Introduction to Panarchism

The very essence of democracy is the choice of the people, yet commonly citizens are left with little true agency in governmental affairs. Numerous world issues are the result of governments exercising power unjustly without their citizens' consent. Panarchism addresses the issue of citizen's choice to ensure governments do not abuse their power.

Panarchism: a political philosophy

Panarchism is a political philosophy which advocates one's right to voluntary association in the choice of one's own governance.

Most individuals did not choose their current government and many citizens disagree with some of the rules they are expected to obey. Panarchism means that a government, just like a church, should only have power over the individuals who choose to opt in.

This allows for multiple simultaneous governments in one state, where the citizens can select the system which best suits their needs and views.

Panarchism would give both responsibility and self-determination back to the citizen, while allowing the best governmental system(s) to prevail due to natural selection.

Panarchy: a conceptual term

Panarchy is a much more general term than panarchism, applying not just to political systems but to other abstract systems such as nature, society, technology, networks, et cetera.

A panarchy is a system in which interactions and associations are natural and dynamic; this constrasts against hierarchy, which is top-down and based on perceived inequality.

Panarchy is self-ordering, as opposed to hierarchy, which is externally-ordered, and also opposed to chaos, which has no order at all.

An ecosystem is a good example of panarchy. Panarchy allows associations to form and dissolve freely, often naturally converging towards an equilibrium.

A state which implements panarchism will thus also be a panarchy. This will mean citizens have the freedom to interact equally in society while governments are also kept in check by their citizens. Corruption in governments would be greatly reduced as individuals leave governments which fail their duties. Power would be distributed more evenly, rather than allowing the government to coerce citizens or the majority to coerce minority groups.


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