Don Beck on Afghanistan (and Stratified Democracy)

[Edit note: On the terminology of Spiral Dynamics, i.e. colors and their meanings, see here].

Surfing the intertubules last night via The Spiral Dynamics Wiki, I came across this talk Don Beck (co-founder of SD) gave at the World Bank. The video is less than stellar and the audio has some glitches but is still worth the time.

Beck lays out his theory of human emergence and how in his work in helping to end apartheid in South Africa he developed a stratified banking system–i.e. a bank model catered to each layer the social class-human development schema.

As my friend C4 would say, Don Beck has some ginormously big balls (ballz?). He goes into the World Bank (just watch the thing) and tells them to either reform the entire system, shut down, or change their name since they are lying about being the bank of the world.

He points out the World Bank is lost in what he calls (echoing Ken Wilber) “flatland”–which in more precise philosophical language is called the “myth of the given”. i.e. That there is literally only one world that we can all see with our eyes and therefore one solution fits all schemes are put forward. Some work because–without realizing the underlying causation–the World Bank schemes happen to gel with the actual needs/life conditions/level of development of the people. Not that the people doing this know that this is what they are doing–it’s more hit and miss (here a hit). Some plan works someplace so then it is automatically thought it will work everywhere else–not taking into account the levels of development–and therefore fails. And they don’t know why one succeeds while another fails.

Beck applies this model to the issue of Afghanistan. Memetically Afghanistan breaks down in the following way. The Bonn Agreement of 2001 which the US brokered involving the Northern Alliance (non-Pashtun Northern Tribes of Afghanistan), Iran, India, NATO members, on the future post-Taliban Afghan government was bound to fail. It brought forward excessive notions of democracy and liberal rule of law notions to a situation that needed a 2nd World not 1st World Solution.

Afghanistan during the civil war of the 80s was run by red warlords. The Taliban came in and established peace via an imperial mechanism (destroyed warlords) and were originally greeted as liberators but quickly became pathological in their value system (extreme puritannical Sunni Islam). The US invasion broke the blue power structure leading to the return of the red warlords and a proto-orange cocoon centered around Kabul. That government has failed to have the strength necessary to deal with the rising insurgency (the return of the Taliban/Pashtun in the South and East).

Stratified democracy (better stratified governance I think) is the notion that the kind of government (like the kind of banking institution) has to paired to the appropriate station of life. For Afghanistan this would have been a Singapore-like consultation yes, parliamentary democracy vision no rule. And it certainly couldn’t have been built out of the dominance of the Northern Alliance with its more pro-India/pro-Iran stance.

This is the kind of work integral needs to be doing. Not in-house fighting or arguments about who has more lines/levels, who transcends and includes whoever else. [And this criticism swings in all directions of these communities].

It revived in my mind some thoughts I have had applying this model of stratification (love that term) to churches. A stratified ecclesiology.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. CJ,

    thanks for the heads up. haven’t seen that video yet. bookmarked and will check out.

    speaking of big balls, here are a couple of women wearing hard big ballz 🙂

    Catherin Austin Fitts: The American Tapeworm

    Helen Thomas featured on Hardball


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