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Said Elias Dawlabani Headshot

Why Government of the Future Needs to Be a Functional Utility

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In my last post, I introduced the reader to a social development model the Futurist Magazine called the theory that explains everything. Two million years of human emergence and 1,300 words were overshadowed by three words from the entire article: "Yes to Obamacare." My views immediately became polarized into the political left ignoring the more important part of that statement that said: But the government we have today cannot do it. Three weeks later, in conformation of how the value systems of today's government have become obsolete, the launch of Obamacare was nothing short of a disaster.

The technological glitches with the Affordable Care Act are just a symptom of regulatory structures that no longer work. Government today seems to be a relic of industrial-age values, old technology and hulking and vacuous bureaucracies that go through the motions of pretending to regulate while doing it through outdated institutional processes and procedures. While the values of the private sector exalt the virtues of "innovate or die," the government, relative to the fast pace of the digital age, seems to be stuck in shielding its institutions and employees from innovation. These protective government values are enshrined under the guise of stability. A government cannot be seen as unstable, pure and simple. This is a driving force behind the law and order theme of the fourth level value system on which modern day nations were built. In the pursuit of government stability at any cost, many of our institutions are prevented from pursuing new and innovative ideas leading to what I call an arrested or closed system of government.

Procurement laws become so hard to navigate, they discourage cutting-edge innovators from bidding on taxpayer-funded contracts. As a result of many of these barriers the system falls into a malaise and contracts get awarded to those who know how to navigate or game the system instead of those that are most competent. Arrested systems have the tendency to perpetuate mediocrity and see very little need to compete. As these practices become the norm, over time these systems move away from an arrested state to a closed state. This is at the heart of the structural and systemic dysfunction we see in Washington today. The political system is full of pathologies and toxicities requiring structural changes; an entirely new engine, if you will, not just a routine oil change and hoping for the best.

The government of the future is designed from the seventh level of values. It has a big picture view of America and its role as a global leader and acts from these values. Politics at this level of existence are trans-partisan not bipartisan. Republicans and Democrats evolve to become Spirocrats who perform the function of providing for the needs of all people on the Spiral of values of the entire electorate regardless of what value system or what party they themselves belong to. Liberalism and conservatism is replaced by functionalism that is informed by the need for the United States to reclaim its competitive global edge in everything from governance to business practices and care for our planet. Part of that functionalism is to insure a minimum standard of care to our citizens without whom the future looks very bleak.

These are the values of what I call Smart Government. I call it that because our current system was designed from the fourth level system of values that have been corrupted and rendered obsolete by the far-smarter fifth level system which is strategic and enterprising in nature. This country hasn't had a Smart Government since Kennedy stood up to the steel industry in 1962. The notion that values in government can be smarter than those in business spells an end to the current system that has been bought and paid for by business. It also has far reaching implications on the future of our democracy. However, based on this developmental model, it is the only way to insure the upward emergence of humanity. Among Western societies, our country is the teenager who's bemoaning the fact that it is becoming an adult and must deal with its growing developmental issues.

While many might think President Obama exhibits these seventh level values, he is actually centered in the sixth level system; one that seeks the humanitarian and egalitarian values and places that over the bottom line. The country needs to experience these values for us to get a deeper understanding of what the real role of capitalism is in the upward emergence of our culture. However, as a capitalist society, the United States won't spend too much time in these values as we continue our upward journey toward higher meaning and consciousness.

Today, parts of Northern and Western Europe are transitioning from the sixth level system to the seventh level system. These values represent the coming of age of human thinking, caring and responsibility. As we enter these values, they will, of course, take on a uniquely American expression, but they can't be stopped. German society today is a reflection of a healthy mix of the sixth and seventh level values. As a result, it has become one of the first nations that has a robust capitalist economy that thrives on the integrated approach of the seventh level values of Smart Government.

Seventh level politicians are intuitive by nature. They see with unmistakable clarity the damage that lobbyists, special interest, and career politicians have caused our institutions. Today, senator Elizabeth Warren represents the dawn of this system in Washington. She does not mince her words in telling banking regulators (fourth level values) that they are incompetent and can't regulate. She sees right through bankers (fifth level values) and has no hesitation in letting them know their practices border on the unethical. Political appointee and past Fed Chairman, Paul Volker, is another example. In 2008, he was among the very few in Washington to see through the smoke and mirrors of Wall Street bankers. His interest was in seeing a healthy U.S. economy many decades down the road, not help a system addicted to debt and nonproductive pursuits. As a result of his seventh level views, he was sidelined and replaced by Larry Summers, the poster child of financial deregulation and the toxic version of fifth level system of values.

Clearly, our political system is going through some of its greatest challenges. When competing values are so polarized, systemic seventh level thinking doesn't see the light of day as the entire system heads into collapse. Historically, change has come in two different ways, evolutionary change or revolutionary change. It remains to be seen whether the pragmatists on both sides wake up and see the corrosive toll their behavior is taking on our national psyche, or the current system collapses under its own weight. I'm reminded of the great American thinker Bucky Fuller who said, "You cannot change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, create a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

It's time for us to call on the Elizabeth Warrens and the Paul Volkers of this country to make the current political system obsolete.