One person can create the foundation
For a better future.
Yehezkel Dror's life work provides the stepping stones for a huge positive advance for humanity. Perhaps, even its long-term survival. His Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of Rome is his latest work consistent with "Dror's Law #2 - which he published in his 1971 book Ventures in Policy Sciences, p. 2 - which reads:
"While human capacities to shape the environment, society,
and human beings are rapidly increasing, policymaking capabilities
to use those capacities remain the same."
Dror - as a result of his research, publications, teachings and personal leadership over the past thirty years - has become widely regarded as the world's foremost pioneer of modern public policy studies. His Capacity to Govern work has been in development for years, been published to date in German, Spanish, Portuguese and English and is endorsed and sponsored, in the Foreword to the book by the President of The Club of Rome, which has been known as "The Conscience of Humankind" (p.vii).
Yehezkel Dror has international respect for being one of the few founders of the Policy Sciences academic discipline and being the catalyst, since the 1960s, for the establishment of policy departments in universities and the creation of professional societies devoted to policy, such as the Policy Studies Organization (PSO) where he served as President. So, when Dror published it is taken very seriously. My personal view is that Capacity to Govern should be absorbed by every national and international leader and every policy advisor, consultant, teacher or student.
Capacity to Govern, drawing research covering centuries of data, provides the problem as being unprepared societies and obsolete governance (Ch 3); the mission as being the change from "Raison d'etat," created by Italian Renaissance thinkers, to "Raison d'humanite" -- a term Dror created (Ch 1); the requirements for redesigning governance (Chs 6,7); and the resolution (Part Three). The work describes the imperative and the future steps to make a paradigmatic change, or a "Quantum Leap" (p. 215), to radically improve and redesign the capacity to govern of states, supra-state structures, and global governance. The overall goal is to increase the capacity to influence, or weave, the future for humanity's benefit.
The assumptions and conclusions found in Capacity to Govern are: 1) We are living through an historically unprecedented age of radical global non-linear transformations in demography, science, technology, consciousness, culture, communications, geo-economic and geo-strategic configurations in regimes and in values. Those transformations are sure to accelerate in the 21st Century; 2) Without improved capacity to govern the negative outcomes for society from those transformations have a real probability for catastrophic impacts. Governance must prevent - "... devilish uses of knowledge instruments supplied by science and technology since World War II for mass killing initiated by actors beyond the control of presently available policy structures and tools." Readers should note that Capacity to Govern was written and published well before 11 September 2001;
3) When countries disintegrate evil rulers engage in large-scale crimes against
humanity or prepare serious acts of aggression or populations are subjected to genocide (p.208); and, 4) As long as the United Nations is unable to cope with major crises of global significance, the USA and the European Union, together with other willing states, should take appropriate action. But no single country should do so on its own and such action should be explained and justified before United Nations forums and limited to the minimum necessary to prevent human catastrophes (p.209).
Following is an extraction of sum of the Dror prescriptions: A) "Countries in serious transformation crises should ... be helped to avoid extreme breakdowns, with special attention to states having continental and global significance. But care must be taken not to give one-dimensional and dogmatic advice likely to cause serious social harm" (p.208); B) "Regarding international interventions to prevent evil rulers from acquiring and using mass killing weapons .... my own tendency is to prefer the risks of global over-intervention to those of under-intervention; but global systems are not et ripe for coping with the issue" (p.208). That issue related to Iraq's Saddam Hussein is getting global attention in September 2002; C) "One cannot rely ... on a rapid improvement in the quality of candidates entering politics and reaching top positions. Intense efforts to enhance the quality of the politicians produced by existing selection and promotion processes are therefore required as a `second best' approach" (p.122);
D) Moral democratic rule is preferred. But, "... the maximum advisable scope for direct democracy is quite limited in the foreseeable future (p.111); and, E) "The qualities demanded of senior politicians and governance elites should be radically revised, with emphasis on virtues and character. These requirements should become a basic canon of democratic theory and political culture" (p.101).
Dror's proposals, "A" through "E" above, are illustrative of a very large set he includes in Capacity to Govern. Readers need to absorb the entire set which he describes as: "...formulated in general terms, so that they fit a variety of settings... follow a middle path between the mundane and the utopian ... some proposals are crash programs while others are long range requiring considerable lead times and implementation cycles ... most form clusters that are interdependent, supporting and reinforcing one another ... they were selected according to their importance in terms of impact and feasibility, but inevitably also reflect my own personal interests, biases and limitations" (p.81).
Bob Krone, Ph.D.
15 Nov 2002