee recognizes currently popular forms of progressive democracy advocates, such as citizen participation and voter education, but suggests that what is really needed is a re-thinking of the very concept of democracy; Atlee advocates the use of "public wisdom," a collective intelligence that can be drawn upon to guide public policy and action. Reaching beyond partisan politics, Atlee explores how a diversity of views can be engaged around public issues in ways that generate a coherent, shared "voice of the people" that takes most or all of the population's perspectives and needs into account. Atlee's core approach is through "citizen deliberative councils," in which a small group of people randomly selected creates a "mini-public" or a microcosm of the larger population. Citizen councils engage in the study of a public issue and make recommendations to public officials and the community, but disband afterward; when a new issue arises, a new council is formed. Ultimately, Atlee aims even higher, suggesting a possible fourth branch of government to better balance our current democratic system. Combining a radical vision with practical solutions, Empowering Public Wisdom provides a unique and refreshing voice in the political arena.

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