9.1 Criteria for Improving Governance

The analysis criteria at the start of this book included a list of expectations and requirements from governance, which are inevitably subjective and contested (2.1).  Four ways of measuring its quality were identified: acceptability (2.3), negotiability (2.4) inclusiveness (2.5) and prudence (2.6).  Subsequent chapters then described the patterns of power in each dimension, examining them from the perspective of these criteria.

This chapter looks at some major issues where governance needs continual attention or might be improved, drawing together the patterns of power that are particularly relevant from each dimension:

  • Negotiability is particularly important in relation to the profound disagreements between individualists and collectivists, which have been referred to throughout the book – to reach and maintain a mutually-acceptable balance between the desire for individual freedom and society’s collective needs (9.2).
  • New technologies and globalisation have resulted in movements of work and people, leaving some communities feeling ‘left behind’ by economic change and increasing the challenges of pluralism (9.3).
  • Prudence is difficult to measure, even retrospectively, but it is possible to hold leaders to account for lack of it (9.4), as part of the wider subject of holding them to account for their performance.
  • Acceptability partly depends upon the above three measures, but also upon the other requirements of governance – of which one of the most important and widely agreed is to provide security. There ought to be a better way of maintaining international security (9.5).

The issue of refusal to negotiate is then examined (9.6), because it clearly affects the chance of reaching agreement on better governance.

The book then closes by re-addressing the suggested list of 12 governance requirements, to identify the patterns of power that might be used to improve performance against them (9.7).


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This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3a book, © PatternsofPower.org, 2020.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/91.htm