Posted by: Alan D. Price, PhD | November 22, 2009

What is Synocracy?

Barbara Marx Hubbard, one of the founders of the World Future Society, has long been regarded, by individuals such as Buckminster Fuller, the legendary inventor of the geodesic dome, as one of the world’s leading futurists.  She has defined the term, Synocracy, as:

…Synergistic Democracy…an emergent form of self-governance….the next stage of democracy in which each person has the opportunity to express his or her creativity for the good of the self and the whole. It is a form of governance that facilitates all citizens in finding their unique potential and where best to express it within the whole. It leads toward a cocreative society in which all people are free and responsible to do and be their best. [Emphasis added].

Synergistic is the adjectival form of “synergy” (from Greek sunergia,  cooperation).  Synergistic (synergic), thus, means “acting together,” or “working together in a creative, innovative, and productive manner” (from Greek sunergētikos).

Timothy Wilkin, MD, writing in an 2004 article, stated that “Barbara Hubbard originally coined the term Synocracy to refer to a not yet defined future system of ‘rule by the people’ in a co-Operative society.”   Dr. Wilkin also reported that Barry Carter, the author of Infinite Wealth, claimed that he had independently created the term, Synocracy.  Carter, quoted by Wilkin, wrote on his own behalf:

Barbara Marx Hubbard created the term synocracy. Having never read her book, I independently created the synocracy concept by way of mass privatization. When people are owning partners in a mass privatization organization they must participate because owners operate on profit and loss. As mass privatization communities work together we move beyond representative democracy and even beyond consensus democracy to create synergy-ocracy and synthesis-ocracy or synocracy. Infinite Wealth shows mass synocracy to be the new system of social order for the Information Age to replace representative democracy. It even replaces the notion of government with the broader notion of social order. Just as learning is driven internally where education is driven externally representative government is external and where as self-organizing mass synocracy is internally driven [Emphasis added].

Dr. Wilken observes:

In today’s world…it is assumed without question that majority rule democracy is the best way to organize humanity. To even offer a criticism…is to invite an immediate and often emotional charged attack on oneself. We are quickly asked to choose between majority rule democracy or the dictatorships of communism/fascism. We are quickly reminded that if we don’t like it here in a majority ruled democracy, we are free to leave….

Majority rule democracy in its purest form was found in the Ancient Greek city-states and Early Roman Republic, these were direct democracies in which all citizens could speak and vote in assemblies. This was possible because of the small size of the city-states almost never more than 10,000 citizens. However, even these Ancient democracys [sic] did not presuppose equality of all individuals; the majority of the populace, notably slaves and women, had no political rights at all. So even here the majority really did not rule.

In modern representative democracies we find the majority rule mechanism used to select our representatives, to make decisions within committees and to make decisions within the legislative bodies, however careful analysis reveals we really have rule by the few….

In today’s “FREE” world all political decisions are made using majority rule democracy. The the group deciding may be small—a committee faced with solving some particular problem, or large—the entire voting electorate of a nation choosing a President. Regardless of the size of the group deciding, decision is made when one faction within the group achieves a simple majority. That faction wins the minority faction loses. Majority rule consensus requires only a simple majority to force the minority—the losing voters to accept the position of the majority—the winning voters. There is no need to gain the agreement of all of the members. There is no need to prevent the minority from losing [Emphasis added].

When one looks at the evolution of systems of governance, it becomes clear that, over the course of recorded history, humankind has moved from autocratic, adversarial forms of force and control  (dictatorship, rule by one, or oligarchy, rule by a few), to majority rule democracy (“rule by the most”), and finally to modern representational democracy, which we find has devolved back to “rule by the few.”

The Relationship Continuum

According to Wilkin, “all human choices and all human relationships can be described as falling on a continuum,” viz.,

Adversity – Neutrality – Synergy

 Wilkin defines an “adversary [or adversarial] relationship” to be:

…any relationship wherein the participants are less happy, less effective and less productive than they would be without the relationship. An adversary choice is any choice that reduces the happiness, effectiveness, and productivity of the participants in the relationship. The sum of the whole relationship in terms of happiness, effectiveness, productivity, profitability, satisfaction, etc. is less than the sum of the parts – less than the sum of the individual’s ability to be happy, effective, productive, profitable, satisfied, etc. outside this relationship.

He defines a “neutral relationship” to be:

…any relationship wherein the participants are equally happy, equally effective, and equally productive as they would be without the relationship. A neutral choice is any choice that has no effect on the happiness, effectiveness, and productivity of the participants in the relationship. The sum of the whole relationship in terms of happiness, effectiveness, productivity, profitability, satisfaction, etc. is equal to the sum of parts – equal to the individuals’s  (sic) ability to be happy, effective, productive, profitable, satisfied, etc. outside this relationship.

And, finally, Wilken defines a “synergic relationship” to be:

…any relationship wherein the participants are more happy, more effective, and more productive than they would be without the relationship. A synergic choice is any choice that increases the happiness, effectiveness, and productivity of the participants in the relationship.  The sum of the whole relationship in terms of happiness, effectiveness, productivity, profitability, satisfaction, etc. is more than the sum of the parts – more than the sum of the individual’s ability to be happy, effective, productive, profitable, satisfied, etc. outside this relationship. 

Compared to the rule by the one of dictatorship,  the rule by the most  of majority rule democracy, appears to be a much fairer way. And fairness is perhaps the greatest value of our American nation.  However, it should now be clear to the reader that while Neutral political-economic systems are better for humanity than Adversary political-economic systems. Majority rule democracy is really an Adversary political-economic system pretending to be a Neutral political-economic system. In reality only lip service is given to rule by the most.

The Evolution of Democracy

Dr. Wilkin in his essay Beyond Democracy, has concluded:

What we really have in America, the “freest nation on Earth”, is rule by the few. And, while rule by the few holds some advantage over rule by the one, its advantage does not imply there is nothing better for Humanity.

If we are to find a synergic form of organization for humanity, we will have to look beyond the representive (sic) democracies of today.

Barbara Marx Hubbard has provided the conceptual underpinning for imagining the outcome of Wilkin’s “look beyond.”

The context for the evolution of democracy is the New Story of Creation, cosmogenesis, the discovery that the universe is an interconnected whole system that has been unfolding and transforming for billions of years. This unfolding is always toward higher consciousness and greater freedom through more complex order, and it continues now through us. From atom to molecule to cell to animal to human, and now to a Self-actualized humanity, we are becoming a complex planetary system, always through greater cooperation, connectivity, and synergy [Emphasis added].

This is a multi-billion year trend!  Synergy, the coming together of separate parts to form a whole system greater than the sum of its parts is not idealistic; it is a fundamental tendency in nature.

She quotes from the writing of evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris:

Type I ecosystems are populated by aggressive species establishing their niches through intense, sometimes hostile, competition for resources and rapid population growth, while the species in Type III ecosystems tend toward complex cooperative or collaborative systems in which species feed or otherwise support each other to mutual benefit. The Type IIs generally lump together various “transitional” ecosystems. It seems reasonable to ask where the “more advanced” species that can build stable final communities “come from.” How did they evolve? Logically, there must have been a time when only pioneer species existed, yet somehow evolution led to the existence of mature, cooperative species” (Vision in Action, vol. 3, Number 1, 2005) [Emphasis added].

Hubbard concludes:

The human species as a whole has barely reached Type II.  We are in transition as a species toward greater cooperation. The growing threat of self-destruction through domination, control, and self-centeredness is a mighty evolutionary driver that is awakening millions of people within our immature species to move toward more cooperative action. Therefore, one of our fundamental efforts must be to develop processes to cultivate social synergy wherever we can [Emphasis added].

Thus, we can say that the term, synocracy represents the form of governance toward which “cosmogenesis” is slowly (at least from the human view) but relentlessly progressing.



  1. This was interesting. I will have to read it again…

    From what I’ve absorbed upon the first read, Synocracy is not intentionally designated or even a conscience form of governance, it is more like a collective Qi of humankind which would/will eventually naturally control government and politicians’ greed through mental/spiritual evolution?!

    It does remind me of what I have read about NDE’ers’ experiences in the afterlife in which they come back with realisations of our connectedness and the extreme importance of things as delicate as thoughts. It also, rings of Eastern thought.

    At this point in history I cannot see how this can be quantified, I could not envision a “Synocratic party” suddenly appearing literally from what you’ve written ….

    Thank you for sharing your identity with me. I’ve been reading some of your posts. Thought provoking!
    The cyber world needs you~ You have been a blessing to me and are an important soul on this earth G!
    DG 😉

    • Thank you, for your thoughtful comment, Dawn. I thought that you might find this blog interesting. But, this is only the beginning! It is going to get better, yet!

      Last night when I was very tired, I had a creative inspiration, as quite often happens to me when fatigued. I suppose that the everyday, ego barriers to Universal Mind dissolve a bit and open up a conduit to Universal Wisdom allowing creative thought literally to gush into my mind.

      After reading an article by a (bite my tongue) European Marxist last night, I intuitively apprehended the germ of an idea that I tried with my rational thought to implement conceptually on a grand scale at the Federal level. But, I was thwarted until I, finally, while in the shower, I began to think of implementing it locally in small groups, the members of which would be intimately familiar with one another, and which would decrease rather than support or increase the Federal bureaucracy. You, by the way, are the first person with whom I am sharing the germ of this “discovery” in that this is the first time that I have put anything down in words or even in words spoken to another human being.

      My thoughts last night suggested, after some considerable tussling, a very interesting synthesis of the most divergent ideas. These are ideas that are generally in extreme, adversarial opposition to one another. I refer, specifically, to the synthesis of Capitalist and Marxist thought! Isn’t that a hoot?

      My thinking, eventually, took me back to unpublished work that I did many years ago in developing the conceptual framework for a synergistic, social organization that was a kind of artificial, extended family in a time when the extended family had ceased to carry the importance that it once did because of the primacy of the nuclear family, which, nonetheless, was in the process of crumbling extraordinarily, and still is. Look at what just happened in the case of Tiger Woods, the most admired athlete in the world, and until recent events, ostensibly an unshakable, paragon of family virtue whose commercial brand was worth nine figures in endorsements.

      Notice how Tiger had barricaded himself within this ideal, nuclear-family, social structure which was symbolized by his huge home and his and his wife’s silence regarding their personal lives. That the nuclear family cannot adequately sustain a human being today is evident in what has happened to him and to many other people in our society in the aftermath of the social structure bequeathed to us by the industrial age, which is being chaotically dismantled now in the Information Age of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It seems that our evolutionary past over millions of years is quite incompatible to such social isolation and lack of group or community support.

      However, returning now to the aforementioned synthesis of capitalist and Marxist thinking, I shall only mention now that this synthesis provides a model, not for a synocratic party, but for a synocratic social organization that can lead essentially, if implemented by all those who wish to reduce the size of the central government back to its originally intended magnitude, to a painless phasing out of federal and state income taxes, Social Security, even perhaps Medicare, and other Welfare programs and to the development of small, local synergistic groups that are self-sustaining and which enhance the well-being of all of their members regardless of their income level. More about this in another major post soon.

  2. What is the relationship between synocracy and paleonthology

    • Thank you for your question. I shall respond to it very shortly. But, before I do, please tell me if you meant “paleontology” or, perhaps, “paleoanthropology” when you wrote “paleonthology.” I rather think that it may have been the latter term that you were intending.

    • Prof stan Anih, I shall now address your question in more detail. As I indicated before, I am not sure what exactly you meant by “paleonthology.” I think that you meant either “paleontology” or “paleoanthropology.” I think that the second is most likely.

      Paleoanthropology (Human Paleontology) is a subdiscipline of Paleontology as shown on the website provided here.

      Paleoanthropology is defined as: “The study of prehistoric human and proto-human fossils.”

      Proto-human is defined as: “Of or relating to various extinct hominids or other primates that resemble modern humans.”

      Thus, both paleontology and paleoanthropology refer to the study of the physical characteristics of ancient life forms. “Synocracy” is not directly related to either of these terms. It is refers to a hypothesized future type of evolved, democratic governance. Its eventual development will, of course, be based in earlier political and social systems that were present in the prehistoric period after modern man had evolved, although these systems may have begun to appear earlier in the hominids which later became extinct and to some extent, perhaps, in the primates.

      So, to sum up, Paleoanthropology or Paleontology are academic disciplines that are concerned with the study of the physical characteristics of prehistoric life, whereas “Synocracy” is not a discipline at all. It refers to a hypothesized type of political and social organization that may exist in the future.

      “Synocracy,” thus, would be an advancement of the concept of democracy and would be based on seeking “win-win” outcomes in the process of governance, rather than the “win-lose” or neutral outcomes of present-day forms of democratic governance. Thus, it has been called “synergistic democracy.” Synergistic refers to individuals’ working together to arrive at consensus rather than compromise, victory, or defeat.

  3. it is interesting to meditate on the various grades of unity in the human family but it is more interesting to note that every aspect of life seem to do better when the relationship of co-operation and con celebration do exist.A notable fact does appear that no external force is used to induce this relationship.This absence of force and violence is consequent upon the wonderful value of equality accorded to all participants.
    When we take the lobe of kola accumenata,we notice that the cotyledons are held together by the force of agreement.All the cotyledons tends toward the embryo which is called the eye of the kolanut.It does mean that any community which believe in the quality of citizenry and organize themselves in the tact and skill of taking turnswill make tremendous progress as their actions tend towards communal consent and not consensus,such a community make progress because the best in each individuals is allowed to manifest for the communal good of everybody.We find this type of leadership in an authentic scout patrol because during the patrol in council,every scout boy has equal right with the patrol leader in making contribution for the growth of the patrol.
    In another stage of scouting called the council of honor,every Patrol leader representing his patrol has equal right with every other patrol leader representing various patrols.It is necessary to state that the council of honor is the meeting of the scout master of all the patrol leader in the troop.The scout master here enjoys the same valency as a patrol leaders.The scout master has no super supererogatory power in that meeting.The truth or the right thing to be done is what is in charge.When the truth is discovered or the right thing to be done is found out,everybody consent to it.Scouting is a governance by consent and not by consensus.Scout is a friend to all,and a brother to every other scout,no matter to what country,class or creed the other may belong.Any society built on the spirit of scout synocracy will produce fruit that will remain.

    • Rev fr prof stan Anih,

      Thank you for your very interesting and excellent comment, which I failed to notice for one whole month after the WordPress system deposited it in the SPAM folder, and for reasons that are quite beyond my comprehension. Such are the vagaries of the criteria employed by spam programs. In any case, I was delighted to discover it this Sunday morning in Hawaii, since your words relate very well to the present essay upon which I am working, the first part of which was published yesterday.

      I, especially, am grateful for your calling to my attention the important distinction between “consent” and “consensus.” If the differing meanings of these terms that have been proposed, particularly in the context of Sociocracy, had been duly noted by those in the American government, then we would have developed, I think, quite a different governing structure. The phrase, “consent of the governed” is enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence. But, the distinction between “consent” and “consensus” to which you allude has never been made clear to the citizenry.

      I found an interesting discussion of the distinction between “consent” and “consensus” in governance in the following article.

      “The following items give contrasting views on peer governance. In the first, a neo-anarchist tradition promotes consensus. It is an approach that in my mind constitutes the dictatorship of a minority over the majority, and I do not see how the reconcile it with individual initiative and a dynamic society. The second item is about consent, which is different, cfr. the following quote.

      “The consent principle says that a decision can only be made when none of the circle members present has a reasoned, substantial objection to making the decision. The consent principle is different than “consensus” and “veto.” With consensus the participants must be “for” the decision. With consent decision-making they must be not against. With consensus a veto blocks the decision without an argument. With consent decision making, opposition must always be supported with an argument.”

      I find consent, which is a form of governance explicitely taking into account the equivalence of participants, very closely related to the peer to peer mode, which is based on the equipotentiality. Sociocracy, see item 2, may well be the breakthrough form of governance I had been looking for.”

      I am also grateful for your description of the form of governance in Scouting organizations. The Council of Honor is analogous to the concept of Novalian Enclave in the Novalia model which I have begun to develop and apply to the development of non-centralized governance from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down.

      The idea of group decision-making by consent is a propos to my upcoming post entitled, “Synocracy: The Novalia Model, Part II. Thank you again for calling this important distinction to my attention.

  4. […] Recent Comments Alan D. Price, PhD on What is Synocracy?Alan D. Price, PhD on What is Synocracy?prof stan Anih on What […]

  5. […] what might be called a true consensus [I wish to acknowledge one of the commentators on this blog, Rev fr prof Anih, who brought the important distinction between "consent" and "consensus" to my attention.  He also […]

  6. I like your notes on synocracy,this is a society which is originally based on the law of one it is a kind of power delegation where are beings are blessed and valued and part of the whole i see myself in you and you see your self in me an all encompassing omni love cognition the oneness do a search on the Azurite press .com and have a look at our perception of a synocratic society

  7. I am so happy to see that they are some good men in this our world who are still so open minded that they can use their time,their talent and their tact to make our world a better place.

    Your contribution on synocracy will definitely be a steeping stone to make us move out from moribund concept of Democracy to a sane concept of Consent oriented synocracy for governing man with valency of equi-potentiality and equi-opportunity.

    Remain blessed.
    Very Rev Fr Prof Stan Anih of Nigeria

  8. And, thank you, Father Anih for taking the time to leave such a kind comment and to add your contribution to making “our world a better place,” as well.

    You may be interested in visiting my other blog where I am currently involved in supporting a very good, underdog candidate for Governor of my home state of Texas, although I have lived in Hawaii for 20 years. The following link is one of the best articles that I have written recently. It is called “Debra Medina: The Heart of a Political Poet.”


  10. Hello I noticed that the text (4th paragraph from top) has the most important part missing explaining very clearly what Synocracy is by Timothy Wilkin, MD, writing in an 2004 article, stated that (url) full version of text:

    This gives the best and clearest/deepest definition, why was it left out of that paragraph?


    • Hello, Daniel. I appreciate your comment and your question. The answer to the question is that at the time that I posted this piece more than four years ago, I was not aware of the article to which you referred. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. However, it is not clear to me what you think is “the most important part missing.” In later sections of my blog, I touch on several of the concepts which Wilkins discusses in this short essay, viz., consent vs. consensus and the process known as Sociocracy.

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