Friday, December 4, 2020
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Former Diplomat Sees Seeds of Participatory Democracy in OWS

The global financial crisis has provoked a profound and necessary questioning of the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy. So pervasive is this disillusionment with the current order that it is hard to find anyone prepared to defend it.

Disorder is the new order; disequilibrium rules, and old assumptions no longer hold.

As Kuhn’s theory might suggest, the rank contradictions of the current political-economic paradigm—gross inequality and massive environmental destruction—are so great that a new paradigm should emerge: a system of thought and method of political action that can address these ills, and indeed offer a better method of organizing and understanding human society.

As a diplomat in the British foreign service, I served deep inside one bastion of conventional politics—the world of international diplomacy. I helped propagate “top-down,” government-dominated politics across the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

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