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G L O B A L   S O L U T I O N S

An Internet Community Takes On Globalisation

Introduction - How Our Book Is Written Democratically

The origin of our online book is quite unusual. Most books have one author, sometimes two, but this book is the product of collaboration by a large number of people in many countries participating in an Internet forum. Defying the adage that the only piece of good writing by committee was the King James Version of the Bible, the members of this forum set out to create a guide for reform of government at all levels from global down to local communities, and especially to counter global control by financial interests at the expense of democratic self-rule.

It all started in August 2000 when author and economist Richard Stimson set up the Internet forum “FixGov” for collaborative writing on reform of government. Many of the participants came from another forum called Alternate Culture, and quite a few had responded to an invitation at Blue Ear Forum, largely composed of journalists and writers from around the world.

The purpose was stated on the FixGov home page as follows:

"Fixing Government: FixGov aims to promote economic, ecological, and social justice. We are working on a book about government reform and we hope for ideas from many areas of the world.
The FixGov group exists because all the efforts individuals make for sustainable living can be offset by corporate and government decisions. How can local, national, and international governments be made answerable to the people they govern instead of just the power elites? When major polluters of the atmosphere use political muscle to escape environmental controls, what can be done by the people who have to breathe the polluted air? When municipal sewage dumping or industrial waste fouls water that is vital to human health, how can people protect themselves? When large-scale corporate agriculture and food processing distribute contaminated food and make consumers unknowing guinea pigs for genetic modification, radiation, and dangerous substances, how can they be subjected to effective control?
Join a discussion seeking ways to overcome the corruption that undermines public interest throughout the world, overthrowing or blocking democracy in some countries, making voting seem futile to many in the US, and secretly controlling such UN agencies as WTO, IMF, and the World Bank.
Please make a strong effort to base your comments on facts and remember to respect the comments of others, as your postings will go straight through without screening by a moderator."
Some 70 people joined in this project, including members from the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Australia, and possibly other countries (because email addresses do not always indicate the country). Messages were exchanged in English.

As members contributed their thoughts, a volunteer editor was sought. When nobody offered to take on the task, the founders inquired whether one of the particularly articulate participants, Adriaan Boiten, would be willing to assume the responsibility. He agreed, and in addition created a web site displaying the results of the discussion and links to appropriate sources. That web site can now be found at and is maintained by another volunteer, James McGuigan.

At the beginning the discussion on the forum was wide-ranging and random. A difference in emphasis emerged between those whose main concern was developing more democratic structures in existing governmental units and others who saw more hope in small autonomous communities living in harmony with nature and sending representatives to bodies that would work out means of cooperation on a larger scale. Both approaches are reflected in the resulting book.

As editor, Adriaan Boiten defined the major topics around which the discussion continued. Each of the chapters is based on the work of a volunteer who summarized the consensus developed in discussions of the forum on one of the topics. These summaries were disseminated to the entire group, then revised in the light of comments received. Finally, they were embodied in this book, edited jointly by Adriaan Boiten and Richard Stimson. Any royalties received from this work will be used to further the objectives of the forum.

As in any forum, some people participated to a greater degree than others, but all were able to offer their thoughts and comment on the contributions of others. Any objections or disagreements were taken into account when the consensus reports were written. The most extensive work was done by the volunteers who prepared those reports. Their backgrounds are quite diverse.

Adriaan Boiten, co-editor, engaged in historical preservation for the City of Amsterdam for 12 years. He studied new and theoretical history at the Municipal University of Amsterdam, graduating in 1986, and performed civic service in the library of the International Institute of Social History in lieu of military service. He is at present the proprietor of a web design business in Amsterdam. Adriaan Boiten initiated an award-winning online Intercultural Platform in 1996 which offers at present free web space to more than 140 contributors (artists, writers) from 31 countries and several sustainabale projects. The Platform is part of the A.W.A.R.E. network (Artists & Writers for Responsible Entertainment).

Richard Stimson, co-editor, is an author and retired business professor in High Point, North Carolina, serving voluntarily as national coordinator of the worldwide International Simultaneous Policy Organisation. Educated at Yale, Florida International University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his careers have spanned association management, public relations, university teaching, and computer operations.

James McGuigan, webmaster of, is a draftsman and information technology (IT) manager at his family’s woodworking business in West Sussex, UK. After studying English and business at Hubbard College, he is now working towards a degree in computer science with the Open University.

James Hall, summarizer of the consensus on political systems, grew up in a family of Republicans, supported Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign and the Vietnam war, but gradually migrated to a liberal viewpoint. A long-time resident of Orlando, Florida, he worked 23 years for the Walt Disney Company in jobs from ride operator to technical writer. In the Transportation/Communications Union at Disney, he served as a shop steward, district trustee, and finally as President and Treasurer, representing the interests of 3,000 Disney employees. He also was a writer and editor of the union’s district newsletter for nine years. With a master’s degree in liberal studies, he has taught at community college, written for The American Partisan and several other web magazines, and is collaborating on a book with Ian Foster.

Liane Casten, who (with Stimson) assembled most of the material in the chapter on communications media, is an author, journalist, film writer and director. Presently she is co-founder and president of Chicago Media Watch, a volunteer watchdog group that monitors the media for bias, distortions and omissions, and she is working on her second book, an exposé of a criminal corporation, scheduled for publication in 2002. Her first book, Breast Cancer: Poisons, Profits and Prevention (Common Courage Press, 1996), grew out of a cover story in Ms. on the environmental connection to the disease. Her articles have also been published in E Magazine, The Nation, Mother Jones, Environment Health Perspectives, In These Times, Business Ethics, The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. She wrote and directed four documentary films. With an M.A. from the University of Chicago, she has also taught high school and college classes.

Richard Richardson, who reported the consensus for the chapter on “The Spiritual Basis for Sustainable Living,” was born in New Jersey, but has been living in Europe since 1986 as a yoga and meditation teacher. In the past five years he has worked in Poland on non-profit projects to spread organic farming in Poland and protect small farmers regarding Poland's pending membership in the European Union. As a member of the Ananda Marga yoga meditation association, founded by P. R. Sarkar (who died in 1990), he made several visits to India, became a monk and an authority on Sarkar’s concept of Microvita. The organization was banned in India and its members blacklisted for its anti-capitalist, anti-communist socioeconomic philosophy, its anti-corruption stand, and a trumped-up murder charge against Sarkar later dismissed in court. To obtain a visa to enter India he changed his name legally from Richard F. Gauthier and got a new passport as Richard Richardson. He has also been known as Rudreshananda in India, and now has the spiritual name of Viveka. Author of a book and many articles about Microvita, he runs several e-mail lists on various spiritual and scientific topics and can be reached at

William N. “Bill” Ellis, summarizer of the consensus on education and civic society, is a physicist, futurist, farmer working from the home he was born in on his farm in Rangeley, Maine, USA, to bring social change and civil globalization. He is General Coordinator of TRANET transnational network ( and of A Coalition for Self-Learning, that has recently published the book, "Creating Learning Communities," which grew out of his 1998 E. F. Schumacher Lecture in which he used homeschooling as an example of the application of chaos, complexity, and gaian theories in the social sphere. In the same lecture he used GrassRoots Organizations (GROs) as subset of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as another example of leaderless, unplanned, undesigned self-organization and speculated that the phenomenal growth and linking of GROs could lead to a radically different form of world governance.




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