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Emese Ugrin – Csaba Varga

New theory of state and democracy


Published by: Institute for Strategic Research, Hungary (ISR)

Translated by: Anna Born

Š Emese Ugrin, Csaba Varga, 2008 ISBN: 978-963-87857-01


Contents Preface ................................................................................................................................... 7 Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 10 Chapter One: The glocal world and information age ............................................................... 13 1.1. The new concept of globalisation: functional and substantial globalisation................. 13 1.2. Localisation and ’life milieu’ ........................................................................................ 15 1.3. Glocal age and the new mediation level: the nation...................................................... 16 1.4. The four models of the present glocal age ................................................................... 17 1.5. The Information Age that comes to an end ................................................................... 18 1.6. The age of new technologies and artificial intelligence ................................................ 19 1.7. Age of new knowledge and critical approaches to democracy ..................................... 20 1.8. Information society as the next stage of glocalization .................................................. 23 1.9. The history of the three basic categories and their submodels...................................... 25 1.10. A new understanding of knowledge society at the end of the information age .......... 28 A restricted concept of knowledge in the information society......................................... 29 1.11. The expansion of network society and knowledge-based economy .................... 31 The era of knowledge-driven economy............................................................................ 33 1.12. Capital resources of the information society........................................................ 36 Chapter Two: Developing the relationship between state and citizen ..................................... 39 2.1. Starting point in eight items .......................................................................................... 39 2.2. State and democracy – a solid first approach................................................................ 40 2.3. The theory of the administrative field comprehensively embedded in the individual, political, social and the collective consciousness................................................................. 42 2.4. Citizen – the theory of five prize-winning community citizen ..................................... 44 2.5. The theory of the state: types of state in the new theory of the state ............................ 45 2.6. Social theory – the theory of new civil society ............................................................. 47 2.7. Historical analysis – the basic model of three periods ................................................. 50 The model of the Industrial Age ...................................................................................... 50 The model of the Socialist Age ........................................................................................ 53 The model fo the Information Age................................................................................... 54 2.8. Democracy – before the new democracy is established............................................... 56 2.9. The functional theories of e-public administration ....................................................... 57 Chapter Three: State, governing, democracy within the concepts of liberal democracy and in practice ..................................................................................................................................... 63 3.1. The historical formation and definition of the modern state .................................... 63 Problems with the nation-state and its birth ..................................................................... 63 The inconsistencies of nation-state .................................................................................. 65 3.2. Democratic deficit or the post-totalitarian system ....................................................... 65 3.3. Minimal democratic procedures have been emptied of their content ........................... 70 3.4. The repositioning of state after the division of politics from society............................ 72 3.5. The possible road of change: the e-state and civilised country..................................... 74 3.6. Governance and the disfunctional government ............................................................ 76 3.7. The institutional and administrative nature of the state ................................................ 76 3.8. The struggle of the service providing state and the weak communication ................... 77 Chapter Four: In the current of new paradigms ....................................................................... 81 4.1. The paradigm that looks back from the future and paradigm change ........................... 81 4.2. The accepted paradigm of sustainable development.................................................... 82


The anomalies of growth trends in the industrial society................................................. 82 Globalisation vs. Localisation in the 1990s ..................................................................... 83 The state has become a bone of contention between functional globalisation and localisation ....................................................................................................................... 85 4.3. Is a new „ideology” born on how to continue? ............................................................. 85 4.4. How does the theory of sustainable development develop? ......................................... 86 Sustainable state as a new state theory............................................................................. 87 Chapter Five: New dimensions of general and enigmatic development .................................. 89 5.1. Space and time dimensions of changes ......................................................................... 89 5.2. The cognitive nature of information and its consequences ........................................... 90 5.3. Communication globalisation and information society ................................................ 91 5.4. Does knowledge society bring about primordial model change? ................................. 92 5.5. Redefining knowledge capital and the types of pulling forces of the era ..................... 94 Personal knowlegde.......................................................................................................... 94 Implicit knowledge........................................................................................................... 95 Knowledge as social capital ............................................................................................. 96 Utilized knowledge makes the world off the hinge.......................................................... 96 5.6. The laudation of innovation in the new era................................................................... 97 Innovation in the knowledge-based economy .................................................................. 97 5.7. Knowledge management in the new economy............................................................ 100 The economic approach – knowledge management ...................................................... 100 The social perspective: human resource management ................................................... 101 Chapter Six: The present is already an intelligent development ............................................ 102 6.1. The comprehensive goals and the directions of intelligent development ................... 102 6.2. New approach to planning and the general alteration of the whole ............................ 103 6.3. Tangible limitations of intelligent development ......................................................... 104 6.4. Content management: the future branch of the age..................................................... 105 6.5. The infocommunicational public service system and the business type processing model.................................................................................................................................. 105 Chapter Seven: The new paradigm of governance – the service providing state .................. 114 7.1. The service providing state and its various interpretations ......................................... 114 The economic perspective .............................................................................................. 114 New social perspective................................................................................................... 118 7.2. Differences between virtual space and cyber space .................................................... 119 7.3. Cyber-space is the scene of collective intelligence ..................................................... 124 The virtual community ................................................................................................... 124 Chapter Eight: The new state as virtual community .............................................................. 126 8.1. The institutionalisation of virtual space in the horisontally organised state ............... 126 8.2. The problem of control – order and chaos .................................................................. 128 8.3. E-governance and e-public administration without popular fallacies ......................... 130 8.4. The historic development and global trends in e-governance..................................... 130 8.5. The hypotheses of various e-governance models....................................................... 131 8.6. E-governance with the continuously developing tools of ICT.................................... 133 8.7. The four players of e-public administration, or is this the new model?...................... 134 8.8. The elementary significance of knowledge centres .................................................... 135 8.9. E-local governance and e-democracy opens a door to the future................................ 136 The topical e-local governance programme ................................................................... 137 E-democracy – the possibility of participatory democracy............................................ 137 Chapter Nine: Democracy theories and experiments ............................................................. 140 9.1. E-democracy – historical overview – visions and doubts ........................................... 140


9.2. The extraordinary history of electronic democracy as an idea.................................... 140 The period of "Cybernet" ............................................................................................... 141 The age of tele-democracy ............................................................................................. 142 9.3. Tele-democracy, the age of cyber-democracy ............................................................ 143 9.4. Electronic democracy serving universal values .......................................................... 145 Chapter Ten: Participatory democracy and/or e-democracy.................................................. 147 10.1. The breakthrough: participatory democracy ............................................................. 147 10.2. Understanding participatory democracy – the system of structured dialogue .......... 147 10.3. Participatory democracy – road towards the direct ................................................... 149 (e-)democracy ( from welfare society towards well-fare society) ..................................... 149 10.4. The summary of democracy development and the new, for the time being enigmatic model? ................................................................................................................................ 154 10.5. The local document of participatory democracy – or the "settlement/city charta" ... 156 Chapter Eleven: The Aba model: development of local democracy, creation of a social contract ................................................................................................................................... 159 11.1. The presentation of civil representatives, analysis of their plans.............................. 161 11.2. The creation of participatory democracy in Aba and the chances of e-democracy (the history of events)................................................................................................................ 163 The official beginnings of the democracy (Village assembly, September 2004) .......... 164 Appeal for a local social contract ................................................................................... 164 Draft scenario of the local social contract (third version).............................................. 167 Letter to the citizens of Aba (February, 2005) ............................................................... 169 The programme of social contract in Aba ...................................................................... 170 The (festive) Day of the Social Contract........................................................................ 172 The establishment of the forum of civil representatives (April 2005) ........................... 173 11.3. The future scenario of Aba, until 2007-2010 ............................................................ 173 The Aba model ............................................................................................................... 177 Chapter Twelve: The comprehensive vision of state, democracy and public administration 179 12.1. Rethinking the future, vision of the future, strategy of the future............................. 180 The reinterpretation of the concepts............................................................................... 180 12.2. Clearing the concepts of future planning and future development ........................... 181 12.3. Long-term future image up until 2020, a comprehensive future image until 2013 .. 182 Chapter Thirteen: Paradigm changing new recognitions in the first third of the 21st century ................................................................................................................................................ 183 13.1. The challenging timeliness and the alternative of knowledge society ...................... 183 13.2. The unexpected post-modernisation models ............................................................. 184 13.3. The accepted digital state and public administration vision ..................................... 185 13.4. Network state is the future, but what sort of network state? ..................................... 186 13.5. The cardinal question: participatory democracy and/or e-democracy?..................... 188 Exoteric and esoteric democracy theory ........................................................................ 190 13.6. On a taboo matter: the e-parliament .......................................................................... 191 13.7. The secret of the conceivable future: consciousness-guided (post)society and (post)democracy ................................................................................................................. 194 Chapter Fourteen: The characteristics of conceivable future scenarios ................................. 198 14.1. The five types of complex future scenarios .............................................................. 199 14.2. Universal scenarios ................................................................................................... 200 14.3. Global scenarios ........................................................................................................ 200 14.4. National scenarios ..................................................................................................... 203 14.5. Local scenarios.......................................................................................................... 208 14.6. On the chances that the scenarios are going to be realised (or left unfinished) ........ 209


Chapter Fifteen: The combined future of the new state, new e-public administration and participatory democracy......................................................................................................... 212 15.1. What comes after new infocommunication techonologies have been introduced?... 212 15.2. New public administration and office work: k-public administration ..................... 213 15.3. Is new knowledge and new consciousness unavoidalbe in public administration? .. 216 15.4. Intelligent civil society – and what comes after it..................................................... 217 15.5. Finally, is the new state and new democracy vision born? ....................................... 218 Chapter Sixteen: Diverging (and decisive?) alternatives of the near future........................... 221 16.1. The e-state and e-democracy scenarios..................................................................... 221 16.2. The European Union, - the odds of an e-federal state ............................................... 221 16.3. The alternatives of e-governance in Hungary until 2013-2015................................. 222 16.4. The scenarios of Hungarian regional, small regional, settlement e-local governance and e-public administration................................................................................................ 223 16.5. The chances of institutionalisation of e-democracy, e-election and e-referenda at the local level ........................................................................................................................... 224 16.6. Individual and community e-consciousness, e-realisations as the qualitative requirements of participatory e-democracy scenarios........................................................ 224 Chapter Seventeen: Summary: risk factors and the future chances of creating a new world 226 17.1. The veritable long-term chances and hopes .............................................................. 227 17.2. Short term prognosis ................................................................................................. 231 Major publications.................................................................................................................. 233


Preface Introduction to foreign readers This volume leans on the Hungarian and more broadely speaking, on European experiences, although the crisis of the state and democracy model is not exclusively a Hungarian, nor a European phenomenon. We wouldn’t be exaggerating even if we modestly claimed that the political-social crossroads have become global. The sociological backround of the book is based on the social crises of Hungary, Central-Europe and the totality of the European continent. For theory creation, however, this regional observation exceptionally constitutes a point of advantage. For instance, in Hungary or in the Central European states that have implemented political regime change, the uselessness of the Euro-atlantic democracy model is more clearly and sharply visible than in the Western European classical democracies and states. The authors belong to those exposed intelligentsia who have been instrumental to regime change in 1989/1990. Csaba Varga was one of the opinion leaders and social scientists of the Opposition Round Table while Emese Ugrin art historian became a (Christian Democrat) MP in the Hungarian parliament after the regime change. Already at that time they warned that the post-socialist state neither then, nor subsequently should opt for the 19th century form of capitalism as their universal future perspective. In 1989 this was scarcely understood and was accepted by even fewer people because during the euphoric times of the regime change everyone seemed to have been satisfied with the slogans that had grown into mythic proportions, namely those of market economy and democracy. Not before long, however, it became obvious that while classical capitalism based on private ownership that replaced state capitalist socialism could function merely as a valid starting point, yet it would never bring real and permanent economic and social solutions (neither) to Central Eastern Europe. And it has also become clear that the empty, formal, false socialist „democracy” won’t be redeemed by civil democracy either that is itself formal and rapidly emptying of content. The two models of the past sharply oppose each other and one could support only one of them, - yet the real solution could only be brought about by a quantum jump-like new model. We should also note here that the Hungarian social-economic situation and climate is well suited to swiftly and spectacularly reveal the exhaustion and emptiness of the nineteenth-twentieth century market economy and world democracy model at the end of the millenium. Moreover, the Hungarian and other Central European examples of crisis also unveil at a similar speed that the 7

classical European, even Euro-atlantic modernisation can hardly be continued. At the same time it is equally revealed (in a dramatic or perhaps pitiful fashion) that present-day leading civilisation world model has no future image and perspective. It has ended yet is it not ripe enough to be radically replaced? The first decade after the millenium, slowly coming to an end, has only further strenghtened this experience. Hungary with its struggles and search for the future is becoming once again an example, in a double sense in fact: 1. The new political elite made up by the one-time opposition who fought for regime change and the one-time second-rate leaders of the state party that had accepted regime change are equally captive of the ideology of regime change and thus global perplexity just as the pre-1989 state party elites who directed the Soviet Empire that extended over half of the world and executed „surface” reforms were captive of their own system’s ideology and empirical practice. 2. The crises that cannot be concealed and the weakness of old or new ideological engagement make it possible that in Hungary and Central Europe the birth of radically new state and democracy theories, models, programmes take place, not obstructed at all by the fact that the current political elites are generally speaking not open to new models and solutions. This is understandable, on the one hand, because serious opinion leader intellectuals cannot be against democracy or constitutional governance since the experience of soft dictatorship called socialism is simply too close and we cannot retreat anywhere in the past. On the other hand, in Hungary neither society nor economy is in the spiritual and mental condition to understand and support a newer second regime change and face the prospective even greater risks. One needs to protect the new, liberal democracy and plan for a new model simultaneously; and likewise, the executive „power” controlled by the parliament should duly be protected while once again it is high time that the centralising, power-centred governance model was replaced with something else. The global (universal) crisis is clearly visible from Hungary since those interest- and value groups who urge for the concealment of the crossroads are too weak to successfully accomplish and legalise the rescue of the system. It is an inspiring situation and state of consciousness so that new thinking minds and theoretical programmes could come to light. Emese Ugrin and Csaba Varga take advantage of the new situation and meet the new intellectual challenge. Luckily, neither wanted to be party or government politician and thus both of them have worked primarily in research from the mid-1990s onwards. Csaba Varga together with Emese Ugrin and five other eminent scholars founded the Institute for Strategic Reserch which currently comprises sixteen research groups. Initially, their joint aim was to establish a comprehensive future perspective for Hungary, yet soon after it has 8

become evident that neither Hungary nor the post-socialist region can be understood as isolated entities but only in the framework of broader civilisation-cultural processes. This is why well before the millenium they became preoccupied with the globalisation-localisation theory or the theory of information and/or knowledge society. This book that was written and published in Hungarian in 2007 and while is is primarily based on the Central Eastern European experience, it conceptualises a universal and new democracy and state theory which goes beyond the borders of Central Europe and even the European continent. While the book bears witness of wide knowledge on state and democracy literature, the authors do not adhere to the traditional way of thinking on demoracy research. The authors are typically the grounded actors of the new knowledge market as they represent researchers with wide intellectual horisons and in possession of transdisciplinary knowledge and who are very knowledgeable on the theories and practices of the digital state, e-public administration and electronic democracy of the information age. All this while partly explains, partly does not offer reasons for the radical new alternatives of the information age. The cure the authors offer for the state and democracy is universal and based on participation for consciousnesscentred societies and political systems; for that matter, it can equally be applied to Hungary, Europe or any other continent. The speciality of the volume is a report on a Hungarian democracy experiment that is centred on participation and aims at developing collective consciousness, - all of which has been started off in Aba. Hopefully our book will inspire debate among the interested professionals of the knowledge world market and perhaps if offers hope for many developed and developing societies. History will not only continue but instead of the illusion of an end a new elementary turn should be expected: the history of a veritable, new world model is about to begin in the coming decades.


Introduction Present-day democracy is a post-totalitarian system, - is the basic assertion at the turn of the twentieth century. Democracy needs protection in order not to slide back into soft dictatorship, yet it is the concept of democracy that needs re-examination so that we could reach some sort of post-democratic phase. The prefiguration of the turn of the 20th century has lasted a whole century: the post-democratic stage could either be regarded as participatory (as well as electronic) democracy, or as a global, new, ideal democracy based on polis consciousness. The recognised path starts off from democracy and leads to democracy, albeit the distance between the two democracy models is as great as it had previously been between dictatorship and democracy. Furthermore, the new democracy model is not any less blurred than the post totalitarian system's vision of itself. The Euro-Atlantic state- and democracy model shows spectacular signs of crisis. While the global politico-state arena has vested interests in masking the current crisis, it is through the efforts of local forces that the crisis is essentially managed. This, however, has only a minimal impact on stakeholders at a global and nation-state level. Behind the scenes only very few people deny the necessity of radical reconsideration, whilst in practice there is not even one politico-state group prepared to risk its current positions. The complexity of the situation is adequately demonstrated that while the European Union expressly pushes for the introduction of electronic democracy, the solution to the European Constitution or the reform of the European Commission still awaits a final answer. A new state and democracy theory is or the more necessary because the democracy of nations/states cannot be interpreted isolatedly. Global democracy that spans over continents is going to come into existence as a coherent system simultaneously in the global and local social space-time, at mid-level as continental and partially nation-state democracy, while at the lower local levels it is going to consist of a regional, micro-democracy. The same also holds true at the state level: the global state is a unified system (or the institutional system which substitutes it), a continental state (union, confederacy, etc.) and a nation-state and a local government. The multi-layered participatory democracy, the expansion programme of the local and communal democracy is already fifteen years old.1 On the whole, we can nevertheless state that a unified system has not yet been set up, despite the fact that every country, continent or international organisation includes in its political mission the aim of "democratising democracy". This, however, presupposes a new model of democracy. The idea of participatory democracy was able to spread so fast first and foremost because globalisation and localisation processes have become ever stronger, they have entered the area of the economy. Due to new information technology systems, the effect of these processess has made its way into the social and cultural spheres, too. Here we are going to introduce the new concept: the idea of knowledge and consciousness-based democracies.


One of the first books published in Hungary about this topic is: Pál Bánlaky-Csaba Varga (1978): Azon túl ott a tág világ (The Wide World There Beyond) Magvető, Quickening Time, 1979


In this context, the programme of participatory democracy should be viewed as the strengthening of defence mechanisms of local world(s) that aim at preserving local socioeconomic and enviromental interests, as well as local identity. On the other hand, this programme also serves as a means to manage continental competivity of local and national societies. Since different regions of the world are differently affected by the new consequences of glocalisation, the two strategic roles make the differences in its realisation comprehensible. Another source of diversity is to be found in local democratic traditions, which are greatly influenced by the socio-economic state of a given area and the operability of existing institutional systems, etc. The theory of e-governance, e-public administration and the new democracy is in itself a new theory. If, for instance, e-public administration is a new type of public administration, then one of the foundations of the new theory is the practice of the new public administration, while another of its foundations is based on the basic principles of the programmes which designed e-public administration. We should not believe that the theoretical conceptions of each and every new European development had been conceived prior to its implementation phase. For that matter, in Hungary the introduction of e-government and e-public administration had been declared prior to the development of a theoretical approach. At present, nevertheless, there is neither an ongoing public debate on the crisis of pleasure society, the emptiness of current political models nor a search for the universal future. The theory of e-governance is, however, not merely and not exclusively a new public administration theory: on the one hand, the character "e" lifts the public administrative approach into another dimension, hence as of now we speak of an electronic and/or digital public administration. Consequently, the theory has to extend to and include the new (infocommunicative) technology and the world perception that is inspired by new technology. On the other hand, e-public administration is going to fundamentally change, - or to put it more carefully: may probably change, – the state itself, it will redefine what it means to be a citizen as well as assume a new type of relationship between state and citizen (and its communities). The theory of e-public administration (or k-public administration) will therefore need to include theories on the state, citizens, society and democracy. What follows from the above is that sooner or later an integrated theory is going to evolve, which comprehensively examines and interprets basic questions, as well re-examines the development of public administration. E-governance and e-public administration are in the focus of our attention primarily because so much in Europe as in Hungary this developmental stage for the future seems realistic and feasible. The foreseeable perspectives, however, lead much further: they point toward a participatory state and participatory democracy, both of which are unimaginable without the evolution of the intelligent network society. All in all, the short-term timetable might look the following: Phases:

First phase

Phases of development


Service state, digital state and epublic administration

Service state, partial digital e-governance which is simultaneously citizen-friendly, with islandlike e-state governance and e-local authority; public administration added within the framework of the traditional representative


Perspective Established digital state and all inclusive e-scale public administration

e-governance and limited edemocracy

Second phase

Third phase

Fourth phase

Intelligent civil society and social particpative democracy

Participatory democracy and participatory state led by society

democracy, partly based on a new and formalised social agreement Partial European and national democracy reform, national, regional small area and settlement e-democracy, with e-referenda, simultaneously simple or complex or electronically participative democracy Intelligent (real and virtual) civil societies established at a global, continental and local level are going to step over the framework of traditional democracy, or will enforce the new democracy and social model built on the participation and direct decisions in basic questions. A democracy and participatory state built simultaneoulsy on individual decisions and civil associations that are more loosely connected than political parties yet it is also a comprehensive real/ virtual democracy and participatory state where the civilian citizen is aware rather than manipulated and hence becomes a responsible individual

Established edemocracy although representative democracy still in place Intelligent civil society and network democracy

Developed participatory democracy, free society and communal citizen who makes responsible decisions

Table 1. Developmental phases, ideas & hypotheses 2000-2050 (Csaba Varga)

This book is partially a comprehensive attempt to elaborate at length a new and integrated theory, whilst it is also going to raise every important theoretical issue with regards to new state and democracy theories, new society and democracy theories as well as the professional and interdisciplinary theories of e-public administration. The book does not only revolve around theoretical problems and solutions, but it also tries to formulate alternative state and democracy development scenarios for the next thirty to forty years. Similarly, the book showcases perhaps the most comprehensive Hungarian attempt to local government and democracy, also known as the Aba model. Aba gained regional and national fame and interest when it started its own experiment on the development of participatory democracy in the summer of 2004, which the locals prefer to call democracy experiment or social agreement programme for short. The essence of the Aba model is as follows: it is based not on a single, but multiple representation of citizens combined with structured dialogue and is further developed into shared local governance to finally achieve participatory and electronic democracy. One of the elements of this idea is thus the combined development of e-democracy and e-public administration. The gradual realisation of the Aba model is of particular interest because it is a real practical example rather than merely a theoretical one. This book was not written as an answer to the current political crisis in Hungary. Yet the increased national democratic deficit and the radical decrease of state capabilities jointly with the crisis currently experienced in the development of Hungarian society may change the view of the involved parties, namely the minds of those who shape public opinion and are the decision-makers in Hungary. January 1st, 2008 Emese Ugrin –Csaba Varga 12

Chapter One: The glocal world and information age As we have already pointed out in the introduction, we need to characterise the information age in order to adequately interpret the concept of e-public administration. This, however, is not possible to understand without a comprehenisve and more paradigmatic interpretation of globalisation processes. This is also necessary because at the end of the twentieth century, the information age stands for universal globalisation.

1.1. The new concept of globalisation: functional and substantial globalisation Suprisingly, even the Soviet Empire, or the group of COMECON countries can be described as a paramilitary, semi-global, monopolist state system. The globalisation at end of the twentieth century has, however, far exceeded any previous models of globalisation (both those that took place several thousand or several hundred years ago). This new type of globalisation embraces the entire global population and reaches to even the most hidden corners of the third and fourth world. On the other hand, it also creates a new type of universal space-time structure in human civilisation in a way that it simultaneously a functional and substantional world process. Hence the notion of new globalisation concisely sums up the recognition that the constantly uniting human civilization has reached the stage of functional globalisation. This globalisation, however, does not only create a new world structure, but it also attempts to fill in the "vacuum" it generates with particular content. New globalisation therefore simultaneoulsy entails globalisation and localisation, so it is not surprising that it is increasingly called the glocal world structure. New globalisation is a dual process: it consists of a functional and substantional series of changes. By functionality we mean that the functional elements and processes of human civilization (economy, society, ecology and their sub-systems, politics, state, military, education, etc) are globalising at a rate and extent never seen before. As a result, global economy, global society, global military order, etc. have come into existence. Substantionality means that the people do no longer simply dream of a unified civilization and culture, but that unification is now taking place at a rate and extent never experienced before. This is why we can speak today of global knowledge and global culture with good reason. While they differ greatly in their characteristics, the two great processes nonetheless also strengthen each other. New functionalism unifies in such a way that largely identical economic and political structures evolve in different countries and continents while new unification does not merge but rather preseves the culture and way of thinking of the peoples and nationalities. Consequently, new unification also hinders and limits paramilitary or political globalisation in a number of ways. It is therefore no coincidence that there is no exact same state or public administration in the member states of the European Union; after all, each state and its public administration retains its own particuliarities. Yet it is beyond doubt that the state belongs to the functional side of globalisation as it has long lost its substantional characteristics.


It is Endre Kiss, the philosopher, who notes2: "According to a widely shared interpretation, globalisation is the science of such particular comprehensive problems, which affect the ENTIRE humanity in a new qualitative way, and its trends affect us existentially. In this spirit ecological problems become for instance legitimate areas of globalisation, as are other issues such as the state of raw materials, migration, shared healthcare problems of the world, which know no boundaries any more, positive and negative world dynamics of questions regarding the population, the energy situation, the arms trade and drug crisis are all great dilemmas of integration and world economy. Another major interpretation does not tie the issues and the whole phenomenon of globalisation to individual concrete and always singularly appearing "global" questions, (or to a (partial) cluster made up of random questions), but instead it examines the structural and functional correlations of a new world situation in its ENTIRETY." Thus, globalisation theory does not simply aims to define some kind of partial and fragmented state of the world, it puts the functional, and, to add to Endre Kiss' train of thought, the substantial general theory of the post-millennium global-universal world into words. Since globalisation would hang loose in the universal space were the base not strenghtened and fuctional, thus it needs localisation process to strengthen and evolve on each and every continent. This in itself is already a global process irrespective of the interests of globalisation and it happens even in modernised European countries that local regions aim at increasing their independence to reduce their defencelessness. This is how in the new glocal world order the state (and the nation-state) is situated in the middle, which, on the one hand, offers some protective shields for local regions, while on the other hand simultaneously helps local regions to integrate in the global stage. The new glocal world can also be described as quantitative and qualitative globalisation. By quantitative globalisation we first and foremost mean that globalisation goes on continually both spatially and functionally and eventually it is going to embrace the entire human civilization. Qualitative globalisation, as its name already suggests, could mean qualitative globalisation (although historically it has not been pre-determined whether this would be the outcome in reality) and this may necessarily entail the substantional unification of the world's countries and peoples (similarly to the above point, it has not yet been decided from a historical point of view whether such an event would also imply a global state or a global army for that matter). When it became apparent for the very first time in the last decades of the twentieth century that soon the evolution of the information age is going to become an effective world process, many have started to formulate short or long term utopias about how the information age will simultaneously be the cause and the consequence, dynamitic and end product of the present globalisation. This process was essentially set off after the turn of the millennium, when the first the functional then the substantional globalisation acquired enormous power resources with the spread of the info-communication networks and services. The post-millennium world is thus undoubtedly a glocal world, ever more so in Europe, including the less or moderately developed countries. The present glocal world is wears the robe of the information age, and its public political name is knowledge-based economy and society. 2

Endre Kiss (2005) Magyarország és a globalizáció (Hungary and Globalisation) Kodolányi, Székesfehérvár); Endre Kiss (2006) A globalizáció jövője és/mint tudástársadalom (The Future of Globalisation and /as Knowledge Society) (


1.2. Localisation and ’life milieu’ At the beginning of the twentieth century, in the semi-global state of the world localities were in dual subjection; on the one hand, they depended on continental superpowers, on the other hand, on the states of the industrial age and their nationalised politics and societies. We may call this stage the age of subjugated European localities. This is a universal phase although local authorities played an increasingly important role in some states. At this point, local economies have become increasingly integrated into the partial global systems of the continents. At first sight the concept of globalisation is to be understood by focusing, within the global structure, on local levels in the local structure. Nowadays in Europe and in Hungary we call these places the scenes of localisation (starting from larger and ending with smaller elements) as is the region, the county, the small areas, the town and the village. Presently about twenty to thirty settlements make up a small area in Hungary, which is almost always held together by one or more towns; in all, there are almost one hundred and eighty small regions. In Hungary counties are currently reckoned with; besides Budapest, there are nineteen of them altogether. Consequently, by and large ten small areas belong to every one of them; last but not least, the nineteen counties constitute the seven regions of Hungary (except perhaps the region that unites Budapest and Pest county); all in all, every region is consists of three counties. Just like in Hungary, in every country, local regions (all seven of them) are the basic units and balance of the global world. If there is no localisation there is no globalisation either, or if there is one, then it is of a kind that sooner or later becomes unsustainable. The opposite of this arguments holds true as well: without globalisation local regions would remain isolated and introverted. The relationship between the global and local worlds can vary greatly: the biggest danger of today could be that globalisation prevails over the local levels and thus the subordination of local worlds continue. However, the reverse negative process is not likely to occur, that is, that local worlds prevail over globalisation. It is so much a task as an opportunity to find some kind of a balance between the two levels. The new, interactive internet-based information and communication revolution is one option that provides opportunities. For the sake of a more in-depth analysis, however, the internal structure and characteristics of local regions are also worth summing up. Within the framework of localisation theory we argue that local worlds are made up of three structural elements: the upper life milieu, the lower life milieu and the internalised life milieu. The notion of life milieu is introduced here in order to adequately account for the analysis of the local worlds; it is significant insofar that it is the local life milieu that the individual as well as the community directly relates to. We find the region and the county at higher levels, which could be described increasingly as regional upper society. Similarly, the concept of lower life milieu can be broken down into two structural elements: the environment and the directly experienced world. The environment (that is, the small area, the centre of the small area, the town or village of residence) is the social milieu in which the individuals live day in and day out. The notion of the direct world refers to – symbolically speaking - the"hot reality" (circle of friends, family, etc.), the everyday experiences of the individual. One of the novelties of the locality theory is that we examine the imprint of the local world and the internal reality of the individual. To put it differently, we focus on the the personal dimensions of the local world. 15

In the global context, a network of local worlds was born as a continuation and acceleration of localisation. All of these are different realities. In the world structure, they represent an independent and stable pole, which presumably is going to strengthen in the decades to come. In the localization process we can also distinguish between quantitative and qualitative localisation. Past decades have primarily brought about the dominance of the quantitative processes, and it will be the great task of the first half of the twenty-first century realise the qualitative localisation in human civilisation. Today numerous developments point to this direction; the independence and self-assertion of local regions increasingly grows, as they begin to think in terms of new types of "city states" local "states" "regional states� and micro-republics. This holds also true for Hungary, and this is what the more advanced regions and smaller areas strive for, whether they admit it or not.

1.3. Glocal age and the new mediation level: the nation We can still regard the 1980s and 1990s as a time when globalisation and localisation were on separate although parallel tracks, yet it became clear already before the turn of the millennium that globalisation and localisation also build upon and complement each other. This is why we can state that today there is no globalisation without localisation, and vice versa. If we consider the sphere between globalisation and localisation at the level of nationstates, then this level is so much element, disc, or even as a bridge for mediation that structures the world. There are several categories generally accepted to describe the dual process of globalisation and localisation: the best terms are perhaps glocalisation or glocal. This contracted category expresses in a precise way that globalisation and localisation are linked together. It is also worth noting, however, that in the information age it is going to become normal practice that globalisation has a direct impact on localisation, and that localisation also "skips" the nation-state mediaton level. Nations do not dissapear, neither do they remain captive of the prevailing nation–state. Instead, more than ever, nations are going to become communities, linked by common culture and high-level consciousness. The content of this consciousness is knowledge. In an ideal scenario, eventually we will be able to speak of knowledge- and cultural nation. This type of nation is first and foremost no longer introvert, no longer on the run, defensive or closed; quite the contrary, it is open, it is strong and rooted in itself, it does not offensive and it is proud to shows itself to the world. It does not aim to divide, it integrates the people both in time and in space. It dates back to thousands of years and looks forward to endless spatial time. This triple process (global sphere, nation-state level, local sphere) has not yet been developed and accepted. However, we propose a new concept on similar lines: globe-natioloc (globalisation-nationalisation-localisation). Well, we admit that this word is slightly hard to pronounce and hard to learn by heart. Yet we emphatically emphasise that a new type of globalisation-localisation as well as nationalisation is taking place with a new content. For these reasons a newly created and pertinent concept will be likely introduced in the next few years. Regardless of the name of this concept, we confidently state that Hungary, or in the broader perspective, Central Europe has reached the glocal age, which has also the middle nation level, too.


1.4. The four models of the present glocal age The new glocal age is not to be placed outside history, on the contrary, it is deeply embedded in history. It has not happened unexpectedly, nor will it end unexpectedly. After the turn of the millenium, the glocal age tries to break away from the captivity of the industrial and, at times, post-industrial age. However, this process takes far more time and effort than the theoreticians of the information age might want to think. The reason for this is that the industrial age, a world model itself, also struggles for subsistence. The present new globalisation, nationalisation and localisation simultaneously embodies the combination and joint existence of the three world models (Industrial Age, Information Age, Knowledge Age). Together they make up the prevailing world model, whilst there are very sharp differences between them.

Industrial Age monetary industrial society pleasure society

Information Age

Knowledge Age

information innovational

knowledge society

society Consciousness Age consciousness society (idea ) Table 2: The universal four age model (Csaba Varga) The industrial age and especially its end, the monetary industrial age, has created the consumer-centred pleasure society4 model in the Euro-Atlantic zone by partially integrating certain advantages of the information age. The central aim of this era is consumption, thus its benchmark is consumption, too. The individual just as the community or a country measures the state of its development and success by its position in the global market of consumption. Pleasure society is also called risk society3. Pleasure society at present feeds the personal


Ulrich Beck (1986) Die Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne. Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp Verlag); (2003); In Hungarian: A kockázattársadalom. Út egy másik modernitásba (Risk society), Századvég Kiadó, Budapest.


hunger for pleasure, yet due to the nature, standard and manner of the service, the failure of pleasure society is guaranteed. Yesterday’s Europe marked the "invention" of the industrial age: the spread of industrialised mass production, the urbanised city, the representational democracy (mass democracy), science (or rather: normal science), the rational materialist way of thinking and widespread alienation. The information age should be seen as the end of the industrial age: monetary capitalism is replaced by information capitalism, representational democracy and its institutions empty of meaning, politics is generally deconstructed, financial and cultural globalism spread all over the world. Each age concludes with total disillusion and the loss of sense in the future. At the time of political regime change Hungary too, opted not for the future but for the past when it embraced the industrial age, industrial society and its ways of operation. Representational democracy is the democracy of the industrial age. The postindustrial global age and the present democracy model are not on good terms with each other. Globalisation either neutralises or empties democracy, or, a new type of democracy will be able to sucessfully cope with globalisation and it will put it under its control.

1.5. The Information Age that comes to an end Having briefly clarified what we mean by globalisation and glocal age, let us turn our attention to the relationship between the information age and the new glocal world. From a historical perspective globalisation cannot be considered a new phenomenon: in the last five to seven thousand years several types of (usually partial and limited) globalisations had taken place. These types of globalisations were first and foremost the result of a more or less imperial, occassionally global imperial aspirations. One of the novelties of the globalisation that has been accelerating since the second part of the twentieth century was that for the first time in the history of humankind globalisation attempted to ”conquer” the entire human civilisation. The quantitive expansion of globalisation, however, can not be imagined without the existence of the Information Age. The technologies and services of the Information Age make it possible for the global economy and attached policies to connect the entire world and attempt to make it a uniform political and economic area. This functional globalisation has not come to an end yet, nonetheless, we can assert with conviction that the Information Age is the newest type of globalisation, or to put it differently, the Information Age is the simultaneous globalisation and localisation. Lately, we have heard much about new economy, the central element of the glocal age. The concept was imported from the US to Europe; although not fully, yet at intervals it corresponds to knowledge-based economy. It is the essence of economy that has changed: from the economy of industrial age we crossed the threshold to the economy of the information age. To quote Nicholas Negroponte: ”As business activity globalises and the internet spreads around the world, so are we witnessing the evolution of a single, uniform digital workplace. From the point of view of storing and manipulating bites, the significance of geopolitical borders all but have completely disappeared…”4Therefore, we are one step away from the universal digital world, the economically coherent universe of existence. This model, however, only takes mass production into consideration: not only shoes or tertiary 4

Nicholas Negroponte (2002): Digitalis létezés (The Unfinished Revolution) Typotext, Budapest. p.179.


degrees are currently mass produced, but information and the mediatized reality is also for the consumption of the masses. This glocal age is necessarily moving toward a new social system, too. Earlier on sociology used to report mainly on the structures, classes, strata and subgroups of society as if these elements were to constitute the knowledge of the entire society. These elements, nonetheless, are only the structural features of society, and merely by taking these elements nobody is able to understand in its entirety what society really means. Western European and American authors wrote a number of books on social theory in the last couple of years.5 Although at present we might know perhaps more about society as a whole, the scientific explanations and standardisation of different sociological trends still needs to be developed.6 There is no complex, unified social theory in Europe, even though we use such notions as communication society, linguistic society, information society, knowledge-based group relations, dynamics, and virtual social phenomenon systems. Regardless of the philosophical viewpoint, the picture of the entire social theory will simply not aggregate.7 In the meantime, however, the mindset of industrial society has been emptied of meaning. Whilst information society creates another (virtual) society, we have all but lost our sense of direction; although we might add that luckily, we have also left the illusions of society and community behind. For some it might come as a surprise that some scientists of information society already predict the end of information society. Nicholas Negroponte holds following opinion on the matter: ”We have wasted too many words and too much time by stressing the significance of the transition from the industrial age to the post-industrial or information age. In the meanwhile noone noticed that the age of information has come to a close and we have stepped into the age of post-information”.8 We can definitely agree with this statement. Right from the start, before the society of information age could have fully developed, it became apparent that it needs to be reconsidered and stepped over. The surviving industrial age shall be blamed for its failure, too. The turn of the millenium unmasked the industrial age for good; its new version is called the Information Age. The boundary, however, is sharp between the two: something different is going to soon commence.

1.6. The age of new technologies and artificial intelligence Before we can start discussing the new world models and their chances thereof, it is important to note that the industrial age was disrupted most spectacularly by the expansion of new technology. In the last few decades the industrial technology produced numerous technological innovations. 5

As far as we are concerned, we do not believe that the issue can be solved by the concept of net society as it is used by Manuel Castells frequently: ’These trends are equal to the triumph of the individual, yet it is not clear how much load they put on society. However, we should take into consideration that the individuals supported by the new technical opportunities are really able to reconstruct the social interaction patterns and they create a new form of society, the net society.’ (p.139.) 6 Imre Kovács ed.. (2006): Társadalmi metszetek (Social sections) Napvilág Kiadó 7 There are good foreign and Hungarian examples. Frank L. Szemjon (2005) The Intellectual Basis of Society (Kairosz); In Hungary Elemér Szádeczky-Kardoss could have become a significiant turning point with his book: Elemér Szádeczky-Kardoss (1989) Universal Connection of Phenomena. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest. 8 Nicholas Negroponte: idem p. 129.


Most of the Hungarian intellectual elite has had an anti-technological bias for a long time; new technological results were keenly interpreted as an inhuman process. In Hungary theory of technology is not even always taught at polytechnic universities, even though we cannot correctly interpret the history of the last twenty years, the regime change and the following 10 to 12 years without an understanding of the numerous changes in economy, society, consciousness and human dimension that were all forced upon us by technological changes. Two global powers such Japan and Germany, regularly issue technological forecasts for the next twenty years.9 These elaborate publications of several thousands topics forecast the changes in the fields of science, research and technology for the next two decades. Most of their predictions held so far proved to be correct. These forecasts are very serious and well founded. It is therefore clearly predicted that the technology of the next twenty years will have no resemblence of the technology of yesteryears, nor that of today. Already within a decade, the personal computers and digital cameras currently in use are going to become the size of a pen or watch, so the ones that we use now will be out-of-date. More importantly, as a result of human-centred computing the computer is going to become an intelligent assistant.10 At this stage we have not even mentioned the expected results of nanotechnology. We may choose to fear the coming super revolutions of technology, yet we can have a different attitude towards technological change11. Being aware of the immenent changes means that we can get prepared for them, and we should try to capitalise on new technologies. We presuppose that in this field enormous breakthroughs are to be expected. It is in this sense of the word that we claim that artificial intelligence is going to play a key role not only in the the modernisation of the state but also in education and civilisation. We wonder whether even one teacher or instructor has any idea how s/he would put artificial intelligence at work at their facilities and institutions. All in all, new technology is responsible for providing a helping hand so that information society should not sink into the mud of the industrial society. Yet there is another subtantial matter that the information society shall have to answer: Is knowledge brought by new technologies used in an adequate manner?

1.7. Age of new knowledge and critical approaches to democracy Contrary to the opinion expressed in other publications, we claim that the most important new feature of (let us momentarily forget about the maturity of) the new age is new knowledge created rather than new technology, or new economy, or a new type of society we are going to live in. This holds true even though at best we are only at the threshold of the age of knowledge. It is a new phenomenon that the total knowledge of mankind doubles every 1.5 to 2.5 years; meanwhile, it is often the case that the knowledge of past decades essentially replaces the knowledge of the last 2000 years. 9

Zoltán Pálmai (2002): On Technological Trends. (e-World, 2002/Special Issue); TEP, Technological Forecasting Programme ( ) 10 Michael L. Dertouzos (2002): Félkész forradalom: útban a megszelidített számítógépek felé (Semi-finished Revolution. En route to Domesticated Computers) Typotext, Budapest, p.48. 11 It is not suprising that many are already imagining circuits built in the brain or chip installed in the brain, since these technological developments are almost ready. Michael L. Dertouzos (2002) p.49.


The grouping and the standardisation of knowledge may be the subject-matter of a whole new investigation.12 In the age of knowledge society it seems reasonable to interpret old-new knowledge according to their functional and substantial roles, just as it is interpreted in the case of globalisation, for that matter. The summary of functional roles records the manner knowledge becomes social capital and the speed with which it spreads around in the new glocal world. This is why we distinguish among global, continental (in our case: European), national and local knowledge. There is a relatively large amount of tresspass among knowledge types. This is accounted by the fact that the global world has entered into a multicultural age; yet, all the same, in the long run a significant amount of discrepancy is going to continue to exist between the cultures of human civilisation, whether in the domain of knowledge, religion or value systems. New types of knowledge first and foremost are grouped substantially. We attach more importance to the real values and contents of knowledge than to any social practice; knowledge that is independent from time and space, found in it most pure forms, independent of the understanding and applications of a period. That is why we can distinguish knowledge from reality/non-reality running infinitely in every direction; we thus have knowledge, for instance, about God, materials, space and time, society, mankind or, for that matter, our knowledge of the methodology of thinking. Coming from this perspective it does not matter whether the particular piece of knowledge was created by religion, art or science. Another way of grouping substantial knowledge is to arrange it according to the content and carrier of knowledge. The dominant aspect of this logic is the collective evaluation of formal and contentual characteristics of knowledge. That type of knowledge belongs to the formatted publicly shared knowledge, which manifest itself in most languages both linguistically and conceptually and which almost always has a uniform meaning. This kind of knowledge is on the other hand widely used in human civilisations, and the wide variety of such knowledge forms the the basic condition of the existance for human culture. This is the commonly shared knowledge of humankind, which of course linguistically translates into a large amount of variations. If this formatted commonly shared knowledge suddenly vanished or ceased to exit, the humanly constructed world and humankind as such would be doomed. The commonly shared knowledge constitutes the elementary, cardinal condition of life on Earth. It is a recent recognition that no current valid democracy theory exists. There ara numerous different kinds of reasons that account for this recognition: 1. The principle of deformed representative democracy: a valid democracy theory does not exist because we do not live in the classic democracy of Ancient Greeks. Present-day democracy is far from being adequate especially so because its performance is functionally weak; 2. The principle of non-democracy in the robe of democracy: the model that has evolved in the last decades represents such a type of global representative democracy model, which exceeds the mature principles of representative democracy; 3. The principle of facade democracy: for the time being it is comprehensible only for a handful of people that the practice of democracy, which is deeply embedded in the social,


Alfred J. Ayer (1956): The Problem of Knowledge, Penguin Books


intellectual and cultural processes and has been defined for instance by Alexis Tocqueville13is often but a facade democracy; 4. The paradox principle of democracy: various interest groups hold onto power by subtly shorting out the principles of democracy while exploiting and using the institutional system of democracy to its fullest; 5. The principle of democratic deficit leads to weakening of action: the global, continental and national operability is seriously weakened and its legitimacy thereof drastically questioned due to the new concentration of the dominant interest groups; 6. The principle of exporting ambiguous democracy: the world of developed democracies export an ambiguous, limited type of democracy to the lesser developed or undeveloped world; 7. The principle of democracy protection without reflection: many experts and knowledge groups rightly protect the established principles and practices of democracy while they do not or very reluctantly accept that the Euroatlantic democracy model needs reform; 8. The principle of lack of democracy awareness: in developed countries self-criticism and critical thinking in general is superficially developed and therefore there is no proper oversight of processes which leads to limited or non-existing democracy awareness; 9. The principle of lack of future perspective in democracies: in developed or moderately developed countries there is no future perspective in people towards democracy and therefore people have no idea about what is there to come; 10. The principle of democratic minimum that has not been lost: even so most states attempt or are forced to comply with minimum standards of democracy at all levels, or at least to keep up the appearance of it; 11. Unfinished arguments: We could list numerous other causes to account for the lack of new theories. The problem can also be approached from the angle what is happening right now in the democracies of the world and in their social realms? • Reality belongs to a network or system of realities. It is self-evident that paralelly more realities exist than the one the actual political democracy is based upon; • The central stage of democracy cannot be limited to the (nation-state) political/state level; the requirement today is to build an outstretched, multi-level democracy; • The role of virtual reality has increased in the real orientations and decisions of democracies. Meanwhile, the issue of democracy in the age of virtual reality has not yet been raised; • In order to hold onto power for a shorter or longer period of time, the policial elits are willing to apply a range of anti-democratic tools and technics, which are contrary to the ideals of democracy, justice and expedience; • Democracy once again is not only the public and/or concealed game of the representatives of dominant power groups, but also terrain where civil and social groups and organizations who were left out from the political elit fight for power; • The principles/practices of democracy should not avoid managing the fight between groups who hold institutionalised power and others who lack such kind of power; • Democracy does not only consist of rational institutions and set of policies, but a set or a system of comprehensive knowledge, mentality and consciousness, which goes against the uniformity of institutions and pocesses to a large extent;


Alexis de Tocqueville (1993) Az amerikai demokrácia (The American Democracy), Európa Könyvkiadó, Budapest.


• Interest-based policy/democracy is corroded and often ignored by the information age and age of knowledge just about to commence and its intrinsical change of paradigm; • Albeit participatory democracy is a social requirement, even civil society actors are insufficiently prepared for direct, personal participation. We could go on listing and interpreting the new phenomena for a considerable amount of time. It is hard to deny, however, that even after the turn of the millenium human civilisation and culture has remained a military, political, economic power system operated by centralised states that are controlled by individuals and society to a limited extent. This is the main reason why global risk society exists. We are simultaneously at a verge of a universal-local bancruptcy and the dawn of universal-local new alternatives and hopes that have little in common with old paradigms. The question remains: for how long can this be maintained?

1.8. Information society as the next stage of glocalization If the information age and within it the model of information, post-information or knowledge-led society is the latest stage of globalisation or rather the latest development of glocalisation, then it is evident that the content and concept of the information age is one of the central categories of the information age. The extended name of the new concept is sustainable, innovative information society. It has not been decided yet wheter the political, economic, social or cultural concepts of a specific period are in themselves useful while giving a comprehensive interpretation of a certain period. Nevertheless, for the content of information age we find primarily those categories useful that interpret social processes rather than economic and cultural concepts. This is why we distinguish between global, continental (that is: European), national and local knowledge(s). In this sense information society is a general concept, which can be deduced from the category of information age, and which serves as a basis for other categories such as the e-economy, e-state to be later discussed. The concept of information society can be equally determined on the basis of information technology, economy, politics or power, society, ecology or for instance information theory. If we claimed above that information society is a generative concept, then in this case none of the approaches that offer partial solutions are useful as a starting point. To put it the other way around, we have to come up with an interactive category which summarises and arranges every approach into one system. The starting point of the first generative approach is that of the information age as world model, which is a concept that stands above information society. In this case it might suffice to state that information society designates the social paradigm change of the information age. Thus it includes the interpretation of global society generated by the new world structure and with the help of which the concept of new global society that stands above local and national societies can be interpreted. If this generative approach is a valid one, then the information society is primarily a global and local, information-based social paradigm change. The second valid approach could be to characterise information society with concepts that name capital goods. This category presents us with some difficulties because we must give priority to intellectual capital, or to put it differently, knowledge capital and thus the 23

analysis becomes a twofold process. One of the processes details the ways knowledge capital has become a central actor contrary to other, more traditional types of capital such as the economic and/or financial capital; it can be obviously performed only on the condition that we consider that knowledge capital has become equal to the other forms of capital and has an actual exchange value in the financial market-centered new capitalism. The interpretation of the second process focuses on the contents of intellectual capital and the extent it is applicable and the ways it becomes personal and social capital. If we hold this logic true, then information society is nothing but the transformation of knowledge capital into personal and social capital. The third concept, which we could hold true is based on information theory. It focuses on the first element of the complex concept of information theory and it attempts to clarify the differences between data, information, idea, knowledge and decision. Consequently, it subscribes to the widely shared view that information society is no more or nor less than the production, transmission, marketing and exchange of information. This approach, however, does not distinguish between information, ideas and knowledge therefore it interpretes the age only at the lowest level, that is: the level of information and data. Moreover, it is this approach that attempts to define the information age unequivocally as a new technological age and so the change in the digital, info-communicational network and the system of services and materials is considered the most important feature of this new state of the world. In our opinion, however, although their content is accurate and justifiable, the two interpretational attempts do not cover the full content of information society. While interpreting information theory and information industry, basic concepts are essential to define. Data: consciousness-linguistic configuration, carrying the meaning of a cognition unit; Information: determines the relation between two data items, thus it is an idea (a message, news, a piece of information about reality); cognition: connected, systematised, construed piece of information; knowledge: interpreted and integrated system of cognition, a comprehensive vision on reality and all its dimensions (which simultaneously make up a new vision of reality); decision: a knowledge system used to alter reality and its application and change it into social and personal capital for the sake of knowledge. The unavoidable argument against the logical path just descibed is the following: in every age information and knowledge are of a significant value and so it is insufficient to claim that the information age equals the age of information. This is a justifiable counterargument. It is the characteristic of this age is that information can be converted into analogue and digital signs with the help of new technologies. Sign: information transmitted by human made means. So it is the speciality of information society that both theoretically and practically indefinite amount of information can be produced and transmitted as signs. Here comes the turning point which marks this period: the information age this way and by this means produces information on a never seen before scale and so information trade might become the main sector of economy in the future. By the same token the large amount of information/knowledge available revolutionalises so much society as the individual. The third approach leads us to the concept that information society is the society of signs transmitted by human made means, and therefore it is potentially merely a cognition society. It is the realisation of information society at a higher level, while knowledge society is already the society of interpreted systems of cognition, which potentially does not transmit information signs, but knowledge signs. Only in this way it has the potential to change the lives of individuals and societies.


The fourth interpretation clearly distinguishes between between information and knowledge society from a historical and contentual point of view.

1.9. The history of the three basic categories and their submodels With the help of the newly clarified concepts we have come to the point where we can interprete the global-universal models of (recent) past, present and future in a more accurate fashion. If we take into account the aspects of analysis mentioned above, we are able to formulate the definition of an integrated information society, which can stand firm both in the short and long run. The main point thereof is that after the turn of millenium we are increasingly thinking in terms of sustainable and innovative information society in Europe. The details only show the spectecular difference between societies led by information or knowledge although – pay attention! - this difference does not include the basic changes in the operation of these societies. The basic, interdiscipliniary concepts may be used as an entry for governmental and social plans and discourses. First of all let us take a closer look at the concept of the information society. Information society: Information society is the symbolic name of an era in which the economy, society and the culture is predominantly based on the production, exchange and marketing of information; that, however, in itself is not sufficient for the information society to come into existence. The great novelty of the age of information society is that the information, whether analogue or digital, can be produced and utilesed as signs and so we could with good reason call information society sign society, too. This is why information society simultanuously means large amount of information or digital content, new information communication technology, new information-driven economy and new information-based society. The global and local society and its structure is fundamentally changing due to the joint and wide application of new technology, the spread of new economy and the trade in new types and large amount of information. Information-based economy and the information system organizes social groups into a system all around the world, and by such means different and new junctions are created in the new, dynamic global system. All the same, information-based economy and the information system rejects those social segments, states and regions that are less succesful in producing and trading information. A basic condition of a successful information society and economy is the advanced state of the social receptive agent and the social embededness of a developed information economy and infrastructure. Information society and economy comes into existence only on the condition that the majority of society has access to new information and communication technologies, and possesses the necessary knowledge and skills needed to use these means. Information society as actual state is attractive and has a dynamic impact only if it is on the one hand sustainable and the other hand innovative. Knowledge society: Knowledge society produces unequivocally new types of economic, social and knowledge markets all around the world. Moreover, it also creates economic and social 25

structures that are based on networks. Following the information communication revolutions in creating new technologies, human civilisation has become a globally standardised functional system at the beginning of the third millenium, which in itself constitutes a new stage of social development. In this era the structure and operation of society is determined by the movement and distribution of knowledge as well as its processing and correct application. Knowledge society is stratified based on the ways this knowledge has been acquired; knowledge that is limitless and potentially equally open to everyone creates equal opportunities. On the contrary, differences in opportunities are created along lines of possessing knowledge or lacking knowledge. As a norm knowledge is a new social quality: knowledge society is organized efficiently, filling the individual and community with content and quality. It is a new social system in which innovative learning turns information into knowledge, knowledge into action, or at least it opens up an opportunity to do so. This is why the future prospect of information society is the model of knowledge society, which is a potential new quality: it is not information, but knowledge-based, a network, it is the name of a type of society that tempers the glocal digital gap. Knowledge society brings positive changes not only in the external factors such as economy and society, but also in the consciuousness and awareness of individuals and communities. Knowledge-based economy: It is the name of a new economic model, which simultaneously fulfills and changes the industrial – post-industrial and financial economy. In the knowledge-based economy the most important element of economic growth and productivity is knowledge, which is embodied primarily in the intellectual capital of technology and humans alike. The expression ’knowledge-based society’ was born from the acknowledgement and recognition of the effect of knowledge and technology exercised on economic growth. The production processes of knowledge society are based on the utility and distribution of information and knowledge. Knowledge-based economy is invariably a market economy and the most important coordinational factor is the knowledge market. In the knowledge-based economy growth in welfare, efficiency and employment is determined by knowledge intensity and the dynamic development of high technology. The first step in the changes initiated by the post-industrial economic model: modern economy, stepping out of its own medium, makes non-economic subsystems such as education, healthcare, society, etc. part of the economic subsystem. The second step of the change: knowledge producing, stepping out of its own medium, occupies the expanded economy, which is currenlty led by the knowledge market. There is no knowledge-based economy without knowledge-based society. This holds true also vice versa. Moreover, in the information age knowledge production, knowledge-based economy and knowledge society are the driving force behind one another. The history of the concept A new opportunity of defining information society comes from no other source than historical modelling or by analysing the development of historical models. Some elements have already been mentioned. If we describe the last two to three thousand years of human development with the help of concepts such as feudalism, industrial age (and its sidetrack: Socialism) and information age, then we can draw a few important conclusions from history. First of all, information age is as big and important period in human history as feudalism was; secondly, the replacement of industrial age by information age is approximately as big a


change in terms of world models as, when at the end of the Middle Ages the first formations of industrial age replaced feudalism; the third consideration being that in this case we have to give a broader definition of information age than any of its internal phases, such as information society. 1960s-1980s: 1980s-1990s: 2000 - 2010s: 2010 - 2020s:

Dominant elements of the Historical-social submodels decades of the information (technological) society decades of the information economy (new economy) decades of the information society decades of knowledge led society Table 3. Historical submodels of the information age (Csaba Varga)

According to this logic, the internal phases and stages of development of the near future are already visible. The information age started out as a technological change in the third quarter of the twentieth century. As far as we are concerned, we prefer to call this era information society, although we must add that it was in the 1960s and 1970s that the dreams, utopia and future prospects of the information age were drafted. It was a time when technological changes were enthusiastically greeted. The next developmental phase commenced sometimes in the 1980s and 1990s: at this stage the information age saw itself primarily as new economy and it was in this way that the money-centred global economy of new capitalism tried to aggregate a much larger than average profit. The development of information age as society became possible only in the mid-1990s and even nowadays it only takes place fragmentarily. It was only in the second part of the 1990s that the question whether the information age had primarily changed into a knowledge-based age became part of the agenda and its veritable efficiency could be measured by understanding to what extent new knowledge, new science and new ways of thinking aggregated by human civilisation were taken over and used in the information age. (This is when the concept of e-content was introduced in the ideology of information society. This concept is partally narrower and partially broader than knowledge industry, which serves to name and develope content industry). We can talk about continental and state ambitions only after the turn of the millenium, which grasp and interprete information age as a new social model or social change in standards. It will take a considerable amount of time until information societies that follow or exist along each other are going to compile an integrated, information age model, which in turn is probably going to lead to knowledge age. From the reviewed stages and arguments we can conclude that one can distinguish between at least two large models within the information age: the age of information society and/or knowledge society. The information age and the knowledge age. The two ages cannot be sharply separated from one another; they exist side by side. It is only in the optimal scenario that information society is followed by the model of knowledge society. A new world model is generally born on ruins two-three hundred years old. The knowledge-based world is on the one hand part and parcel of the information age; on the other hand, if history permits it is going to prepare the real model change. The new era can either be called knowledge age, although that still does not mean that history comes to an end because the knowledge-based world model can be possibly followed by a newer universal phase: the era of the consciousness society.


Presently we cannot go into detail about the coherent yet altogether different set of problems of the global and local world, or to use a new concept how and to what extent the integrated and complex crisis situations slow down the unfolding knowledge-based economy and society models. Nowadays the disadvantage of a social (and knowledge) strata or group is multipled because on the other hand the economic-financial, regional-local, social, ecological, cognitive-knowledge or media advantages are also integrated and act together. We would like to put forward a few more arguments to the sceptics, the disillusioned ones, those who eagerly imagine a negative scenario. The present-day old-age glocal aggreations of negative states may expand at least fivefold the social and moral gaps of the age. A general social conflict can break out between (1) the technologically poor and wealthy, (2) information poor and information rich, (3) knowledge poor and rich, (4) awareness rich and poor and (5) the increasingly different experience of God between the rich and poor. It was Europe that recognised it for the first time the converting power of information in social structure and it hastily has generated a program to combat this continental danger. However, neither the designers nor the analysts of the situation understood it adquately that this is not only a conflict between the technologically reach and poor. The issue is not limited to access to technology, which in some European countries, regions and social groups is less than in other ones. This is why we should not exclusively focus on the the development of the hardware-software capacity or knowledge-centered services. A recent development: for some reason the development order is not good. So far we could always come up with a reason why the correct order should be to give computers to people first, then connect them to the internet, then offer them new digital services, which altogether somehow, in our minds at least, would automatically enforce the intellectual and mental changes necessary. (It is altogether another question that in Hungary where theoretically speaking this logic has been followed even the ICT-sector did not receive the necessary economic-social and state budget). However, the old logic is all of a sudden no longer valid and a new order is required. One of the dominant causes for this is that, as we have already demonstrated it, the new global world is dually attached: it has a glocal nature. Moreover, it is definitely culture-dependant and when several dominant matters are in conflict, it becomes obvious that cultural dependence is stronger. It is only of local interest that the success of the new development and implementation order interferes with the oldfashioned government structure of member states. Moreover, within governments it is invariably the actions with economic-financial portfolios that are in decision-making positions. Thus we should not pay attention exclusively to the fact that the universal-global directions have a huge impact on the chances of small states, in both a negative and positive sense, but we should also focus on the social-cultural identities, intellectual and mental resources of small states, small regions, small groups that have the potential of becoming pulling factors and indicators. In the information age the future of Hungary should be interpreted in the global future perspective while at the national and local levels the parallel economy, social, intellectual and mental developments could also bring about success.

1.10. A new understanding of knowledge society at the end of the information age


In our understanding the evolution of information society model and the evolution of knowledge society model are two subsequent development stages of the information age. It is difficult to separate the two models both in theory and in practice. It is worth recalling that many experts, including Daniel Bell14, consider knowledge to be the organised set of facts and ideas. According to Bell, knowledge passed over in a systematised form consists of new judgements, moreover, it may be added that these judgements do lead to new actions. As we have already indicated, it is essential to define knowledge among others because the realisation is that information society and knowledge society significantly overlap in practice. In our opinion this may be explained first of all by the internal knowledge carrier features of information and the fact that information is determined by infrastructure. Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between the various phases of development in order not to have a detrimental effect on social values and objectives (social-puch) for the benefit of techno-puch during the realisation of information society. First and foremost, knowledge society is the social and cultural dimension of information society. This approach therefore does not start out with discriminating between information and knowledge, but from the fact that the knowledge society, contrary to information society, focuses on transforming knowledge into social capital. This is the moment in the evolution of human civilisation when technical/technological possibilities are utilised for reorganising society. To put it differently, the already operating information and knowledge systems are utilised at a social level; they become the public vehicle of knowledge society, through which not only knowledge elements such as information and data lines flow but also knowledge, even substantial knowledge in general. We refer here to knowledge as a continuum of specific organisational features, which is distributed through IT networks, and which becomes a part of social capital (without being identical with it). A restricted concept of knowledge in the information society Contrary to the concept of knowledge defined as substantial and social capital, we can also interpret knowledge in the narrow sense of the term. Daniel Bell defines this concept in the information age from the aspect of infrastructure. What is especially significant for our interpretation in this definition is the fact that "new judgements" are part of knowledge, which exist at all poles of the information medium, even where knowledge is born as an "organised set", and where it is being used. In the process of arriving at judgements there is a subjective element we cannot disregard: the human, who is simultaneously the creator, carrier, transmitter and user of knowledge, – of knowledge integrated as personal capital. It is possible to examine knowledge and the process that creates knowledge only together with the person who has acquired it. In this context, one may separate several layers of knowledge: • Information = formalised (explicit) knowledge, which itself has been also created as a result of a cognitive process. • Knowledge has also another layer that is closely connected to the personality of the carrier of knowledge (personal knowledge, personal capital). Knowledge cannot be separated from this personality as it cannot be formalised either. This tacit knowledge, which can be acquired and passed over only through personal relationships and experiences (such notions belong here as skill, experience, idea, intuition, suspicion, etc.), play an ever increasing role in 14

Daniel Bell (1986) The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York, Basic Books; Daniel Bell (1999) The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, New York, Basic Books.


the knowledge-based economy of information age. As an important element of company/institution/community knowledge asset, tacit knowledge is in the centre of knowledge management. One often is confronted with the view that "knowledge is capital". This expression is used with regards to knowledge acquired at school. In this sense of the word, knowledge is in fact a complex concept, certain elements of which do have capital value, while others do not. The uncertainty, or if you like, the risk factor is that separating these two layers is practically impossible. Therefore, in lack of a more precise interpretation, one may say that so far, first and foremost it is exploitable knowledge that has had capital value. This definition of knowledge is first of all widely used by economists, and it is closely connected to the concept of innovation (J.A. Schumpeter15) and the prevailing marketability of a given knowledge. From this perspective, economically unexploited “theoretical” knowledge or knowledge that is not used in the course of innovation is not necessarily represented in knowledge capital. This approach is contradicted, however, by the above mentioned complexity of information which states that information is a knowledge set in which different kinds of knowledge elements are condensed. The complex formal presentation of this knowledge set can set apart knowledge elements containing information, and orient the understanding of new relationships. Hence it is especially hard to predict which knowledge element will be utilised from the knowledge sets containing individual pieces of information. Knowledge of capital value is part and parcel of knowledge society, which is characterised by such viable social capacities as marketability. Marketability of knowledge has the following properties: ƒ Infrastructural trait: infrastructural knowledge is realised in individuals. The reserve capital of individuals at any one moment is manifested in the form of social knowledge. ƒ Risk carrier trait: similarly to the original nature of capital, all knowledge is a risk. When acquired, it is impossible to tell whether that particular knowledge would subsequently be used, and if yes, under what circumstances, which actors, and in exchange for what remuneration. ƒ Limitless transferability: in the knowledge market numerous areas of effective knowledge have merged into one other. The knowledge versions or new knowledge that are created by knowledge transfer become realisable capital due to their singularity. The possibility of merging individual knowledge is unlimited. This way knowledge is classified as one of the most important social and economic resources of the 21st century. Manuel Castells16, who sees the essence of post-industrialism in the technical determination of information age, is of the opinion that knowledge and information is not the basis, but the prerequisite of the new economic system. For this reason he does not refer to knowledge economy, but knowledge-based economy. He states: “The most important characteristics of today’s technical revolution is how this kind of knowledge and information 15

According to Joseph A. Schumpeter innovation is defined as the establishment of a new form of production. „Innovation covers exactly the same path during the invention of a new product, as the exploration of new markets or new organisational forms.” Joseph A. Schumpeter (1980): A gazdasági fejlődés elmélete (Theory of Economic Development) Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest. 16 Manuel Castells (996) The information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Oxford (Blackwell), In Hungarian: "Manuel Castells: Az identitás hatalma. Az információ kora. Gazdaság, társadalom és kultúra. Volume II." Gondolat Kiadó, 2006, Budapest.


is used in cumulative feedback loops that exists between innovation and utilisation to produce knowledge and to create information transmitter and communication units.� According to the definition of M. Castells, the economy of information age is nothing but the production of applicable knowledge created in the course of innovations. Essentially, he distinguishes between knowledge and applied (used) knowledge by introducing the concept of innovation. Consequently, it is not possible to define the concept and the program of knowledge and knowledge society on the basis of the principles and programmes of an earlier age (the information society). Castells’ approach clearly documents this statement.

1.11. The expansion of network society and knowledge-based economy Network society and economy are the products of information society. At first, the network used to be exclusively of technological nature, and was not used in the sense of network economy or network society. It is only at a later stage that on the internet network economy starts to organise itself. Since there is convergence between telecommunication-, television-, publisher digital technologies, as well as computerisation and transmitting internet-based innovative contents to the economy, adequately understanding internet-based economy has become ever more important. However, no convergence and consensus exists when it comes to understanding and interpreting the political (administrative) framework of the internet and internet-based economy. Most of the topics discussed in the economic theory of network economy are far from being novel. The services, operation and use of telecommunication networks (1960s and 1970s) and subsequently, computer networks (1970s and the 1980s) gradually established a legal, administrative, and economic regulatory system, and practically every internet-related issue was described by 1974. Numerous articles signed by a great many authors describe, systematise and recommend the features of product and service price structure appearing on the Internet, the method of statistical measurement and classification, positive network externalities and the essence of inter-operability. Although the expansion of commercial communication on the internet, and more generally, network economy has made a great leap forward, the world has not made much progress in solving the issues raised quite some time ago, By the time academic disputes developed about internet technology, "this something" as a network economy has already produced billions of dollars for the early birds. However, even at this point we cannot talk about network economy or network society creating a highly organised new model. In this developmental stage establishing network economy rules and their legal formulation is necessarily accelerated. Although we are frequently unaware of this, our everyday activities are frequently legal acts, too. If in a shop we purchase something, we actually sign a sales contract. On the road


we observe the rules of the Highway Code, and we use many services (e.g. cable television, phone, mobile phone, internet connection) also on the basis of contracts. This also applies to those relationships of life that are influenced by the Internet and which are connected to the network. If an economic activity is exercised through the Internet, specific rules have to be observed in the same way as we observe them in "everyday" life. However, in the absence of special regulations, applying legal provisions to the “extraordinary” world of the internet represents a major challenge. The gradual adoption of the aquis of the European Union led to the development of special legislation that is stable enough a foundation to keep electronically contact with each other and to be able to do sustain the electronic traffic in the business world (concerning electronic signature, telecommunication, electronic trade and information society services, electronic means of payment, procedural activities that may be performed electronically, copyright, consumer protection, legal prescriptions on advertising, etc.). Special regulation systems of industrial self-regulation concerning registration of domain names, advertising, content providers have gradually evolved, and similarly, methods of alternating conflict management (legal disputes settled outside courts) have been also established. The concept “internet law” refers to those legal provisions that are mandatory both between network actors and between network actors and the world “beyond the Net”, all of which prescribe a certain behaviour and detail the legal consequences that could ultimately be enforced by means of power when not being adhere to. Interpreting knowledge-based economy As the world economy has shifted gear from an industrial society towards a new knowledge-based economy, so is the globalising economy of the turn of the millennium revolutionising. While this radical change is usually compared to previous agricultural and industrial revolutions in the history of humankind, new economy is generally called information- or knowledge-driven economy. The richness of names reflects the wide variety of domains of life this change affects. It is such profound change that by today one must talk about the evolution of a new era in our civilisation, namely of the information age and its economy. It is therefore essential to review the conceptual framework in order to understand the significance of the transition and designate a possible path that is going to lead to the realisation of knowledge-based economy.

The new concepts of economy The central, leading and broadest of concepts

Knowledge-based or knowledge-driven economy The narrower alternative concept of knowledge- New Economy based economy Part of the knowledge-based economy Information economy Part of the knowledge-based economy e-Economy Part of the knowledge-based economy and of the Internet economy e-economy Part of the knowledge-based economy and one Communication economy (or media economy) sector of e-economy


Table 4: New concepts 2. (Csaba Varga)

Although its governing processes undergo profound changes, economic life is still determined by productivity and competitiveness. While productivity is determined by the widening of internal resources of renewal and innovation, competitiveness is determined by flexibility, adaptation to changes and above all, the ability to apply knowledge. Essential conditions in establishing new production functions are IT, as a key to speed, and knowledge and culture as innovative capacities. Direct links are established between economic participants in the globalising "information and communication market", which allow for a more efficient organisation of product and technology development activities (innovation), and of production itself (virtual companies, distance work, electronic trade, etc.). The ground-breaking nature of electronic economy is often called in the developing world "new economy". The 21st century is going to be the century of knowledge-based economy, and by the same token we mean that the world (and Hungary) will face new challenges. By today it has become obvious that in the new era only those countries, regions and micro-regions can stay economically competitive, which transform their production structure so that they incorporate the intellectual added value in products and services. The development rate and the competitiveness of modern economies to a large extent depend on human factors– concluded P. F. Drucker17 in the middle of the 1980s. By analysing the economic situation of USA, the author has pointed out that the existence of “entrepreneurial” economy in the USA is more due to societal innovations than technological innovations, which are primarily connected to the management of small medium enterprises (SMEs) as a "new technology".18 The recognition of the significance of societal innovations drew attention to the importance of innovative behaviour. Under innovative behaviour we mean purposefully looking for opportunities, tracking down and thinking over the basic processes within and outside the organisation on a permanent basis, which is directed not solely at the development of products and services, but to changes in technologies, transformation of the organisation, or modernisation of another area. The ultimate target in each case is meeting the demands of "consumers" at a high level, as well as to create new demand both from the side of consumers and service providers. In the case of a country, region, small area or a settlement this appears as a continuous improvement of quality of life of the population. The era of knowledge-driven economy Knowledge-based economy and/or new economy is in essence a knowledge-focused, knowledge-exploiting, knowledge capita-engaging economy, and increasingly, an e-business. 17

Peter F. Drucker (1993): Innováció és vállalkozás (Innovation and Enterprises) Park Kiadó, Budapest. See also: Ravi Kalakota - Marcia Robinson (2002): Az e-üzlet (The e-business) Typotex Electronikus Kiadó. 18 The development rate and competitiveness of modern economies depends on the human factor to a significant extent, – concluded Peter Dricker in the mid-1980s. By analysing the economic situation of the USA, the author argues that "entrepreneurial" economy may be rooted not so much in technological, but social innovations, related to management appearing primarily in small and medium size enterprises as "new technology". Peter F. Drucker: idem


Nobody should cherish any illusions about it: the industrial age comes to an end so much in Europe as in Hungary; further triumphs of the information age are simply a question of time. Since knowledge-driven economy has not yet fully developed, nor has it settled down completely in the global and European economy, there is not an established set of concept to fully describe the new type of economy either. By the way, this is how it should be. One may only claim today that the description of processes and their interpretation differ widely, depending on which aspect (whether knowledge, business management or other) new economy is measured upon and systematised. So much in the international literature as in the Hungarian articles, it is a highly disputed concept: should we now talk about information economy, knowledge economy or perhaps knowledge-driven economy. These categories, one might need to stress, are nevertheless not identical to one another. For already an extended period of time, the new type of economy is no longer simply a new and modest sector of economy in the developed world. On the contrary, firstly, knowledge-based economy has become a truly global economy; secondly, it includes all sectors of the economy beyond the traditional sense of the word. Thirdly, economy has changed its classical shape because the economic sector has engulfed, amongst others, education, health care and public administration. Fourthly, knowledge production has also surpassed its own boundaries and invaded economy as a whole; fifthly, new economy is increasingly becoming nowadays an e-business. Finally, political institutions are there to assist in changing the economy of any given country in the new world while showing the least loss and most profit. If one goes back to the economy of the Hungarian Reform Age, it is clear that the feudal economy of the eightenth century needed to be transposed into the capitalist economy of the nineteenth century at a time when capitalist economy became the new economic world model in Europe. The great personalities of the Reform Age wanted to adopt new technology, new knowledge and the requirements of the industrial era and democracy; and indeed, Count SzĂŠchenyi became the symbol of this age and his nickname was the "Bridgeman". Similarly to the nineteenth century, the task of the past decades was to gradually shift the gear of economy of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries into the knowledge-based economy of the twentyfirst century. Once more, there is a parallel between the circumstances and changes required in the Reform Age with those of today: just as then, in order to establish new economy we needed to adopt new technology, new knowledge, new e-trading skills and a new business model; the symbol of this age could perhaps be "knowledge manager" or the "knowledgeable human ". It makes a lot of sense to take SzĂŠchenyi as an orienting symbol of our days. When we attempt to find an adequate name for the actors of the old and new knowledge market, we come up against a problem. Namely, how shall we define the independent sectors of knowledge market or knowledge-based market? The answer is all the more difficult because in the past ten to twenty years and in the next decade knowledge-based economy itself has been and shall stay an economy in change at an unbelievable rate and scale, and so its sectors are not permanent or are not going to rest unchanged either. For the time being the information society approach only documents that the earlier evolved information-communication sectors of global economy have become independent and dynamic. In the concept system of e-economy, the concepts marked with the prefix e- in themselves show the expansion of the economy to non-economic sectors in a spectacular manner. Moreover, they also superbly demonstrate the duplication of institutional markets.


The comprehensive concept network of knowledge-based or knowledge-driven economy is far from being clarified yet, which only proves the point that knowledge-based economy is evolving into a radically new type of economy. If one accepts the premise that the transformed nature of economy left its earlier course, it becomes obvious that the previously sharp borderline between economy and knowledge, or technology and economy, or economy and society has all but disappeared. In other words, it can be claimed that the subsystems of economy and society have become a far more integral system than they had ever been previously. However, the evolution of information society is not identical to the development of IT, or the new type of economy. It is not by mistake that Europe today focuses on content development and content service, i.e. the essence of the joint information age development of knowledge, economy, and the individual. Probably the most astonishing finding in our analysis is how different knowledge market (knowledge economy market) has become, which both organises and regulates the market co-operation of knowledge traders and knowledge customers. The shift in the market model can hardly be traced in the Hungarian literature on this subject for which the lack of emarkets and e-knowledge markets are also to be blamed for. However, we continue to claim that within three to five years an unexpected and hardly foreseeable yet essential market model transformation will take place in our country, too. From among its numerous consequences, we are highlighting only one for the time being: the traditional market, thanks to the revolutions in the information and communication technologies, is not only going to duplicate itself, and thus a virtual market network will be created, but the economic market is going to be far less mediated too. Thus the traders and clients on the e-markets are going to implement their transactions directly as a network of individuals and trader-client groups. Presently, on the basis of this trend we may venture to claim that the market roles are also going to radically change especially when compared to the market models of the past hundred years. This for instance implies that practically all market actors are simultaneously and directly be both traders and customers. The real breakthrough is partially caused by the fact that the new type of economy is increasingly becoming e-business, too. Unsurprisingly, already at this early stage it is possible to distinguish between the history of e-economy and e-commerce into separate periods. The companies spent the first half of the 1990s working out issues related to computerised administration, studied and prepared information websites. This did not go in hand with any apparent financial benefits. In the second half of the decade though, and depending on the economic sectors, in a widely divergent form e-transactions were started, while at a global, European, national levels, economic portals were established, and some of the companies have even started to experiment with the creation of e-market spaces. For instance, it was during this period of time that the global world understood that e-commerce marketing cannot identical to the marketing of traditional manufacturing or trading companies. The first half of the new decade (up to 2005 approximately) has brought about profound changes in all aspects of what one may regard as the era of e-business. The new business era is also a new market, and as later on we are going to argue, it is already and partially a post-market era, too. The institutions of knowledge market organise, mediate, co-ordinate between knowledge traders and knowledge customers of the information-communication market.


1.12. Capital resources of the information society In summary, we may establish that the information market can be characterised in terms of resources. The approach in itself already represents a significant change, especially if we are to compare it to periods proceeding the information age (the industrial era, financial market-oriented capitalism, new capitalism). The resources are by no means understood as economic or political resources exclusively, but as social and knowledge resources, while communication resources have become more prominent, too. The table „Resources of information society� introduces the types of capital, and the way they may be converted into each other.


Directions of convertibility of capital types Political capital indirect and participatiory democracy, transparency, presentation of autonomous territorial interests, partnership, subsidiarity, infrastructure and innovation policy, complex regional development, etc.

Social capital social cohesion, solidarity, intelligent environmental quality of life, human resources development, flexible workforce etc.

Economic capital financial capital and information capital, infrastructure, innovation potential, flexible companies, diversification, knowledge production, adaptation to national and regional work divisions

Knowledge and cultural capital tradition, local knowledge base, information, new knowledge, new science, innovation capability, education, training, knowledge mediating system, content development, etc.


Communication capital mediated communication, new media, image building, PR, means of mediating marketing interests, awareness raising, etc.

Table 5: Resources of the information society (Emese Ugrin) With the analysis of the resources of the information society model we conclude the introduction of this new globalisation, more adequately called "glocalisation", or the "globnatil-era". It is possible to question the internal structure, stages of the new era, the differences in the stages of the model. Nevertheless, it is very likely that the industrial age has ended, yet not abruptly and not without any traces; moreover, some of its consequences will still cause destruction. Classical market economy has ceased to exist for a long time now, the same way as there is no idealistic knowledge economy yet either. There is no more industrial society, while knowledge society is merely a vision at the moment. We may become wiser, and possibly less disillusioned within a couple of decades. The new secret is nothing else but the fact that the un-tamed self-developing/self-enforcing history awaits new spiritualconsciousness regulation. The new spiritual, universal, cosmic, and collective consciousness is going to open new gates, and is going to allows a glimpse at new ways. So far the best people and the best generations have died in the process of pioneering the way of promising changes. Is this how it is going be this time round, too?


Chapter Two: Developing the relationship between state and citizen After having drafted the characteristics of the new era, we should decide whether the surviving concept and practice of the state is still tenable among the challenges and conditions posed by the information age. To what extent can we still refer to the state and public administration in the sense we have got used to in the past few hundred years?

2.1. Starting point in eight items On the present pages we cannot go into detail about the new state theory of information age and the theory of self-governance as much as we would like. That is, however, worthy to note that in the past two and in the next decades the perception as well as the practice of the state has fundamentally changed and is going to essentially transform. The question is: can we still use the current state models, are they still capable of tackling the fast paced changes? When human civilisation created the state, this in itself represented the establishment of a virtual level and so all its functions and services concerning the governance of societies and communities have become institutionalised. The information age implements the second virtualisatin of the state and self-governance. It is right now that the institutionalisation of the second and high-level virtualisation gathers pace and this new form is called e-governance and e-public administration. This institutionalisation takes place in a way that primarily the institutions of the state and self-governance are modernised as well as new institutions are being created, too. The believers of the positive alternative of information society assume that the traditional democracy model is weary, partially exhausted and is giving place to a new democracy model within a few decades already, which on the one hand is going to return to the fundamental principles of classical democracy, while on the other hand it is going to attempt the individual and direct control of global and local worlds. In order to interpret the theoretical foundations of e-public administration, the following principles and topics are worth a debate and on the basis of which one can put forward the theoretical conclusions of: 1. The new citizen and/or community citizenship theory: What was the position of the citizen in his/her own state in the last two-three hundred years, but especially in the last few decades and how should the citizenship status and competencies be changed with the help of e-public administration? 2. The new type of state and e-state theory: How are European states able to perform in the twentyfirst century? Having answered this question, a new one arises: what direction of state development should be stimulated and how and why should e-public administration be practiced? 3. The local public administration and e-public administration theory: What should be the developmental direction of local self-governance and public administration and their modernised versions in the new global-local world order? 4. The national and local or the intelligent local society theory: In the new global-local order what should be the position of the local and within it, settlement society; to what extent is public administration responsible for this situation and how can e-public administration forward the correct changes?


5. The new digital, participatory type of democracy theory: How do the institutions and procedures of democracy function within the framework of state, society and citizen and to what extent do they agree with one another? To what extent and how does e-public administration presuppose the infrastructure of e-democracy? 6. The new technology theory: To what extent and how does new technology of the twentyfirstst century, such as infocommunication, mobile networks, new media, etc., assist, presuppose and require the global, national and local infratructure of e-public administration? 7. The new knowledge- and consciousness theory, from the aspect of public administration: What type of new knowledge and consciousness or culture is required and presupposed by the wide introduction of e-public administration from the state, society and citizen? 8. Industrial age, socialist era, information age or knowledge society theory: How and to what extent has the relationship and co-operation between the state, citizen and society been transformed during the more important ages within a historical perspective (that is: industrial age, state socialism, post-industrial model, information age)? The above mentioned questions and theoretical problems show that e-public administration cannot be discussed in itself, isolated from state organisational and state administrational systems. Hence the theory of e-public administration can only be interpreted in a wider theoretical medium and system of reality. A new economic and (virtual or cyber-) space theory is necessary as well as the development of an ecological theory, or more narrowly put, theory of sustainable development is essential.

2.2. State and democracy – a solid first approach Do we understand the state as the most important intermediary insitutional system between the individual and the world? Is democracy the operational mode of this wideranging intermediary relationship? So much in Central Europe as in Hungary in the last hundred fifty to two hundred national ideas have become state ideas, or to put it differently, the purpose of state ideas were to aid nationalisation processes. In this respect the twentieth century brought about a single new idea: state ideas have been streamlined into system ideas or to put it that way, the sole purpose of the state was to radically transform and keep the current system in place. With minor spots, from 1849 to 1989 the history of the Hungarian state was not the history of economy, neither of democracy but of an authoritative state. This was bound to happen in such a way because this country was at the meeting point of half global middle powers and superpowers. It was run by authoritative groups and authoritative means in the interest of internal of external power groups. The old and new power groups that took over state powers at the end of the millenium face the question what sort of nationalism and state idea as well as system ideas should they represent, the latest concept being wedged in between the other two concepts. They startledly realise that state ideas have matured into continental and even global ideas, and system ideas cannot be built any longer in the twentieth century fashion. Nothing is the same to twenty, fifty or hundred fifty years ago. Neither nationalism, nor state practices. In the twentyfirst century the significance of having national-, European or socialist identity havs drastically decreased. When we utter such statements what do we really communicate? Perhaps they are merely a representation of how we think. It presents us with some difficulty that in Central Europe for the next two decades at least some could still 40

experiment with authoritative state practices. This can, however, be done up up to the point that globalisation and the integration of the European continent is going take to partially or entirely take away the classic power functions of nation states. The traditional liberal answer is obviously that democracy-based state practices should be strengthened. However, this does not solve our dilemma: what kind of democracy and what type of state we are referring to (whether neutral or committed) or whether we consider that society, economy, knowledge (knowledge economy) is by this stage capable of development without the explicit support of the state. It is the social democratic response which is the most incoherent of all, especially so, because it does not dare to openly admit its view point, that of a social-based state practice. The problem stays, however, unresolved: what kind of society and what type of state they subscribe to in view that in order to obtain power they would have to readily flirt with democracy-based or nationalism-based state practices. The conservative answer is none the more well-thought-out because it proposes that state practices should be based on nationalism without addressing the same question: what nation and what type of state are we talking about or is the separation of state and nation acceptable while the viability of (knowledge-based or culture-based) nation development is assisted by state means. The contours of new democracy theory and new state theory can hardly be seen. If we leave this question unanswered and presuppose instead that the above mentioned ideologies in every instance serve to gain and permanently stay in power, the theory of information society and knowledge society give two divergent answers. There are two options open in the postsocialist countries at the threshold of information society for the time being: either the invariably authoritative state that strengthens and controls information or the quasi neutral, service-oriented state, which helps the development of economy and society, - or, the third option would be the combination of the two programs. Moreover, the last option may serve as the reconstruction of the nation or (not yet transformed) nation-state, whether this is admitted or not. (These options can be only with difficulty binded to the classic political ideologies.) This multiply mixed state model most probably will not endure in the long run and sooner or later will dominantly become an information (yet not authoritative) state, if it does not run out of time. If the Central European and Hungarian economy is to a small degree post-feudal, a large degree post-socialist, and is already and to a greater or smaller extent made up for different types of market economy or capitalism (including early post-capitalism to global financial economy, even information-communication economy), then it comes of no surprise that the new democracy model is going to be a multiply mixed model. If we are not thinking along the lines of daily political power interests, it is only natural that in a chaotic type economy and society the state should aspire even more than ever before to have a of stability and evenness. Its secret is, however, that is not authorityoriented, not simply deficiently power-restrictive democracy as in the present,but a digital democracy that is exempted of its nation-state roles, or put it otherwise, it is a developing, digital state, which uses the means of information age to run the e-state and to be committed to development. Only if this fares partially well will we achieve a civil state (civil-oriented state) and edemocracy, both of which bring to fruition democracy and state to everyone programme. Well, yes, there should be a state for everyone but not as a controlling tool but as a state service in defence of each and every individual citizen. This type of state could be called a personal-impersonal state, which addresses every single citizen and with whom the citizen cooperates in a personal-impersonal manner.


The state that had been separated from society should find its way back to it; yet it can achieve this only by employing information-communication tools. E-democracy is similar to representative democracy only in name, since partially or completely it would be direct democracy. These communities, however, are not pre-modern village communities but digital settlements and regions, as well as a digital democracy, member states of the union that has come into existence on the European continent. This digital state because it is a new technological system of tools is going to create different political relations between people and the world. Since e-democracy presupposes not only a new type of state but also a new, en masse e-democracy prepared personal-impersonal citizen, its veritable future is in knowledge society. The digital state and e-public administration as a political reform reality is going to come into being within a reasonable amount of time. Additional sequences to it are, on the other hand, totally incalculable.

2.3. The theory of the administrative field comprehensively embedded in the individual, political, social and the collective consciousness Defining the basic question and developing the system of basic questions determines what the basic theory is going to look like to a large extent, how many layers will it contain and what components will it be made of. We define the basic question in a way that we create a basic field, a primary field, a dimension of reality which will be called individual and collective knowledge and consciousness field (knowledge – and knowledge culture) and consecutively in this field, as a secondary field we may interpret the most prominent politicalsocial institutions and agents of collective knowledge and consciousness field: the state, society, democracy and its main protagonist, the individual. This two dimensional field can be also regaded as a logical space, or differently put, knowledge space or field of consciousness. (The explanation of the following is not the subject of this book. However, we should mention that behind the primary field there is a more general, universal field and in the secondary fields some tertiary- quaternary fields, vectors and dynamic forms exist.) The primary field could be called the spirit of the age or we could call it from a political point of view the system of political philosophy, or from the point of view of democracy, the essental theories of democracy. This approach simultaneously represents a firm standing-point in two philosophical questions: 1. As far as we are concerned, it is not the objectified institutions and operational modes to which a philosophy and intellectuality belong. It is rather the spirit of the age and its way of thinking that create the most important institutions; 2. Our starting-point is not that partially (or in a majority) the institutions that have become independent (or estranged) govern so much the individual as the world, but in this theoretical model we assume coordinatedness as well as partial or total equilibrum among the four spacial agents: the state, society, democracy and the individualised person. Nowadays it is fashionable to quote Manuel Castells as a sort of basic truth, who states that the essence of democracy is that it is not the state who should monitor people but the


people should control the state, which after all is totally legitimate standing point taking into account that it is the people who are the hosts of the state.19 It is an exciting question in istelf that we define the comprehensive political-socialadministrative field also as a technological field. The issue today is particulary relevant because according to our hypothesis this comprehensive field is currently tampered with more profoundly than it has been ever before by the constant movement and changes of the technological field. Technology is one of the elements of the field of primary knowledge/ consciousness as it is innovative knowledge and morale, while technological thinking and development is not only found in isolated technological products, it also helps products and its operational services impact and change secondary fields to a large extent. Presently, we are not able take a bird’s eye view on the history of state and social theory, especially since state and social theories are separated and are very different theoretical domains that have been created while new multidisciplinary theories have not yet been put forward. In the present short theoretical introduction, however, we should nevertheless point out that no element of the four poles (the individual, state, society, democracy) is to be brushed aside. The four poles complement and control each other, or to put it differently, the coherent and compound field makes any sort of change possible and so does the program of development, too. The analysis of the four poles is therefore an important theoretical point because this is the reqirement as well as guarantee of the future state and administration.


„It is the people who should control the state and not the other way round, - which after all is totally just since theoretically speaking it is the people who are its owners. Most reports are nevertheless sober, with the exception of Scandianiavian democracies.� Manuel Castells (2000): Az Internet-galaxis (The Internet galaxis) Network TwentyOne Kft. Budapest.


individual (local citizen) personal and social knowledge state (administration)

society (local society)

individual and collective consciousness democracy (local democracy)

Table 6. Integrated interpretational model (Csaba Varga)

2.4. Citizen – the theory of five prize-winning community citizen In the twentieth century Europe, where the industrial age or the age of modernisation was the dominant spirit of the age, supported the individualisation of the person. It acknowledged the individual’s right to personal liberty and it attempted to bring about a constitutional state, which does not oppress the ambitions of the individual for freedom. Every single state administration necessarily constructs a relationship between the state and its citizen. Depending on the regime of a given country or the type of state, thre are huge differences in the relationship between the state and the individual. By comparing a regular civil democracy with a less standardised one, there is a major difference already in the relationship between the state and its citizen. This is hugely influenced by the onedimensional or two-dimensional relationship as well as the development and institutionalisation levels of civil society in any given state. A citizen who belongs to a society where civil society is traditionally self-conscious and is used to community action is far more likely to be able to influence either individually or at a community level the decisions of the state or local governance. In order to interpret the relationship between the state and its citizen, we should distinguish at a theoretical level between the various concepts of states, civil societies, democracies and citizen statuses. Since there is no theoretical literature in Hungary on such issues, the categories hereby employed represent but an initial approach. By briefly discussing the European situation, the following models can be drafted with regards to the relationship between the citizen and the state:


1. State dominance, oppression of citizens (quasi democracy): in this relationship, the citizen is not an autonomous entity, the state overwhelmingly dominates, although we should also add that this does not necessarily entail total defencelessness on the part of the citizen. The individual thus cannot become community citizen, and so the only way to correctly describe its relationship and situation is to use the term oppressed citizen. 2. Dictatorial state, oppression of citizens (lack of democracy, state socialist „democracy�): in this relationship, if there is either an explicit or hidden dictatorship in a given state, the individual has neither voice nor power to influence decision-making. Furthermore, from a political, economic, social or spiritual point of view the individual is defenceless. His/her basic task is none other but survival. 3. Democratic state, indirect citizenship participation (classic democracy): In the classic democracy model, there is a sort of balance between the civil state and the citizen. Within the limitations of representative democracy, the citizen is indirectly able to participate in the preparations of decisions, moreover s/he controls decisions and their implementation at least to some degree. (In the new glocal mediatised age, even within the legal and social framework of classic democracy, there is a risk that time and again the citizen could be subjected to the will of the state.) 4. Community state and community citizen (community democracy): The model of community democracy was able to exist only for a limited and interim period of time in the past; today, it should be considered an idea rather than practice. In such a relationship, the interests of the state as well as the individual are suppressed to the interests and values of the community, or more broadly speaking, that of society at large without actually eroding the autonomy of the state or the people. It is not by accident that in such a state an individual is not so much a citizen but a community citizen . 5. Represenational state, direct participation of community citizens (direct domocracy, representative democracy, electronic democracy): in present day Europe, a new standard is set by the majority of future developers, namely that of the representational state, direct democracy and the new community citizen who self-consciously wants to makes the most of the opportunities. This interactive relationship naturally presupposes a non-alienated state and a non-alienated citizen. In this relationship, there is real balance and responsibility is mutually taken by both sides. All of the five relationships have various sub-types and all of them are influenced by, among others, the global political climate (and terrorism, - as part of it) as well as global economy (e.g. the financial situation of the world). We can therefore claim that depending on the type of administration and the state, different state citizenship statuses and attitudes might evolve.

2.5. The theory of the state: types of state in the new theory of the state Within the conceptual framework of the modern state, we should limit ourselves to the last hundred to hundred and fifty years when relatively few, though significantly different state models have developed in Europe. To keep it simple, we should even disregard different 45

types of federal states, such as the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy or the Eastern European communist- state socialist block of states, that was partially a global military power, led by the Soviet Union. „In the new reality, it is no longer expected neither of the new states, nor of the longlasting ones that presently the state should undertake the majority of the functions which the bureaucracies of nation-states once considered as their main raison d’être”.(Zygmunt Bauman20) Since in the Western part of Europe civil democracy permanently established itself as an enduring force, relatively few types of states developed in the nineteenth and twentieth century Europe, all of which have been continuously under the oversight of the parliament and indirectly, of society at large. This type of state, however, has been time and again endangered by such dictatorial pursuits as came from Hitler to Stalin who unequivocally exercised power over the centralised state and all of its institutional system. If we also take into account the state that is defenceless against powerful groups and the functioning of normal civil state then the following state types could be distinguished: 1. Strong state (the development of state dominance): It is clear from history that in the past strong states far outweighed weak states. Taking into consideration that the history of the last thousand years in Europe was for long periods anything but the history of democracy, it also follows that the tradition of strong state is present all over Europe, regardless whether the state in question was at the time a nation-state or possibly, an empire. Strong state implies that the will and value system of its citizens is to a large extent disregarded. The strong state model was both introduced and utilised to their advantage by various power groups in the past, such as the aristocracy or the ruling communist power concentrations that took over under the cover of the proletariat. Curiously enough, the strong state model more often than not meant a step forward after dictatorships had been overthrown. 2. Dictatorial state (party state): there is always a relativally small yet powerful political group behind every dictatorial state which nationalises society for a declared power goal while citizens are handed over only minimal, quasi-control functions. The classic type of dictatorial states developed in Central-Eastern Europe in the 1950s and 1960s and was called socialism. Theoretically speaking, in such a state both the parliament or the fractional party democracy exists, although their sole function is to cover up the true nature of the dictatorship. As a matter of fact, since the individual is considered but a tool owned by the power centre, we cannot speak of real citizens in this type of state. 3. Democratic state (civil state, neutral state): The classic type of civil state underwent important changes in the last two hundred years. In the middle of the nineteenth century, for example, North American classic civil society was to a large extent committed to the community, while during the hight of the Cold War, in the 1950s it was assimilated by the strong state. This state model has been fiercely criticised in the last twenty to thirty years from all sides for not living up to the social and economic goals it represents. The current situation also pushes the state towards taking up the functions of a strong state: with terrorism gaining ground, the democratic state is expected to partially function as a strong state once again. Simultaneously, the demands of the wellfare state push it towards a new civil service and community state, too. 4. Community state (society friendly state, civil state): Most post-modern state theories promote a state that is relatively weak and small as well as environmental due to the global and local changes, while it also aims at being society friendly as well as knowledge20

Zygmunt Bauman (2002): Globalizáció, a társadalmi következmények (Globalisation, Social Consequences) Szukits Könyvkiadó, Szeged.


oriented state, too. This type of state always remains neutral because it does not give maximum priority to one social group. From the perspective of community values, such as the societal, ecological and economic development ones, however, the state functions according to one of its interests. All of the above mentioned state types are centralised and redestributive to a certain extent and degree. 5. Participatory state (direct state, digital state, knowlede-centred state, state led by high level conciousness): This state model, although historically it has certain antecedents, basically represents a change in the state paradigm. Regrettably, the new state model cannot do anything but presuppose some degree of economic-social balance in human civilisation. (Theoretically speaking, we cannot exclude of course that a sensitive and tensed situation around the world could enforce changes in state paradigm. One of the recognitions and advantages of the new state will be that it builds on the direct participation of its citizens to a significantly larger extent and by doing so it may become the most active state ever.) The participatory state is thus primarily not a political power state, but a community and personal state, which want to use all the available resources, such as direct democracy, global innovation- and knowledge-centred age, which can have access to solve old and new universal and local problems. The state types described above superbly demonstrate the differences between governing models. However, it may be a bit too early to put all our trust into the radical and swift changes, since state types, state operations and state attitudes change incredibly slowly and require important support from society.

2.6. Social theory – the theory of new civil society Interpretations of civil society belonged for a considerable amount of time to the historical traditions of philosophy, politology and sociology. The concept of „civil society” first developed as a democratic counterweight against all-time power. “According to prevalent conceptualisation of civil society, all forms of civil initiatives belong to this concept, whereby citizens participate on a voluntarily basis and choose to display and defend their values and interests; civil society is disconnected to the state as it functions in an autonomous manner. So that we should further refine this concept, the usage of the term non-profit sector seems reasonable, as it takes into account the way civil society organisations fit in larger societal institutions, especially in those that had been established by the state and the market. The recent social and political changes so much in old as in new democracies justify the need for reconsidering the role of the tertiary sector.”21 Hence this latter approach defines civil society not so much as a form of society; instead, it interprets civil society in narrower terms and prefers to define it as initiative forms of local society. The traditional concept of civil society can be interpreted in two ways: the normative approach claims that civil society comes to the front at times when significant changes take place in either society, politics or the economy. It is the concept of civil society which accummulated those expectations and aspirations that became articulated as part of attaining a desired social system. Thus, for instance, state socialism was also a meeting point for those strategies and movements which asserted themselves against the totalitarian system and


Alapfokú kézikönyv civil szervezetek számára (Textbook for civil organistions) NIOK–Soros, 1995, Budapest.


wanted to open up a dialogue with those in power. In this long historic process civil society has grown into an independent entity with integrated powers. According to numerous liberal advocates of civil society, with the development of liberal democracies the normative approach was no longer a timely explanation and, as a consequence, it has been replaced by the analytical approach, in itself an attempt to introduce and explain enduring conditions. As far as the analytic approach was concerned, the concept of civil society should no longer be used as a general category, since the explanatory force of the concept is significantly weakened by it. The majority of those who professionally deal with this topic agree on the concept of civil society: they are those organisations, which are located between the individual and society and serve as a link between the two. Montesquieu calls them ’secondary groups’, in Hegel’s terminology they are ’bodies’, while in the works of Claus Offe22 they are called ’partner relations’. Previously, sociology used to report on the structure of society such as social classes, strata and groups, as if they had entirely covered knowledge of society as a whole. These groups, however, are limited to the structural characteristics of society and we are none the wiser with regards to what society really is. Several books on social theory written by Western European or American authors were published in the last few years in Hungary.23 This is why perhaps by today we are better equipped to understand society at large. However, it is up to us to compare and merge various sociological schools and personal viewpoints in the not too distant future. Currently, we haven’t found any work on complex comprehensive social theory in Europe, not even at the level of detached domains such as communication society, linguistic society, information society, ingroup relationships of knowledge-centred society or virtual social systems of phenomena. Whatever perspective we might take, philosophically speaking, a comprehensive image of social theory cannot be pieced together. One of the products of modern thinking is the definition of society and the paradigm of society partially interpreted against the traditional community, while it also redefines society within state structures. To put it briefly, we claim that (non-nationalised) society is made up by all citizens living in a given state, moreover, it comprises the relationship systems that come into existence in society as well as its institutional forms. The interpretations of civil society are rooted in the fields of philosophy, politology and sociological history. The concept of „civil society” has initially developed as a democratic counterweight against alltime power. Having distinguished between citizen and state models, it is time that we differentiated between types of society, so much because modern and post-modern societies increasingly fall back on the help of society as because the intrinsic evolutional processes of global, national and local civil societies require state support on their part, too. 22

Claus Offe (1984) Arbeitsgesellschaft. Strukturprobleme und Zukunftsperspektiven. Frankfurt (Campus Verlag); (2003) Herausforderungen der Demokratie. Zur Integrations- und Leistungsfähigkeit politischer Institutionen. Frankfurt/ M. (Campus Verlag) 23 As far as we are concerned, we do not believe that we solved this theoretical problem by applying the concpet of network society, - a notion so frequently used by Manuel Castells, for instance: „These trends equal the triumph of the individual although at this point is not yet clear the extent this burdens society, unless we take into account that the individuals who are supported by new technological opportunities in fact reconstruct the patterns of social interaction as well as the new form of society and recreate a network society.” (idem. p. 39)


1. Oppressed society (feudal society, industrial society, etc.): as we have already indicated, the concept of society itself is new in the European thought. This proves that it is only since recently that large communities in various countries consider themselves societies. Supposing that the evolution of societies and social consciousness goes hand in hand with the destruction of traditional communities and community identities, it is not surprising that the nineteenth and twentieth century societies are to be considered alienated ones. The major cause is that loss and change in values has contributed to the spread of oppressed societies. 2. Nationalised society (national socialist society, socialist society, etc.): As one of the Hungarian poets put it: „where there is dictatorship, there is dictatorship�. From this verse follows that where there is dictatorship, there is no society. This statement, however, does not refute the fact that none of the dictatorships is powerful enough to be able to definitely destroy the structure of society. Moreover, every dictatorship is forced to keep up the appearance of an existing society and within to it is obliged to construct superficial communities, which certain social groups or strata might even identify with. In such a society neither the individual nor the community has any real voice or decision-making power; paradoxically, that is also the case when system welcomes the participation of the individual and is part of the organisational system of dictatorship. 3. Democratic society (civic society, post-socialist society, new capitalist society, information society, etc.): This society model combines a wide variety of forms, systems and operational modes, all of which share the view that regardless of the political system it does not consider the individual as enemy. On the contrary, the individual is supported and is urged to act within the state system. The evolution of this state model went hand in hand with the political suffrage of the adult population; its heyday being in those decades when economic and social welfare was established while in line with the rules of representative democracy it also guaranteed the individual freedom of social movement. 4. Community society (national society, community society, sacred society): In the history of civilisation numerous types of community societies existed, although with great discrepancies between them. In ages long gone traditional societies prevailed and in fact even nation states have been deeply connected to the traditions of any given country and culture. (For lack of space we cannot go into detail about the evolution of societies beyond the borders of Europe, especially those in Asia.) In the modernised and individualised periods of Europe there has been considerable aversion towards community societies. Currently, however, the trend has been reversed and once again the community society as a model has started gaining ground as a consequence of extreme individualism. The new type of community society necessarily acknowledges individual freedom and right to autonomy while all the while the autonomy of the community is pronounced. 5. Intelligent civil society (knowledge society, knowledge-centred society, etc.): It is highly difficult to predict what sort of societal models is humankind going to experience in the coming fifty to hundred years. That much is, however, clearly foreseeable that one of the prevailing models will be the knowledge- and innovation-centred, creative society, which is essentially connected to the post-modern, mediatised infocommunication networks and services. These will not alter to a great extent. Naturally, in the twenty-first century century new types of social models are likely to evolve, but the development of which, however does not constitute the topic of this book. The five reviewed state, citizen and societal models are very closely linked to one another, while at the same time each and every one of them will become increasingly independent. This type of structuring makes only for a superficial analysis. However, for the purpose of highlighting the most elementary connection, it has been sufficient.


2.7. Historical analysis – the basic model of three periods The five models presented above are independent of both time and spatial constraints, thus in the next phase we need to analyse the five models in a more detailed way, this time by taking into account the limitations of time and space. The history of the last 150 years is modeled as well as it is describable by several types of concepts. One of the options is to use the concepts of modernisation, post-modernisation and post-post-modernisation; another is to discuss a period by pointing to its constituting characteristics as well as analysing the type of economy and society. We have chosen this latter option: that of the industrial age, the socialist age and the information age which we consider the most important European periods.

The model of the Industrial Age We needn’t analyse the long history of the European industrialisation and capitalisation, which evolved in the first part of the twentieth century. The central point of the industrial age is its economy-centredness, what more, a particular type of economy called the industrial economy. We should not forget that the industrial society came into existence as a consequence of industrial economy while both of them were created and steered by the industrial-centred way of thinking. Civil democracy as well as the multi-party parliamentary rotation system, including the parliamentary state, had matured and became sufficiently developed by the industrial age. Even though the individual was merely considered a wage labourer for quite some time in the industrial age, individual rights for freedom were gradually recognised and extended as a direct result of liberal ideas. Moreover, this was the period when civil society was born. We could highlight numerous theories from the literature on civil society24. According to Ralf Dahrendorf25, for instance, we can speak of civil society only when the citizens actively take part in the life of society, and feel responsible for those events that do not directly touch upon their private lives. In his work entitled The structural transformation of public sphere Jürgen Habermas writes that the institutional roots of civil society are based on voluntary, non-state and noneconomic collaborations26. In his view, the civil sphere is the "power-free space of communication” that inherently opposes the state, especially when the predominant ambition of the state is to annex these "lifeworlds”.27 24

Helmut Anheier et al. (eds.) (2001): Global Civil Society 2001. Centre for Civil Society and Centre for the Study of Global Governance. London School of Economics and Political Science. Oxford University Press, Oxford; In Hungarian: H. Anheier, M. Glasius, M. Kaldor (2004) Globális Civil Társadalom 1. (Global Civil Society 1; H. Anheier, M. Glasius, M. Kaldor (2004) Globális Civil Társadalom 2. (Global civil society 2) Tipotext Elektronikus Könyvkiadó, Budapest; Ferenc Csefkó - Csaba Horváth (eds.) (1999) Európai és magyar civil társadalom (European and Hungarian civil society) FES, Pécs. 25 Ralf Dahrendorf (1973) Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford; (1987) Fragmente eines neuen Liberalismus. DVA, Stuttgart; (2006) Versuchungen der Unfreiheit. Die Intellektuellen in Zeiten der Prüfung . München; 26 Jürgen Habermas (2002): A társadalmi nyilvánosság szerkezetváltozása (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere) Osiris, Budapest. 27 Jürgen Habermas: A kommunikatív cselekvés elmélete I-II (The Theory of Communicative Action I-II.) Manuscript. ELTE, Budapest.


According to Michael Walzer28, civil society is built upon active and committed citizens who take part in matters of state, economy, nation and religion. Péter Kende defines civil society as the network of relationships which evolves and operates independently of the state. Iván Szelényi29 showed at the beginning of the ’90s that civil society as a school of thought is a critique of orderly power structures. Civil society is based on the supreme power of the people, where citizens organise themselves into unions that regulate the conditions of social order and are in symmetrical relationship with one another, - at least from a legal point of view. In class societies the source of legislation is the monarch who is not accountable to society.

In the Industrial Age Instead of individual – state – society– democracy Citizen – (industrial) state – civil society – representational democracy As far as Erzsébet Szalai30 is concerned, power-free communication is an illusion. The appearance of civil society concept shows that neither the "free market", nor the political publicity fills in the roles of classic democratic functions, therefore the individuals search for new, independent spaces, forums and arm-twisting (pressure) practices. According to the White Book published by the European Council, civil society is none other than trade unions and employer’s unions, non-governmental organisations, professional, relief and base organisations, those associations that help citizens to take part in local life, as well as, if citizens consent to them, religious and faith-based communities. The conceptual characteristics of civil society are frequently condensed into four points in the literature: civil society is the network of individuals and organisations, as well as other independent organisations, which operate incongruously to other social institutions. While there is a direct link between them, they do not equal the state, nor the private sector. The ideological basis of its existence is the success of human and citizen’s rights, or to put it in other words, constitutionality. The purpose of civil society is, by providing publicity and the articulation of interests, to confront the state with the values, pursuits and practice it represents. According to Gordon White31, a British political scientist concluded that with regards to its role in the democratisation processes, civil society could also be summarised in four points: .


Michael Walzer (1992): Civil Society and American Democracy. Selected essays in German, Rotbuch Verlag; (1995) Toward a Global Civil Society, Berghahn Books. 29 Iván Szelényi (1988) Socialist Entrepreneurs. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press (In Hungarian: Harmadik út? Polgárosodás a vidéki Magyarországon. Académiai Kiadó, 1992, Budapest); (2002) Poverty, ethnicty, and gender in transitional societies, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest; 30 Erzsébet Szalai (1999) Post Socialism and Globalization, Új Mandátum, Budapest; (2000) Turn of Millenium Dilemmas in Hungary, Új Mandátum, Budapest; etc. 31 See also: H. Anheier, M. Glasius, M. Kaldor (2004); Csefkó Ferenc-Horváth Csaba (ed.) (1999) .


“1. Civil society changes the balance of power between the state and society to the advantage of the latter. 2. Civil society controls and supervises the state by publically evaluating the justification of political decisions and the public morals. 3. Civil society can have an important mediating role between the state and society. 4. Civil society in itself increases the amount of those processes and institutions, which may contribute to democratical institutions and processes so that they can meet the new challenges in a legitimate and foreseeable manner.� Having explained all these, I suggest that we did not turn back to define local communities of ancient and medieval times. It is, however, useful to systematically interpret civil society types and approaches that have come into existence from an economic, social, and common knowledge point of view in the industrial age. This is why The Institute for Strategic Research based on the research carried out on the Hungarian civil society and based on the foregoing approaches, has come up with the following theoretical summary and distinguished between the following seven categories:

Interpreting the concept of civil society concept in the Industrial Age 1st 2nd 3rd

4th 5th 6th 7th

Relationship networks of active, committed citizens: local citizens who undertake community responsibilities; those citizens whom are not committed should not be included in this category; Political society: the institutions of liberal democracy, open society, counterbalancing politics and power, etc. Individual and organisational associations, independent social organisations: civil institutionalised pursuits, citizens who organise themselves, independent organisations and movements, trade unions, monitoring agency, non-profit sector, etc. Economic society: the institution of the market, spontaneous local markets and their enterprises, the frame of economic relations, etc. Mediating space between state and society: the medium of social relationships, the space of private actions, active voluntary mediating sector, etc. Power-free space of communication: state, communal communication system that is not influenced by economy, etc. Normative images, image of the future: the normative projection of the future of civil society, liberal social image, representative of community norms, etc. Table 7 : The civil society of the Industrial Age (Csaba Varga, 2005)

In conclusion, we should emphasize that in the Industrial Age civil society is basically established as a sort of antithesis of burocracy and the regime in power. Only when the citizens are willing to make sacrificies for community interests as well as they are able to enforce and defend individual interests can civil society operate in an adequate manner. Today the question is primarily whether in the new type of global-local world these foregoing interpretations still hold true. To what extent did social developments in Hungary and Europe of the last two decades change local civil societies and thus to what extent do we need to come up with a new definition? 52

We can therefore conclude that the industrial thought and liberal ideology made the industrial age a crystallised and universal model. This was characterized by the development of the industrial economy, industrial society, civil democracy and thus the civil-liberal state.

The model of the Socialist Age Precisely because of the unsustainability of the industrial-capitalist age could the communist-socialist alternative appear on the agenda in the post-World War II context. It is widely known that this model has evolved in East and Central Europe, which by then had already belonged to the less developed part of Europe. Intellectual historians are going to analyse the ways the new political model drastically denied its own ideas and the reasons and fashions it reached out to obsolete and old-fashioned ideas and dictatoric tools in the process. In hindsight it is impossible to tell whether dictatorship went hand in hand with the establishment of the socialist model or whether it would have been imaginable that the socialist model does not tread on but rather continues the democratic pursuits of humankind. The socialist period is readily called the state socialist model by many. However, this complex catagory is not totally precise because in those times it was not the state that excercised dictatorial powers but the political party elite, which on its part has only used the state to be able to implement drastic measures. This period therefore should be rather called socialist party state or, as many people named it, the state capitalist model, because in this historical formation it was the centrallised party state that owned all property. Erzsébet Szalai characterizes this period as follows: „The economic-social system that had been „eaten up” by the state party or party state necessarily disintegrated, and with it the Soviet Empire. In brief, this happened on the one hand because the power structure was not politically legimitate and therefore its legimitacy in the sociological sense came from the continuous and permanent increase, as long as it lasted of „popular” consumption. On the other hand, the „encouraged” consumption opened the frame of integrationist mechanism, especially in view that the system was characterized by low productivity.” A party state entry states: „A mild form of Stalinist dictatorship and post-Stalinist model of authoritative leadership evolved in one part of East Central Europe in the 1960s and 70s as a result of limited economic reforms.” This system was no different from its predecessor in its foundations: the party state survived just the same by a leading „state party”, which had absorbed all functions of the party, state, society, military and culture. State institutions continued to be a formality, people elected candidates from a people’s front list while the composition of the parliament was decided at the communist party headquarters. So much the activities of the parliament as the execution of laws and the representational system was fully controlled by the party. Governing was no longer founded on individual dictatorship, although personal „authority” stayed paramount, although it had broadened to include the top party elite called the Political Commity (the members mirrored the party state: the PC was made up by leaders of the party, state and social institutions). This power model turned out to be more stable than former ones. That was so because a certain standard of living could be maintained and slightly increased by having implemented limited reforms and was supported by heavy foreign loans. No citizen identification was


required, the system contented itself with political apathy on the part of its citizens. The governance was supported by huge bureaucracies as well as the apparatus of party, state, social and economic leaders. The primary requirement of leadership position was political reliability (if this requirement was met, then the position was very stable indeed). In this system positional mobility did not exist, instead there was total stiffness, and the shere impossibility of change. The system did not allow for the smallest of changes.”

In the Socialist (state socialist) Age Instead of the individual – state – society– democracy Citizen/nationalised citizen – party state– nationalised society– socialist „democracy” In the state capitalist model thus such a European state and social paradigm evolved that even in the age of mild dictatorship it was primarily concerned with the day to day interests of the centralised party state. This is why we can legitimately claim that in this age and in these decades the ruling party elite did not only nationalise the state by controlling the institutional system, but so much the individual and society was nationalised. Even in the last decades of the socialist party state system, civil society was not allowed to function independently because even at that point the fear of the second economy and the second society had been prevalent. It is thus not surprising, that in these decades local governments, that is communal and city councils as well as district and county councils were regarded as the implementing bodies of the centralised state, although to a lesser extent. All the same, the development of local administration slowly became more self-reliant in the 1980s. Even in hindshight, marrying the concept of the Socialist Age with the „socialist democracy” is astounding. This latter notion is the product of state and social schizophrenia. With the creation of this category they obviously intended to proclaim that socialist democracy was ideologically superior to civil democracy, in reality socialist democracy was incomparably underdeveloped to the state system of civil democracies. The Socialist Age is well characterised thus by the fact that even the democracy model did not bring to it neither resounding nor small-scale change.

The model fo the Information Age Some are of the opinion that the Information Age commenced in the 1950s, others think that it began in the 1970s. In our understanding the basic concept of information society can be summed up as follows: information society is the society where signs are transmitted by manufactured instruments and has the potential of knowledge society.32 Certain ideologists and scientists of information society have already claimed the end of this age. Just as Nicholas Negroponte they already talk about the age of post-information when discussing broader concepts such as post-postmodernisation. Knowledge society model is the only possible positive future prospect for the coming two decades. In such a context, what does knowledge mean and in what form does it exist and carries weight? Naturally, we might want include personal knowledge, or even religious knowledge. If we use such categories one thing becomes apparent: knowledge cannot be 32

Csaba Varga (2003): Új elmélethorizontok előtt (Towards New Theory Horisons), Tertia Könyvkiadó, Budapest.


defined using such definitions. We should attain to a complex theory of knowledge, one that integrates basic theories of previous centuries but which also goes beyond these approaches. Once again we can ascertain the lack: without the application of a comprehensive, complex meta theory 33 new knowledge theories that compete with one another will not come to light. Prior and after the turn of millenium the industrial age has transformed to an information age to a growing and deepening degree. The inner structure and operation of local societies is revolutionised. The development of network societies is all the more characteristic of the new age. Francis Fukuyama characterizes this process as follows: „Network is the group of those people who act individually, who share certain informal norms and values well beyond the ones necessary for the usual market transactions.”34 We will use as a basis the recognitions of the last two decades35to put forward the following new set of definitions: 1. In the new glocal world civil soicety is extended and structured. We can distinguish firstly between global and European, secondly between national and in-country, thirdly between regional (big and small regions), fourthly between settlement civil societies and in bigger communities even between partial civil societies. 2. Civil society by today has become primarily a society in many respects, although not without its limitations, it is independent from the state, economy, national levels and it is local society. Everyone is part of it, so much the active as the passive citizens. It is a new phenomenon that a settlement seriously has started to develop its civil organisations; these changes are few and far between, yet civil society in Hungary has strengthened so much from the point of view of changing internal conditions as to the development of self-awareness. What follows from this argument is that civil society is not exclusively a mediating element but an independent and particular life world. 3. Since today in Hungary we can only distinguish between complex structured regional or settlement civil society that also includes post-feudal, early capitalist, capitalist, post-socialist, new capitalist and information society elements as well as social groups, the most important recognition of all is though that in spite of its complexity the dominant elements are already those social groups who represent the new social interests and values. 4. Under the influence of new technology, services and institutions of the Information Age, civil society is not simply a communication community any longer, but an intelligent civil society, a new information, communication and community space. From this follows a new phenomenon that the real, tangible settlement society has duplicated and a virtual civil society is in formation, which is neither identical with the old, nor with the new local or community consciousness. 5. In the new civil society community consciousness is a determining factor, but this concept is not identical with the prior consciousness roles, which completely filled or later ruled the consciousness, thought, mentality of local citizens. The consciousness structure of today’s civil society is complex, it is so much global as partial at the same time, it is based on the individualised consciousness and emphasised state of consciousness qualities; the content


Steve Talbott puts forward the following in his article called The Magic of Complexity: „In the past couple of years complex systems as well as complexity analysis has been widely perceived as revolutionary. With this revolution holistic approaches have gained new terrain and such notions have become increasingly popular as self-organisation, complexity and chaos” Információs Társadalom, 2002/2.) 34 Francis Fukuyama (2000): A nagy szétbomlás: az emberi természet és a társadalmi rend újjászervezése (The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order) Európa Könyvkiadó, 2000, Budapest. 35 The analysis is based on an essay by Csaba Varga (New civil society conception, 2004).


of local citizen consciousnesses and consciousness forms is being extensively influenced by the civil public consciousness. 6. The characteristics of intelligent civil society is that directly or indirectly it does not attempt to implement the democracy model of the industrial age. It is a space that has left the traditional, central/state political framework behind, it is an autonomous space. It looks for a new philosophy and methodology of new democracy, and since it does not find anything resembling and because it does not evaluate the forms of traditional representative democracy adequate, change is inhibited by being perplexed, by not knowing what to do. Its only support is that e-public administration will commence soon in Hungary, and as a consequence edemocracy will develop, which is already a step forward towards participatory democracy.

In the Information (and innovation-centred) Age Instead of the individual – state – society – democracy Network citizen – digital state – intelligent society – e-democracy Our approach is supported by numerous interpretations, in which civil societies are analysed and follow the industrial age. Such is the category, which interprets global civil society as „the stage of images, values, institutions, organisations, networks and individuals among the family, the state and the market, which functions at the border of national societies, political regimes and economies.”36 Here is the following definition: local civil society is an intelligent civil society, to a larger degree in reality, to a lesser one potentially, which in its existance and actions is an independent, specific and partially autonomous. It mediates on the one hand between the family, state and economy; on the other hand, it integrates them. Moreover, it also creates an indipendent lifeworld, and lastly, civil society is not exclusively of socio-economic nature, nor is it only an institutional system, but a specific consciousness/ common knowledge network. To sum up, we conclude that the information age model so far has shown close relations to the modern & post-modern age. To put it otherwise: the information age is the concluding period of the industrial age and a partial post-industrial model. It therefore represents another temporary model, just as the socialist model did, but hopefully it is going to end on a more positive note. The information age is a radical paradigm change so much intellectually as practically: in its potentials it far exceeds the systems of the industrial and socialist period, while in its purpose it prepares for the so-called knowledge age, which perhaps will fill a few of humanity’s dreams. Comparing to North America and South-East Asia, Europe is lagging behind in the creation of knowledge age. The new age is not merely the period of new technologies and new infomration services, but it also brings a qualitatively different world model. The arrangements so far have partial, both from the intellectual and social perspective.

2.8. Democracy – before the new democracy is established


Helmut Anheier, Marlies Glasius & Mary Kaldor (2004) p. 30


If we are to interpret and think through modern public administration or its newest version, e-public administration, then must descibe the existing democracy models. As it is well deducable from the last subdivisions, the four elements of citizen, state, society, democracy are in mutual relationship systems. Democracy is on the one hand basically a method, a method of decisionmaking and action. On the other hand, it is a compound and complex spatial system model, which may create a comprehensive scope of movement (both in space and time). This is the reason behind the phenonemon that in the last two hundred years political democracy has necessarily become the most important cateogory of political ideas and political practice. However, this concept originally means the rule of people, and later on, it became the topic of heated debates as to what we should mean by people and community. The classic approach to democracy is based upon the starting-point that every single voter by practicing their right to suffrage should jointly decide as a people who should be the parliamentary and local government representative. By today democracy has reached such a developmental stage that is simultaneously a crisis situation, where the political system, the selection system and the question of people who were considered for a long time an undistinguishable masshave becom the centre of heated debates. The universal democracy model has developed very different democratic systems and types in the world. One of the characteristics is that numerous new democracies came into existance in previously non-democratic economies and societies, and therefore it partially adjusted itself to big structures of the opposite line, while partially it forced the political, economic and state models to gradually change. The other characteristics is, which mainly occurs in the developed West European states, that non-democratic or partially democratic political-economic groups found loopholes in the matured framework and regulations of democracy models and have stealthily introduced previous political and state models in the decision-making process. The third characteristics is that in the last hundred to hundred and fifty years the bourgeoisie and the post-bourgeoisie considerably strengthened and by now it wants to put forward its interests and values in the democratic institutions in a more effective and direct way. In the last two-three decades we have encountered a number of preparatory images of new democracy models, its ideal organisation types. These are already preparations of the paradigm change and new endeavours, independently whether we call it participatory democracy, e-democracy or direct democracy. The confidence of Manual Castells in ideally far from being negative: „We expected from the internet to become the ideal tool of democracy, and so it happened.�37

2.9. The functional theories of e-public administration The primarily task for e-public administration experts is to come up with a definition of e-public administration theory. To prepare for the theory we necessarily had to interpret the reality system and the philosophical framework, in which e-public administration is interpreatable at all. This is why we briefly looked at state and social theories. Having provided for such an introduction, we can now put forward the fundamental theses of e-public administration: 37

Manuel Castells (2000) p. 158.


I. E-public administration is not merely the technologically modernised form of public administration. II. E-public administration is not merely a public administration system in the available public administration model. III. E-public administration at least presupposes the third level of state, society and embourgeoisement. From this it follows that e-public administration cannot exist in dictatorial states, neither in strong, centralised states, nor in empty, quasi-democracies. This, however, does not exclude regrettably, that certain totalitarian systems or half-democracies disguised in democracies would not use the specific tools and/or services of e-public administration. IV. E-public administration, as generally all sorts of public administrations consists of the local government and state administration. This is why e-public administration is in addition e-local government and e-state administration. V. The requirement and simultaneously, the result of e-public administration is the comprehensive transformation of the state, or to put it differently, the e-state and e-public administration mutually presuppose each other. VI. E-public administration is on the one hand a new knowledge on public administration matters, which does not only mean new technological knowledge or new services, but also that the European civilisation makes the most of all sorts of new knowledge in the public administration domain. VII. E-public administration is the result and at the same time the improvement of global, national and local infomration societies. If information society does not exist, e-public administration remains but a technological novelty. VIII. E-public administration is also the preparer as well as the high level result of edemocracy, which means the further democratisation process of civil society and the relationship between state and citizen. IX. The central functional goal of e-public administration is the co-operation, simplification, acceleration and growth in efficiency of administration and action between citizen/community citizen and the state/ community state. Online administration is thus partially an administrative reform, partially it makes a new sort of relationship possible with the clients, partially it makes for a more dynamic self-administration and self-development of local communities. X. The central substantial goal of public-administration is the restoration of balance between state and its citizens while it brings the relationship to a higher level. It follows from the argument that the pressure-group of e-public administration is the intelligent civil society. This group will also promote the creation of civil bourgeoisie and the construction of a wide, direct e-democracy. XI. E-democracy could be signifantly promoted in the coming decades so that epolitics would become reality. Secondly, this way the political elite will once again be linked to its voters. Thirdly, according to the perspective of direct e-democracy practically every single voter could become a virtual representative. XII. E-public administration is created by new types of global and local power struggles and negotitations, or to put it more precisely, it is created and made operational by such types of agreements, in which every interested party could equally be the real winner. XIII. E-public administration represents new knowledge, new consciousness, or if interepreted in a more complex way: it is new culture. E-public administration is new public knowledge, as a side effect of new culture it adopts and utilises the new knowledge of the information age. XIV. The introduction of e-public administration presupposes the weight increase of local bourgeoisie as well as the the intensive increase in the needed skills and practices.


XV. E-public administration can bring only partial results without the activities of local citizens and community-public administration. E-public administration thus only motivates and requires the increase of knowledge and consciousness of local citizens.

Solution to the Hungarian public administration model: Opening of individual-family e-gateway, local society e-gateway, government and (local) public administration e-gateway, knowledge of public administration e-gateway, by means of landline and mobile infocommunication networks

8. diagram. The Hungarian public administration model (Csaba Varga)

Summary: E-public administration by means of the technology of the e-era and new knowledge is firstly the internal administrative-operational service providing public administration; secondly, it is the relationship between state and citizen; thirdly, it is potentially the reform of intelligent civil society. The three procedures induced by public administration could jointly begin the paradigm changes of traditional political and power-led state. Once again we shall quote Castells who writes: „From the mid-1980s to the end of the 1990s a mass of local communities appeared on the internet all around the world. In many cases they formed close ties with local institutions and settlement local governments, and they established democracy in cyberspace where civil actions are initiated from bottom to top.�38 With the theoretical and practical requirements structured in bulletpoints wish to comprehensively sum up those questions, which could be the outstanding elements of the theory of e-public administration. The theory of e-public administration could simultaneously be global, continental (thus European), and Hungarian theory. The global theory already in the last ten years put significant emphasis on general modernisation which prepares as well as embodies e-public administration, with special emphasis on the establishment of egovernment. The theory of European e-public administration has as a curiosity that it is strongly linked to the development of economy. It is based on the idea, on the one hand, that e-public administration necessarily supports and helps the competiteveness of local economies. On the other hand, e-public administration in itself is an economic and enterpreneurial activity if not for other reason but because numeorous local administrative and public administrative activities are taken care of by market and/or local actors. (In Hungary such an approach is made impossible by the legislation governing public administration.) In Hungary there is no widely accepted theory of e-public administration although so much in the governmental sector as in professional workshops serious research is taking place resulting in theoretical works. One of the characteristics of the Hungarian e-public administration model is that it attempts to adopt the ideas of European e-public administration 38

Manuel Castells (2000) p.147.


developments and simultaneously it links the Hungarian service-providing local government with the vision of public administration both in theory and practice. The second characteristic of the model that it puts special emphasis on the theory of mobile public administration and details the tasks that lie ahead of its introduction. A later development is that in the 2002-2006 governmental cycle serious attempts have been made by the MiniszterelnÜki Hivatal, IHM and BM to introduce it and new legislation was passed for the sake of the cause. As far as we are concerned, we defined the Hungarian pubic administration model as having four poles: the local citizen, local society, public administration system, public administration knowledge. This system already at its genesis includes the link between esociety, e-government and e-democracy. All the same or independently of the above mentioned, it remains to be seen what developmental course will the Hungarian e-public administration take in reality. If we are to analyse a local region, the introduction of e-government and e-public administration would have the following functions and services: 1. In small regions the building of infocommunication networks would be in a stage of development that ideally reached the majority of the population, the enterpreneurs as well as the local government institutions. The secondary question is whether this network is a telephone network, cabel tv network or an indipendent computer network-based system. 2. In the mayor’s office work is done via internet linked computer network (whether external or internal), or the possibility and practice of e-administration has become reality on every settlement and among settlements. 3. The local government and public administration, on the one hand, is present on every single settlement, on the other hand, it can be reached in small regions (county or larger regions) through e-public administration portals, and so it will provide information, local legislation as well e-administration and among others the regional portal will become the strengthening institution of regional identity. 4. In line with the European requirements, the development of every single settlement and small region e-public administration should reach a stage where it does not only provide information for the citizen or the citizen does not only download the forms to do administrative business, but that all their mundane problems could be solved through the internet at the mayor’s office, which implies that because of the need of a digital signature every document would be certified. 5. With the help of directory software, e-democracy could be established on a settlement, whether town or village, and small regions by individual, family and community infocommunication ends. Amongst others, e-democracy would bring e-participation to parliamentary and local government elections and could initiate small region e-referenda. 6. It is an important element of e-public administration that at the local and small regional level the administration could be done electronically with secondary public administration levels and institutions. Moreover, contact could be kept with the help of the non-public e-public administration network with governmental levels and institutions. 7. From other additional possible functions we only highlight that e-public administration does not only include the ability of every single local representative to receive motions electronically but that the representatives could vote in spite of their absence and could keep video conference negotiations, too.


Taking into account the unpredictability of the future in Hungary already for the coming five years (until 2010), it is too early to predict whether local government regions and/or small regions will exist as well as whether small regional local governments will develop in reality from the multipurpose small regional formations. It is already clear, however, that in lack of parliamentary agreements decision-making is prolonged, which could even provide us with advantages with regards to possible changes. Based on the ideas and technology of the information age the multipurpose small regional formations and/or small regional government could fundamentally develop in a different manner, as for instance present-day county local government did indeed. This by and large shows that small region public administration task should not be centralised into one settlement or one institution, since in the world of the internet any settlement of a small region could provide with one or more state administrative function. The citizen could anyway manage his/her daily business on the same small regional e-public administration (centralised) portal. Not to even mention that for small regional decisionmaking is not necessary by all means to construct real-life and symbolic buildings if the majority of smaller or bigger decisions had been made within the framework of e-local government. This, however, does not imply that from time to time there would be no need for real or quasi- „small regional parliament” sessions. The information age cannot be possibly or necessarily blamed for the amalgamation of small settlement local governments in the name of institutional modernisation and rationalisation since the new age will bring the strengthening of democracy development alternative. In the new age every single local citizen will become potentially a virtual representative next to the local government representative, whose role in an e-democracy is not only to prepare decision-making or to be part of it, but also to become a more active executive of it. In today’s public administration way of thinking it is neither totally understood nor accepted that a public administration institution should exist exclusively in the virtual space. The legislative bodies of local governments and public administration institutions so far have only existed by being linked to buildings existing in reality and have been made operational by flesh and blood institutional administrators. One of the big novelties of the society in the information age is that the tangible, physically reachable is left behind with the help of the internet and institutions and services are created by virtual means. This results in the duplication of the actual local government and mayor’s office: on every single computer monitor of individual citizens and communities, regardless of the size the local government body will be instantaneously reachable in a digital form. So it will be the office itself, with all the activities and every administrator. The citizen therefore does not go about their daily business that they need to go into the mayor’s office to contact a particular administrator and according to the outcome they would need to hand in a written request and would receive a written decision. We might need to add, however, that already the written request has a virtual aspect to itself, although the personal contact could make the indirectness of the procedure be forgotten. Now, however, we will reach a phase that there is no (need for a) personal relationship between an administrator and a citizen. To put it more precisely, the illusion of personal contact could be maintained if the information request or administrative procedure is done through video telephone. If the citizen hands in their proposal, request, document with their certified signature on the internet, the administrator or the mayor will send their response or decision in the same way, then public administration belongs unambiguously and definitively to the virtual world.


Even if by today’s standards this sounds rather unconventional, in the coming five to ten years a higher level virtualisation will take place: it will first concern routine business. During routine procedures the documents sent in by the client will be received by the computer and with the help of artificial intelligence a decision, resolution or any other document will be formulated and sent away without the intervention or even knowledge of the administrator or mayor. The advantage of this is undoubtedly that there will be no 30 day waiting time and as long as the application was submitted as it was required, the decision will not be influenced for individual or political or any other reasons. On the other hand, in the new professional procedures the personal contacts will become secondary while the programming of artificial intelligence will become a key issue. The contentual and formal criteria of programming could be proceededby wide-ranging, although virtual social harmonisation. In this respect thus local government and office administration matters will necessarily become virtualised, what more, it will become totally natural that the small region as well as every single public administration level will be duplicated and on the internet a digital public administration will be established that (may) function far more effectively than the real one. All these could make the small regional or regional electronic demos a reality within one decade, and from a quantitative democracy we might proceed toward a qualitative democracy. To put it differently, the e-extension to the rigth to vote is made possible by the knowledge development of voters and voter groups and the practice of electronic direct participation.


Chapter Three: State, governing, democracy within the concepts of liberal democracy and in practice 3.1. The historical formation and definition of the modern state The state is a human community living within the well-defined borders of a geographical area, ideologically based on the nation while structurally it is supported by the law and order embodied by the institutions. The modern state is a characteristically European development and it is closely linked by the development of nation-states. One of the starting points was the following: „ of the primary and most important of principles on which the state and legislation are consecrated is that its temporary owners and beneficiaries do not pretend to forget what they have received from their ancestors and what they owe to their offsprings...” (E. Burke39)

Problems with the nation-state and its birth The nation is an imagined community and this implies that within an appointed territory a community lives which is made up by a multitude of individuals who do not know each other. This community is defined both in space and time.40 Community is made up so much by the living as the dead, the latter one representing traditions and experiences, as well as the generation not yet born, since the actions of the community are always future oriented.41 The other two defining characteristics of the nation is sovereinty and encompassment. This presupposes that the nation is surrounded by other nations. This is why one of the key symbols of the 19th century was the coloured picture of nation-states. The approach of space and time goes back to the period of Enlightenment; its historical importance being the division of the previously determining concept of „religious community” from „national community”. This created a philosophical basis for revolutions that smashed whole empires built on class hierarchy and universal principles into pieces. While power has gradually lost its previous transcedent character guaranteed by religion, power struggles and governing became a central point of political activity. Due to the processes wherein the political domain has become autonomous while simultaneously power struggles for national sovereignty were taking place, the concept of national community has become identical to the concept of political community. A. De Tocqueville has summed this up as follows: „ ... nowadays it is easy to come to the conviction that the struggle against religion was only one of the incidents of the great revolution, it was a salient but transitory phenomenon, yet not its real mentality, but the transitional consequence of those ideas that 39

Edmund Burke (1990): Töprengések a francia forradalomról (Reflections on the French Revolution), Atlantisz Könyvkiadó, p. 188. 40 Benedict.Anderson (1991): Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition ed. London – New York, Verso, p. 5-7. 41 Edmund Burke (1990) p. 190.


prepared and preceeded the revolution, of passions and individual events.” „Christianity did not stir unbridled hatred as a religious doctrine, but as a political institution.”42 The stake in the division between state and church was thus not the belief as a religious conviction but the status of religion after the reorganisation of society and political power. To put it differently: the main question is to ensure the autonomoy of modern society and politics. By exiling religion to the private sphere simultaneously resulted in the „adaption of belief to the modern requirements of social life”, which took shape in the „vision of the unity of the social body” (the nation). The new belief framed the dynamic operation of civil society built on pluralism and it became the cohesive force behind modern democracy (republic).43 The ideological basis of the nation-state is the belief that tradition holds the community together. Its role is important for a number of reasons. One the one hand, as the preserved and inherited preference system of the community it serves as a basis for the establishment of institutions that regulate the relations between the members of a given community (constitution, laws, regulating systems, etc)44. On the other hand, tradition shows itself as a culture, which is regarded by its members as shared and homogeneous (national culture), and as such it ensures the previous role of religion: authority of the state. This role of this authority is universal, corresponding to religion.45 It was already A. de Toqueville who pointed out that the establishment of the new bourgeois order and state shows precisely the same picture as a religious revolution: „The French revolution is such a political revolution, which has run its course in the manner of religions revolutions and assumed their characteristics.”46 Its most important trait was that independently of countries, people and periods it researched and defined the rights and duties of humans as political actors (please refer to the Human Rights Manifesto). Beyond the limitations of a region, it formulated universal principles and as such it created a new ideology for the modern state organisation. The universal principle in itself is only suitable to demolish the ancient order, but lacks all particular values on the basis of which the reorganisation of society can take place. Particularities present themselves on local traditions (localisations). The critique of E. Burke attracted attention to this fact while discussing the events of the French revolution. To link the concepts of nation, state, culture ensured a solid ground to the realisation of a stable governance. Nevertheless, for the sake of political stability and homogenuous state cultural diversity was sacrificed, something that is so essential and necessary in our present day and from the point of view of information society. During the establishement of nation-state, local traditions and specific values are at least as important as the identification with one or more principles. Due to the dual character of the modern state, the state is simultaneously „national”, thus it is to be understood in its uniqueness and universality as far as it appeals to the universal and natural human rights


Alexis de Tocqueville (1994): A régi rend és a forradalom (The old regime and the revolution), Atlantisz, p. 47-48. 43 Marcel Gauchet (1998): La religion dans la démocratie. Parcours de la laïcité, Gallimard (Coll. "Le débat") Paris, p. 29. 44 Edmund.Burke (1990) p. 188. 45 Please refer to the etimology of the words culture and cult - Edmund.Burke (1990) p. 183-185. - Alexis de Tocqueville (1994) p. 47-54. 46 Alexis de Tocqueville (1994) p. 53.


(human dignity, human rights). To use an fashionable phrase, the modern state was born at the junction of global and local values and as a result of globalisation and fragmentation.

The inconsistencies of nation-state We cannot emphasize enough the importance of culture in the establishment and operation of the nation-state. In present-day society, when we are debating the role of state in information society and its new operational principles, an increasing number of individuals are of the opinion that one of the requirements of the nation-state to become information state (e-state) is to separate culture from the political state. The developmental dynamics of information society is determined by the rate of cultural diversity and this cannot be achieved within the limitations of a homogenising state.47 It is in the nature of nation-states that it aims for totality. The idea of nation-state (and republic) hides serious inconsistencies from a philosophical point of view:

1. The primary task of the state within the framework of a nation-state is not the defence of particular cultural identites, but the maintenance of the universal law. Its operation thus contains such principles and political tools that shift specific values towards the general (universal). As Lévy finds out, the state should be defined as the „coherent unity of universal laws”.48 (This is how for instance „jurisdiction” becomes „administration of justice”, direct democracy is replaced by representational democracy, the fiction of national identification dominates local identities.) 2. The state as a political entity operates within a defined territory. It projects the entity based on territoral principal and political unity on the cultural identity of local communities living within its boundaries and that is unified in a nationalist ideology. The essential inconsistency arises from the tendency with which it limits „the multi-dimensional virtual space” of culture into a two dimensional space. These inconsistencies are not only limited to systematic outbreaks of crisis situations (nationalism, totalitarian dictatorship, discrimination, world wars, etc.) but culture was stripped away by it multi-dimensional and virtual essence (oppression) without which knowledge-based society and economy cannot come into being. The division of culture and state is a social and economic necessity in the 21st century.

3.2. Democratic deficit or the post-totalitarian system Numbering republics is a characteristically French custom in the history of nation states. It is based on the recognition that the institution of democracy cannot be detached from its originating social context, and so it develops paralelly with it. To maintain its operationability, it needs smaller adjustments from time time, while other times profund changes need to be inititated. Numbering therefore includes the future: the possibility of a 47

One of the most outstanding representative of this approach is Pierre Lévy (2001) in his book called La séparation de la culture et de l’Etat. Intervir, 2001/12. – Emese Ugrin (1997) A kultúratársadalom és a transzkontinentalizmus korszaka, in: A mai világ és a jövő forgatókönyvei (The Age of Culture Society and Culture Continentalism) (eds.: Csaba Varga and Timea Tibori) HÉA Institute for Strategic Research, MTA Sociological Institute, Hungarian Gate Foundation). 48 P.Lévy (2001)


fourth, fifth, etc. republic. The sine qua non of democracy maintainance is the allignment with the changes, the prevailing sensitive and constructive update.49 The critique of the current democratic operability of the republic or the thought of a new, fourth, fifth, etc. republic thus is by no means the subvertion of the republic. Nevertheless it unequivocally implies that the changed social, economic relations, presently the internal and external circumstances induced by globalisation and localisation as well as new technologies require essentail changes, which do not point at democracy as a fundamental but rather toward its operative principle. Democratic deficits appear simultaneously at a number of levels: 1. At a regional or local level: it is primarily within the framework of nation-states that the social basis of democracy has changed significantly. The available system of political tools in itself is inadequate when it comes to ensuring what public politics needs for a healthy operation: wide citizen participation and taking personal responsibility. 2. At the local government or lower local level: the most important obstacle to a democracy-based participation and partnership is rooted in the nature of local governements being solely the mirror images of national level representational democracies. This does not only make specific problem-solving more difficult, but it also limits citizen participation and responsibility. 3. At a continental level: the effective co-operation of nation-states to keep their global competitiveness requires surrendering the principle of national sovereignty (or to put it differently, surrendering the rights rooted in the principle of territoriality and cultural homogeneity of nation-states) in place of the previous loose international co-operations (internationalism). Theoretically speaking, we would need a pan-European (transnational) system of democratic institutions, which is today still hampered by the specific value systems of nation-states. The failure of acceptance of a European constitution also points to the fact that the models of nation-state democracy and state at continental levels are just as foredoomed to failure as they are at local levels. The establishment of a democracy model of the Eureopan Union is all the more urgent because it impacts the competitive power of the continent.50 4. The global (transcontinental) level that aggregates the whole of Western civilisation: Although hardly anyone comments on this level, we must understand that the global competition today does not take place between the USA, Japan, Europe but the Far East (China, Japan, India, South Korea) and the Western civilisation (USA, Europe, Canada, Australia), which will neccessitate a new type of co-operation based on new principles and visions.51 49

The lack of actualisation is to be found in the nature of nation state when it attempts totalitarianism, when instead of trying to meet real social and economic challenges, the answer is cultural homogenisation in nearly all instances. The most tragic historical events are, however, without any exception rooted in the operational deficits of nation states. Dictatorships, whether facsist or communist, have always popped up from the idea of nation states and their ideological premise has always been the rejection of diversity. In this sense the numbers remind us the historical failures of modern republics. 50 Without a unified action and governance the collapse of the union is nearly expected. The defeciencies of cooperation has been already pointed out by the re-consideration of the Lisabon strategy. In the Kok report nation states are heavily criticised because they are self-interested, lack of partner relationship, lack of active integration of social and economic actors as well as European institutions (parliaments). 51 This is not an illusion but an existing necessity. We should only think about the USA, widely regaded as the great powers of the world is also the most endebted country in the world, its budgetary deficit is financed by the dynamically developing states of the Far East, - China, India and South Korea. Since global competition is intensifying the remaining question is only about the timing of the bill. In order to bypass a possible chatastrophy will by all means necessitate a new type of co-operation in the Western part of the world. Europe is only going to be an alternative if it has established its own operaitonal model.


We shall review in the following paragraphs the democratic deficit levels of the nation-state, placed in between globalisation and localisation. Legitimacy Questions of legitimacy have recently become a topic of heated debates. According to the logic of modern republic, legitimacy is the result of the majority will declared through elections. It is a single licence of limited time, which is re-evaluated at the next elections. This licence is by today a questioned legitimacy. The traditional civil democracy or representational democracy was established according to the needs of capitalism. Political parties were established to represent different social classes/ layers. One of the positive returns of market economy and its result, the wellfare society was to dissolve the differences between social classes. Dynamising economy based on growth required expansion of markets and demand. This was a good opportunity for the state to shape a new type of social politics. Wellfare systems are no longer the institutions of social solidarity, but rather the tool of consumerist policies guaranteeing economic growth. As a consequence of social mobility, even if to different degrees, all of us has become consumers. Our social place is not determined by property but by consumer spending. By today this process has reached the stage that according to the logic of economy it is not accumulation (saving) what counts, but increase in consumer spending. However, without adequate reserves only few can stabilise their place on the consumer ladder. We will, however, have to individually live through the uncertainty of a constantly changing market and employement situation and the every-day problems that accompany the changes of social status based on consumerism. There are no real stabile social layers or classes, if we are not to consider those numerous people as such who have been definitively squeezed out of the consumer ladder and those tiny groups that have serious wealth reserves (from a sociological point of view they are called big consumers or spenders). Generally speaking, in a consumer society only mobile and immobile individuals (families, micro-communities) exist.52 Starting from the second part of the 1970s an odd situation has come to light: the single layer group with a secure consumer power are the pensioners.They are those who have a stable income, even if that is not too significant, their consumer needs can be accounted for in advance and their status can be taken away only in the event of their death. We cannot see it as accidentary change that the political power of pensioners has grown in the last decades. 53 But as we all know it, this stable consumer layer is being currently swept away by history and the winds of „active ageing”.


Even families can be regarded as consumer communities since their role as a unit that „creates and mediates social values” has been slowly washed away. Values are defined by society and community. If large communities disintegrate – such as the middle classes, the proletariat or the peasantry, - the victims of consumer mobility will be the cultural scenes where social norms are created one of them being the families. 53 In developed Western societies where the basis of pensions are guaranteed by long-term investments made us believe that pensioners would stay the most secure pillar of consumer soicety. In the development of tertiary, quartiery and quintiary sectors of economy (such as the services, healthcare, culture and turism) this layer of society was of utmost importance. From the 1990’s, however, besides the growth in intensity of capital markets it has become a general tendency that shorter term transactions have a negative impact on long term investments, - private and state initiatives alike.


Mobility does not favour the establishment of other interest groups either. Lobby groups have become „phantom organisations”: even if they represent important social or economic interests, their representation can be permanently questioned, because the „masses” they are supposed to represent is not tangible and changes permanently. It is not by accident that traditional trade union movements weaken all around the globe, and as far as defence of interests is concerend other civil organisation do not excel either. To put it precisely, only those civil society organisations show real results who aim at the problems of immobile social groups. A completely new type of civil organisation is in the process of birth, which mobilizes on the Internet. Its efficiency is due to the information technology systems that provide the opportunity to adjust themselves to the continually changing situations when it comes to providing information, the definition of goals as well as all concerns of the „changing membership”. Another great advantage of such a forum is that it does not require a single and definitive commitment on the side of the citizens, but they can position themselves according to their actual social situations and interests. The agreed manner of social dialogue in civil democracies between employers, employees and the state is not really operational any longer either. The dialogue between these three actors is but a fiction today. The side of employers and employees is in a continuous move, while the state only represents its own interest due to the fall in its social role and economic influence. Agreements such as the minimum salary, minimum pension does not require to assume a real obligation from the sides. (An exception to the rule is the amount of contributions and taxes which are legally protected calculations.) The reason is to be found in the strong contrastbetween the global and local economy. The companies that take part in the global competition and those small and middle-size enterprises who primarily live off local markets have an entirely different function in national economies. While the first provides economic growth, the latter en masse employement, thus it guarantees consumer spending and as such it fills a social function. This, however, means that there are serious conflict of interests already on the employer side. The amount of minimum salary and growth of contributions is a cost-of-living problem for a large number of employers and it has not constituted for a long time now a question of competitive power. In such a situation how can we expect the solidarity principle to be realised? Stabilisation vs. mobilisation The situation is not a shade better in the scene of politics either. The new basic question in this social subsystem is how to prevent the consumer ladder to become a slide. To put it differently: is it possible to keep the consumer power in a two-way motion and if so, how? The newly repeated magic term is creation of jobs. The problem is that jobs are not created by the state, but by economic actors. Politics therefore increasingly serves the interests of the economic sphere rather than of society. Social politics of political parties and governments aim exclusively at maintaining the consumer masses. In a situation where the social and economic relationships are built on consumerism „stabilisation” appropriately entails the ensuring of „mobilisation”. How come nevertheless that all political forces mentions „stabilisation”? In our view the answer is that mobility is a double-edged sword. The continuous movement of economic and social environment, the political sphere that had developed in the organised and stabile context of civil democracy forces it to constantly adapt and mobilise. Mobility, however,


shakes up representational democracy at its root, which manifests itself in a predictable and well measurable loss of trust. For the current political organisations it represents a problem that while they talk about those social group(s) that they are supposed to represent, they themselves cannot precisely tell who they really represent: the citizen, who during elections had a certain consumer power, will judge the offered programmes from a totally different social position in a matter of days, weeks or months if/when his/her consumer power diminishes or perhaps disappears altogether and thus his/her social status weakens. This of course holds true inversely, too... Becoming a people’s party is essentially a reaction to such insecurity factors. Since beyond the registered member (primarily those who are ideologically committed) no party can tell who they really represent, the only option for survival is the strategy to simplify those represented to two categories: those who slide downwards, and those who climb upwards. As far as they are concerned, it is none of their business to define differences and specific problems between the two categories. The formula of political struggle for power is the following: if you say white, i say black. This game has two roles. There is no place for minor roles. National colours fade away in the contrast of black and white. The situtation increasingly reminds us of Bizancium: the member of green and blue party fanatically enthuse the competing carriage-drivers in the hippodrom, citizens who either slide down or climb up the social ladder. Those politicians who identify with the ones that are in climbing talk about „well-functioning economy”, those who support the sliders they adopt the slogan of „we are worse off today”. While the first catchword always belongs to those who happen to be in power (and who want to stay in power), because in a positive catchphrase they refer to a successful government while the second group is made up of those who happen to be in opposition and whose legitimacy comes from those social groups who slide down on the social ladder. It is an interesting, although not accidental fact that nobody appeals to the group of people who have become immobile definitely or for a long time. These people are immobilie due to either their health, age, out-dated professional skills or disadvantageous regional and/or socio-cultural environment. The answers given to them are in every single case general and politically empty promises. To answer their problems one can give only singular and particular answers, while representational democracy based on the homogenising logic of the nation-state is capable of dealing only with general situations. If, however, on the political palette suddenly such forces appear who want to deal with particularities they are necessarily ranked among the extreme categories. The management of specific problems is to be dealt with civil society and local government. For such capabilities the strengthening of local democracy would be needed and the essentially new type of co-operation among local society, in which the active participation of social members would dominate. In the present circumstances, however, when local government is but the mirror image of representational democracy at local level, finding solutions to specific problems is a limited option. The real danger of a bipartisan system is that we grow more and more lazy. It does not motivate us to formulate real alternatives to create new political or social concepts. The strength of the political party is determined not so much by its professional competence and creativity but to be able to put forward a „leader”.54 54

Bipartisanship is an efficient system in a country where the territorial structure of the state is organised on the principle of subsidiarity, eg. the independent (politically legitimate) federation of states, cantons or regions that have governmental powers. In these countries the internal differentiation of parties – with regards to movements, programs and even leader behaviour – is defined by the territorial units. Internal debates, negotations,


In such a simplified political environment the only actors who exist are the government and the opposition. Why cannot they agree with each other? They can. The only obstacle to their agreement is that the economic actors whom are interested in maintenance of the consumerist world have conflict of interests, market wars among themselves. To be associated with opposing parties is capable of polarising politics, at least temporarily. Why does economy have such power over politics? We should think over what are the consequences that the multi-party democracy based on social layers and classes has lost its social basis. It could survive in the wellfare state, as long as it could ensure consumer mobilisation through the wellfare system. By today, however, the intensity of mobilisation has speeded up to such a degree that it can hardly be followed, intervention is simply unimaginable. This situation is further corrupted by functional globalisation which primarily appears in the economic sphere. The state, and as a consequence, the political sphere has no influence upon the global economy. Since its political priority is to maintain the consumerist society of the given state, it would do anything to win the actors of global market over. And who they come up against? Those who can survive in the local markets exclusively. This is how the conflict of global and local economies becomes a political issue: the government in power, thus the governing party(ies) necessarily give priority to the international capital as the repository of competitive power55, while the current opposition refers to national or local economy. It is true, however, that the local (national) economy has a very low share in the production of GDP. Nevertheless, this enterpreneurial circle ensure the majority employement of the country.56 Theoretically speaking, the fundamental interest of the state should be supported by the national small and medium-size companies for the sake of job creation, and thus maintenance of social consumer power. Why doesn’t the state lean upon the small and middle-size enterpreneurs nevertheless? It cannot, because it risks its global economic competitive power. If this situation were to be translated to the political lingo, we would have to theoretically claim that big international companies (supra-national firms) belong to the competitive power sector while the small and medium-size entreprises present on the local market represent the social sphere. While the right wing parties lean on international companies, left wing parties are supported by small and medium-size companies. This type of division, however, is only true at the moment of elections. Since we live in the age of economy and society that is consumerism- and growth-oriented, the real political category is that of the government while the opposition is in a vacuum. In representational democracies it is no longer a question what we chose but who we empower. Not the election programmes but political personalities can be distinguished from one another. To put it very simplified: we do not chose the direction but the king. Instead of represenational democracy there is delegate democray.

3.3. Minimal democratic procedures have been emptied of their content Orthodox analysts frequently sum up procedural minimums when describing the de facto functioning democracies because they believe that democratic procedures are essential compromises are about real problems and interests which are synthetised into country representations at every elections although only in those questions that do not touch upon or hurt the self-governance of particular interests of regional units. 55 80% of the GDP in Hungary is produced by them. 56 The enterpreneurial circle employes 50-60% of the people in Hungary.


or especially important to the operation of democracies. They don’t deny, however, that the existence of procedural rules in themselves does not guarantee a functioning democracy. It was Robert A. Dahl who put together the minimum democracy procedures based on the analysis on US democracy and this was further amended by Philippe C. Schmitter és Terry Lynn Karl.57 We list the nine conditions in a way that within brackets and in italics we indicate how and why did the procedural minimum become empty of its contents. „1. The supervision of governmental political decisions is constitutionally appointed to civil servants. (If its in their political interests most governments outwit the supervision over their political decisions, mostly with legal means.) 2. Chosen civil servants are selected during frequent and clear elections which are free of pressure in the majority of cases. (It is long since clear elections free of all types of gross or mild, direct or indirect pressure opportunities do not exist due to e.g. false government programme, false statements aimed at discrediting the opponents, misleading media campaigns, etc.) 3. Practically every single adult has the right to vote for their civil servant. (This procedural minimum is a valid one. However, if it serves their interests, increasing number of political forces are disposed to adopt a campaign that aims at keeping a part of voters off.) 4. Practically every single adult has the right to compete for a governmental function. (This statement holds true from a legal point of view. In practice, however, this rule is continuously damaged because the social, material, political and cultural conditions are far from being given to everyone in an equal measure.) 5. Citizens have the right to freedom of speech without the danger of serious prosecution on broadly interpreted political issues. (This right is possibly valid everywhere. Hidden threats and polished menaces to material well-being push citizens on more than one occassion to keep their mouths shut.) 6. Citizens have the right to look for alternative information means. Moreover, alternative information means exist and they are protected by law. (Theoretically speaking alternative information resources and access means exist. However, mass media is influenced by power groups and that constitutes an information disadvantage for the majority of citizens.) 7. Citizens have the right to freely assemble and create associations including independent political parties and interest groups. (The right in this case is not worth a lot, because on the one hand today no independent political parties exist, on the other hand, without the material, social and intellectual conditions it is even impossible to create relatively independent political parties.) 8. Civil servants elected by the population will have to practice their constitutional powers without (even if informal) oppositions that invalidate their regulations by the nonelected civil servants. (Elected civil servants do not usually have to fear the elected civil servants because they do not depend materially on them. However, the external economic, social and clutural force groups and their speakers are or might be in numerous dependency positions.) 9. Public administration should be localised. It should act independently of limitations posed by another, centralised political system. (Local government elections as well as local


See: Robert A. Dahl (1989): Democracy and its Critics, Yale University Press; Philippe C. Schmitter és Terry Lynn Karl (2001): ’What Democray Is – and Is Not’, in: Larry Diamond & Mark F. Plattner (eds): The Global Resurgence of Democracy (Jonhs Hopkins Universíty Press, 1993); Laurence Whitehead (2001): Democratization: Theory and Experience, XXI. Century Institute, 2001.


government representatives and the local government decisions often cannot be independent of state political system power groups.)”58 The procedural regulations of democracy are correct, in most democratic countries they were codified but the legal regulations in the modern political is bystepped by those political actors in power in a rough or refined manner. It is therefore a basic mistake to assume that the legal, legislative defence of democratic rules of the game are in themself sufficient because there are numerous ways and tools (sometimes even state tools) with which the law can be evaded. The following comment is thus totally justified: „By interpreting the manner broadly in which practically every state is increasingly limited by the dence network of legal, institutional, economic and social dependencies, it is a question whether local government without shackles can be elected at all even in the best encircled states.”59 As a summary we can conclude that the democratic deficit is so extensive and multidimensional, that this form of democracy is nothing but a post-totalitarian system. Democracy doubles back and it gets closer to the characteristics of a totalitarian system than to the principles of classic democracy. That all these are so, and that they are indisputedly so, then it cannot be denied that the deformed practice of the existing democracy the democratic principles and methods need rethinking. In addition, not only the changes in democracy model are needed, but a socially active, not defenceless, thinking and responsible citizens (public citizens) fundamentally lack, and with it there are no civil community with real independence.

3.4. The repositioning of state after the division of politics from society The contentual emptying of democracy can only be partially explained by the inconsistencies of globalisation and localisation. As we have referred to it already above, modern state is loaded with numerous internal inconsistencies, too. According to Marcel Gauchet, who identifies modernity with democracy, the history of modern state was characterised by the search for balance between individual claims and the simitations imposed by power that broadly speaking lasted between the last third of the 19th century up to the mid-20th century. The outcome was the successful realisation of societycentred democracy (démocratie sociale) built on the trade-offs of Keynes.60 The state has become the institution that guarantees and maintains the social equillibrium, which could, however, only temporarily resolve the conflict between economic productivity and social justice. The wellfare state, while claiming responsibility towards its citizens it roughly intervened in the delicate texture that links human communities together and it rendered even the co-operative systems rooted in natural solidarity unviable. One of the grandest paradoxes of society-oriented democracy is that while it was created for the sake of public interest and public good, it destroyed the very internal cohesional forces that keep communities together giving ample way to individualisation and social fragmentation. In this repect there is no big difference between socialist state and state socialism. While the methods of the latter were 58

Laurence Whitehead (2001) p. 11. Laurence Whitehead (2001) p.12. 60 Marcel Gauchet (2002): La démocratie contre elle-même, Gallimard (Coll. Tel) Paris. 59


more agressive, less sophisticated and anti-democratic, but both structures essentially bring about the „privatization”/nationalization of society. From the 1970s onwards the repeatedly appearing economic crises that resulted in unresolved social problems such as unemployment, dropping behind of societal groups, regional inbalances, etc. lead to the crisis and the gradual change of social democracy and wellfare state. The post-modern state lost nothing of its totalitarian nature. Just as long-ago the division of state and church ensured the autonomy of the state, so could we witness from the mid-1970s on the Europe-wide process of division between society and politics. It is at this time that the totalitarian state attempts to keep its political autonomy against and/or above the society which disintegrated into individuals. The relationship between state and citizens is increasingly of a legislative nature. Contemporary democracy is characterised by Marcel Gauchet as „the democracy of the law”, which is nothing but the slow erosion of belonging to communities (to the nation, to the state).61 The shift from nation-state to state under the rule of law simultaneously constitutes the disintegration of modern state: by emptying the sociocultural essentials of citizen identity disrupts the unity of nation-state-culture so neccessary for stabile governance. The modern state devoured its own children. In the solitude of totalitarian state democracy is simply a formality. It is not the conflict of community interests but of individuals that takes place. The institutions that are there to ensure dialogue and provide the dynamics of democracy (such as the political parties, social organisations, economic and professional associations, etc.) are of ad hoc nature or are formality. The solidarity principle of wellfare institutions that were created to maintain the social balance have become part of tools of exercising power. The value of solidarity has been replaced by a category that has legal interpretation, that of „state responsibilty”. By doing so the political state power can solely define and enforce the nature and measure of „wellfare” (happiness) compulsory to everyone. The arrogance of political power manifests itself most clearly today in the very institutions that are based in social solidarity. These institutions were at first requalified as distributing system, later degraded to „charity” organisations. In the logic of a democracy directed in the legal world social action is impossible, because in a constitutional state it is always the individual that is up against the power branches posing for legal guardians. The concepts of governing and government shift into one another, and this results in the concentration of power against the continually desintegrating society. „The power aims at denying all legitimacy of positions that are not his.” 62The paradox of the democracy directed to a legal world is that while the source of power from a legal point of view is the society (the people), the operational state isolates the individual socially and as such it prevents him/her from the possibility of participation. The state of post-modern democracy can be compared to a snake biting into its own tail: it has become a closed system, which is not only incapable of managing internal conflicts as such (because it polarises conflicts), but it is also incapable of adequately answering the challenges coming from the outside, of globalisation without surrendering this closed system, itself. What follows from all this is that for the totalitarian state that oppresses and devours everything in its way it perceives the new opportunities presented by the information age exclusively as tools and they cannot thus be interepreted as a new state and democracy quality. According to the long-ago predictions of A. de Tocqueville63, the two most important dangers to democracy are individualism and despotism. While the first category was 61

Marcel Gauchet (2002) Jean-Pierre Le Goff (2002): La démocratie post-totalitaire, La Découverte, Paris, p. 37. 63 Alexis de Tocqueville (1993) 62


interpreted as the indifference of citizens towards politics, the latter was seen as the concentration of powers, the exaggerated dependance of citizens from the state as well as the tyranny of the majority, which strangles and destroys the natural dynamics of the international operation of society. For Tocqueville democracy is not exlusively a form of governing, but it is the state-creating society (État social), in which democracy ensures identical (equal) conditions for every citizen, it is a sort of frame for the social and economic relationship systems taking shape. In this logic democracy is a force that makes society dynamic, and the function of the state is limited to maintenance of this dynamics (condition), thus the prevention that the society (state) should become a closed system.

3.5. The possible road of change: the e-state and civilised country Nearly all member-states within Europe question the established civil democracy system. It, however. remains a grave question that in the age of networks on what values and how can the state, deprived of its authority ensured by the area it covered and its culture, reorganise itself into a new type of republic and e-state? Following the logic of Pierre Lévy64the „territoriality” of the future state will be realised in cyberspace. Cyberspace itself, however, is the linguistic, cultural realisation and objectivisation of virtual space while at the same time it is the source of diversity. Every single type of realisation is the manifestation of culture. In the virtual space differences/ separations are defined by the semantic distance (that replaces spatial-time distances), the distance between the semantic content of thing, which in itself belongs to the category of culture, it is a cognitive phenomenon. From this perspective the goal of division between the concepts of state and culture is to „free” cultural in the virtual space so that countless „local” communities could be established, which are organised not so much on the grounds of physical proximity, rather than cultural identity. The proximity between communities is a semantic and socio-cultural link, which becomes objectified in the e-state. Theoretically what follows is that the organisational structure (institutions) and operation of the e-state as well as its dimensions can be exclusively interpreted via culture that retrieved its multi-dimensional nature. Thus e-state can be most adequately defined as a civilised country. In this way of thinking civilised country presupposes that the virtually organised communities are strong specific value creating communities, which are characterised by the multi-dimensionality and internal dynamics as well as network nature of culture (network is defined as free „movement” in this context = change /diversity/innovation), or to use a contemporary term, they behave as „civil society” does. The concept of „civil” in the age of information has an increasing semantic connotation. In a civilised state „civil” presupposes a new identity and society organisation linked to virtual space. In this cotext the state is no longer of an oppressive nature (power), but it fits to civil organisations and its differenty variations. It is thus no longer hierarchic (which in itself is impossible in a multidimensional virtual space), but has a horisontal relationship with society. The horisontal link is realised in a semantic space. There are countless concepts in use today to describe the age of information. Every single designation highlights another aspect of the new period, whether they called it 64

Pierre Lévy (2001): La séparation de la culture et de l’Etat. Intervir, 2001/12


information society and economy, knowledge-based economy and knowledge society, innovative economy and innovative society, cultura society (the concept of culture economy is used in a more limited fashion: it refers to the economic potential of the cultural sphere, and it’s becoming an independent economic branch). Behind the abundance of designations, however, hides the complexity and multidimensionality of the age of information. As far as we are concerned, the most adequate adjective is that of „culture” (civilised country, culture society) The nexus of the age of information and culture is the following: all phenomena which potentially define the new period belong to the virtual reality of culture. As such, they should be regarded as the various objectifications of culture. Which one will become the primary determining factor of the social and economic processes of the future is to be seen (if that will happen at all), but noone can deny that information/knowledge, the determining (strategic) resources of the information age primarily belong to the category of culture. The state is inseparable from society, because it is the source of its existance. The state is the manifestation of the social capacity of action, and as such, it belongs to the category of culture. For all the above mentioned reasons, it is not easy to comprehend the present state of affairs. And that is so because time is not a huge current that flows into one direction: „future exists paralelly to the past” (Einstein). Chatastrophic situations can evolve only when the balance between past and future is broken, when the structure of the past representing security is upset, while the establishement of new formations is still far ahead or hardly to be seen and recognised. The other important factor next to time is to territorially limit the changes, which define the management options of problems that accompany changes. History proves that every single major period change had to struggle with the problem, that concepts based in the past were confronted with such a world, which questions in its shape and movements the previous basic assumptions and evaluations of the past. In the ages of period changes enforced by grand social and economic changes, the role of culture and complex interpretation is valued once again. Culture, as the general attribute of social co-existence is not only a linguistic, religious, ethical, customary, social organisation, limited to the intellectual and spiritual means, as well as the arts, sciences and traditions, but it is the single, specific adjustment system of tools in the struggle for human survival. Culture is the self-knowledge of humans and their communities: the knowledge of weakness and handicaps, as well as it is at the same time the manifestation of perfection, overall knowledge and happiness. The question arises though: in the age of globalisation and information society how does the role and function of culture change? What is the relationship between information, knowledge and culture? All in all, we live in the transitionary period of big disintegrations and reorganisations. If we are to follow the classic division of history we could claim that humankind has reached a totally new historical period, where the civilisation of the future will takes shape after rivers, seas and ocean along the coasts of continents far away from each other, while exchange relations will be virtually organised by the up-to-date tools of information technology, on the endless roads of ether.


We have no reason to believe that history has come to an end or that the state has lost its raison d’etre, although it does not mean that the state will survie in its present form. Life and the eternal competition will continue, only the frame, the forms (and of course: the contents) will be changed. What Jean Piaget, the famous psychologist formulated, holds to in the present day, too: „unlike other animal species, which cannot change themselves without changing their species, humans successeeded in changing themselves by means that according to a timeless predestination it simply accepts the changes coming from the external or internal world.”

3.6. Governance and the disfunctional government Based on the tradition of liberal democracies, the concept of governance refers to the interaction between the state and society in Western societies. The cooperation between private sector as well as public sector actors is based on a sort of coalition tie system. Governance is nothing else but the co-ordination of social actors’ deeds based on divided and different interests. The legitimacy of governance is the result of a political process, which allows for the following of the changes occurring in the networks of social actors. From the point of view of governance, politics does not only legitimate actions but it also orientates those deeds. Within the alternating liberal democracies it is the government whose legitimacy is based on elections that also functions as the major institution of the state. The all-time governance is thus practiced along the predetermined priorities and aims, while the frameworks and functional system of any given state are defined by the institutionalised traditions ensuring state sovereignty. Thanks to this duality the state represents the simultaneous stability and change for a community. Changes materialise mostly due to the reforms initiated by internal pressure (social changes). The reform makes the emerging problems timely while respecting and taking into account the existing traditions. Because of the institutionalised traditions, however, the state is never or just rarely capable of initiating sweeping changes. Namely, because the balance between the political will (government) and the co-ordination of action between social actors (governance) is disrupted in such cases, which ultimately leads to the total dysfunction of the state (dysfunctionality).

3.7. The institutional and administrative nature of the state In the definition of Max Weber the state is primarily an institution.65 The institution is a behavioural form that has become a rule, a ruling principle in the life of a given community (law). The insitution is at the same time the entirity of practices, too, and as such it connects the members of society (e.g. the institution of marriage). The state as an institution is made up itself of a multitude of institutions (government, parliament, local governments, wellfare and administrative institutions, etc.). Their number and function is in direct relation to the proportion of state intervention and duties. According to Weber, the development of the modern state is characterised by the cumulative burocratisation besides the numerical and proportional increase of these organisations. This, however, goes hand in hand with the division of labour being based on expertise, a hierarchical organisational form and regulation (a precise regulatory system), the 65

Max Weber (1919): Le savant et le politique (


development of written documents and storage of the documentation as well as impersonal contact. 66 Every single institution disposes of a particular and specific organisational culture, practices and skills. The state therefore cannot be described as a single and standard organisation. It should be rather regarded as a framework organisation, in which different cultures and institutional logics mix, develop and frequently are in conflict with one another. The state thus from an institutional or organisational sociology perspective is the institution of institutions permanently interacting with one other. The management of the state is elected on a political basis (government, selfgovernment) and is lead by the appointed expert bodies (civil servant wing). This latter group ensures the stability and permanancy of the existing link between government and the subjects of government (society). In the alternating politics of liberal democracies their role is especially important. The administrative system of the state thus in liberal democracies has at the same time a political and administrative nature. As a consequence, the defining network system of the state is a hierarchic building comparable to a pyramid: on the top of it there are the political institutions, on the bottom of it the multitude of citizens. The numerous institutions ensure the stability of the state, functionality and its links as well as they are the origins of the administrative nature of a given country.

3.8. The struggle of the service providing state and the weak communication The concepts of government and governance often blend into one another in the literature. The two words are often used as synonyms. This adequately shows that the political and administrative function of the state is increasingly mixed. This is even more characteristic of general way of thinking. Our positive or negative evaluation of the state is dependent on the primarily administrive institutions and our opinion of public administration, since the citizen is in direct contact with the state through these institutions. This relationship has two major parts: interaction and communication. While the first one refers to the services provided by the state, the latter to the flow of information. In the modern state it is through public institutions (administrative institutions included) that both elements are realised. „The concept of service-providing state is frequently merged with the establishment of e-government, although the two concepts are not identical. The reform processes that lead to the service providing state are of authoritarian nature, practices based on the outward appearance of power and a bureaucratic mentality which is gradually replaced by a citizencentred, open-minded public sphere, in which the state provides real services to its citizens. The question, however, remains whether the service providing program of the state, with which we can only agree with, can be successfully achieved if the interaction between the state is weak, and the communication is often antagonistic. The two procedures take place paralelly in time, and the opportunities provided by new technologies for the e-government strengthen the demands for changes in bureaucratic 66

Burocracy is a French word which literally means to sit at the desk and it refers to a social group that just as the aristrocarcy it tended to isolate itself and was prone to become an oligarchy, - and of course it also refers to overzelaous proliferation of documents in offices.


procedures. The joint realisation of the service-providing state and the e-government is the recognition that this democratic process makes the state more profitable.”67E-government is not only a technological modernisation, but a hidden experiment to restore the partnership between society and the state. In the modern state service-providing is nothing but the execution of state duties in a systematic, more or less efficient way. The citizens who make use of the particular service can exert their influence exclusively in a political way (representative democracy), but have no right for direct intervention. Public administration institutions have decision rights that fall only under their own jurisdiction. In the exercise of governance they primarily fill in an executionary role. In an optimal scenario they also have a communiational mediating role between the goverment and society. The flow of information in the modern state is characteristically a one way process, and due to the hierarchic structure and the evolved decision making mechanisms, it is also slow. The reaction time of the state is inversely proportional to the quick changes resulting in social demands. This however, draws our attention to the lack of interactive communication, while on the other hand to the outdated functioning of the state. This all documents that after the separation of politics and society, disfunctionalism is in a chronic state. The future and success rate of the service-providing state depends to a large extent on how we define services, and what place is ensured to them in the democratic functioning of the state. To put it differently: what is the relation between the concepts of governance and service? In the context of the post-modern totalitarian state, where the political and administrative nature of the state has been mixed up as a consequence of the legislative domain where democracy has been directed, service providing aims towards a more efficient and cheaper state rather than providing qualitatively new framework for the functioning of the state. The direct interactive communication between the citizen and state institutions namely does not resolve but instead further strengthens the anti-democratic processes of the postmodern state, that is individualisation and the exaggerated dependence on the state. The service-centred democracy creates a new paradox. On the one hand, within the context of citizen and state relationship it liquidates the remaining self-governance of people for good as introduces stealthily the logics of coorporation management efficiency and technics into governance. Theoretically speaking this leads to the fulfillment of totalitarian state, the solidification of the power structure of the political state as well as the winding up of the social body of the state (État social). On the other hand, however, the service providing state will be well received only on the condition that it will be able to meet the singular, particular needs/interests of the individuals to the largest degree possible. The service providing state therefore will inevitably move into the direction of marketisation of state functions (as the sevices are the defining economic term of the 21st century). New infocommunication technologies do not only strengthen this process, but they also generate it. The market induces structures that are alien to the operating principle of the modern state and have a global effect. First it loosens, then it breaks up the state based on territoriality, it sweeps away the model of cultural homogeneity for good and thus it shatters those insitutions that were established according to institutionalised traditions and within the territory of the state they enjoyed monopoly and as such they serve as the pillars of the political state. Service67

e-Kormányzat Stratégia és Programterv (E-governance Strategy and Programme) MEH, 2003, p. 6.


centred democracy theoretically speaking also implies the destruction of the last bastions of the modern state. Does the state devour itself!? This possibility, however, is far from being certainty. If we come back to the original definition of democracy, and contrary to the definition provided by Marcel Gauchet, we identify democracy not so much with the modern state but society, as for instance Tocqueville did, then we have to admit that it is not the state as a coietal formation but post-totalitarian state rooted in modernity and linked to the nation-state is disappearing. The formation of democracy in the information age basically depends on the ways we define those conditions, which are equally important to all members of a given community (society), which provide safety and which could be identified with (thus form a basis for identities). As the effects of globalisation are to be felt in a different way and degree in different parts of the world, we must say that the state of the information age at a local level look very different from one another. To focus on the present though, we cannot withhold the fact that the service-providing state is not the only and non-evadable alternative nowadays. The most frequent criticism with regards to the service-providing state is that the state regards the ensuring of citizens competitiveness, thus the adjustment to the challenges of global economy as its primary task rather than defending society from the negative effects of globalisation. Contrary to the neoliberal concept of the service-providing state, the concept of „social investment-centred state” (État-investissement social)68is based on the principle that the state does not necessarily have to serve globalisation, even though globalisation cannot be evaded and joining the global economy as well as the wide application of info-communicational technologies are elementary necessities. The social investment type of state, however, interpretes competitiveness broadly. Its task is thus the liquidation of imbalances that originate in society, which could be the obstacles to the competiveness of a given community or region: poverty, education, health and environmental situation, deviance and crime, discrimination, etc.69 The state is responsible for every single citizen, but contrary to the wellfare and service-providing state it does not focus on the invidiual but rather on the quality of life of communities by providing „well fare” investments and thus ensuring equal conditions. The state that focuses on social investments aims not only for a balance between the global economy and social peace, but it also struggles to protect the unity of society, state, democracy. The concept of nation is consciously replaced by the concept of communities, which on the one hand respects the cultural diversity of local worlds, on the other hand it promotes the internal dynamics of local societies. All in all, the concept of social investment-centred state is one of the alternatives of keeping a balance between the local and global, where the state serves as the loose coordinator of local spatial structures. It does not lead them, but it orientates the ever changing relationships of the information age. The services provided to the citizens and their communities are thus not only of public interest and serve as investments aiming at equalizing society and its cohesion, which do not integrate market mechanisms into social structures, but also guarantee and ensure the balance between society and economy. In this context the natural solidarity between localities, while in the relationship to the state it is the subsidiarity


David Cameron– Janice Gross Stein (2000): Mondialisation, culture et société: La place de l’État au sein d’espaces changeants, Canadian Public Policy – Analyse dePolitiques, vol. XXVI Supplement/Numéro Spécial 2/2000. 16. p. 36. 69 David Cameron– Janice Gross Stein (2000): p. 29.


principle that prevails. In this logic the state is not a power concentrating institution, but a partner.


Chapter Four: In the current of new paradigms 4.1. The paradigm that looks back from the future and paradigm change Paradigm is the totality of those coherent theoretical systems that interpret a determined a set of problems from a specific point of view in a structural way. As Einstein’s famous theorem goes, the trouble, however, always remains the same: a problem can never be solved with the same way of thinking as what had generated it in the first place. Within the context of natural sciences, more than one theoretical system (paradim) exists side by side, yet independently from each other. The essentials of the paradigm always consist as novel ways of raising questions and finding solutions that re-interpret objective reality (e.g.: mechanics as understood by Newton, the theory of relativity by Einstein, geometry by Euclid, geometry by Bólyai). The basis of social scientific thinking is recognition, thus the analysis of the objective factors valid everywhere which have an impact on the functioning of society. Paradigm change means that humans start thinking about themselves, their relationship to the world in an essentially different manner, and as such they create a new reality for themselves by regulating their social relationships in a new light. The paradigm of social sciences is such a theoretical system, which intereprets and coherently describes as well as conceptualises the fundamentals of change, discloses the reasons of change and its consequences. The changes and the birth of a new paradigm do not necessarily go hand in hand in time. The development of paradigm can either preceed or follow the changes.70 Both in time and space these are sequences of minuscule changes which are structurally linked to one another as they all attempt to give answers to a set of problems that occurs in a determined historical situation (anomalies). The paradigm shifts of major era changes are characterised by the multiplication of anomalies; as a consequence of anomalies that had previously been only indirectly connected, paradigms slide into one another. In the overview of the age of information we will focus on the determining connections of the new era rather than its historical development. The logic we chose to build the chapter upon aims at understanding those social, economic, cultural trends of past and present which are pressurising force in the changes of the state of the age of information with regards to its function, tasks and operation. We should stress it, however, in advance: no other era has been so much characterised by continuous paradigm change than the current one. This brings about a curious situation: the reality of the future is possible to foresee and the paradigm that looks back on us from the future can be deduced and it examines us from the presence.


On the paradigm perception of natural sciences and social sciences refer to the works of T. S Kuhn and K. Popper (See: Thomas S. Kuhn (1984): A tudományos forradalmak szerkezete (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) Gondolat Könyvkiadó, Budapest; Karl Popper (1998): Test és elme (Knowledge and the MindBody Problem: In Defence of Interactionism, Typotex Kiadó, Budapest


4.2. The accepted paradigm of sustainable development Starting from the third part of the twentieth century the world has had to face three grave problems that defined the social and economic changes of the world: overpopulation, the explosive growth in consumption and the depletion of natural resources. These three paradigms individually are already capable of inducing grave changes. Their collective global appearance and the sliding of paradigms into one another, however, have questioned our previous world view at its fundaments.

The anomalies of growth trends in the industrial society By the turn of the millenium the population of the world surpassed the six billion mark. This raises a number of new, global economic and social problems because questions arise not only about how many people can the world sustain, but also about unequal distribution, age and composition of the population as well as disproportionate difference in the economic development.71 While two thirds of the population is concentrated outside of the developed North, primarily on the Asian continent, and they deal with subsistence problems due to the dynamic growth, Western countries face problems originating in the decrease and rapid aging of their in population. While on the one side the growing poverty and the counterbalancing „ruinous exploitation”causes grave crises, on the other side the economic growth and overproduction as well as the unsustainability of wellfare societies have a similar devastating impact. Tension has increased between North and South, for one is poor and the other rich – while specific economic, social and cultural elements have contributed to a worsening situation. In economics, energy resources so indispensable to the growth of industrial economy are on the wane. The potential quaries are mostly in the third world. The basis of economic growth is efficiency; the principle is large production - cheap cost. To realise this principle expenses should necessarily decrease so much at the level of production of raw materials (exploitation, processing, transportation) as at the level of manufacturing and sale of products. The logical consequence of production effeciency and growth is on the one hand that the centre of gravity of industrial production is slipping towards the thirld world. As a consequence, we may notice an increase in the unemployment rate, disappearance of traditional professions which result in increased migration while respectively the aging of society overloads the welfare system in the developed North. This last process is well illustrated state debts, a phenomenon observed in the most developed countries. The global crisis has become unmanagable at the local level. If the state strictly regulated migration, the welfare system would collapse due to the aging population (e.g. France, Germany). If it allowed unlimited migration, although this would result in the preservation of the balance of age composition, nevertheless it would also lead to grave social and political conflicts rooted in cultural problems (e.g. UK). To manage these problems the state needs to create new institutions, thus the expenses don’t decrease, but further grow.


In the last fifty years world population increased from 2.5 billion to 6 billion people. According to present calculations of the UN, world population rise to 8-9 billion. According to the report released by WWF, humankind transgressed the biological carrying capacities of the Earth in 1999. The present surfeit is 120% while according to the calculations of William Rees that could reach 180-200 at present-day consumption levels. We thus need one or more “Earths” for humankind to survive. William Rees: Planète vivante, Rapport, 2000; Rapport planète Vivante 2002.


The situation is not easier in the countries of the thirld world either, where cheap labour and raw materials, overpopulation and destruction of natural resources make it impossible to end poverty. Next to social problems it is the cultural conflict between tradition and modernisation as well as the exploited natural environment that make difficulties insurmountable (Islamic countries, the poor countries of Africa, Asia and South America). One of the repercussions is that states run up debts and will eventually stop being operational. Another group of problems originate in the „consumption” linked to the functioning of economy. Traditional industry is based on the inexhaustibility and the free interchangability of natural resources. The one and only limitation of transportation of raw materials and manufactured products as well as production of waste is the efficiency of production and competitiveness rather than the reasonable management of raw materials. The explosive growth in consumption led to the drastic pollution of the environment. In this consumption food represents only a small proportion, which means that growing demands are no longer propelled by sustenance; rather the economic activity in its outdated extravagant form and the „ideology” of over-consumption built on social prestige, which plays down needs. While the biggest danger lies in the pollution of the environment, all elements are present; their weight depends on particular geographical regions and economic development. The changed environment has started to impact our everyday lives, too. Who would have thought that there are 500 chemicals in the human body that weren’t there at the beginning of the twentieth century (resulting in allergies and the general weakening of the immune system). The other great danger is posed by the radical decrease in the amount of drinking water.72 Biodiversity is gradually eroding. Land clearing does not only lead to the extinction of species, but also the absence in photosynthesis, which results in the decreased oxygen content of the air. Social problems are comparable to environmental pollution in terms of quantifiable danger: the discrepancy between material needs, study opportunities, access to health care, human longevity are all on the increase. Since demands are led by human desires rather than needs, a new element of social problems is linked to running up debts, which touches so much upon individuals as on states. It is a specifically new phenomenon that the borrowing is linked to „consumption”: creditworthiness is judged by heating and lighting charges as well as telephone bills by banks. Consumption thus does not lead to equal social opportunities, as it was thought in the 1960s and 70s; on the contrary, it only strengthens social levels.

Globalisation vs. Localisation in the 1990s Functional globalisation primarily developed in the economic sphere, based upon the logics of growth. Appropriately, taking into account the current growing rate, 30 percent of the world’s total output in terms of GDP is made up by a hundred multinational companies. This proportion could reach 50 percent by 2030. The measure in the increase of economic growth can be most notably seen on money-markets: while in 1990 on a yearly basis 25 72

The decrease is so radical that many experts believe that the major wars of the 21st century will be fought for drinking water rather than oil.


percent of the world production was exchanged on capitalist markets, this proportion was 184 percent by 2000. From the point of view of sustainable development it is an especially negative phenomenon that increasingly it is the short-term transactions that enjoy priority.73 Easy enrichment, sure profit does not favour such investments as environmental protection or the development of welfare systems, where long-term goals need to be realised. It is not by chance the biggest problems in European countries are in these domains. The disinterest of the private sector in social distribution systems has resulted in state debts, cuts in wellfare services and the increase of taxes on the population. Ultimately, it leads to the erosion of social market economy both as an idea and institution. Another fact is organically linked to this inequality: namely, the technological innovation centres are specifically limited to the OECD countries. 90% of patents come to light in these states, and the access and application of these new technologies is mostly limited the Northern hemisphere (82,5% of advantage). This does not only mean that those modern technologies that are environmental friendly are applied only to a very limited degree in the poor countries which make up most of the world, but it also implies that due to the increasing impoverishment and technological backwardness, the environmental pollution as a risk factor that endangers the whole world has increased, too. The problem is ever the graver if we take into account the current population growth in the thirld world further diminishes Earth’s carrying capacities. The detrimental effects of the liberal economic model based on growth can be best observed at the local level. It used to be a generally accepted view that the prosperity of the Western world could not be undermined. The reality, however, was that social divisions started already in the 1980s and 90s. While the standard of living, life expactancy and education rate have all strongly increased according to statistics, society has become increasingly unequal. One of the paradoxes of development is that the amount of people living on social benefits and those homeless are in direct ratio with the increase. In the UK the number of poor people has doubled in the last twenty years. Similar tendencies are observed in other countries of Europe, too. Another characteristic of new poverty is that there is a strong inequality in terms of standard of living, but especially in terms of quality of life not so much at a continental level, but rather at a country or regional level. There is a general trend noticeable in the Western world: namely, since the beginning of the 1980s a significant increase of GDP per person went hand in hand with a lag in the indicators of economic welfare.74 Presently, the economy based on growth functions on a self-inducing basis which has no regard to social requirements. The appearance of new poverty makes us concentrate on the fact that the presently applied indicators of economic development are not suitable to measure the real scale of development because they do not take into account such factors of human welfare (well-fare) as quality of life, the state of the environmental milieu, life expectancy at birth, individual and community solidarity and co-operation ability, the physical and moral state of citizens, as well as political stability. Between the functional globality and locality there is often an 73

While in 1990 a business transaction generally required 19 months, by 2000 the amount of time needed decreased to 6 months. 74 While GDP growth per capita was around 30% in the USA between 1980 and 1997, economic welfare indicators increased only by 4%. In the UK, 10% increase in welfare indicators went hand in hand with 40% of GDP growth per capital. Although with significant difference, similar tendencies are observed in France, Belgium and Canada, too. See: Lars Osberg – Andrew Sharpe: International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being, in Social Indicators Research vol. 58, Nos 1-3, 2002, 349-382.o.


irreconcilable conflict: while economic growth takes place at a global level, social problems occur at a local level. It results in increased state debts, discredited political and social institutions, as well corruption and social discontent.75

The state has become a bone of contention between functional globalisation and localisation In the last half century the dominant point of view has been that only economic growth makes permanent social welfare possible. „The best of policies is good economic policy”- is echoed everywhere. This, however, has all but become an empty catchphrase within the 21st century context; people do not take responsibility for one another. Global economy is often „blind” when it comes to social sensitivities76, while the state is incapacitated against the economy. The biggest danger in the conflict between functional global (economy) and local (society) is for the state whose defencelessness increases to both sides.

4.3. Is a new „ideology” born on how to continue? It is the basic document of sustainable development, the Brundtland report that points to the fact that the Earth as biosphere is a unity, which on the long run does not tolerate the division based exclusively on economic competition. The authors of the report started from the optimist assumption that world production can be increased five to tenfold without any grave consequences to the ecosystem of the Earth. This growth is then sufficient to eliminate arrears and especially poverty all around the globe on the condition that international political, economic and social actors join forces and think responsibly.77 The realisation of sustainable development is based primarily on the moral commitment for the future of political, economic and social actors. Some fifteen years later, before Rio and Johannesburg, however, Mme Brundtland, the former president of the committee openly expressed the following: „Each and every one of us has to share in the responsibility to eliminate poverty, fear and injustice. The passport we hold has no significance; we are all citizens of the world. Being a world citizen makes us have rights and priviledges, but also responsibilities, too. (...) This means that we continuously have to control our actions and the manner we live so that we can cut down our ecological imprints and that we could create a liveable world for all of us.” The world’s ecological conservation thus has become a moral question, and that has new and defining consequences for the state. Finding a solution to environmental problems has become a global issue, it cannot be any longer managed within geographical limitations. However, it is in every segment of social and economic life that these measures have to be implemented. While on the one hand the co-operation of nations is needed, on the other hand, at a local level, it requires the implementation of complex measures. Lifting ecological 75

See the papers in the volume Les nouveaux utopistes de développement durable - dir. Anne-Marie Ducroux (Autrement, collection Mutation no 216, Paris, 2002): Sylvain Côté: Rechercher autre chose, mesurer autrement, p. 40-47. – Daniel Dommel: Corruption et développement durable: deux notions antinomiques, p.145-149. – Ce qui n’est pas mesuré n’est pas géré (entretien avec Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel), 216.o. – Luc Ferry: Le progrès en est-il un? p. 250-259. 76 Dominique Bourg: Les fondements du développement durable: la limite et les fins. idem. p. 244-249. 77 Our Common Futur, 1987


movements into the domain of politics and public life function as an ideology, just as culture and religion does (see eco-social market economy). This has a major impact on state responsibility and organisation. International co-operation required the multitude of supra-national organisations, which do not only weaken state competence but they also narrow the framework of national souverenity. To solve and manage issues at a local level, new institutions were needed to coordinate the new state organisations and institutions. Proliferating bureaucracy results in a top heavy state and increased state budgets.

4.4. How does the theory of sustainable development develop? The concept and practice of sustainable development has significantly changed by today. The pursuit that originally privileged but ecological considerations has in the meantime grown into a global movement. After the careful examination of the complex relationship between humans and nature, it concluded that against our best intentions the human-created world in its present form cannot be harmonised with the natural capacities of the earth. The developmental model based on economic growth has become so widespread that even when strictly regulated it cannot impede environmental pollution while these limitations further increase the poverty in the third world.78 The tensions between North and South are not only the root causes of insecurity in international politics and real wars, but also endanger whole continents. One of the biggest recognitions of the past half century is that Earth and within it, humankind form a unity. Globalisation and localisation can only be examined within this context.79 According to the definition provided by the economist Ignacy Sachs, and this already represents a new model, sustainable development has five dimensions, namely: ƒ Society (growth, vision), ƒ Economy (distribution, resource distribution, management and effectiveness of resources), ƒ Protection of the environment ( minimalisation of human intervention), ƒ Space structure/ regionalism (relaxation of differences between cities and provinces, regional development), ƒ Culture (increase in the plurality of local solutions in order to respect cultural continuity) What does sustainable development mean today after all? The answer is relatively simple: “it is the search for a new developmental model”. To put it differently, behind the movement lies the global vision of the future, whose raison d’etre consists of dangers that are continuously generated everywhere in the world, which do not only endanger our present world but also the existence of human societies and civilisations. Although the majority of scientists see the problem only as a side question, the view that sustainable development is not exclusively an economic and/or environmental issue has gained terrain. Even economists whom are most sensitive to ecological issues have to admit that sustainability is a multi78

Anne-Marie Ducroux: 10 questions-réponses, p.13-18. Rééquilibrer le plus, le mieux, le moins, p. 19-25 – Dominique Bourg: Les fondements du développement durable: la limite et les fins, p. 244-249. 79 Ignacy Sachs (1997): L’écodéveloppement, stratégie pour le XXIe siècle, Paris (éd. Syros / Alternatives économiques)


dimensional problem which has at least four or five projections. The fundamentals of sustainable development are factors no longer in hierarchic relationship with one another as it was projected in previous developmental models, but carry identical weight in the formation of the foundation of the future world. In the new model the global and the local are in close symbiosis.80 Meeting the social, economic and cultural requirements at the local level after all serve the realisation of a global sustainable development. The vision of knowledge-based society and economy drew attention to the determining role of culture. Next to education and continuous studies that bridge through a lifetime, it has become ever clearer that for the realisation of the developmental model based on innovation and applicable knowledge, innovative milieu and innovative potential at local level are essential pre-requisites. The competitive power of the information age is thus as much an economic and social question as it is a cultural issue. Culture and social patterns that are fed by it are at the same time defining the rationalisation of consumption. At the Johannesburg summit of 2002 the relationship between culture and environmental protection has received a special colour. In the countries where cultural and linguistic diversity is at its highest such as in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Congo, the Philippines, USA, China, Peru, Columbia, etc, biodiversity is also at its greatest.81 It is especially interesting that the highest number of languages used by indigenous population, the richer the local biodiversity. Studies have shown that local cultures have always shaped their specific symbiosis with their natural environment. However, the dramatic contradiction is that among these countries we find the poorest 25 countries in the whole world.

Sustainable state as a new state theory Ecological problems have increasingly made it obvious that the question cannot be solved by itself. The recommendations of the Club of Rome are the following as far as sustainable economy is concerned: 1. Future production should be organised in a way that similarly to the natural acclimatisation processes are a closed process. To put it differently, during the processes of transformation, transportation, use and destruction of raw materials one should aim at producing the minimum of non-recycable waste (industrial metabolism). 2. During production we should aim at reduction of physical raw materials. In processing we should emphasise the added value and intangible assets such as software. 3. In a dematerialised economy the role of services grows and due to computer applications the material and energy use can be optimalised (intelligent equipment). 4. By using energy and raw material resources optimally, we use them to the highest efficiency (nano-technology, usage of renewable energy resources, need-based consumer savings).

80 The document of the European Union states: “Locality plays an essential role in the realisation, politics and strategy of sustainable development.â€?, Vers un dĂŠveloppement durable (1993-2000)


As the Club of Rome pointed out, the indispensable requirement for sustainable economic development is technological development which presupposes the development of human factor production. This, however, is a complex task because the developmental requirement of human knowledge (intellectual capital) presupposes the redistribution of such quality values as tradition, creativity, knowledge and healthy environment. The interaction of the two new values, the technological and human factors of production, induces a change in the relationship between the individual and community as well as citizen and state. To put it otherwise, it goes hand in hand with the re-evaluation of role of the state and its functioning. When we speak of state and governance reform, we should not simplify this problem to a smaller and cheaper state, because the essentials of change lie in fundamentally new relationships characterised by growth in globalisation and localisation, technical and technological development and intellectual capital as well as decrease of over-regulatory ability on society. The question arises, however: can a sustainable state model be created? Although the paradigms that induced change are tangible, there is no answer to that so far. Finding a solution is all the more difficult because globalisation and localisation as well as the types of state and way of functioning are in constant shift. A consequence of functional globalisation is that economy frequently by-passes national frameworks as such. Its independence is nevertheless hindered by the economic roles of the state. All in all, we can sum up the defining paradigms of sustainable state as follows: • The intellectual capital plays a central role when it comes to mixing tradition and creativity in an objective manner, in itself a result of the multidimensional relations between the individual and community. The usable knowledge and capacities infiltrate economic processes as intellectual property. Gaining, developing and using capacities and knowledge are essentially different from one another, and this increases the autonomy of the individual from the state while the relationship between the individual and community, the place where the information and knowledge is gathered (as tradition and creativity is information since it is acquired knowledge), is further strengthened. • The “functioning” of intellectual capital/property presupposes co-operative strategies among individuals. These take place on the following grounds: 1. socialisation (acquired norms) and individual creative action; 2. economy (where intellectual capital produces profit); 3. community and democracy (ensuring the requirements of creative background) • The community made up of individuals can either be local (built on direct human relationships) or due to info-communication technologies global and virtual in nature. Communal identity transgresses the frame given by traditional nation states (e.g. virtual identity). The relationship between the individual and the state loosens, as much as the impact of the state on community weakens, too. • As problems are global and highly complex in their nature, finding solutions is not possible within the framework of nation states. Sustainable development presupposes cooperation and participation so much between individual units as economy, society – within it the geographically definable community or virtual communities (jointly called civil society) – and the state.


Chapter Five: New dimensions of general and enigmatic development 5.1. Space and time dimensions of changes In the comparative table provided by Daniel Bell, information is a means of change and a resource that induces in itself while knowledge appears as a strategic resource as far as the content and quality of change is concerned. Information and its content (= knowledge) can be distinguished not only with regards to their function but also in time. Although the futureoriented and strategic resources that induce change and thus already function in the present presuppose each other, are not identical with one another. The well-definable relative independence of resources both refers to the spatial dimension of paradigm change, namely to the linking of information to technological tools (data transfer) and its global nature as well time dimension, which allows for historic approaches. From a historical perspective two if not three developmental stages can be distinguished: • The information stage which is infrastructurally defined (computer and information economy and society) • The content-oriented and knowledge-producing stage (which is still partially information and mostly knowledge society) • The developmental stage that is defined by intellectual technology (its specific name is yet to be defined). Its direction, however, is definitely tangible: it is the symbiosis between those technical tools that are at this stage still separate from one another.82 Manuel Castells83 expressly speaks of information technological revolution. In his opinion the new age basically originates in technologies and it gains its meaning through it, too. In his analysis of the information age he indicates that the first stage of the technological revolution evolved in the first part of the 1970’s, in a time when industrial economy was at its rock bottom as a consequence of traditional production methods. He goes on to explain that there was a discrepancy in between technological developments and their application. Technologies need time to be soaked up by economy and society, before they become generally used and elements of civilisation. The fact that the processes of post-industrial paradigm change and developmental stages are possible to foresee and traced well before their actualisation is exclusively based upon its unparalleled characteristics of the new being future-oriented and so designable. Information hence carries all-important defining features of the age of post-industrial society. Namely, the concept of information appropriately describes the new age of civilisation. From this perspective information society and knowledge society are united and presuppose if not convey the essence of technological unfolding built on human intelligence. Separating the information age to étaps is from a theoretical point of view is an artificial endeavour and it is indeed artificial in reality, too. Its significance is rather based on the 82

It is this period that Csaba Varga calls the age of „consciousness society” (Csaba Varga: The Culture of the Globolocal World, eWorld, August 2006, p. 2-10.) 83 Manuel Castells (2002): Az internet-galaxis, Network TwentyOne; M. Castells (2005): A hálózati társadalom kialakulása (The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture), GondolatInfónia, Budapest.


understanding of a possible future and the delineation of “possible future images” rather than utopias (thus trends and perspectives) as well as from a sociological perspective. While the first serves as the recognition and understanding of the nature of information age, the second as social adaptation, the practical realisation of the new civilisation age as well as portrayal of the relationship between humans, tools and content. These two possible approaches are linked by the definiteness of humans within space and time, his/her historic reality. While it is unquestionably true that space and time is given a widely new, distended frame by globalisation and communication globalisation, nothing entitles us to deny the embededness of humans in historic time.

5.2. The cognitive nature of information and its consequences Due to the historical approach a new possibility opens up, namely, that information and knowledge can be examined as sharply separate entities from oneother, thus information society and knowledge society can be analysed independently in their specific reality. This examination is, however, only possible in theory, it serves nothing but to describe the emerging knowledge societies and that involve them in the planning process. In reality nevertheless separating information and knowledge as knowledge content carried by information is not such a simple matter. The reason is rooted in the nature of information. This type of complexity is already referred by the Latin concept of information, informatio, informationis. That is, idea, concept, the image of things, the imprint that it leaves behind in the consciousness, it is an idea. The concept can be traced back to the verb informo, -are and denotes the action of creation, molding, in a figurative sense, that we create an image of something. As we will prove it subsequently, information is not a simple data and it is not limited only to the data transfer ensured by technological tools. In the shaping of information the image and the sound plays at least an identical role to the written text. Information thus is already complex in its visible form which unequivocally refers to the data message and complexity of content inherent in information, and even more in the set of data. The textual, image and sound visualisation make it possible for the user to loosen the parts from this set. These parts in themselves are capable of carrying singular, applicable information. The concept of information includes “historicity”: namely, the gathering of data, their linking into sets, their storage and transfer and the opening up of sets. With this the process does not come to an end, since it restarts in a self-inducing way. Information can be understood exclusively if in the interminable process we regarded it as an “elementary process”, its energy coming from the knowledge that information is made up of. The single exchange of information is visualisation of an image in which human intelligence manifests itself in its entirety. Information is part of a communication process and thus is not a product which “yields to knowledge”.84 It is also not simply a “data processing in the broadest sense of the word (storage, achievement, processing of knowledge).85 Information is far broader than these definitions. Information society answers the basic cognitive needs of people. 84

Opinions are far from being identical when it comes to information. Thus for instance Dretske, an American philosopher regards information as mere merchandise which has knowledge output. See also: Fred I. Dretske (1981) Knowledge and the Flow of Information, Cambridge, Mass. The MIT Press. 85 Daniel Bell (1999)


Due to the multidimensional formal appearance, information “speaks more languages” and these “languages” that are of iconic, sound and textual nature within information communicate, strengthen or weaken, explain one another, hidden knowledge elements may come to the surface, they point to coherence with other knowledge/pieces of information, and imperatively instruct. The user of information latches onto this multilingual communication, becomes “active” partaker of it. On the communication network (Internet) information in itself creates a “virtual world”, in between “actors”, and the formal elements of information belong to this category, thus there is interaction. The more multilingual is information, the more perfect the communication, information efficiency. To degrade information to data carries numerous risks. For instance, when a network of computers started out in the USA as the central program of intelligent development, the earnest goal was to cut back on the country’s paper consumption. What happened in reality, however, was that the paper consumption did not only not decrease, but it grew with 10 million tons annually. The studies showed that within paper consumption the printing of increased machine data were significant. The phenomenon proves the cultural definiteness of information. The realisers of the program beyond the economic and environmental concerns did not take into account that the reading habits of “Gutenberg galaxis” generation, their interpretational techniques, the visual culture of documentation, systematisation and gathering of indirect information is closedly linked to the book. The generally used communication was limited to the written or spoken lanauge. The iconic language use which was dominantly used until the end of the Middle Ages was slowly forgotten, and has been exiled to “high culture”. Disregarding the cultural background of society, it will hold in not only the capitalisation on information but also the innovative processes generated by knowledge carried by information. As a result, information can only become sterling (efficient) and society-shaping resource if it goes together with the development of cultural environment, the social environment containing explicit and tacit knowledge. What follows from the above is not simply the necessity to speak foreign languages as part of the development of information society. Besides the written text, the significance of iconic and spoken language, namely, its use, understanding and interpretation is at least as important in the utilization and shaping of information as the knowledge of how to use technical tools.86 Lacking multilinguality in its broadest sense of the word, information loses its essence and it will become indeed no more than a data rived off its contexts.

5.3. Communication globalisation and information society The information age is not a direct consequence of globalisation, although globalisation cannot be considered a new pheonomenon since human history could be described as the history of globalisation. Nevertheless it is an unequivocal fact that to every type of globalisation one could assign a technical/technological “element”, which determines or as it were, gives meaning to globalisation not to mention that in most cases it also accelerates it. In almost every case this technical/technological element is the objectified 86

Even beyond IT knowledge there is a sort of abstract „language”, that of programming.


manifestation of a new scientific discovery. Behind it though lies a whole set of untapped knowledge, which induces innovative processes that have the potential of becoming the motor of a given civilisation. Innovation has an inducing effect both on economy and society as the technology created by globalisation and the new discovery generates a continuous flow of needs.87 The globalisation of information age is made civilisation sense of by communication. Information society is fundamentally also the paradigm of communication globalisation. The triumph of communication technology and communication has the potential to tangibly interprete knowledge society and information society.88 Knowledge society and the basis, infrastructure and carrier of information society, that is, communication technology does not only provide a frame but it also generates content. These contents, which carry positive knowledge, can be difficult to define because contents that flow within the infocommunicational system are equally valid, thus have an identical value. Or to put it slightly differently, we could also claim that they do not have value in comparison to one another. The datalike nature of information is thus explained in this manner and so is the phenomenon of how specific functional spheres can exist paralelly on the global information network. Defining the value of information, qualifying mediated knowledge is a task performed by the user. In the selection and utilization of knowledge the decisive factor is the knowledge, skills and internal motivation of the individual. The role of the individual is thus of utmost importance. The formations of information society and knowledge society embody such needs that can only possibly exists if communication is global. The new need pressurizes society, while society demands gratification in an institutionalised form. It falls on the individual social persons to realise this task.

5.4. Does knowledge society bring about primordial model change? What follows from the above train of thought is also that information society and the materialization of knowledge society often almost intertwine. As far as we are concerned this can be explained primarily by the idiosyncracies (of knowledge carrier characteristics) of information and infrastructural definiteness. So that in the materialization of information age social values and goals (social-puch) should not be treated unfavourably in relation to tehnopuch, it is therefore important to distinguish between the various stages of development. The authors do not believe that the economic and social model of the future containing strategy of sustainable development and future necessarily has to exclusively accept knowledge society as such. However, the global, continental, national and local systems of 87

The above mentioned are equally valid for antiquity. The dawn of human civilisation and the history of working metals is a typical example that globalisation is not determined by civilisation: for the birth of bronze one would need to know so much the characteristics of metals as metallurgy and would also have to know where to find copper and tin. The addition of these did not only result in the development of new technology, but it also fastened globalisation processes since producing bronze required to continuously secure raw materials. All this both at globaland local levels led to a new type of labour division, the creation of novel demands. In consequence, the innovation process started to permeate all segments of the economy and society. 88 Endre Kiss, (2005, 2006)


knowledge society equally offer positive recognitions and solutions to avert ecological catastrophes, too. The world models of knowledge society, or in the global world the partial knowledge society islands exist only if we take notice of that the future is not exclusively the unchangable consequence of the past and present, but that the future, partially independently of the starting conditions, is capable of being shaped. The ideal of knowledge society does not merely start off with the notion what economic and social innovations are made or not made possibly by the Central European or Hungarian belated developmental model. The requirement is strict: knowledge society is an ideal goal, an image of the future, a theory as well as the existence and quality of a governmental and social program. Knowledge society is an ideal: the separate and joint ideal of knowledge and society. The ideal of knowledge is the concentrated acquirement of new knowledge, theory knowledge, consciousness knowledge, skill knowledge, spiritual knowledge, action knowledge; all this put together is new knowledge and new consciousness. The ideal of society is the conscious creation of a new society, a community-based society on every level of world structure (thus global, continental, national and local), finding a balance between global and local, not so much a hierarchical but a network-based society. Knowledge + society together is not power or capital-centred, but knowledge-based and knowlege-led society, and it is structured not only on the basis of division of assets and labour, but it is rather a horizontal society that makes use of knowledge and creativity. Every society is a virtual (and frightening) labyrinth which more often than not has no exit. Knowledge society, however, contrary to the above described is such a virtual network, although it has no labyrinth and scary characteristics in which movement is effortless and has numerous exits. The maps of future traffic can be closely defined by the ideal of knowledge society while the development of traffic is capable of realising 70-80% of this ideal. We do not totally understand knowledge society if we still believe that economy, knowledge – new knowledge, ecology or the state will have nearly the same function as they do today. In the age of knowledge society economy is no longer a neoliberalist system, an self-centred economic system that spans across nations. Instead, although still market-based it will be an environment- and society-friendly as well as knowledge-centred solid economy or ethical economy which could be called society economy. In the new times the state is no longer unchanged either and the changes are not limited to e-governance and e-democracy. By means of these changes power is is not a multiple concentrated but just as economy is, it is a network service that is environment- and society-friendly, serving citizens and utilizing knowledge. The role and functioning of nature and environment protection is altogether different, too, and the new phenomenon is not simplifiable to accepting environment economy as a subsystem of economy, but that economy, building homes, technological development, public administration, education, etc., should all do their bit to keep the ecological balance of the Earth and if possible, to further strengthen it. What is going to or could become positively new in knowledge society is that the presently isolated, torn systems and subsystems of human civilisation and culture could near each other once again and an organised chaos could come into being, a quantum integration type of megasystem that is not of hierarchical nature, thus an element would not dominate the rest, but in the new, network system every element would co-operate and mutually control one another. For the above to happen there is a need for immense knowledge, utilisation of knowledge and global network organisation – self-organisation that is supported by artificial intelligence. Knowledge society as a global model could partially materialise by the mid-21st century.


Knowledge society is essentially the social dimension of information age. It is that moment in the course of becoming a civilisation when the technical/technological potentials are utilised, in our case that includes computer science and re-organising society. To put it otherwise, the information systems presently more or less used by society, would become the central pillars of knowledge society through which not only knowledge elements (pieces of information) but also knowledge flows. Finally, knowledge society most likely brings about primordial model change in the history of humanity. In order that we understand the social and economic role of knowledge and define the capital value of knowledge, we must briefly sum up what we mean by the concept of knowledge. Knowledge, the information continuum that is supplied by specific organisational features, which are distributed through computer networks becomes part of social capital, although it is not identical with it.

5.5. Redefining knowledge capital and the types of pulling forces of the era Frequently “knowledge capital” is equated with knowledge acquired in schools, and is called intellectual capital. In reality knowledge is, however, a complex concept, and some of its elements have capital value, while others do not. The insecurity or risk factor is that the two cannot be separated. For want of better we shall claim that for the time being only utilisable knowledge has capital value. Such a definition of knowledge is primarily shared by economists and it is closedly linked with the concept of innovation. In this context thus theoretical knowledge is not part of the knowledge capital. This approach is contradicted by the fact that information due to its complexity detailed above, according to which information itself is complex, a knowledge set in which knowledge elements are compressed. The complex formal appearance of it is capable of separating the knowledge elements of information and thus it can be oriented to find new connections. Therefore it is very difficult to predict that from a knowledge set which singular pieces of information or information elements are going to be subsequently utilised. In the definition provided Daniel Bell we get a precise description of the infrastructurally defined knowledge concept of the information age. As we have already mentioned (see chapter 1.9), we put special emphasis on that part of the definition that claims that “new judgements” are part of knowledge; these stand at every pole of the communication medium: at the start where knowledge as “an organised set” is born until the point it is utilized. In the creation of judgements there is a subjective element present that cannot be bypassed: the human, who creates, carries, transfers and uses knowledge simultaneously. Knowledge can only be examined jointly with the cognitive person. Personal knowlegde


The modification of the traditional concept of knowledge was altered by Mihály Polányi, who is from Hungarian descent.89 He sets off with the statement: “there is no cognition without a cognitive person”. He denies that the basic requirement of objective knowledge is that it should be detached from the cognitive process. On the contrary, it is the subject which links reality with objective knowledge. Knowledge could be objective, because it is through it that we are in touch with reality. For Mihály Polányi the computer and generally artificial intellegicence served as a good ground to refute the rational ideal of knowledge. Computer input and the operation of the machine are formalised knowledge independent of the user (explicit knowledge). At first sight these suit the requirements of objective ideal of knowledge. However, it is the person who makes sense of the functioning computer, it is him/her who selected, fed into and defined what information should be used from which information supply to solve a defined problem. The result also needs to be interpreted by humans. In his context knowledge does not mean the mechanical process of the computer but the comprehension that is born in the person’s mind who makes the computer function in a specific way. As far as Mihály Polányi is concerned, information is formated (explicit) knowledge, that comes into existence as the result of a cognitive processes. Implicit knowledge One part of knowledge can be formated, can be put into words, documentated in an utterance, written or iconic manner. This is explicit knowledge. Knowledge, on the other hand, also has another layer which is closely related to the personality of knowledge carrier (personal knowledge), it cannot be either separated from it, nor formalised. Personal knowledge includes implicit (tacit) knowledge. This is such type of knowledge, which can only be acquired through personal contacts and experience and it can only be further transfered in such manner.90 Skills, excercise, ideas, intuition, foreboding belong to this category.91 The resources of tacit knowledge are highly diverse and are closedly linked to the social and cultural definiteness of the knowledge carrier. Implicit knowledge in certain cases is wordless, for example, perceptory. The wordless element is that layer of human knowledge which contains biological-natural embededness and the personal component of knowledge makes it social. The novelty of Mihály Polányi’s train of thought and simultaneously its significance is that by separating the personal component of knowledge he points to the social momentum (commitment to socially accepted norms, their recognition and acceptance) and by introducing the wordless element into knowledge he links knowledge to its biological origin.


Personal Knowledge, the University of Chicago Press, 1958; Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy (Atlantisz Könyvkiadó), 1992. Vol I. p. 182-218. 90 Tacit knowledge is not the opposite and neither is part of explicit knowledge. Their difference lies in their function of the cognitive process. Knowledge depending on its function in one or another cognitive process could be either explicti or tacit knowledge. For instance, writing or reading is explicit knowledge although their practice is already unspoken. 91 According to Mihály Polányi, intuition is par of skills because it is rooted in the natural sensitvity of human patterns and can be developed through learning processes.


To strongly simplify it, knowledge has two layers as far as the individual is concerned: explicit knowledge, the formalisable and documentable set of cognition, which can be further transfered and made communal by its formatability and on the other hand, tacit knowledge, which could be also calld invisible or hidden knowledge, which is organically related to the individual, that cannot or hardly be formalised, it cannot be documented although it is present in the cognitive process and utilisation of knowledge in a defining manner. Knowledge as social capital We can conclude from the above argument that although the value of knowledge (information) depends on the user, the determining factor in the evaluation process is the cultural, social and physical definiteness of the individual. The user utilises such knowledge which appear as tacit knowledge. All in all the flow of knowledge, knowledge innovation or transfer are indispensable resources and should be regarded individually as (human) capital. The utility degree of this capital, however, is different in every individual. The process, however, holds also true reversely. After all in the innovative process of knowledge new pieces of information come to light. The user of information does not only evaluate or utilize knowledge, but by these processes they also create new pieces of information (knowledge), too. These stream back and further enrich the knowledge that presents itself as social capital. The use of knowledge thus seems to be an indefinite and multi-directional process which materializes on more levels and in numerous forms. The question remains whether we can measure knowledge and if so what is the value of knowledge? Utilized knowledge makes the world off the hinge In the post-industrial age economic life is still defined by productivity and competitive power. These governing procedures go through fundamental changes. Productivity is the broadening of the internal resources of innovation and reform while competitive power is defined by flexibility and adaptation to change. So that a new production function is created there are two essential requirements needed: on the one hand, computer sciences as depositaries of speed and on the other hand, knowledge as innovative capacity. Manuel Castells, who considers that the technological definiteness as fundamental to post-industrialism, believes that knowledge and information is not essential although required by the new economic system. This is why he does not use the term knowledge economy but instead prefers the term knowledge-based economy. “The most important characteristic of the present technological revolution is that in the cumulative feedback loops in between innovation and its use, knowlege and information is employed to generate further knowledge and to create information communication signals.�, - writes Castells.92 In the definition of Castells the economy of information age is nothing but the employable knowledge production which is created through innovation. By incorporating innovation he essentially makes a sharp distinction between knowledge and employed (utilised) knowledge.


Manuel Castells (2005) p. 32.


The distinction is ever more important because the most essential criteria of knowledge is that on the one hand it is bound to a period, on the other hand, it can be detected in a period and finally, it pulls and pushes the period forward. And this is already perpetual innovation.

5.6. The laudation of innovation in the new era As we already noted, innovation, as a concept of economic theory was first used by the Nobel price winner, the Austrian economist J. A. Schumpeter who elaborated the theory of economic growth based innovation at the beginning of the 20th century.93 In his understanding, innovation is not so much a technical but rather an economic term. In his opinion development (which is qualitatively different to the growth that implies continuous accommodation) takes place through innovations, thus the course of the process changes abruptly as well as the production factors are combined in a new way. These new combinations prevail either as a new product, in its production, in introducing a new method, acquiring new markets and new resources, by the foundation of a new organisation, etc.94 The substantive innovative process includes the “recycling” processes that have recently come into provinence. R+D is the most important unit of knowledge production. Since research is needed in all phases of innovation, R+D is the permanent collateral and not the prerequisite. The Frascati Reference Book puts special emphasis on that R+D is merely one of the innovation actions.95

Innovation in the knowledge-based economy The developmental measure of modern economies as well as the competitive power depend significantly on the human factor, - determined Drucker in the mid-1980s.96 The author points out while examining the economic situation of the USA that the American “entrepreneurial” economy was triggered not by technological rather by social innovations, which are primarily linked to the “new technologies” that made their appearance in the small and medium-size entreprises. By recognising the significance of social innovations Druckner drew attention to the importance of innovative behaviour. We mean by innovative behaviour the purposeful search for opportunities, following the changes in the organisation as well as outside of it which are not exclusively limited to the development of a given product or service but incorporate the alternation of technologies, organisational change or any modernisation in other areas. The recommendations of OECD stress that innovation goes beyond research and development. “Innovation is the transformation of an idea or the marketing of a new or updated product or


Joseph A. Schumpeter: The Theory of Economic Development, Cambridge, Mass. Harvard UP Innovation was not always used in this comprehensive interpreation, but was rather reduced to technological innovations that had no link to the social-economic relations. This approach that determined almost the way of thinking of the 20th century basically identified the technological object with the „object” while technology was regarded the collectivity of objects and production/manufacturing processes. The stages of technological innovation are research + developmental + technological design + production – in brief, R+ D (research and development). 95 „What we mean under the concepts of research and experimental development (R + D) is that regular creative work whose goal is to widen knowledge including knowledge on humans, culture and society as well as the application of the factual material to develop new applications. R + D consists of three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development.” (Frascati Manual,p. 29.) 96 P.Drucker (1993) 94


an operation used in the industry and trade as well as the development of an operation or a new approach toward some social service.”97 By today there is common concensus all over the world that in order that a state should develop optimally there are three important strategic areas of signifance: education, public health and innovation. While the first two areas by ensuring the intellectual and physical wellbeing of people also create the prerequisites of work capable of reform, innovation is the objective utilization of this capacity in the economic and social life. This generalisation, however, does not make it comprehensible why has innovation become the central question of development. Evaluating the role of innovation and judging its significance depends whether we mean the classical industrial economy based on the old, mass production or the new knowledg-based economy. Taking a historical perspective, the economic processes of industrial society are characterised by the interchange of “perfection of the known” stage and “revolutionary” inventions stage. At the centre of the industrial society is the rationalisation of production processes/ cutting back on the price of a product and the quantitative increase in production/ expansion of markets. The emphasis was on the catchword: “produce extensively but cheaply”. Its results were dwindling outputs, deficit, “stagnation” in the knowledge and specialised professional skills of participants and production in stabil industries besides the shift in values that have become traditional. The traditional process of innovation is a linear model: it starts out with the ideas of developers, goes on with research, development, technological planning, production, sales. Work was unequivocally characterised by the coming into existance of stabile industries. Once knowledge was acquired (professional skills) that could be utilized and marketed with slight alterations through a lifetime. On the labour market more value was attached to how many years one spent in an industry, the experience one acquired and the professional loyalty rather than professional mobility. Employment policy was determined mostly by the low price of labour force, the rationalisation of productivity and its economic consequences. These circumstances made a relatively stabile education and wellfare politics possible. Consumer behaviour altered paralelly to the value system of small changes. Contrary to this phenomenon, in the post-industrial age the security was replaced by insecurity as much as it assumes “the yet unknown but attemptable” knowledge and integrates into social and economic processes. The dynamics of economy is given by partial exploitation of the not perfectly known but essentially introduced. Innovation is not the knowledge and objectifisation of a single use of a single product or product group but because the product always represents only partial knowledge it can continually signify innovation. Knowledgebased economy is supported by the assumption that the new essentially knows more or far more than its predecessor. It is focuses on novelty and innovation. Economy thus focuses not on mass production, but on qualitative production (in small series), the flexible adaptation to the changing demands of the market or the technologies that are built into services. While in the classic industrial society “revolutionary” changes took place infrequently, that was replaced by innovations densely following each other and form near continuum.


OECD, Frascati Manual, p. 19.


• In the new economy the innovative process itself has changed compared to the past practices and perceptions. Market considerations play a primary role, the research that is oriented by adaptation. The market simultaneously provides new stimulating information and demands, which repeatedly commence innovative processes. Innovation thus takes place as a chain reaction with numerous starting and ending points. • In the new economy innovation is knowledge production. The most important units of knowledge production are universities and R+D institutions, or to put it otherwise, those institutions that do basic and applied research. In order to maximize efficiency, enterpreneurial research bases from past times are replaced by permeable knowledge actions which by way of network-like linkeage potentials do not only open up an infinite opportunity in between knowledge producers and users but they also give the green light to those institutions who mediate the flow of knowledge. • Change that has become permanent also concerns the labour market where mobility, fast adaptation skills to changes as well as accumulated and continuously growing knowledge prove a determining factor. In the new economy the relationship of people to work has changed in a fundamental manner. Acquiring new knowledge(s) is no longer a pre-requisite but part of labour. Research shows that within a lifetime a person needs to update their knowledge or change their professions up to 3 to 4 times, but in the coming decade that number has increased to 5-7 times. This is possible only on the condition that the traditional welfare institution system based on stability is going to be altered according to the needs of a continuously changing world. • Hence in the new economy learning is not a singular affair in a life time but a process that takes a lifetime. Education and adult training is not only a social task that aims to balance social disparities and ensure equal opportunities but education itself is part of the innovative process because of the role it fills in the knowledge flow.

Technological innovation


Innovation in



Regulatory system Table 9. The phenomenon of multi-dimensional innovation (Emese Ugrin)

We can conclude that innovation and knowledge production are a “multi-dimensional phenomena”. Pre-disposition to novelty and the creation of new values are not only related to all spheres of economy and culture but all sorts of human action and this is why it appears in


all spheres of economy and culture (Table 9.). This simultaneously entails the reform of economic, social and cultural spheres and those practices that produce and utilize skills which materialize in a new or renewed product. The operation efficiency of knowledge-based economy and society is determined by the intensity of information flow and the quantity of information that is capitalised into innovations. This is where the pressure to latch on originates. The state as the umbrella formation that stands above economic and social processes has to participate. It is an interesting paradox that by latching on the state does not have to give up its traditional prolitical status and those actions that rise from its traditional operating mode and responsibilities that hinders it in taking part in the interactive communication. Traditional innovation is the product of the industrial age, although innovation by today is far not limited by technological or technical innovation. Innovation is intellectual, mental or social innovation. The new existence is: general innovation.

5.7. Knowledge management in the new economy The new economy is thus fundamentally knowledge production and knowledge utilization that concentrates on the manufacturing of high-quality intellectual products that embody values (technologies) and services.98 This latter production sphere is pulling knowledge-based economy.

The economic approach – knowledge management On the global “information market” direct relations come into existence in between economic actors making a more efficient organisation and development of products and technologies (innovation) possible. Division and exploitation of knowledge has become a business compulsion. Enterprises put huge amounts of resources and time into linking professions, knowledge and scientific fields that traditionally fell far from each other. The more efficiently is adequate information passed on to the good people and the more economically is knowledge divided and used within the organisation the more fruitful the management of the organisation/company is going to be. By today, the management of information and accumulated knowledge is part and parcel of information market (knowledge management=KM) From an economic perspective, knowledge management comprises all those activities whose purpose is to research, collect and efficiently distribute all sorts of documented (explict) as well as hidden (tacit) knowledge, professional skills and experience between the members of an organisation. Knowledge management (KM) includes developing infrastructure (perfection of technological tools and search engines, plan communication channels and contact systems), managing knowledge (leadership and managment tasks, decision preparation) and 98

The development rythm and competiteveness of modern economies depend to a large extent on human factors – established Drucker by the mid-1980’s. In the analysis of the US economy that author points out that the development of the “enterpreneurial” economy is not so much part of a technological but rather social innovation which primarily manifested itself in small and middle-sized companies related to leading as “new technologies”. P. F. Drucker (1993)


systematization of knowledge (exploration, research, analysis, modelling of knowledge heritage). Recognising the significance of social innovations makes us pay special attention to the importance of innovative behaviour. We mean by innovative behaviour the purposeful search of opportunities which does not exclusively focus on following the basic processes of the organisation and those outside of it but also includes alteration of technologies, organisational changes and reforms in any other areas.

The social perspective: human resource management From a social perspective the complex system of human resource management is not limited to keeping ever-changing processes, skills and professional knowledge at a level and their development. The efficiency and quality of knowlede is defined to a large extent by the phsyical and psychological state of the individual, his/her social status, recognition and connections. In other words, it depends on the cultural and social environment in which the individual and his/her knowledge is embedded into. This medium which is external to the economic organisation does not only condition the process of knowledge utilization and creation of new knowledge) (knowledge innovation), but it is also an inexhaustible resource of utilized knowledge. One should also take into account that post-industrialism distributes social capital, and knowledge is one of the most important type of capital, in a different manner as well as it manages the distribution of capital differently to that of the industrial society. Within the concept of knowledge we should separate the concepts of institutionalised knowledge and capital-like knowledge. The infrastructural, risk and unlimitedly transferable capital-like knowledge is not identical to the concept of institutionalised knowledge traditionally used in education, research and development. The latter is such a socially regulated concept of knowledge around which a well definable social need has been built. That, however, cannot be determined what concrete knowledge is becoming activated in the individual actor. This, on the one hand, means that traditional knowledge types are not identical to the transferable capital-like knowledge, on the other hand, institutionalised knowledge is a fundamental requirement for the production of capital knowledge.99 In a knowledge-based society and economy those individuals who are not capable of grasping opportunities are in a disadvantaged position (new social stratification and danger of disadvantage-creation). This disadvantage, however, can as quickly turn into a definitive break away as utilized knowledge changes under the innovative pressure. Correcting the disproportion is made possible by an efficient distribution that takes into account changes and adapts to individual lives (challenges).


This is why the post-industrial society cannot give up education.


Chapter Six: development







The theory of action in the post-industrial age and/or information age is not ready yet. In this chapter we will only deal with the development of the information age. We will define the goals and schools of systemic strategic planning, detail the complexities and will point out the most important obstacles, too. Moreover, we will also touch upon the virtual development of knowledge society, that is, the correlations between content- and virtual communities as well as improvement in infrastructure

6.1. The comprehensive goals and the directions of intelligent development As far as we accept the premise that information (knowledge) is part of the communicational process we also go along with the statement that knowledge itself is interaction. A given person or community (social group) simultaneously produces, utilizes and “circulates” (transmits) new pieces of information. The real challenge to knowledge organisation within the community and consequently knowledge management is ensuring the research, systematization, transfer and convertability of accumulated explicit and tacit knowledge within the organisation, the distribution of old and new knowledge to the broadest possible audiences in order to increase the competitive power of society. To put it differently, the goal is the promotion and conversion of knowledge as social capital into capital knowledge. As generally radical or sweeping changes in the history of humanity, information revolution goes hand in hand with numerous insecurities and risks. To moderate these and to alter opportunities into real benefits is possible exclusively on the condition that developments are thought through and are based on a clearly defined image of the future and materialize on the basis of systemic strategy. “System” as concept loses its inflexible nature in intelligent development. It no longer entails a universal method and structure applied as a stereotype but it is a singular aptitude appearing at the local level and a developmental method that takes into account the demands (expectations) made on the future. The development of knowledge society is closedly linked to the materialization of intelligent developments of information society with the exception that while the latter aims at developing infocommunication infrastructre and its spectrum, the developmental program of knowledge society primarily focuses on the content of knowledge, its distribution and distributive systems as well as the efficient distributive systems of knowledge capital materialised in social capital. The headway of information society is related to the fruition of specific economic, legal and social critieria. For the accessory growth of information economy flexible and dynamic price-, service-, capital- and labour market needs to be present in the economy. 1. A fundamental prerequisite of a successful information society and economy is the advanced status of the social receptive medium and the social embedness of information economy and infrastructural development. Information society and economy can evolve in the 102

event that the majority of society owns the new information and communication technological devices and has the knowledge to use them. It is thus of fundamental importance to: • From an economic perspective, to quantitatively get through to necessary amount of people: so that the new information infrastructure investment should yield returns there a certain amount of demand is quintessential. To reach this, competition alone simply does not suffice or, if even if it does, it takes a certain amount of time. This is why co-operation between competitive rivals should be stimulated to cover a certain size of the market which in return would serve public administration and entrepreneurial group for the benefit of service development. • From a social perspective, increase equal opportunities. The biggest risk of information society is that society breaks up into those who own the information and the technology needed and those whom are deprived of it (digital gap). As much as possible everything should be done in order to circulate, popularize new technological knowledge. 2. Create a flexible and dynamic labour market. From the perspective of the citizen this entails such new requirements and opportunities as to “study through a life time” and be in posession of “the fundamentals of information”. 3. The strategic branch of information economy is content development. From a social perspective, it includes making national cultural heritage available and renewable; on the long run it also entails the possibility of widespread old and new knowledge acquisition through access to databases and distance education. 4. (R)employment and training of disadvantaged groups, handicapped and inactive population. From a social perspective, this is drafted into an equal opportunities, social cohesion and life quality programme. Creating and operating information society is impossible in isolated circumstances. Building up and operating infrastructure in a socially embedded environment is a practical solution if the co-ordination of the broader context is also accomplished, that is, at the settlement, small regional, county and regional level. Harmonizing the simultaneous topbottom and bottom-top construction in terms of subsidiarity is of strategic importance because it is only then that the criterias can be met, namely, the widespread and relatively expensive infrastructure, attaining the amount of people necessary for an economical operation, creation of socially useful services, equal access to and social embeddedness of these services. The watchwords of information society creation are subsidiarity (amendment), co-operation (collaboration), participation (involvement). All this presupposes such vertical and horizontal regional co-operation where local communities, self-governance of civil organisations in villages and cities are further strengthened and their singularities and differences based on their capacities as well as their demands are highlighted.

6.2. New approach to planning and the general alteration of the whole Intelligent development gives a radically new meaning to the concept of “endowment” which becomes measurable not so much through the increased number of instutions but the qualitative and quantitative growth in services offered by them as well as the numbers of citizens who make use of them. Quantitative change becomes qualitative alteration if services are able to meet the singular and specific demands of the population.100 100. Due to intelligent regional development the boundaries between cities and village are going to dissolve. New criterias of city creation are going to be established which partially depend on the elaboration of


Today intelligent development is still closedly linked to the territorial definiteness of society. It is, however, an unequivocal fact that infocommunication technology that generates developments loosens although does not completely dissolve the territorial principle of the modern state. It is not by chance that the concept is primarily used among regional developers. Intelligent regional development, however, restricts the concept by applying it exclusively to the present social and economic relations. In the broad sense of the word intelligent development means the accentuated development of virtual space of knowledge society. In this respect its essentials could be grasped in content development (production and transmission of information), knowledge management (organising knowledge) and development of virtual communities (socially objectified knowledge). Virtual communities appear as alternatives (semantic) spacial structures as opposed to the traditionally rigid political and social structures. These alternative communities are not only freeer in terms of freedom of speech, aggregation, lobbying due to their network nature, but also larger social prestige, flexibility and new identities. As a result not only new modalities appear for the citizen but also in the relation between the state and the citizen in which the traditional institutions of representational democracy are reformed or in extreme cases are totally displaced. The general spread of the internet thus in a generative manner induces the complex development of democratic institution structure as such and the administrative institutions that ensure the operation of the state which besides the creation of technical/technological conditions also include the skills of application. Moreover, special skills such as digital culture, human resource development as well as the creation of legal framework that guarantees the operationability by providing data protection and security as well as the continual actualisation of the process. Intelligent development after all aims at the alteration of the state and society as such, although intelligent development does not or hardly steps across the development of functional reality.

6.3. Tangible limitations of intelligent development The elemental criteria of the complex execution of intelligent development are that all participating actors should agree and co-operate in the development. Conflict among them could have grave consequences. A society that does not acquire digital culture or refuses it would make all modernising efforts worthless. But the contrary also holds true. As long as the political power considers alternative virtual communities a danger that could potentially weaken its influence rather than offering new forms of co-operation, intelligent development could become conflict ridden or it might become a tool of manifest power. Numerous examples exist of such political experiments (e.g. China, Afghanistan under the Talib regime) In case new virtual identities were not accepted, that could be another source of conflict that would hinder intelligent development. Although this question has not yet come into the focus of attention, we should still count on the multiplying individual and community identities in the virtual space which over the long run would have identical value in the virtual space (e.g. multiple memberships in virtual communities). The state should face the fact that next to the citizens’ identity based on the territorial, national or linguistic principle, endless infocommunication technologies, their wide application, the intensity of the links to the global social structure as well as high quality supply of the population (life quality). This also implies that villages and settlements would have the choice of becoming „intelligent cities� while cities could easily lose their present status for lack of settlement development.


numbers of identities with identical values are going to appear which will weaken the political hegemony of the state over the social sphere. These fears tacitly already exist or at least are implied by the fact that the intelligent development strategies serving the realisation of information society mention the service-providing state as an improver in the relationship between the government and its citizens. Development is the modernisation of the present state through “reforms” embodied by technological applications. But even those strategies that are part of the long term vision of the future do not mention the total alteration of the relationship between the state and society.

6.4. Content management: the future branch of the age Content in its forms is the basic substance of the information age. In the general sense of the word this notion means the data transmitted through infocommunication networks through sets, texts, voices, images and their multimedia combinations. All kinds of content can be distributed through the global information network. • Everyone can create content: individuals, government bodies, institutions, nonprofit organisation, companies, etc. • Content is always createdwith a distributive goal and uses the opportunities offered by the global communication network which reaches wide audiences. • The purpose of content is generating communication, and thus the notion necessarily entails interactivity. The pulling branch of the information-innovation society of the EU is content development (the official term being: e-content). Investment, technology, e-economy or eenvironmental protection and e-education and as a result e-governance has no value without new knowledge, new content and the development of these. What follows from this is that the the message and formal appearance of content on the web defines not only the quality of the transmitted information but also the quality and effectiveness of communication because in the communication process every user is not only a consumer but also a producer of content. This also means that we cannot talk about fruitful intelligent development without effective content development. Global infocommunication networks give huge opportunities to content diversity. It is not by chance that the issue of content develoment has become a central question on the networks at the spreading of infocommunication use and infrastructure developments. The information age has thus reached content, although mostly only the development of applied knowledge, but its competence necessarily ends here. It has brought a breakthrough but has not become a new discovery.

6.5. The infocommunicational public service system and the business type processing model The foundation, infrastructure and carrier of information (and knowledge) society is communication technology which does not only provide a frame but it also generates content.


Thanks to this characteristics, the formations of information society and knowledge society embody such needs which are made feasible exclusively by global communication. Put it differently, the infrastructure that ensures the flow of information and communication and all the technologies required have become the fundamental public service system of the new age. New needs put pressure on society, which in turn demand the institutional satisfaction of those demands. The model of service-providing state and the programme of e-governance come to the forefront. The task of realization is put on social actors and among them the state which is most responsible for the well-being of society and self-governments that ensure the provisions of the population. All of these make the state and the public sphere face new tasks. The planned swerve, however, stays within the neo-liberal programme while the privatisation of public administration is one of the first steps that limit the totalitarian character of the state. The model of the public administration process In order to create the general business type process model of public adminsitration we need to clarify certain elementary relationships. First of all, we need to develop what we mean by the business type process model within public administration and e-public administration and how this model changes if and when e-public administration is introduced. Secondly, one should think it over to what extent should the process model be given priority within the public as well as how can the process model be integrated into the public administration model. Thirdly, when defining the business type process model category should be alloted content and the business concept which once applied in the public administration could be regarded as an industrial production and/or organisational-operational process.

Table 10. The European integrated e-governance model101 101

Capgemini: Online availability of public services: how is Europe progressing? Web Based survey on electronic public services (Report oth the fifth Measurement, October 2004)


It would be very important to arrive at an integrated e-governance and e-public adminstration model. In the international literature, however, the demarkation lines of basic concepts (e-governance, e-public administration, e-self governance, e-democracy) are part of heated arguments. An integrated model does not only unify the sides of back office with front office. (The e-governance basic models is going to be discussed in Appendix 1). We suggest such models that basically apply the American (Canadian, English, etc.) business model but is also harmonised with the European model that considers services not according to the needs of the state or some other centralised institutional system but essentially from the points of view of the user (civilians, civil communities). This simultaneously makes the compulsory unification and voluntary co-operation possible. Levels

Governance, local governance

public administration

institutions, organisations

type of services

Upper level


e-public administration

Central Electronic Service-providing System and Public Service Centre


Mid level

e-governance and e-local governance

e-public administration and elocal public administration

Regional – small regional e-centres (ehouses); the integrated settlement services are linked to them, too


e-local governance

Local governance epublic administration and public administration (modernisation of offices, etc.)

Individualised settlement-district epublic administration services (local ehouses)

business and community

e-citizen, ecommunity

public administration e-public services

e-public administration civil organisations

business and community

(regional and small regional)

Lower level (settlement, district)

Citizen level

Table 11. The multi-layered integrated model of e-governance and e-public administration (Csaba Varga) It is well discernable from the above table that we have separated e-governance and epublic administration. E-public administration does not end at the high (government) level because the regional/county public administration offices are part of state public administration. If regional e-centres could also integrate the small regional e-centres from a computer science point of view then we would only have to deal with settlement e-self governance and e-public administration at lower levels. The institutional system of the Hungarian public administration system comprises the subsystems of state public administration and self-governance. We should now take a look at the definition of public administration process model that incorporated both subsystems.


Experts distinguish between centralised, structure-centred, process-oriented e-public administration in the same manner. We could add to the above that in practice there is a sharp division between e-public strategies and projects, whether they are computer science-centred, administration (or with slight exaggeration: public administration) centred or public administration knowledge development-oriented or e-democracy-centred. All in all, process-oriented developments can be characterised in the following manner: • Rethinking, optimising tasks and responsibilities, • Planning and employing new processes and systems of administrative processes, • Minimalisation of administrative process steps with regard to data flows within self-government and between self-governments and other institutions, • Generating parallels between administrative process parts, • Minimalisation of the necessary and used documents and data, its transperancy and easy usage, • etc. What does this all imply? One of the experts sums it up as follows: “The majority of businesses are tipifiable, work processes can be determined in advance. These types of affairs are enumerated and analysed. The processes of the affairs contain many identical “elementary administrative steps”, some of which can be executed in an automatic fashion without human intervention, while some of which necessitate the intevention and co-operation of the administrator.” It is currently feasible to apply artificial intelligence at the automatic steps. The process models that are conceptualised in this way makes it possible to regard the public administration process as a business type process. It should be noted, however, that the process model does not solve every single public administration method or administration problem in itself and a post-market type of integrated model should be worked out in a strategyic model, which beside the process model should also contain functional and substantial (contentual) models, too. The concept of business process management (BPM) is also well known: “Nowadays besides the traditional integration application model that is basically an infrastructural approach, increasingly, new approaches come to the forefront. It is called business process management, which meet the new challenges. With the increase in business process applications and their operational frequency, demands have progressively followed that call for the automatization of numerous processes supported by applications, their continuous follow-up and optimalisation, phasing out and registration of manual steps. The management of business processes realises the uniform management of business transactions at company level. The operation of business process is done by the process control system based on the process model (what shall be done?) using computer infrastructure (how shall it be done?) toucing upon the the company organisation and actors (who shall do it?) These three approaches make up the three dimensions of process management. Just as conductors do, process management systems make the monitoring and control of operating processes possible.” The question that arises from a public administration approach is whether the business process management used by companies is applicable and if yes, how so. The answer is not so 108

hard to find primarily becase the majority of public administration systems is systematically regulated, frequently an overregulated work process that makes use of the computer infrastructure and as such a great number of affairs are made possible because they operate automatically, independently of any human intervention. The public administration process management is also three dimensional. The simulteanous reparation of operational efficacy and the so-called user experience is achieved by at least the partial automatisation of processes. We should not forget, however, that the public administration work process is not limited to the administration processes in offices, but it is also an economic-social relationship and so public administration and e-democracy should be also included in the notion. Public administration is also greatly helped by the internet because it is used so much for data transfer as management of business/ public administration in the broad sense of the term. It is not by chance that the document “Changing public services” published by the Ministerial E-Governance Conference (Manchaster, 24.11.2005) is worded as follows: “Public administration systems might make use of the innovative application of ICT (e.g. the rationalisation of various ICT service-providing processes decreases the operational costs of public administration systems). Public administration is more expeditous, efficient and more transparent and by creating companies whose operational costs are reduced offers serious macro-economic advantages.” New approaches, however, do not only focus on the reduction of financial costs. While the OECD project called “Business planning of e-Governance” at first only highlighted the direct financial advantages, the new additional project also takes into account the indirect economic and direct-indirect social advantages, too. The current key element of public administration process model is called digital decision-making. When companies conclude that IT can be employed beyond routine business automatisation processes to promote decision-making, the term used is business intelligence. The decision-making process is only one of the many business processes, but its characteristics is that it builds on the aggregation of data furnished by other business processes. It is not by chance that the partial digitalisation of governance/ self-governance decision-making is the most important strategic goal. Despite the extensive business experience, the are no ripe answers given to (e-)public administration dilemmas neither in the international nor in the Hungarian literature. One reason is that in the planning of (e-)public administration market or business concerns, processes and methods are only of secondary significance. Nevertheless, e-public administration developments that are integrated with e-economic developments already exist, which significantly enhance the efficiency, return and sustainability of e-public administration investments. It is important to note though that the notion of e-economy is not clarified in the economic literature and opinions are split whether e-economy (and e-public administration as one form of the new e-economy) still belong to classic market economy or are already part of post-market economy. This is of interest to us because business type processes are fundamentally and necessarily interpreted differently in a post-market ecomomy than in a traditional market economy – information economy does not belong to latter concept, either.


Table 12. The stages of the European Union e-public administration

There is no unanimity when it comes to the interpretation of EU recommendations. Professional public opinion has taken over the most important recommendations in their invitations for applications, primarily by applying the requirement system established by the Common List of Public Services (CLBPC). As it is well known, CLBPC defines four electronic service levels: the level of providing information, the level of one-directional interaction,the level of two dimensional interaction and finally the service level that makes the whole online administration process feasible. In the past one and half years new recommendations came to light such as the i2010 E-Governmental Action Plan in April 2006. Starting from 2007 one level will be added to the already establised four service level system; a level that it is so much goal-oriented as it makes proactive, automatized services viable. The fifth level is called the key dimension. The principles of e-state state that automatised public administration services circulate because of the of the detailed regulations and high level quality.102 This makes quality control of public administration feasible. What follows from all this is that the higher levels of technology (see: the gradual introduction of artificial intelligence), while legally speaking the objective is the establishment of real, controlled service-providing public services. Nevertheless not even the indicators of e-public administration developments are well known in Hungary. Even though the four electronic service development levels can be separated to e-governmental, e-public administration developments, their qualification should be done on the basis of the following indicators: E-Europe 2005: Benchmark indicators: e-government Public authority indicators: 1. the number of basic public services are offered onlinei 102

Please refer to: JĂĄnos CzeglĂŠdi (2006): The United Gordian Knot, Prelude to an Investment Figue (Institute for Strategic Research, Hungary)


Additional statistical indicators: 2. the percentage of the population using the internet to keep contact with authorities The division is goal-dependent: gathering and procurement of information, sending out filled forms back. 3. is the percentage of entreprises using the internet to keep contact with authorities The division is goal-dependent: gathering of information and procurement of information, sending out filled forms. 4. the percentage of online public services that have digitally integrated office procedures 5. the percentage of exlusive online public procurement is done exclusively online (thus, it is electronically integrated) 6. the percentage of authorities making use of open resource sofware All this entails that already in 2005 European indicators have clearly showed that besides introducing twenty public srvices it is also very important that they are sociallyeconomically embedded, thus how many and to what purpose is e-public administration used by citizens and enterprises. We are not able to give a professional answer, amongst others, because we do not have a comprehenisve view or at least it is not widely known what the development level of the Hungarian public administration and e-public administration is and what actual and strategic tasks are required by the present state of affairs. By examining the Hungarian case, we distinguish at least between three or four developmental stages: The first phase is a partially spontaneous and partially planned process (from the 1990s onwards). The Hungarian public administration starts the long process of providing services; they acquire computers for local-governments as well as public administration authorities and institutions. Most of the second phase is a planned process with some spontaneous elements occuring (the phase took place from 2002 to 2007); thanks primarily to IHM tenders and the successful tenders of the first national development plan, the governmental and island-like local-government developments changes were initiated, although they are not at all times citizen-centred public administration. The third phase is essentially going to be a planned process (from 2007 to 2010-2013). In this stage the realisation of e-public democracy and e-democracy practiced by the majority of the population should be completed at least in one third, maximum in two thirds of the country or perhaps even in the whole country. In our study we elaborated a feasible, operational, affordable alternative for the realisation of the third phase.103 (The plan of the fourth phase cannot be part of our present study.) It is not our task either to introduce the three developmental stages at length, and so at present we are going to draft the public administration situation to the extent that is required for the interpretational framework of the businnes type process model. The partial success of the second phase is to be explained with a number of reasons: 1. There was no governmental will to develop a more dynamic, widespread and conceptual public administration and e-public administration. 2. Those developments stand out from the 103

Csaba Varga (2005): Az e-kรถzigazgatรกs tรกvlatai I-III (Perspectives on e- public adminsitration I-III.) In eWorld 2005/10-11-12


public administration improvements that focused on small regions and their model experiments. At this level e-public administration primarily meant the develoment of infrastructure although nobody could realistically expect a roaring success from that alone. 3. In the last parliamentary cycle 100 billion forints were spent on the development of public administration/e-public administration. Those who shape mainstream opinions view this amount of money as relatively significant. As far as we are concerned, however, this budget is modest to support limited to the existence and realisation of more widespread and efficient projects. 4. The social acceptance of e-public administration and necessarily that of public administration has considerably increased lately (as it was either zero previously and there were many who rejected the notion straight away). The announcement of the first national developmental plan tenders, however, did not contain the components to strengthen educational and social acceptance. Thus the most important obstacle for the realisation of projects was that neither the employees of public administration institutions, nor citizens of local societies, nor the enterprises were adequately prepared for changes. And the matter concerns far more than the spread that of digital literacy, a highly significant goal in itself. The Pannon University, for instance, developed thirteen subjects of e-public administration training and thus e-public administration (even as distance learning) training could be widely started. On the basis of this brief historic overview, the summary of the second and third developmental phase is as follows. In the past years the second e-governmental and e-public administration developmental phase were characterised by the following indicators: • broadening access (this, however makes only partial and limited infocommunication public services development possible) • the development of the internal network of local-governmental public administration offices and the introduction of e-administration (the developments supported by tenders had mixed results, were at very different technological levels and in most cases the development did not go together with other public administration modernisations) • reaching the four levels of electronic services in Europe (only the the first three layers are more or less thought through and a merely a handful of public services are online out of around twenty) • sustainability of e-public administration developments and projects (this is questionable because of the tightness of governmental and self-governmental resources and because the projects did not adequately take into account sustainability) • etc. The indicators of the coming, third developmental phase could be summed up for the short term as follows: 1. it is a European basic requirement to realize comprehensive access (we cannot speak of e-government, e-public administration as long as there is no comprehensive access to it, - at the least on the sights of development projects) 2. making all public services online 3. introducing the business type public administration model that could be further expanded to the economic and social contact systems of public administration as well as edemocracy


4. completing the realization of an electronic pubic administration service and its institutional system 5. total development initially of regional and small regional e-public administration e-houses (e-centres) (based on the business type process model) 6. strengthening subsidies and sustainability of e-public administration development 7. starting a second e-public administration model experiment (because even under the National Development Plan II. there are not going to be sufficient resources for the selfgovernmental and public administration system development as a whole, thus the only option is to concentrate resources onto different priority models). 8. The end goal nevertheless is not to begin model experiments but the total realisation of the plans. What sort of actual model experiments should there be? a.) the joint development of epublic administration and e-economy; b.) e-democracy type of e-public administation; c.) social development-centred e-public administration; d.) e-public administration model between regions (agglomeration); e.) public administration knowledge development and prioritising e-public administration developments; f.) etc. such a model expirement could be the realisation of regional/small regional e-centres and, without saying, the common point of all the projects are the high quality launching of service providing e-public administration. The present strategic goal of the Hungarian e-public administration development is thus the development of process models that make use of economic-business principles and public administration process models and their professional introduction into institutions at different levels of public administration. The interpretational framework allows for an increased effeciency in the new public administration processes and development plans. If we are to generalise the Hungarian example, we could assume that in other member states of the European Union similar e-governmental and e-public administration changes are taking place. We repeatedly emphasize that for the European states e-government and the business type process models constitute a major breakthrough. In this manner the state opens up unnoticedly and functions following the logic of the market and it pays more attention to whom it provides services to. The covered closeness and independence of the state from society decreases with leaps and bounds. However, the cold superiority of the state and the arrogance of power is currently still present. The online state can’t choose but build bridges.


Chapter Seven: The new paradigm of governance – the service providing state We are going to examine the interaction beween the service providing state and the information governance with special emphasis on the infrastructural definiteness and the changes of spatial structure. In this chapter we are going to touch upon the coherence between space and cyber space.

7.1. The service providing state and its various interpretations The globalising economy of the millennium changes at a high pace and radically. Global economy, as we have noted it previously, is in a shift from an industrial society towards a new, knowledge-based economy. It is essentially characterised by, on the side of the producer, the free production and trade of information and knowledge, while on the consumer side, by a never before experienced widening of access. As a first attempt, we may phrase the essence of globalisation as a comprehensively global and total victory of liberal economy. This interpretation, however, is represents a mere simplification of the changes taking place in the 21st century because this characterisation is one-dimensional, that is, it is a broadened global space structure and it excludes the effect of the increasingly accelerating time dimension induced by the info-communicational revolution. The latter is characterised by the explosive technological development that has shaken industrial society in the second part of the 20th century, international division of labour and develoment of integration and not least by the recurring energy crises. The attributes of industrial production have also changed with the introduction of automatisation, and the major role of IT, knowledge and communication. Contrary to the formal characteristics of industrial society, the most important indicators of the defining paradigm change of the 21st century are information and knowledge. We should consider these new connections from a new perspective.

The economic perspective Services have become the pulling sector of economy. This in itself should be considered as revolutionary change since services were previously not regarded as a producing activity according to classical economics.104 As post-industrial economy and society are no longer linked to industrial production, a new type of division of labour has evolved and this has an integrating impact on society as a whole. In the 21st century, information is a resource that contains and induces change, while knowledge is the strategic resource that impacts both the content of change and its quality. 104

The authors of „Cyberspace and the „American dream” showed the impracticality of this approach when distinguishing three basically different fields of economic production. While in the first one the main resource is ground and agriculture, in the second one the machines and heavy industry, in the third one applied knowledge is the most important. – Esther Dyson – Georg Gilder – Georg Keyworth – Alvin Toffler (1997): A „kibertér” és az „amerikai álom”: Magna Charta a Tudás korához („Cbyerspace” and the „American dream”: Magna Charta for the Knowledge Age), in Replika 26. June 1997.


Mode of production Economic sector

Industrial society

Post-industrial society


Processing, recycling

Secondary (commodity production)

(Services) Tertiary105 Quaternarily106 Quinary107 Information carrier, Data transfer108

Resources that bring about change

Produced energy

Strategic resource

Financial capital


Central reource Kรถzponti erล‘forrรกs Technology

Machines, heavy industry


Machine technology

Intellectual technology

Knowledge basis

Engineer, semiskilled worker

Scientist, technological and professional occupations


Empiricism, experimenting

Theoretical models, simulation, system- and decision making theory

Time perspective

Ad hoc adaptability, experimenting

Future orientation: planning, forecast


Games against artificial future

Games in between people

Guiding principle

Economic growth

Codification of theoretical knowledge

Table 13. Characteristics of industrial and post-industrial society

Thanks to the pecularity of the new age, the re-evaluation of knowledge capital, production and consumption slips together both in time and space: the flow of knowledge carrier information does not only accelarate but due to the cognitive nature of information the 105

Services: transport, public services Trade, finances, insurance, property 107 Education, healthcare, research, relaxation, governance 108 Computer, data-transfering devices 106


production and use of information intertwine inseparably from one another. In knowledgebased economy efficiency is determined by the intensity of interconnections between production and consumption. The traditional mediating role of trade is ensured by infocommunication infrastructure that makes unlimited relations and communication feasible between the producer and consumer both in time and space, which in itself is a generating force that has an impact on the production and flow of information (knowledge, content) and innovatively affects the production and consumption processes. Knowledge carried by information is utilized as innovation and becomes a measurable added value. Frequent contact between production and consumption is ensured nowadays by a new service providing-sector where information flows called information trade (quaternary sector). This sector divides itself into a number of service providing units: • Information producers: content developers • Information service providers: information gather and transfering services • Services ensuring the technological and technical requirements of infrastructure: IT personnel, developers, maintainers, operators

Forwarding network information


Content developer Search for information

Search engine




Table 14. The modern model of information flow (Emese Ugrin)

As a result of technical and technological development (see media convergence) as well as the characteristics of information and innovation examined in previous chapters, as far as we are concerned, our information producer and user models are identical to service providers in indicating that in our innovation chain the user is the producer of new information, too. Information economy confronts the state with a new situation. From an information trade point of view, the state is merely one production unit. The “produced goods” of the state are of consumer nature: one the one hand, they are meant for the actors of economy and society, on the other hand, for the decision-making, executive and controlling oragnisations, institutions that ensure the functioning of the state.109 Analoguously to the economy, the 109

The state is thus merely a producer, manufacturer and organiser as well as consumer of information.


intensity of information flow beween producer and consumer defines the efficacy of the whole system.110 Adapting infocommunication technology cannot be evaded, what more, it is a coercive factor when it comes to reforming the government. It should also be regarded as a coercive factor that among all other information producers and transmitters the state owns the biggest information public asset organisation today. The efficacy of how assets are utilised is, however, extremely low in the flow of information there is no integration. That is so because the recycling options of data assets are limited which, however, has a retardative impact not only the internal operation of public administration but on the totality of information economy since it is recycling that induces innovation. To put it othewise, inasmuch as the circle of information flow is somewhere broken (production – transfer – usage/ production – transfer – usage, etc.), that is going to impact the operation of the whole system. The economic interpretation of the serviceproviding state is rooted in the compulsion to latch onto the information flow. We should not forget, however, that the service providing state in itself is not yet a new type of state; it is “only” the careful correction of the industrial age state. The new economy of the information age, information economy, however, cannot be satisfied with this limited “modernisation”. The service-providing factor simply recorded as tertiary sector is the pulling and mobilising branch of information economy. Proportionately to its increasing significance, the amount of independent branches that determine the activities of the new economy are also on the growth. This is how a new development, that of the appearance of a quaternary and quinary sector occurs. The latter sector is made up of those services that are indispensable for the information society. These also replace the traditional redistributive role of the state and comprise those so-called social services that determine the function of information economy, namely education, health, free time, governance (the relationship between the citizen and the state as well as the relationship with the institutions of the state). Thus all those activities are included which serve the increase in the wellbeing, life quality and competence of society. As the social and economic paradigm gradually slide into each other, the social services of the first sector should also be considered economic services. Thus they should both serve the integration of citizens in the labour market, latching onto the economic and social innovation (human resource management) and the amelioration of everyday life quality and the institutional system of democracy. Citizens step into the labour market and innovation as individuals. This also means that the services, which support them in the competition, are also determined by their individual situation and demands. From the point of view of the state this also has wider implications: besides the principles of general, social, mutual agreement increasingly particular interests need to be taken into account. This, however, is achievable exclusively by 110

The reaction of the new economy adequately mirrors the cumbersome operation mechansims of the traditional state, the slowness of information flow and the low innovation potentional that aims at meeting continuously produced new demand; that is, among the market services those services have become prominent which were created as an addition to state owned institutions. By today, so much education as insurance, research, culture and free time as well as governance have grown into quaternary and quinary sectors of economy. By the adaptation and spread of info-communication technologies, they are expected to become the basic pillars of sustainable economy. To ameliorate the relationship between „producer and consumer” the information trade service-providers have achieved prominent roles such as lobby firms, printed and electronic media, tender alert networks, etc.


means of direct communication between the citizen and the state embodied by the services adapted to individual situations and individualised needs. The relationship between the state and the citizen is thus increasingly determined by the mediating role of the multi-layered market. This presents the organisation of the state in the information age with an essentially new situation. While in the industrial age the state could step up as the authority of a high political power that was sanctified by society, and so the state could be a market-regulating force, in the information age the state itself has become part of the multi-layered market because the paradigms of the state and economy have slipped into each other. This finally has made possible that the state can be influenced so much from the top as from the bottom. New social perspective The system of virtual community portrays society as a higher level virtual community. It is in itself a very exciting issue how society can be characterised as a virtual space. According to Csaba Varga “(...) society as a merged space structure or as a space –time structure can be defined in two ways: on the one hand, it is the third natural space created by humans and in this case civilisation is fundamentally interpreted as the new environmental spacial dimension. On the other hand, as a virtual space that from the very start has separated itelf from its environmental space and thus society is the first and typcial virtual space. That is only a secondary consequence that “virtual space” relates back to the environment and this is embodied in concret physical buildings and institutions. It also follows from this that society had been primarily a virtual space, a space time before the information age.”111” In this perspective knowledge society is “only” a higher level spatial dimension. We can only speak of knowledge society if we are able to realise a new, more just and efficient society that goes beyond the development of infrastructure and routine technological applications. This also implies that in the information age the service-providing state is not a goal but an indispensable tool in the new social processes. To put it differently, in between the communities of society and the public institutions co-operation and dynamic interaction becomes complete, which cannot be interpreted differently but that the virtual space and the institutional crisis of the virtual space opens up a possibility that the state could be socially controlled. The basis of the 19-20th century state is the territorial and institutionalised traditions, the state is thus defined in space and time. The principle of territoriality is that the state functions within clearcut geographical limitations. The time coordinate means that a human community living in a given territory is organised into a uniform society by the cohesive force of common culture and historic traditions that are perceived as common past. As a consequence of information age and globalisation, by the 21st century both space and time as dimension have changed significantly. This does not include that as a consequence of globalisation distances dwindle among people and cultures that live far apart from each other (by means of transportation & media), but it also means that in the age of networks proximity and distance as well as difference receive primarily a semantic interpretation.


Csaba Varga (2006) Új állam modell és közigazgatás elmélet (New State Model and Theory of Public Administration) p.10.


On the information highway the distance between pieces of information has shortened to a few clicks. The number between clicks is defined by the semantic distance between pieces of information. (the density between connections of sites, the numbers of joint key terms that are applied at the definition of information, etc.) The other element that defines semantic distance is the knowledge, interest, linguistic and social competence of the individual, all in all his/her personal culture (virtual identity). The loosening of space and time dimension has presented the state with a new situation. We should face the structural changes that follow the new type of territorial integration (continental organisation) and fragmentation (regionalism, localism) that follows from globalisation. On the other hand, there should be new solutions to manage “virtual space”, “space unit” that is increasingly becoming reality and further expands by the spread of infocommunication technology. The latter one is no longer held together by territorial integrity, but by common interests and the jointly developed/used info-communication network structure. Defining the concept of “interest”, which is a common denominator of virtual community, points beyond the present competence of the state. It is based on the sovereignty of community members as individuals (self-control, self-limitation), which is vitalised, carried and operated by the info-communication highway. The generative impact of infrastructure is also noticable here: the fast and continuous information flow (communication) does not only make it possible, but it also neccesitates social interests that link the community together as well as regenerate virtual communities on the basis of a continuous questioning and composition of those values. Problems around managing the state, which originate in this phenomenon, are further complicated by the fact that virtual communities do not only overlap but their “multiple memberships” could become irreversible, similarly to civil society organisations. The community and more broadly speaking society organises itself independently of space and time (state, governments). This signficantly increases the latitude of a given community (mobility) and its interest vindication capacities while it also cuts back on the efficiency of traditional governmental and institutional techniques as well as on the previous balancing and mediating role of the state. The weakened state in its competence and its authority in extreme cases could become the reason of ongoing conflict. This is why in the information age new approaches to the role and operation of state are indispensable.

7.2. Differences between virtual space and cyber space When we speak of the information age we tend to think that the new age is not only new but is also rootless in our civilisation. Many share the opinion that with the onset of the new age history will stop to exist. As F. Fukuyama sums it up: “the 20th century made all of us extremely pessimistic about history”.112 The question arises, whether do we really live in a rootless world? Does rootlesness go hand in hand with the idea that society in the end or perhaps primarily is a virtual space?


Francis Fukuyama (1994): A történelem vége és az utolsó ember (The End of History and the Last Man) Európa Könyvkiadó, Budapest. According to him history will end when parallel though contrasting alternatives of possible development would come to an end and humankind is going to advance into one direction. If liberal democracy becomes global that would essentially mean the end of the internal dialectic of history.



Pierre Lévy, who is often cited as the philosopher of cyber space , makes a difference between virtual space and cyber space. In his understanding cyber space is the linguistic and cultural realisation of virtual space, the objectifisation of the potential (the virtual, see Latin: virtus), becoming of semantic space. In the information age physical space melts into semantic space. Difference and distance beget new semantic meaning. According to Lévy, the real meaning of cyber space is opened up by semantic distance, which might be reflected in the minimal number of hyper-connections, a density of linking websites together, the number of joint key terms (search words) while describing documents or information, closeness of answers in between those given by the search engine, etc. In the system of Pierre Lévy what constitutes a novelty is essentially the definition between the difference of the potential (thus virtual) and the objectified (cyber space) which allows for the adaptation of his concept system in the scientific domain. According to Charles Bourget114, in the history of arts there is semantic coherence between gothic architecture of medieval times and the virtual space of the present; while the roots of modernity are founded in antiquity, the roots of the virtual space of the 21st century are in the traditions of symbolic thinking that characterised the Middle ages.

Spiritual world Gods Heros People Plants Animals Inanimate substance

World that exists in time People

Animals Plants Substance Antiquity


Table 15. The uniform, hierarchy of the Cosmos and the dual world model of the Christian Middle ages (inspired by Ch.Bourget, Ugrin Emese)


Scientific literature took over the classical sci-fi novel of William Gibson who calls the „objectifisation of semantic space” cyberspace. See: Lemnos, André idem. Pierre Lévy (1995): Qu’est-ce que le virtuel? La Découverte, Paris; (1994) L’intelligence collective. Pour une anthropologie du cyberespace, La Découverte, Paris; Cyberespace et cyberculture (lecture, Barcelona), Revista digital d’humanitats 114 Charles Bourget (2004): La virtualité médiévale inversée. Le cyberespace face à l’architecture gothique.


Antiquity and modernity lifts the potencial into the objectively existing natural world, thus it does not differentiate between the material (perceptible) reality and immaterial reality of the virtual; this feature made it the object of cognition, scientific examination and artistic creation. We could also claim that the infinity has been lifted into finity through and so it becomes measurable and depictable. In the antique civilisations the ideas of the cosmos were depicted in myths. In the mythic model there was no need to differentiate between the objective and virtual world.115 It is not by chance that for the person of antiquity the concept of infinity was not interpretable. Contrary to this, in the middle ages the dual world view based on new platonism sharply distinguished between the tangible and the spiritual world not comprehensible in a sensory manner. An ontological relationship exists between the two spheres of entity. Modern science and materialistic approach attempt to restore the lost unity of the world model by following antique traditions. Mythic thinking is replaced by the other extreme: rationalism. In this system the individual, nature and science is all part of objective reality. The potential entity is nothing but a set of things/ phenomena not yet examined, unknown yet cognisable which according to science is part of objective reality. As a result of this approach, antique civilisations carved from gods humans, while modernity made humans into “gods�. (The task of a possible meta-theory is to rethink and recreate the unity of science and religion.)





Rational reality Feeling


Living world

Science Human



Nature Animals


Inanimate substance

Table 16. The rational world model of modernity (inspired by Ch.Bourget, Ugrin Emese)


Let us only think about creation stories. One of the common denominators of anthique myths that gods and demigods are themselves created, just like humans are.


In the perception of Christian Middle ages the nature of humans is defined by three principles: 1. the body that changes in time and space (corpus), 2. the spirit that sustains the body (anima), 3. the spirit that is linked to the idea of God (spiritus). The latter is one (spiritus) is also a creation, and similarly to the substance its existence and value is defined by the share (emanation) in godly intellect (Wisdom – Sophia). To put it differently: middle age thinking denies the objectivity of objective reality so important to antiquity and modernity. There is an essence of things, but the “essence” is not in the things but somewhere else (dualism). The essence for the middle ages, that is, objective reality is only the spiritual world which is beyond physical perception, while earthly reality is merely an illusion, a virtually existing world. In the philosophy of St August creation is a momentary act in which one can distinguish between two phases: 1. Creation of unformed matter that is hardly different to nothing. There is potential existence in between nothing and something, the entity seeds (semina seminum) needed for the substance to be formed in which numbers hide as ideal energies; 2. The birth of formed matter. To be formed as matter means to step over from one state into another, thus form contains the fact of change. This change can be caught within space, but it becomes measurable in time. Change is thus movement itself. “I heard it from a sort of scientist that the movement of the sun, moon, stars is time itself. I did not agree with this view. Why is not movement of all bodies time?” (Confess.XI.xxiii,29).

Middle ages

Information age VIRTUAL REALITY

OBJEJTIVE REALITY Spiritual reality


Belief Science Human Nature Human




Table 17. The relationship between objective and virtual reality (Resource: Ch. Bourget)


The corner stone of augustine metaphysics that ruled up until the 13th century is the theorem of participatio. This states: 1. Created things only resemble the eternal ideas of God but they are not identical to them; 2. The changes in human existence result in the advancement to a higher level of existence (movement); 3. As this movement is realized in time, it presupposes change which is regulated by determined laws. What follows from this is that cognition in this system of thought is indirect because laws can be deduced by the changing phenomenon of the changing world. The road towards total knowledge is through belief which is directed toward the contemplation of the spiritual world. The essential difference between the middle ages and the information age is in the positive and negative approach to the virtual. For many thinkers of the middle ages and those of today objective reality is nothing but the result of the emanation of the supernatural (God). The information age, or more precisely, knowledge age views the virtual as something positive. This means that the reference of the virtual world is objective reality: humans, nature and science is projected onto the virtual world. All in all, this is also a type of emanation, although it is of an inverse nature because those phenomena that cannot be perceived with our sensory organs are described on the basis of the perceptible world (illustration). According to the new approach, the virtual is thus the material world interpreted by humans, the consequence of human emancipation. It is, however, a common feature of both that the link between the virtual and objective world is created by knowledge-creating intelligence. In the perception of the middle ages this knowledge is Divine Wisdom, Logos (the divine intellect that cannot be perceived by the senses) realised through creation and manifested partially. In this view human intelligence carries the divine essence to a certain extent, but it is not identical with it. Logos/ Knowledge preserves the spiritual essence. “As great a distance between the ray of light and the one furnished with beams, so does the creator differ from created wisdom”.116 The generating force of knowledge age is human intelligence which creates the abundance of information that jointly carry knowlege. Pieces of information that flow within cyber space, although partial, have the potential of becoming knowledge. That happens when they meet human intelligence. Information, as a potential (virtual) entity is objectified in cyber space but its shape is formed when it is used (realisation). Realisation is thus change itself (innovation) because the utilization of information also means the creation of one or more new pieces of information (knowledge) which are assigned virtual existence in cyber space. As we have already referred to it, Pierre Lévy distinctively distinguishes between the virtual space and its linguistic, cultural realisation, objectifisation, that is, cyber space. The question arises: what filled the role of cyber space in the middle ages? It is Bourget who directed the attention in the quoted study to the fact that gothic cathedrals essentially procreate a symbolic space through which communication is made possible between the sacred and the secular, the physical and spiritual sphere for the believer. The three layers of communication, the unity of the spoken, the written, iconic was one in the middle ages.117 The book was an “audiovisual medium”. Illustrations (illuminations) did not


Confess.XII.15,20 Ivan Illich (1991): Du lisible au visible: la naissance du texte. Un Commentaire de Diascalion de Hugues de Saint-Victor (trad. Jacques Mignon) éd. Du Cerf, Paris, p. 35-41. 117


only help interpreting the text118, but they also represented an important part on the road towards meditation. Its function was not so much the organisation and interpretation of “knowledge” detailed in the text, rather the symbolic essence of meditation, the direction of meditation was thus represented. The thought in movement which does not allow the reader to stick merely to the text but it inspires the reader to be fascinated by the essence of divine mistery. The image itself is an imperative just as by following the illustrations of the nave in cathedrals, the sanctuary is reached in a sort of unconscious way. Reading, closely linked to learning by heart, was always done aloud. As Hugues de Saint-Victor (around 1128) points out on the arts of reading, memory preceeds writing and it belongs to the category of the oral/ spoken. The written text is only a tool for the “pious reader” to hand himself/herself over to speech. Abstract text materialises and is emboded by speech (the movement of the mouth).119

7.3. Cyber-space is the scene of collective intelligence In spite of their common features, it goes without saying that there are very significant differences between the conceptualisation of the middle ages and knowledge age; namely, the direction of “permeability” between the virtual and objective reality. This determined the quality of the connection. While in the first the defining factor is the individual relationship of human intelligence, in the cyber-space individual intelligence communicates with one another, and so they add up into a collective intelligence. Communication is continuous and interactive, and presupposes an ongoing presence. I suggest we examine a possible definition of virtual space closely: “virtual space... is the joint presence of ideas and signs created by human culture as well as the set of infinite organisational methods. The intelligence of authors, readers, navigators joins in cyber-space and they create and realise virtual space together. (Pierre Lévy)120 What follows from this is that the self-development of partially the information age, but especially of the knowledge age points into the direction that the tangible reality behind the state and society expands, virtual and cyber space is recreated and human intelligence becomes a strong organisational force.

The virtual community Virtual communities are de-facto re-born. In the study written by André Lemos on virtual communities121 two aspects of cyber-space are distinguished: IT networks and virtual reality. The first formation of cyber-space is the “projection of the subject” into the network. This is a specifically new way of taking part in a community. This community is linked by the virtual network. Neither distance/proximity, nor the dimension of time plays a role in the physical sense of the word. In this spacial time the members of the community are continuously present. Their presence is objectified through information. Thus we can speak of presence also when the person who sends out information is not present on the network in reality. To put it differently, virtual reality simulates another, unreal reality by deceiving the physical sensors of humans. Cyber space thus potentially contains the possibility of becoming a community space. In this space “I” is dissolved, it is hardly linked to physical reality in the 118

The „degradation” of illustrations took place much later, with the spread of the Gutenberg galaxy. Ivan Illich (1991) p.68. 120 Authors, readers, navigators = producers, users and organisers of information 121 André Lemos (1994): Les Communautés Virtuelles, in Société, no 45, 1994. ps. 253-261 119


sense of social class, body, age, gender identity. Our virtual identity is first and foremost linked to our knowledge, interests, social and linguistic competence. Our information “body” (our virtual existence) is determined by the relationships and co-operation in the semantic space.122 What follows from the above is that virtual communities are the socio-cultural grouping of human realations in cyber space.123 It is characterised by the phenomenon that individuals, social relations, group interests are embedded into a dynamically flowing process over a certain period of time. The information that flows on the internet cannot be manipulated nor regulated by one institution. The task of making an order and regulation falls on virtual communities (selfregulation). Adhering and making others adhere to the regulations accepted by the community forms the basis of community life. Those who “resist” are immediately expelled by the community. Although regulations are just as independent from the regulatory system of the objective reality as well as other virtual communities (in this sense of the word there is real chaos on the internet). The organisation of virtual communities is built on serious ethical principles. The community spirit and solidarity, which set off real “virtual movements” in the last decade, clearly show that the internet has the potential of becoming the scene of political and social movement not only at the local but also at global level. “Virtual space” is able to mobilise millions of people from all around the world (and we should add that most of them are young people already in posession of digital culture). It does not only generate communication and new informtion but also community actions, what more, new political, social qualities.124 The virtually organised global movements are based on new value systems, characterised by universal solidarity, taking responsibility in participation and co-operation. They manifest new ethical norms. If we are to disclose the new type of globalisation or the internal world of information/ knowledge age, we could discover such new spiritual and communitiy processes which could lead to the reconstruction of the susbstantial reality destroyed by the industrial society. What is born unnoticedly is not necessarily identical with the old but we cannot exclude the possibility that the new virtual space, new cyber-space prepares representational democracy. The state construed on the logic of rationalism and industrial age cannot be put off by the changes.


Pierre Lévy (2001) La séparation de la culture et de l’Etat. Intervir,2001/12. Howard RHEINGOLD, The Virtual Community, 1993; 124 One of the examples of political action organised in the virtual space in France is the torpedoed higher education bill brought in by Jacque Attali. The government backed out due to demonstrations that went on for several months and that attested to never before seen professionalism and political insight organised on university and higher education neworks and so that bill was was withdrawn. A virtual world movement was created with the help of the Internet in the summer of 2005 in order to remit the debts of the poor countries and to gain international support. The petition that was submitted at the G8 summit was signed by several million people on the Internet. As its result, the leaders of the developed countries have significantly increased the amount of aid for the developed world, -something, the wouldn’t have been on the agenda otherwise. 123


Chapter Eight: The new state as virtual community 8.1. The institutionalisation of virtual space in the horisontally organised state Where are we after the turn of the millenium? If society is a virtual community so is the state increasingly becoming virtual reality, too. The info-communications infrastructure of the welfare and economic system of the information age is no longer only a tool but also also a carrier, and so it has become a „virtual institution”, too. In this sense the building of the public service system of the information age is inseparably linked to the reformation of the institutional system of the state. Deriving from the nature of info-communications technology, transformations cannot be merely interpreted as reforms on the long-term. The issue is not simply the reorganisationn and functioning of public administration and public services, that is, it not merely an administrative matter from the perspective of the citizen; instead, replacing the traditional static organisational forms and hierarchically organised network systems by a new, dynamic institutional structure based on direct communication with the citizens as well as horisontally organised networks. From the point of view of state institutions this implies the following: 1. Due to the information public service system, state institutions are in direct contact with social, economic and cultural processes. The advantages of this is that anomalies could be managed, solutions could be found to „local” crisis, certain laws could be applied to any given situations, as well as the demands and expectations of economic actors, civil communities and individuals could be aligned, too. The use of info-communications system makes the development of digital culture ever more dynamic. 2. From the point of view of state structure, it entails simultaneous decentralisation and deregularisation. From the point of view of government technology, however, institutional structure is replaced by an integrated governance method. Decentralisation, deregularisation and integrated governance all require the materialisation of three basic principles, namely those of subsidiarity, solidarity and co-operation. 3. From the point of view of the citizen, it requires direct participation (participatory democracy, direct or e-democracy), as well as greater publicity and transperancy of public matters. The definition provided by Kate Oakley125 is clear and acceptable: „E-governance is the totality of methods that apply info-communications technology, which, besides the provision of public services, places the relationship between the citizens and governments on a new basis.”


Kate Oakley (2002): Qu’est ce que l’e-gouvernance? Projet Intégré 1: Atelier sur l’e-gouvernance IP1 (2002) Strasbourg.


Civil society organisations

Central government institutions


Virtual communities

Local government institutions

The actors of the economic sphere (business, financial, production)

Table 18. The horisontally organised network structure (Emese Ugrin)

However, the application of new technology implies new risks, too: 1. Crisis centres: insofar as the communication system malfunctions and the localisation of social and economic crisis centres is unsuccessful, negative processes could ripple across unstoppably due to the fast circulation of information. 2. Lack of trust: every single mistake and operational disturbance (whether technological, security, administrative or human mistake) directly impacts and weakens the state. Currently, one of the defining sources of the lack of trust is found in the duality of the administrative system: the parallel lives of traditional paper-based and electronic practices. This phenomenon has, on the one hand, sociological reasons (cultural factors, digital gulf, infrastructural deficiencies, etc.), on the other hand, institutional reasons (vertical, institutional and control structures, lack of education, etc.) Disfunctionality based on parallelelism could potentially lead to lack of trust. 3. Lack of equal opportunities: if the instructure does not become a universally accepted and applied public service – thus if the digital gulf is present on the user side in every domain of life and the technological development stays partial, then a duplicity will be established in the operation of institutions, which could lead to disfunctionality and in extreme cases to complete breakdown of the state. 4. Lack of capital: insofar as the applied developments of the communication system go against technological developments – such as outdated security systems, limited and inadequate service system, etc.- the operationability of state institutions could become uncertain. To secure the need for capital in infrastructural development, the state and economic actors must learn to co-operate. The operation and maintenance as well as employer and user are sharply separated, their partnership is expressed in the co-operation of mutual interests. 5. Critical mass: the investment and operational costs of info-communications systems are high. It yields returns only if certain conditions are met, namely there is a certain amount of demand. The rise in demand can, however, only be achieved if market empulses 127

prevail in the system of user sevices and operation of networks. From the point of view of the state, this means that the majority of services need to be geared by market relations (outsourcing, application of business type process models, etc.) 6. As long as the state hangs on to its monopoly position, the application of information technology does not decrease but rather increases costs. This does not only imply reforming state structures but also its integration in the market, and into economic and social relations. Its declining role in controlling the market, however, could lead to the impairment of the state’s leading role in social processes. 7. Attention: the service-providing state is not yet an e-state and the serviceproviding state is not yet a serving state. The state at this stage is still characterised by a posttotalitarian nature. Taking the above as the basis, we can ascertain that at the beginning of the 21st century the concept of service-providing and equal opportunities-providing state needs to be connected with the notion of the small and cheap state. In practice this also entails that the condition of performing the necessary and real state tasks does not equal larger and costlier governance apparatus. The small and cheap state simultaneously presupposes a strong state, where the adjective „strong” denotes that the state is capable of functioning efficiently. The indicators of efficiency are simplifying organisational procedures, flexibility and adaptability to the fast-changing social, economic processes as well as readiness for innovation in order to minimise costs. Info-communications infrastructure is not only a new system of tools but also a widely different practice of governance built on communication which we call e-governance for short, having been defined by its infrastructure. The integrated interpretation of e-governance includes e-public administration, e-administration and e-democracy. The definitions above clearly show that all too often the notions of « governance » and « government » are mixed up in the definition of e-governance, - although we admit that the two concepts fall fundamentally very close to each other. Neither the first, nor the second definiton steps beyond the IT modernisation of the modern state. The improvement of relations between the state and the citizen through the application of electronic instruments by far does not imply fundamental changes in the relations of the state and citizen. We could also put it that way that modernisation primarily focuses on the operational mechanisms of the institutional system and reassures citizens against the political state. The concept of servicesand equal opportunities-providing state while it aims at meeting the challenges of the information age (due mostly to economic pressures), it strives for upholding the political, institutional and administrative nature of the modern state (nation-state) in the new framework, which is based on a hierarchic relationship between the state and citizens. It is a valuable observation: modernisation primarily applies to the modus operandi of the system of networks rather than the structural reform in the relationship between the state and citizens.

8.2. The problem of control – order and chaos The aversion of states against the virtual e-state could be explained in a number of ways. Pierre Lévy finds the answer in the nation-state’s cultural homogenisation policies built


on authoritarianism and concludes that the tendencies of the modern state for totalitarianism are responsible for the dislike.126 The one and only method of control is to unanimously adopt to the network nature of culture and to globalisation. And this, theoretically speaking, would either lead to the establishment of a global government or to the total breakdown of control as we know it today because the tools/methods of control are neutralised in cyberspace where they would have to take on the multi-dimensional characteristics of culture. A great many people have already pointed out the dangers of cyberspace stemming from its chaotic nature. It was M. Foucault127who among the first ones in the 1970s warned us against new technology, which in his view was so much a liberating force for the individual against the oppressive state and traditions as it presented a great danger to the individual because it could even lead to disposession of a person’s identity. The person living/working in the allurement of the computer could find themselves in « new captivity » without regulations. The fusion of private and public spheres is potentially a source of individual and social problems. State intervention (regulation) is indespensable. Gilles Paquet came up with the thesis about the dual nature of cyberspace.128 Information technology and communication induce an ambivalent, simultaneously organised and chaotic (caordic) world. This is the « communication revolution»129(the revolution of inversion). Relationships based on information networks are in continuous transformation (movement). Commutation is what makes realignment and change possible. Nothing gets lost in virtual space, but is merely transformed. Commutation is a sort of directing principle which „catalyzes collective intelligence” (see P. Lévy). On networks thus we find so much chaos – confusing change – as order as the intensity of change has been increasingly gathering pace. Commutation is the directing principle. Information society and economy manifests similar dualities. Continuous transformation, compulsive change could, however, lead to grave social and economic problems. Amongst others, the social impact of online innovation economy is as follows: hesitation on the labour market, incalculability of the social system, defencelessness on the part of the individual, etc. The social system that is based on the balanced, traditional state redestribution has a decelarating effect on the processes of economic innovation, thus it is becoming a handicap. All these conditions warrant for the maintenance of governance. The question is thus not so much the abolition or maintenance of state and control but rather the nature of governance in the information society. Paquet saw the future of e-state in auto-organisations and the realisation of the cooperative state. The three pillars of these are: e-governance, 2. collective intelligence, 3. «commuter state » (the state that leads, orientates and supports change). We could add to the above that the new state model starts off a new model having ended the industrial/ postindustrial state, what more, it steps over the modest vision of the service-providing state, too.


Pierre Lévy (1998): Cyberculture, rapport au Conseil de l'Europe, Paris (Odile Jacob, 1998) Michel Foucault (1980): Power / Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-77, Brighton, Harvester, 1980. 128 Gilles Paquet (2000): E gouvernance, gouvernementalité et État commutateur, Publication du 55e Congrès des relations industrielles de l’Université Laval, Canada, 2000. 129 The notion of „communication revolution” was first used by Marc Guillaume (1999) 127


8.3. E-governance and e-public administration without popular fallacies Even if there is no real breakthrough, based on the above we could still state that one of the most important challenges of the information age is to reconsider the function and operation of the state. Even if it is a challenging task to precisely define the state of the new age, that much is already clear that the developed Northern countries see the immediate future (and already the present) as a time for widespread application of infocommunications technology and electronic governance. The realisation of electronic governance, however, is organically connected with the spatial structure as well as it is a relation between the economy and social members to new technologies; this shows a widely diverse picture so much in content as in developmental methods. In this respect e-governance cannot be separated from the range of intelligent developmental strategies that aim at the realisation of information society all of which are diverse so much in their starting points as in their preferences and priorities manifested in different ways around the globe. If e-governance and its equivalent, e-public administration is interpreted otherwise then we might just be prisoners of simple fallacies.

8.4. The historic development and global trends in e-governance The direct reasons for the practical realisation of electronic governance is found in the social discontent with the operation of public politics. Although the discontent manifests itself in numerous ways, in the developed countries its is primarily demonstrated by the ever larger proportion of absentees in political elections as well as those who turn away from public services offered by public institutions and the recourse of many people to high standard services found on the market. This holds true especially in the state attendances which have been economically and socially revalued in the information age. This phenomenon eventually threatens with the „secession from the system” (K. Oakley) which could lead to the break-up of the established social consensus on the setpoints of public good. It is not by chance thus that albeit the developed Northern states have been using and applying info-communications technology for over five decades, the concept of electronic governance was born far later in relation with the institutional system reform of modern politics. The notion became part of the Labour Party reform programme in Great Britain in 1997. Here the concept of modernisation was connected to the vision of network governance, which aimed at the realisation of two goals: the citizen-centred transformation of public power and its operation system as well as the integrated management of public information. The „management” of information flow was regarded as an activity of general interest; as a flow that passes through infocommunication networks whose aim is to integrate and mediate information in a society-friendly and appropriate manner. At first thus info-communications technology aimed not so much at structurally reforming state institutions and government work but rather improving the information flow between citizens and public politics. The concept of electronic governance spread wide and fast; among the supporting factors we find the present day infrastructural definiteness of information society and the recognition that the widespread application of info-communication technology contributes to


the growth in competitive power of national economies. In this respect the development of infrastructure and its mass application (intelligent developments) facilitates social acceptance and application. From a sociological point of view thus it improves employment opportunities of citizens, the integration of disadvantaged groups into the employment market (equal opportunitites, competence, telework). From an economic point of view, new technology promotes the development of e-economy and so it does not only contribute to the realisation of sustainable development but it also creates new jobs. The Lissabon strategy accepted in March 2000 regards the establishment of info-communications infrastructure as one of the motors of European development. In recapitulation, the advantages of e-governance against all sorts of criticism are so far: ƒ Because it promotes the acceptance and application of info-communications technology, it contributes to the momentary growth in competitive power, ƒ It enables or functions as a starting point for the reconceptualiation of the role of the state: the citizen becomes the focus of the bidirectional information flow between the government and the population, ƒ The interconnection of information impacts the efficacy of state operations in a positive way, ƒ Besides the decrease in operational costs, the quality of services provided to the citizens is improved.

8.5. The hypotheses of various e-governance models Albeit electronic media is hardly a decade old, thanks to the remarkably fast technological developments, the governance models of the information age are clearly palpable. Next to the similarities of technological methods at the global level, local traditions of governance, social norms rooted in historically evolved national traditions, future images and political determination so much separately as jointly tint and strucutre the practical realisation of governance. The significance of local factors is proven by the fact that already in this circle even technology cannot preserve its neutrality. Just as information society, egovernance is at least to the same extent culturally determined as it is determined by infrastructure. Research shows that not only at continental scale but already at the local level there are very significant differences in the realiastion of e-governances (e.g. between the practices of metropolises and the characteristically rural settlements of e-local government). The British researcher Kate Oakley in his most recent paper distinguishes between three models of e-governance130: 1. The model of „new economy”: ƒ In this model e-economy (e-trade, e-business) serves as a model for e-governance. The emphasis is on high level public services. ƒ In this model the civilians get freely about in virtual space, unconstrained by time and space (24hs) and in a self-service fashion. The essentials of the system are that services offered fall in step with individual demands of citizens and thus could easily be accessed.


Kate Oakley: Qu’est ce que l’e-gouvernance? Projet Intégré 1: Atelier sur l’e-gouvernance IP1 (2002) Strasbourg.


ƒ The development of infrastructure is regulated by the market which often leads to „digital gulf”. ƒ E-governance frequently manifests itself as a tool for local economic development: it promotes the creation of companies that apply high level info-communications technologies and persue their development. The focus of development is technology and infrastructure. (techno-push). ƒ From the point of view of future perspective of democratic institutions, the goal is primarily to decrease the role and size of the state. E-governance thus serves the effictive operation of the state. Similar aspirations are noticeable in the concept of e-democracy, which puts the emphasis on the infrastructural and technological systems ensuring effective communication between the governance and the state and it does not refer to the role of network communities in generation of innovation. ƒ The most characteristic representatives of this model are the US, New Zealand and the UK. 2. The model of „electronic community”: ƒ This model primarily keeps in sight the potential of social innovation. The focus of development is the civilian as an autonomous member of the community. ƒ E-governance serves the interests of civil society. Accession to and the establishment of networks is closely linked to freedom of information and the traditions of civil society; all of them act towards strengthening social dialogue, assertion of interest and the development of participatory democracy (social-puch). ƒ Access to networks (infrastructural conditions) is the tool to ensure equal opportunities. Eliminating the „digital gulf” makes state intervention possible on the basis of subsidiarity (bailout). ƒ The civilian is regarded not exclusively as an information and service consumer but someone who plays an active role in the creation of informatin and is thus an active partner. ƒ This model is spreading first and foremost in Europe. It has been estabished primarily in those countries where civil traditions are strong, such as the Netherlands and the Scandinavian states. The strategy and developed guidelines of the European Union on information society development first and foremost aims to further strengthen and preserve the European social model. E-governance is closedly linked to the vision of broadening democracy and the state that provides equal opportunities and serves (and does not provides serves to) citizens.131 3. The model of „planned economy”: ƒ Just as in the „new economy model” the important motor of development is economy although the role of state intervention and responsibilities are defining in the skills required to apply infrastructural development and info-communications technology . ƒ The system of tools of state intervention first and foremost consists of state subsidies. Subsidy serves the realisation of long-term, centrally chiselled strategic goals which 131

One of the most visible counter-arguments of the numerous criticisms against e-governance is that services knock over the balance of demand and supplies in favour of the supply side while it does not take into account those social demands which have been degraded to consumerism. The European e-governance aims at reparing this anomaly by placing special emphasis on the relationship between services and social innovation. From a theoretical point of view the symbiosis of the two notions is extremely important. As we are goint to discuss it in greater detail below, the typically European notion of the participatory democracy and the „service-providing” state is rooted in a specific approach to services and social innovation.


do not trend to the gratification of all-time civil demands (and its serving), but the realisation of conditions rooted in the competition of global economy. ƒ Electronic governance serves as orientating the investment of private economy and raising the activity level of the private sphere. ƒ This model is primarily used by the „small tiger” countries, namely Singapour and Malaysia. It goes without saying that none of the three above drafted models can be found in a pure form, not even in one country. The model-like introduction of global trends serves in fact the purpose to understand that electronic governance has stepped over the utopia of yesterday and other previous theoretical combinations. It has become an institutionalised reality and with this a new type of „state” is being developed that could meet the challenges of the information age. Distinguishing the three models also points to the fact that neither model is capable of comprehensive management of the grave problems of the state or the tensions between the state and society; what more, even the „planned economy model” is not able to offer but temporary solutions. E-governance is an important step forward while grave state-model conflicts are revealed.

8.6. E-governance with the continuously developing tools of ICT In our interpretation electronic (e-) governance implies the progressive transformation of the internal and external contacts by applying info-communications technology (ICT). ICT improves access to users from the perspective of public administration; moreover, by speeding up the information flow, it also facilitates efficient and fast work. The network ensures not only a potential for reforms for the state and public administration, but the public administration levels that had previously made up a hierarchical system are increasingly replaced by horisontally organised a „service-providing” system built on direct relationship betweeen citizens, actors of the economy, public institutions and civil servants. It is such a new system which goes beyond public administration tasks and hopefully makes the integration of „knowledge wealth” owned by the state possible into the innovation processes of the economy. „For Europe it is of outstanding importance to have such a public sphere which enables economic growth, provides high quality services for everyone and strengthens democratic processes” – states the communique of the European Committee.132 Creating the conditions of electronic public administration and governance implies broadening of democracy at a political level, knowledge-based economy and the development of the service sector at an economic level while from a social point of view equal opportunities in accessing quality serices and the increase in standard of living.133


Communiqué de press 29 septembre 2003. eEurope 2005 - Le rôl de l’administration en ligne (eGouvernment) pour l’avenir de l’Europe (SEC (2003)1038)



Private individuals Social organisations Companies Public institutions State and public administration bodies, EU

Culture, Education, Law, Healthcare, Employment, Economic information, Transport, Other sectors




Enactment, Budget, Development, Strategic planning, Public administration

Settlements, Small regions, Regions, National (country)

Table 19.: The sketch of e-governance (Emese Ugrin)

8.7. The four players of e-public administration, or is this the new model? Today’s e-public administration model is primarily the electronic form of local and regional level service-providing public administration. It is the opening of four sides into one another, namely the new types of communication between society (citizens, social and economic organisations), the state (national, regional, small regional administration levels), local government(s) and „knowledge centre(s)” (the managers of data wealth), new type of partnership co-operation. The basis and carrier of co-operation is the info-communications infrastructure which allows for the efficient flow and management of information (the creation of open and closed databases, recycling of data, paperfree electronic administration, interactivity) as well as the system of democratic conditions of the public sphere. ƒ On the decision-making side direct contact is created between society and the local government and government, respectively (it opens up a way from indirect representational democracy to participatory democracy – that is, e-democracy) ƒ On the executive side, it implies the modernisation of decision-making (decision preparation and decision-making) and executive power operations, - hierarchic relationships are replaced by horisontal relationships based on networks and co-operation -, while with social and economic actors the „subordinate” citizen and „authority” state relationship is replaced by a direct and interactive partnership relation. With these transformations of „services” and communication, a new type of horisontal relationship system of conditions could be created between the citizen and the executive power.


Elected local governmental sphere

Elected governmental sphere

State administration sphere

Public administration sphere

Social and economic groups

Companies, enterprises



Public institutions and other organisations


Table 20. The sketch of the functional system of e-governance (Emese Ugrin)

8.8. The elementary significance of knowledge centres Sooner or later knowledge centres are going to become an essential element in the operation of e-governance and e-public administration, which are simultaneousy the central elements of knowledge industry. Knowledge centres as IT infrastructure and the connected IT activities provide the connecting points to economy and society: it is here that potential service-providing activities take shape, the system-supporting innovations are created and started off. The role of knowledge centres is multi-functional insofar that knowledge contents for special usage are created here in the largest amounts. From the point of view of e-governance, the state is the biggest owner of knowledge wealth. Theoretically speaking, the establishment of a centralised national databank is needed the centralised realisation of which, for reasons of data complexity and its multitude, continuous transformation and reform as well as the multi-dimensionality of the user side could only be achieved as part of complex relationship of networks. The electronic governance and knowledge centre(s) of public administration alloy the tripple unity of application- transmission- knowledge creation. Information infrastructure as basic public utility is the operational unity of knowledge centres. Knowledge centres could be highly diversed when it comes to the produced information and institutional (organisational) form. Since this is a new activity today, their categorisation is not a simple matter. With the development of e-governance (and knowledgebased economy and society) widespread specialisation is expected to take place. ƒ We include those institutions among the centres that manage the knowledge basis considered as information public property which are mandated to create, refresh and operate


as well as widely (public information) or specifically distribute databases. One part of databases is transmitted to various suppliers and users, while another part is specifically meant for special professional usage. Today the national and regional level database development is typical, albeit with the establishment of e-public administration and e-local government small regional and settlement level knowledge bases are expected to take shape just as the joint European virtual space is also currently under construction. Those organisations, institutions, knowledge-centres that manage knowledge bases are in line with the new global spatial structure. ƒ Among the knowledge-centres, a specific group is expected to play a significant role in the future, namely the databases that collect and manage special knowledge. Their creation first and foremost depends on user demand. While at present these knowledge bases could be reached through professional websites, they are connected to the service sphere. Their common feature is that for the time being, at least most of them, are accessible to everyone free of charge. It is not clear yet whether these websites are going to become service ventures or would remain data management institutions which could become a special segment of content development through the information found on the web.134 What is and should be clear though that knowledge centres have and will play an elementary role.

8.9. E-local governance and e-democracy opens a door to the future We could extensively cite philosophical approaches to democracy theory, such as the utilitarian, epistemic, Rousseauian kind or those discourse-centred democracy models that have subsequently become fashionable or the Schumpeter concept that promotes market and competition-centred democracy approach. Compared with the above approaches, newer conceptualisations are rather pragmatic. In a political sense we expect to find the loosening of hierarchic structures of traditional public administration, bueaucratic operational mechanisms and those of particular network system of public administration and power as well as a repprochement towards the principle of local governance and regional autonomy.135 This is another important chance, without resorting to illusions. 134

From the point of view of knowledge creation, the central role can be reached from all sides. Since the opportunities of knowledge transfer are illimited, theoretically speaking an infinite number of knowledge centre variations are possible. A centre could take shape on educational, research institutional lines but equally on the basis of culture-production. The network nature and the knowledge transfer on networks as well as the application of new technologies and their further development nearly always characterise these centres. This means that in the future knowledge centres could become virtual, too. 135 Such approaches are not alien in the Hungarian public thinking either. Not smaller personalities than Zoltán Magyary, István Bibó and in the 1970s István Kiss have come up and worked out the practical solutions of setting up the system of districts for regions and small regions, - although highlighting different aspects of course. Magyary regarded the most important task to be the rationalisation of public administration while Bibó considered its democratic operation as the fundamental basis while Kiss argued for suppying the population and the efficient expenses of the system. It was István Kiss and his colleagues who first argued for the 6+1 (this latter being Budapest) divisioning of the country. Although decentralisation has always been an important element for reform endeavours, the complete dissolution of hierarchic relationships was never put forward for reasons of traditional public administration practice. (See: Zoltán Magyary: Magyar közigazgatás (Hungarian public administration), Királyi Magyar Egyetemi Nyomda, Budapest, 1942.; István Bibó: Válogatott tanulmányok (Selected papers), 1935-1944.Volumes I-III. (Magvető Publisher, 1986)


The topical e-local governance programme At the turn of the millenium, we define e-local governance as the adaptation of local governance at different levels of locality, or the application of network-based technologies to serve the interests of the community represented by the local government. From a narrower scope, it is the digital method of local government bodies work (and committees), while from a broader perspective it is the social inclusion into the processes of local governance and the possibility of e-participation. Last but not least, it is the continuously modernised internal operation between the local government and the state government.

E-democracy – the possibility of participatory democracy To create a horisontal system of relationships that validates the principle of subsidiarity a revolutionary reform is needed that puts forward a new perspective for transformations that exploit the technological possibilities of the 21st century and modernise the public administration system, in the focus of which is the creation of participatory democracy built on the direct relationship between the actors of public sphere and the citizen. The present public administration reform gets value insofar as it is part and parcel of this complex process. It is not the goal but one of the defining elements of the democratic transformaitons leading to the information age. And this is not a static, mechanically applicable development activity, but it is innovation itself. Innovation, that simultaneously aims at adapting to the changes in the global space structure while it also focuses on the utilisation of local resources as innovative assets. The key to success might be the agreement and co-operation between the economy, society and public sphere. To put it differently: veritable changes can be achieved only through the joint validation of the subsidiarity, co-operative and participatory principles. These principles could separatly or jointly be exclusively realised through the horisontal regional and administrative structure whose cohesion is given by info-communications technology ensuring multilateral relationships and networks. E-democracy is the political/communal operational ideal of the information age, it is a new democracy theory. It is a political system that is not made up of subservient citizens, but rather of participative citizens.136 Ideally, it brings indirect, representational democracy via info-communications networks and services; through e-methods theoretically speaking every citizen could directly become part of the political community. E-democracy makes intelligent civil society a possibility through an evolutionary process which would end atomised local society. In the e-democracy, with the help of e-elections, every single right to freedom could be realised and community responsibility could prevail. Thus digital local governance and the


Direct democracy experiments have taken place all around the world in the last decade (e.g. Porto Allegre, Brasil) and the UN has also voted for its widespread acceptance. The systems that have been applied so far fall rather under the category of broadening the public sphere than the creation of real direct democracy. Participatory democracy which means the integration of citizen wills into decision-making and the overview of execution could only be realised with the spread of digital technology. Its solution expectedly will be that decisions are going to become more legitimate and transparent and a trustful relationship between local politics and society could be restored.


digital ciitzen, e-public administration and e-citizen presupposes one another and jointly embody e-democracy. All in all, pariticipatory (e-)democracy is essentially infrastructurally determined and it is inseparable from comprehensive intelligent developments137, whereby the modernisation of public administration if strategically established could become a pulling-sector. ƒ It motivates and revs up the development of info-communications infrastructure in the country as well as it contributes to the spread of digital culture (and its social reception). ƒ It creates a basis for the dynamic development in electronic content development (information databases) and content services while it simultaneoulsy becomes part and parceld of the electronic service-providing system. Governance and democracy in the information age

e-State/e-Republic e-governance e-democracy e-public administrationA

S e-sectors (ePolicy)



Table 21. Governance, public administration and democracy in the information society (Emese Ugrin) (Key: A=Administration/in e-public administration theory it equals the G2G levels; S= Services provided to the citizens /G2G levels and the economic actors /G2B levels by the state)

From the point of view of information and (knowledge) society, governance and public administration that is linked to it cannot be any longer interpreted as the manifestation of power through the institutions of public administration, not even if it serves democratic society. In the information age governance itself is a service and as such it becomes part and parcel of economic and social processes. From such a perspective every single interpretation is erroneous which highlights but a single aspect of developments placing it in the focus of attention and thus not wanting to take into account the developments of e-democracy, clamping the totality of the system that essentially define its operation. Moreover, such an approach is equally unacceptable which limits the modernisation of public administration and ultimately of democracy to the establishment of info-communications infrastructure and the application of electronic devices. We can theoretically presuppose that the service-providing or rather serving function of governance is rooted not so much in the system of electronic public administration but rather from the essence of participatory democracy. In this sense the adjective „electronic” does not only refer to applied technology but it expresses that the contact between citizens and institutions are direct and interactive, it (could) include every single member of the republic


eEurope 2003-2005 programme, see:


while the „services� are tailored for the individuals, to individual demands and life situations, even more, they adapt to communities of individuals. The examination of the programme and practice of e-governance and e-public administration clearly showed that that the state conceptualisation of the information and knowledge age is going firstly to corrode, secondly to modernise, thirdly, to show ways to new solutions for the industrial-post-industrial state and representational democracy which have safeguarded the totalitarian characteristics rather well as well as the ossified and emptied structures of representational democracy not to speak about their old-fashioned operational methods.


Chapter Nine: Democracy theories and experiments 9.1. E-democracy – historical overview – visions and doubts138 The history of the democracy model offers important recognitions. The thought that scientific technological achievements and within it, communication technology could be put into the service of political development is not new in itself. It was already in the 19th century when the followers of Saint-Simon held the opinion that the telegram was a potential tool of communication. In the twentieth century it was the advent and the widespread popularity of television that brought new hopes: television makes knowledge and orientation accessible to everybody and thus it broadens public sphere. In our times it is the Internet which brings hope that with the help of this new technology political systems are going to undergo change and reform. With unlimited and accelerated information flow not only the interaction between individuals is going to become easier, but electronic networks will enhance public activity of citizens, too. The thought of electronic democracy, however, was born not so much as a result of the Internet, but rather of the computer. After the shocking events of the second world world, social peace, democracy and the end of povery was hoped to be achieved through rationalisation. In history rationalisation has shown its different facets although its essence has basically stayed unaltered: the social-technological results of a given era were applied to reform a given social structure. This process in most cases went hand in hand with new modes of communication. Once again, sweeping changes are at once global and local in nature. The radical alteration of existing social relationships is the result of the "global" scope of communication revolution (e.g. writing, printing or the Internet) as well as the social and economic adaptation of new techonological methods at "local" levels. Thus human – tool – content parameters adequately describe all major civilisation eras and therefore all political structures. This was the recognition in which the birth of electronic democracy was rooted.

9.2. The extraordinary history of electronic democracy as an idea If we examine the historical context of political institutional structures and infocommunication technology, three great periods (developmental phases) could be distinguished among the comprehensive idea of electronic democracy. It is the common distinctiveness of each period that within the scientific technological results first and foremost it seeks the implementation of rationalisation to social problems.


We made use of the structure provided by Thierry Vedel (2003) in our historical overview: L’idée de démocratie électronique. Origines, visions, questions, in Le désenchantement démocratique (Ed. Perrneau Pascal), éd. l’Aube, Paris, 2003. p. 243-266.


The period of "Cybernet" We can describe the time between 1948-1970 as the theoretical period of "cybernet" or "governing engine". Whilst the first computers are born, the devastating events of the second world war and the desire to avoid a new world catastrophy define the way of thinking in this era. The basic question of the age is whether technology, or more precisely, IT is capable and if yes to what extent governing society in a rational way. It was in 1948 that the American mathematician, Norbert Wiener's book called „Cybernetics, or Control and Communications in the Animal and the Machine” was published.139 Cybernet is a metaphore, which thanks to the flow of information and such concepts as "feed-back" explains every living organism, including both humans and social structures within a system or a system and its environment. The cybernet model simultaneously carries the promise of finding a remedy to social problems. N. Wiener and his followers imagine a gigantic computers capable of managing hundreds of thousands of data; they hope that these machines are going to cut back on the obstructive factors present in an administrative system. In their view, by eliminating the human factor a steril environment is created free of human bias while clearcut problems are guided by the clean logics of mathematics. Thanks to the "ruling machine" not only human induced social processes are potentially rationalised, but the deficiencies in the political machine could be overcome too. The thought itself is Orwellian, although its roots are found in antique philosophy (Sophism, Socrate). The application of technical tools and professionalism to achieve citizen equality makes rationalisation of political action possible. • In the systemic theory approach political action is pragmatised: both its object and goal is limited to the interaction between system and its environment (communication). • The rationalisation of planning and choice: the state supported by IT systems is regarded as the most important forum of decision-making. It is this percpetion tht leads in the USA to the Planning-Programming-Budgeting-System (PPBS), in France to the Rationalisation of Decision-Making and Budget (RCB).140 In spite of numerous critiques, the cybernet approach had gained weight nearly everywhere by the end of the 1960s. The object of criticism was primarily aimed at the concept of a simplified, narrowly interpreted political action. Two of its most important opposers were Meynaud141 (1964) and Habermas (1968) who raised their voices against the "scientification" of politics. They pointed out two important dangers of political rationalism rooted in the pragmatism characterising industrial age. 1. Politics is such a complex activity which cannot be simplified to technical applications, - claims Meynaud. The process, however, is easily modifiable and subsequently it is technology and science that become politicized.142


Norbert Wiener. Cybernetics, or Control and Communications in the Animal and the Machine. 1948. Le PPBS est appliqué à toutes les administrations publiques par décision du président Johnson en 1965. En France, c’est en 1968 que la RCB est lancée par le gouvernement. Neveu (1997, p. 31) y voit une « conjugaison de la logique rationnelle d’une bureaucratie weberienne dotée de plus d’expertise et du fantasme de réduire l’acte politique par excellence qu’est le budget de l’Etat à un choix indiscutable parce que fondé sur la science ou une vision du politique ramené à un processus “objectif” de calcul coût-avantage ». 141 Jean Meynaud (1964): La technocratie, mythe ou réalité, Paris, Payot, 1964 142 Jean Meynaud (1964) 140


2. According to Habermas the "scientification" of politics is dangerous because it mixes up the technical management of problems with political bias, whose roots are found in the open debates between citizens, in dialogue. In his view this phenomenon could eventually lead to the depolitisation of public opinion.143 Due to the first network systems, this debate shifted gear in the 1970s. The practical application of the concept made it uneqivocal that the informatisation is to be examined within the dialectic relationship of technology and social politcs.

The age of tele-democracy The 1970 is defined first of all by local medias serving small communities and the spread of cabeltv networks. The development in video technology promised the "democratisation of information production" and the broadening of political space (decentralisation, strengthening of self governments). Attention was shifted on locality and political "periphery". IT tools and applications have stepped out of research laboratories and within the walls of universities. The focus of theoretical examinations was no longer a centralised government; rather they emphasised the effect of infocommunication technology on civil society and the commitment of social activity to locality. Horisontal communication and the possibility of a "bottom-up" realisation has made it a matter of course the widespread study of IT knowledge and applications and the integration of digital culture in mass education. After the the social and intellectual environment that followed 1968, besides the significance of global information transfer, IT networks have become the new stage of social movements. The fact that infocommunication is more than a mere technological development in information transfer and that communication could potentially become a place of social dialogue made theoretical researchers of the 1970s answer by what means they envisaged technology serving society. Highlighting this issue made social changes (instead of revolutions) and democracy development the centre of social innovation. The two main trends of the "tele-democracy" experiment are: 1. the strengthening of social dialogue (the populist trend); 2. the creation of network communities strengthening the identity of local communities.144 The populist trend: the theoretical basis for social dialogue generated by information technology as part of democracy development is that new achievements in technology free citizens as individuals from the captivity of "representational democracy" (open society). With the help of local networks, a new, direct relationship could be established between the citizen and the his/her democratically elected representative. The movements aiming at broadening public space did not question the current democratic institutional structure. All they wanted is to loosen up its internal strictly built operational structure by creating new and regular interaction between citizens and their elected representatives. By leaning on the relative interactivity provided by cabel networks, more than one project aimed at drawing


Jürgen Habermas (2002): A társadalmi nyilvánosság szerkezetváltozása Budapest (Osiris, 2002); Gábor Felkai (1993): Jürgen Habermas, Áron Kiadó, Budapest, p. 22-60. 144 Andrés Lemos (1996): Le labyrinthe du minitel, in Schields. p. 33-48.


citizens into decision-making: such experiments included the tv coverage of local government meetings, citizen debates and short consultations. The community trend: info-communication technology has leaned on its capacity to strengthen social relations and thus communal identity (locality). Its goal is centralisation. Its theoretical foundations are the thesis of Illich145 and Schumacher146 who put forward an idea of technology that is decentralised, liveable, at a human scale and has an economic approach. The community trend has its roots in the hippi movements and its communes in the 1960s aimed at creating new types of communities by applying info-communication technology (community network). The most well-known of such experiments was the "Community Memory System" in San Francisco which created the network community of citizens living in one city. "Network" communities should be partially regarded as virtual communities since the medium of interaction between members is virtual space. Another characteristic of this community was that it detached itself from the local society and lived its virtual life according to particular internal rules. However, the cohesive interest of the community and the possibility of a virtual interaction at this stage was still based on the principle of territoriality (due the the definiteness of the local network). The movement carried on in the 1980s in the form of Free-nets. This latter movement gave priority to direct information transfer beyond institutions or trade companies and it created a sort of public information service. The Free-nets movement was particularly effective in the USA. It appeared much later in Europe and its impact on the develoment of electronic democracy was far more limited. On our continent the attempts to loosen state tutelage took the form of cabel television networks and video technology which developed with leaps and bound. We must add, however, that with little success, though. In spite of the proliferation of information and communication networks, because the basic structures of the industrial age were left intact, the state could keep its authority in place. The experiments aimed at widening the political space in most cases have failed due disenterested population. It is interesting to note though, that in spite of the fiascos a great number of theoretical works were published in Europe and by the 1980s within political studies the notion that infocommunication technology has democracy building capactities had become widely accepted. It is the work of Benjamin Barber published in 1984 that raised the possibility that the democracy of the new age would be shaped by the principle of participation.147

9.3. Tele-democracy, the age of cyber-democracy In the developed world, the 1990s were characterised by the Internet and cyberdemocracy. The rapid spread of the Internet and especially the anarchic colourful network communities made the possibility of electronic democracy plausible. Most of the theories were based on the principle that the simplicity of technological applications as well as accessibility of networks would make the accessibility of information equal to all and so would be participation in public matters. The principle of equality could thus be fully achieved. The Internet does not only offer new solutions to traditional political crisis but it is also suitable to develop new models of cohabitation so much at a local as at a global level. 145

Ivan Illich (1991) Ernst. F. Schumacher (1991): A kicsi szép Budapest (The Small Beautiful Budapest) Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest. 147 Benjamin Barber (1984): Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age. Berkeley. University of California Press. 146


The Internet has become the metaphor of the new political era. The theoretical representatives of the so-called "California ideology"148 have sharply opposed the necessity of state intervention primarily for economic reasons and instead they emphasised the advantages of globalisation: economic liberalism, political freedom (libertarianism); in this scenario the major role is played by creative individualism and hedonism. Social solidarity and responsiveness towards economic problems as well towards future generations were all a consequence of civil commitment.149 They have developed new political concepts based on the universal values of cyber-democracy. The novelty of cyber-democracy is that it no longer builds around nation-state but cyber space which is open, free of the territorial principle and hierarchic structures governing nation-states. The concept of cyber-space triggered the birth of countless visions. Two principal schools of cyber-democracy have been established: one is called the virtual society; the other examines the realistic future of democracy from the point of view of electronic economy. Theoretical works focused on the community-building role of networks and the identity of a virtual networks, as self-regulating system. While examining the network communities of the 1980s of San Francisco, Howard Rheingold came to the conclusion that virtual communities should be regarded as the elements of the new political era. Due to the interactive potentials of IT networks, citizens easily accessed the social capital which ensured real political activity. (The theme of virtual community has been linked by many to the "community space" proposed by Habermas, which is the scene of the political game). André Lemos has come to similar conclusions to the one`s of Rheingold.150 The other trend highlights the economic-political advantages of the Internet and in this sense it mirrors a "more conservative" approach. This trend is best represented by the Progress and Freedom Foundation (that is, Alvin Toffler and his circle, the group of writers called the "American dream"). It was in 1994 that the „Magna Charta for the Knowledge Age” was created containing the first description of cyber-space from a political theoretical point of view.151 From this perspective information is the most important resource which overthrows the traditional social order: the basis of power is no longer possessing material goods but the ability to communicate. The carrier and sustainer of communication is the Internet through which society is organised horisontally and by means of direct relationships; this, howeer, overthrows the hierarchic structure of the political system. Autonomous communities regulated by citizens replaces outdated power structures. Both theories regard cyber-space as a tool to further develop a political system: within cyber-space the image of an alternative society is articulated which has the potential to eliminate the political reality of the old world. Thus the point is no longer to enhance the social capacity of the state as the followers of "cybernet" approach held in the 1950s, nor that the activity of citizens and involvement in public affairs should be augmented by means of info-communication technology as the followers of teledemocracy thought. Cyberdemocracy, instead, put forward a far more radical program: it wished to place politics on a new foundation. 148

Richard Barbrook and James Cameron: “The Californian Ideology”. Lecture presented at the EURICOM conference in Piran, Slovenia, 10-14 April, 1996. Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide 149 Norris Pippa (2001): Digital Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 150 André Lemos (1994): Les Communautás Virtuelles, in Société no 45. p. 253-261. 151 Esther Dyson és Alvin Toffler (the author of The Third Vague, 1980) have popularised the idea of information revolution.


The theoretical period – Significant personalities 1950-1960 Cybernet – Ruling machine Norbert Wiener

1970-1980 Tele-democracy Benjamin Barber

1990-2000 Cyber-democracy Howard Rheingold Alvin Toffler Et al. André Lemos

The socio-political environment

Technological requirements

Theoretical suggestions

The end of WWII and the Cold War. Strong state intervention. The appearance of the professional manager in the public sphere.

The computer – the device of data processing. Centralised IT systems.

The rationalisation of state and politics. In public administration professionalism, manager type leaders. Rational relationship between state and society. The scientific guidance of public action.

The ’68 crisis: questioning of political institutions. Locality is the new scene for the reconstruction of political practice.

The establishment of local and autonomous cabel tv, subsequently telematic networks. Interactivity.

The modernisation of representational democracy. Better relationships between voters and representatives. Locality is the laboratory of strong democracy.

The strengthening of economic approach: the questioning of state intervention (small or zero state)

IT, computers in networks. Internet: the scene of open, decentralised and global networks, and of the horisontally organised communication

Virtual communities: new type of social relationships.

Strengthening of globalisation, individualism, liberal/libertaire values.

Citizen as an individual is totally autonomous in the global public sphere (global village) Cyber-space as a political metaphore, the scene of political self-organisation

Questioning of nationstates.

Pierre Lévy Table 22.: The developmental periods of e-democracy theory (Emese Ugrin)

9.4. Electronic democracy serving universal values Serving universal values on a global scale is essentially a sign and a characteristic of substantial globalism. The discourses on e-democracy deal with three main issues around the millenium, all of which question the operation of the current political system, such as: a) the unaccountability of the political domain, b) the limitidness and closeness of community space, c) the marginal position of citizens within decision-making. The theories and democracy experiments attempt to answer these fundamental questions. The answers that have been 145

realised in projects are the following: informing citizens, open debates and social dialogue, independent opinion formation and communal decision-making. "These three axes structure most of the projects and the practice of e-democracy. This also means that when depincting it in a chart we should place e-democracy in a threedimensional space.".152 The statement, however, holds true exclusively when we want to realise present practices. As far as we are concerned, electronic democracy has a broader scope, as long as it is capable to step over the territorial principle of the nation-state. Allegorically speaking, instead of the two dimensional space of the state we imagine a three dimensional democracy model. This, however, also represents a strong limitation to the notion of democracy. Democracy in reality is multi-dimensional, just as culture is. The development of e-democracy theories is in close relationship with the technological changes and their their rapid spread. Lately, we have witnessed a specifically new phenomenon: due to the increasing global problems even in the use of the notion of "democracy" a sort of departmentalisation has started. Most recently, the notion of "environmental democracy" has started circulating as an independent entity in political democracy. The phenomenon is all the more interesting because while as a result of theoretical approaches and technological developments some experiments aim at putting electronic democracy into practice, generally speaking they adhere to the functional system of the democracy model. The "e" adjective does not only refer to the use of info-communication technology, but also to changes in the social and political structure. What is thus "departmentalisation"? As far as we are concerned, it is a particularly new phenomenon: globalisation is capable of putting not only on economic and technological but also social pressure on the nation-states representing particular organisations and values. The question of environment is a specifically universal problem, a simultaneously ethical and moral as well as a social problem. In the 1970s one movement was capable of hurting the interests of the nation-states: namely, that of the environmentalists who organised themselves into a political party. It seems that in the information age it is also the environmental protection that is capable of creating or preparing global democracy. Its relationship to the alternative movements aimed at broadening democracy is extremely close and they mutually strengthen one another (e.g. World Social Forum, European Social Forum, sustainable development dialogue). The global problems of poverty, social inequality equally reach into the economic, political, environmental and cultural spheres. All this points into the direction that a democracy movement based on universal values while simultaneously questioning the territorial principle could start off a global paradigm change.


Thierry Vedel (2003)


Chapter Ten: Participatory democracy and/or e-democracy 10.1. The breakthrough: participatory democracy The broadening of participatory democracy, local democracy or communal democracy as a programme is more than 15 years old. Generally speaking we can state, however, that no unified system has been established in spite of the fact that hardly any country, continent or international organisation exists whose political goals would not include the programme of "democratising democracy". The fast spread of participatory democracy as an idea is primarily justified by the observation that in our times the globalisation-localisation processes have been intensifying and by breaking into the economic sphere they have also reached the social and cultural spheres by means of information systems. In this context the programme of participatory democracy should be regarded as the defence mechanism of the local world in order to preserve local social, economic and environmental interests as well as identity. On the other hand, however, the programme also serves the organisation of local and national society as well as preservation of continental competitive power. These two strategic roles also make the differences in their realisation comprehensible, since different parts of the world are affected to different degrees by the processes of localisation and globalisation. Another reason for diversity should be located in the local democratic traditions which are to a large degree influenced by the economic and social state, the operation of the institutional structure, etc.

10.2. Understanding participatory democracy – the system of structured dialogue Historically speaking, it is not by luck that the development of participatory democracy has started and has developed most dinamically in the thirld world, namely in the big cities of South America.153 The majority of the population in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay live in large aglommerations or their surroundings. There is a huge social difference in between the masses who live in the city centres and the peripheries; as a result, there is increased social tension. As a consequence of globalisation, industrial centres, unlike the European and North American cities, have been placed in the centre of the agglomaration circle: here it was not the periphery that has developed at the expense of the city centre. On the contrary, the developed city centres are surrounded by genuine slums. It is essentially a developmental problem that the expansion of cities is stuck with oversized slums. Building an economically well-off agglomeration belt is unrealistic while social tensions between the centre and the peripheries are on the rise. This phenomenon led in the 1970's-1980's to severe clashes and impacted local government elections. Porto Allegre, often referred to as the symbol of participatory democracy, sought to find political solutions to the ongoing crisis. By simultaneously including the population into matters on city development and budgetary concerns, the aim was to mitigate social tensions and strengthen social solidarity. Also, it has strengthened dialogue between what at first sight looked as social groups with opposing interests in order to find common ground. 153

See in detail on the following internet sites:;; stb.


One of the most significant practices of the South American participatory democracy experiment is that the system of participatory democracy is left intact: the local government stays legitimate. The pressure from below generated already at local government elections made its realisation thinkable. As a result, an agreement was reached during elections between local civil movements and parties supported to broaden local democracy and ensure the accountability of local government. The birth of participatory democracy was thus not preceeded by any social contract whatsoever between the population and the local government. Legitimacy was drawn from a multitude of political deals in the city between opposition and local government leaders, between the government of Rio Grande do Sul State and local government leaders whos angreed to introduce the system. The system of participatory democracy created at first in Porto Allegre subsequently gradually adapted everywhere is basically a system of structured dialogue between the decision-making and implementing bodies of self-government and the population. In South America thus we find a particular solution to the relationship between the system based on representation and the voluntary participation of the population. In a hierarchic system the dialogue takes place at three levels: At micro-local level: open sessions are primarily spaces of group dialogue organised by districts. The purpose of sessions is to sum up the opinion and suggestions of various districts and formulate developmental priorities. Districts elect delegated representatives for a year. Based on a previously established principle, the number of delegates depends on the amount of people participating in district meetings. This solution, although it creates certain amount of disproportionate representation, is important because people become interested partied in participating and does not allow for the system to fade away. At sectoral level: the city is divided in 16 sectors. A number of districts come under each and every sector. District representatives are allowed to participate at the Sector's Forum where based on geographical, thematic, budgetary or other developmental priorities established by the public, delegates represent the population. At this level professional work is taking place with ample opportunity to co-operate and consult civil organisations. (In Porto Allegro every regional sector consists of six thematic working groups.) The Sector's Forum is the most important stage of participatory democracy. The number of members accurately mirrors the active population within town districts. At municipal level: every sector and thematical group has the right to delegate two council members. The task of the body consisting of these delegates is threefold: the definition and enforcement of democratic rules, drafting the yearly budgetary proposal and clarification as well as nomination of the local government body. Since participatory democracy is primarily aimed at budgetary issues of the town (this is where the term "budget participatif" comes from, thus participatory budget), which, without saying, induce debates about city development, social care and education, every elected delegate (representative) participates in the meeting of the local government on budgetary issues by putting forward the outcome of district meetings. His/her function also includes informing the population on problems other districts and the whole city face. It is the direct flow of information that strenghens badly needed solidarity in setting up budgetary priorities.


The inclusion of population in the preparation of decisions at district level is made possible by the particular social structure and economic situation of every single district. These particularities come out best in the organisation of local forums and debates. To put it differently, while the operating mechanism of representative democracy was created on the basis of general (and essentially political) rules rooted in singular realities, participatory democracy manifests general democratic expectations geared to singular situations. From a social-psycholgical perspective, the result is that the population regards the outcome as to a larger extent just and so the conflict management level of the population also increases. To give a complete picture, we should emphasize that the creation of the system was the result of a bottom-up process and pressure: the agreements of local government elections essentially obliged new local government leaders to include the population in the decisionmaking process.

10.3. Participatory democracy – road towards the direct (e-)democracy ( from welfare society towards well-fare society) The development of participatory democracy is closedly linked both in space and time with the idea of sustainable development, which has become a global programme.154 The detrimental effects of the liberal economic model based on growth are most clearly detectable at the local level. The viewpoint that the stability of Western societies is constant held for a long time. Contrary to this, already in the 1980's and 1990's strong social cleavages appeared. While the standard of living, life expectancy and levels of education have all strongly risen according to cumulative statistical indicators, the social distribution has become increasingly unequal.155 One of the paradoxes of development is that those living on social benefits and assistance and the number of homeless people is in direct correlation with development. The amount of people living under the poverty line has doubled in the last twenty years in the UK alone. Similar tendencies are noticeable in other European countries. Another characteristics of new poverty present so much on every continent, country and region is strong differences between the standards of living and especially between the quality of life. Economy based on growth has been functioning in a self-generating manner regardless of social requirements. The issue of new poverty only highlights that currently applied indicators of economic development do not suitably measure positive development because they do not take into account factors of human welfare (well-fare) such as quality of life, the status of natural environment, life expectancy at birth, individual and social solidarity, capacity for co-operation, the physical and moral state of citizens and political stability. There is often such insoluble antagonism between the global and the local: while economic growth takes place at a global level, social problems become apparent at a local 154

The relationship between participatory democracy and sustainable development is not exclusively part of scientific discourse. The Charta signed by more than 150 towns in Italy whose aim was to develop local participatory democracy also referred to it in November, 2003 called „Carta del Nuovo Municipio Per una globalizzazione dal basso, solidale e non gerarchica� 155 In France, for instance, the number of households paying property and income tax has increased with 85,7% while only 1% of the population ows 15-20 %of all properties.


level. As a consequence, we witness state indebtedness, discredited political and social institutions, corruption and social unrest.156 In this alteredd and continuously changing environment the program of sustainable development has gained new meaning as "search for a new developmental model". It is such a model, whose pillars are economy, society, environmental protection and according to most recent approaches, culture, too.157 These four factors determining development are no longer in hierarchic relationship with one another as they were in previous models but they equally serve as bases of the future of the earth. In the creation of a new social model intelligent development plays an especially important role. Widespread information technology opens up a new dimension not only from the point of view of environmental friendly technology and putting economy on a new orbit, but also from the perspective of shaping the relationship between the state and citizen and the broadening of democracy, too. From a social point of view, participatory democracy in Europe is "democratisation of democracy". Its significance is primarily found in the active inclusion and agreement of the population in the processes of change cannot be by-passed. Contrary to the left wing European movements often critical with participatory democracy, we claim that because of the increasingly visibly social cleavages in the European and Hungarian societies, the role of participatory democracy is fundamental in the switch to information society and knowledgebased economy.158 No state and local government is capable of giving adequate responses to new challenges without the trust and co-operation of the population. The pre-requisite of the latter is to create the information flow into both directions as fully as possible. Compared to the thirld world, increasing the amount of active population seems to be a more difficult task in developed democracies: the well-developed institutional system and the deeply rooted public attitude that makes the "welfare state" responsible for public matters result in the passivity and, as elections and referenda show, total indifference on the side of the population. This also explains why in the European Union the realisation of participatory democracy has become such a major programme. The purpose is to support new initiatives so much from the bottom as from the top, that is, state level. The well-known European examples have all been initiated at the top, that is local, municipal and regional levels or as Italian case proves it, for the strengthening of co-operation between cities and universities a particular "civil organisation", the "Nuovo Municipio" has been created. The new democracy model is being realised on the basis of a joint system continuously tested and examined by university researchers; it is them who provide suggestions and ensure the necessary training for the practical implementation of the programme. The Italian practice resembles far more a nationwide movement rather than a national programme, as it is the case in France. 156

Sylvain Côté idem. p. 40-47.. – Daniel Dommel idem. p. 145-149 – Luc Ferry idem p. 250-259. The role of culture is indispensable when it comes to reproduction of social capital. It plays a role in the creation of information society and knowledge-based economy where the development of the service sector and of a new economic branch called culture industry (including content industry) has become decisive and from the point of view of sustainable devlelopment it is even crucial. By today it is also clear that managing environmental crises is culturally determined. 158 The Flemish author, Raymond van Ermen develops the relationship between democracy and well-fare in his essay, „2015 Nouvel Horizon pour l’Europe. Ses institutions, ses Entreprises, ses Syndicats, sa Société Vivile: La Société de Bien-être”. The author makes a motion for a paragraph in the EU constitution (§ I-3,1.) and proposes a new element for strenghtening the cohesion of the union next to the existing three (co-operation between governments – EU Council, federative system – EU parliament, functionality, - common money and market), that is, the necessity of creating the well-fare society (contrary to previous ideas on welfare society). The basis of well-being is the mobility of citizens, their creative activity and participation for the public good. The complete realisation of well-fare society is based on participation (Europe participative). 157


However, it would be desirable that these movements were initiated by citizens. This wish is manifested in the constitution of the European Union when next to participatory democracy, citizen initiatives get a prominent role (a separate paragraph I-46 clause, § 4). The four most important areas of citizen participation are the following: 1. The right to make motions: every citizen has the right to make motions in questions of concern 2. The right to information and to being informed: every single citizen should be able to receive information including the propositions and arguments of the opposing side 3. The right to dispute: every single citizen has the right to re-inform themselves, to put forward their opinion by respecting other people and their opinions. 4. The right to decision: citizens have the right to express their opinions at appropriate forums (in the district, quarters, etc) by voting not only about the elected representative but also in matters that affect their lives directly. In Western type democracies two methodological solutions exist that aim at the realisation of participatory democracy: ƒ one of the options is the active inclusion of already existing civil organisations that already have serious traditions in the decision-making and the two-directional flow of information, ƒ the other option is increasing the activie amount of the population (this is the where origins of the term are to be found: direct democracy) whose most developed form is to make direct or e-democracy universal. The examples we are familiar with show that contrary to the North-American solutions (see also the City of Quebec), even in countries and cities where there are by far the best functioning civil organisations, a significant percent of the population actively participate in community life, the institutions of participatory democracy are primarily based on districts. For such a development there are a number of reasons: 1. Civil society organisations have specialised on the realisation of a well defined concrete task and they reach a relatively narrow circle of local society. They have neither the facilities nor the motivation to become the spokesperson of the population at large, especially not on issues that do not correspond to their professional activities. (This does not come as a surprise since the spirit of the industrial age has a strongly restraining effect.) 2. The amount of people who actively take part in civil society organisations is modest compared to the size of the population and world trends are plummeting. There are less and less people who find work close to their homes while commuting goes hand in hand with lack of time. 3. The social activity levels of younger generations are low. 4. Participatory democracy programmes are mainly realised in big or middle-sized cities such as Barcelona, Florence, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Venice, Mons, Berlin, Paris, Lille, Turin, Nice, Nante, Nord-Pas de Calais, Brest, Saint Denis, Amsterdam, etc. In view of the well established IT systems of these metropolises, the creation of participatory democracy is closely linked to e-democracy. The size of the population of small cities taking part in the programme, such as Soignie, Saint Ghislain, Pont à Celles, Clichy-la-Garenne, Beauchamp, Blanquefort, Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, etc, all over exceeds 15.000 and participatory democracy is organised similarly to metropolises. The difference is that direct dialogue has a bigger role in smaller communities.


5. Although reality shows a very diverse picture, generally speaking in most cases they adhere to the tested Porto Allegre formula (see also Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille). It has been simultaneously proven that the South American formula cannot be transplated oneto-one in Europe because of the particular socio-economic context (e.g. Marseille, Bordeaux). 6. The conservation of participatory democracy is set store by the European practice. Hence participatory democracy in reality rather means confidence-building and intensive communication between the population and the local government institutions than the inclusion of citizens into decision-making. This is clearly shown by those documents (chartes), which have been conceived in some cities where the system had been introduced. 7. In almost all cases civil society organisations and the intelligentisa who consider participatory democracy as the hallway to direct democracy organise themselve into movements (Nuovo Municipio, Attac, etc.) and they have close ties with the international network of the World Social Forum or are the founders of the European Social Forum. This interconnection clearly highlights the close relationship between globalisation, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Although in Europe national governments and legislation accept and stimulate participatory democracy, in defense of the representative system it tries to keep the dialogue at a consultative level. The inclusion of the population into decision-making is of indirect nature. France constitutes a particular case in Europe when it comes to the legitimacy of participatory democracy. The so-called VALLANT Act (2992-276. Act – 27.02.2002.) makes the establishment of district councils obligatory in all cities whose population exceeds 80.000 (conseil de quartier). The law fixes the territorial principle, citizenship rights being tied to residence (settlement, municipality, region) and makes open debates and forums compulsory on decisions pertaining to public investments in the district. Even so, the council members of the districts are only partially elected, partially they are invited on the basis of their professional expertise and authority (as a rule it is the mayor who appoints the individuals), while the third part of the council is drawn in a lottery. It is the "lottery" solution that draws most of the criticism from the media because its cleanliness is questionable. The body has the right to consultation. During the meetings of the district it has the power to propose, initiate and persuade the population. It is the responsibilty of self-government to create a consultative committee on every single public utility issue to manage dialogue and facilitate the flow of information. The uniqueness of the French system is the "right to file a petition" ensured by the constitution. This means that the population of a given region could request the discussion of issues that directly impact their lives from the bodies of local government in a petition (at a regional level 20 percent of the signatures of the adult population is needed, while at municipal level 10 percent is required). The accessability of information and documents by the citizens is guaranteed by the law. In close relationship with the program of national information society and establishment of IT infrastructure linked to intelligent developments, the main location of information flow is the website of settlements. Since in France only one third of the national population uses the Internet, direct dialogue between local governments and the population is equally important. The Belgian local governmental system has been one of the most decentralised structures for decades. It is for this reason perhaps that Belgium is often called the "consociative democracy". The issue of improving the relationship between the population and the bodies of public administration has been an important subject since the 1990's, numerous laws have been passed to ensure it. Just as in France, in Belgium initiatives coming from the


top play an important role in the broadening of democracy. The developments fall into three main trends: 1. broadening the right to acquire information (access to documents, publicity, etc.); 2. enhancing communication (information accessible to everyone, inclusion of electronic systems and the media); 3. ensure the participation of the population (hearings, forums, consultative council, opinion polls). In Belgium, the realisation of the first two trends is linked to information systems and intelligent settlement development. At the same time, however, to activate the population as well as to restore trust in the local governance and public institutions they also consider the creation of insitutionalised dialogue at district level. Likewise other places, the "districtisation" is an initiative from the top. The first experimental projects started in 20032004 in all major Belgian cities and agglomerations. The city of Mons, for instance, was divided into five districts containing altogether 30 zones (one zone is made up of on a par of 2500 residents). In every zone a council is established of two, yearly elected and politically neutral representatives who represent the standpoint, priorities, etc. of the zone in the district council. The council made up of 5 districts is in direct contact with the local administration. After the conciliation, common standpoints, projects and financial requirements/plans are put to the vote by the local government body without further debates. The pilot project realised in 2003-2004 (it was tested in Jemappe-FlĂŠnu), is going to be gradually introduced starting from 2005 to the whole city of Mons. The establishment of participatory democracy here too is linked to the development of IT and intelligent systems, which enhances communication and flow of information. In the Belgian concept the pronounced purpose of the experiment is to exploit the innovativity of the population and include them into developmental projects. It is the role of the district concil to continuously inform the populaton about ongoing develoments (projects) and restuls, their problems and, when necessary, to collect the opinions of the population on amendments, help in shaping standpoints and by evaluating new suggestions to inform the council about them. Similarly to the Belgian case, in Germany there is a strongly decentralised administrative system based on the principle of subsidiarity. With the exception of BadenWurtemberg province, however, the population neither had had the right to file a petition nor to hold local referenda before 1989. One of the important results of the last decade is that these two important modes of practicing directly citizenship rights have become reality. The German acts distinguish between two forms of petitions: 1. the so-called "annulating petition" (applied under very strict conditions); 2. "filing petition" ( passed any time). Ten percent of the population needs to sign in order for a petition to become valid, while 25 percent of the council needs to be present in order that the petition is accepted. Institutionalising participatory democracy is not presently on the agenda of the German local government programs. Some of the reasons are to be found in the strong tradition favouring direct communication with the population in the form of round table meetings, forums and workshops. Their application depends on the given topic and project as well as the province it takes place; there are no regulations or legislation to be applied. The population is best mobilised in the province of Bayern. Berlin is a special case within Germany. The particular history of the city has supported a system which has been validated primarily by tradition. A sort of "jury" functions


in the city's districts. Among the members there are professional experts who deal with the development of the quarter and put forward their suggestions or criticism to city leaders. Their function and operational mode resembles civil society organisations. Berlin is the prime example of participatory democracy realised through civil society organisations. One of the big disadvantages of the current system that within the German legal framework there are no regulations applicable that would make the local government of Berlin accept the suggestions and constructive criticism. The basis of the system lies in the moral commitment of participants to popular interests. The German practice leans on the local media and the Internet to ensure the flow of information between the population and the local government. Since in Germany Internet penetration is the highest in whole Europe, it is understandable that the realisation of e-local government and e-democracy has come more to the forefront in the development programs of the past few years compared with the more traditional solutions of participatory democracy. The Scandinavian states have developed on a similar path. The development of edemocracy is justfied by the extraordinarily diffused settlement structure, the relatively low amount of people in settlements as well as the high penetration of info-communication systems. The most prevalent forms of reflection and communication are the study groups, round table meetings and thematic citizenship forums, especially so in Sweden and the United Kingdom. The traditions of Italy are rooted in city state structure. Accordingly, open forums and in smaller settlements, village meetings are long-standing traditions. Two levels of citizen initiatives are distinguished by the Italian legislation at national and regional level: namely, that of referenda and popular initiatives. The experience of the last decades shows that the participation of the population is extremely low in both cases. However, just currently, a particular mode is being established which experts call the "subsystem of the participatory system" or simply "the subsystem". In this system an increasingly important weight is placed on alliances of all sectors of life and corporations. Activating the population could be achieved in Italy most likely through civil society organisations. Contrary to this, however, the territorial principle only strengthens decentralisation of the public administrative system in the population, who are already strongly attached to their local communes. The "Nuovo Municipio" by now includes more than 150 cities and has become a real movement closedly linked to the European Social Forum. They do not only aim to strenghten participatory democracy but to establish a network of socially minded European cities based on the "wellfare" system. In this perspective, once again intelligent developments and the social application of IT technology are of primordial importance.

10.4. The summary of democracy development and the new, for the time being enigmatic model? So, where are we at the turn of the millenium? In Europe at the local level the institutional framework of democratic dialogue are ensured: 1. Development council: an invited (adjured) consultative body whose members come from the local economy, society and culture as well as civil society organisations. From a professional point of view, its task is to support the work of decision-making bodies.


2. The European Union program and guidelines on the broadening of local democracy – Agenda 21: it aims at increasing the information flow within the present structure and broadening of consultations to a maximum. 3. Local "social contract" (City/settlement charta): local alliance between the city/ settlement elected leaders and the population to maintain continuous dialogue on neighbourhood issues. The Agenda 21 provides facilities for the local actors and the population to declare their goals and express their intent for co-operation in the form of a charta. Topics include: defining the system of consultation prior to decision-making, cooperation in the realisation of projects and active participation of the population. The latter could include the service of neighbourhood tasks on the side of the population, continuous information flow concerning development from the side of the population as well as the cooperation with regards to the possible changes of the project or its further development. By reviewing the European practice, the following institutional model of local democracy stands out (Table 23.) The institutionalisation of the system was engrainied into chartas by numerous cities (Nice, Nord-Pas de Calais, Blanquefort, Clichy-la-Garenne, SaintFargeau-Ponthierry, Italian cities have drafted a unified charta, etc.) Local government decision-making bodies and institutions responsible for implementation Citizen communities (distrcit, elected citizen bodies, study communities, thematic forums)


Civil organisations, Professional associations Table 23. The French model

The system of structured dialogue is built in a different way and it is largely influenced by the size of the city and region as well as local traditions. All in all, in almost all cases horisontal elements are mixed with vertical ones.


The system of structured dialogue

The body and institutions of local government

Consultative board

Sectoral level

District forum

District forum

Civil szervezetek

District forum

Citizens – small communities (individuals and families) Table 24. Structured dialogue (Emese Ugrin)

10.5. The local document of participatory democracy – or the "settlement/city charta" It has become a general practice in the European cities that the introduction of participatory democracy is recorded in a written document. As a rule, this document is a "charter": the founding certificate of the system of structured dialogue. Its significance is that through the anolagy to the constitution, it aims to provide a legitimate frame to ensure the establishment and operation of the system, in one words: its "institutionalisation". Its characteristic is that it is made up of several elements: 1. Legal framework and principles: • Based on the national constitution, it declares citizen rights and their inclusion in the local democracy; • The resolution concerning the introduction of participatory democracy into local government; • All those elements and priorities of the local democracy programme, where the active participation of the population is needed; 2. An agreement between the population and the local government, which is a sort of "social contract" for the collective practice of representative and participatory democracy. It can be distinguished from other social contracts in the sense that the parties involved are not up against each other, their co-operation is based on their joint interests.


ƒ ƒ

The principles of co-operation between the population and the local government; Defining the frame of co-operation (information – communication – transparency, etc.) ƒ An arrangement for the co-operation between the local government and the population Those general rights, self-limitations and requirements need clarification which apply to both parties and makes co-operation possible; ƒ The programme of structured dialogue (defining the levels of participatory democracy, the enumeration of necessary projects to set up the system) 3. The "institutions" of local participatory democracy: their operation and realisation ƒ The definition of various powers and functional requirements; ƒ The commitments of local government (ensuring information, functional requirements, auditionings, thematic meetings, publicity, designation of those responsible by the local government body, etc;) ƒ The commitments of the population (ensuring majority voice, acceptance of the democratic rules concerning dialogue, participation of projects inititated by residential districts, etc.) ƒ The order of elections; ƒ The order of operation (forum, the meeting of district representatives, the principles of functionality of consultative committees) 4. Preferential (regional-, economic-, social-, etc) developmental projects and programmes on the short and medium-term as well as the defintion of those general topics where in its debate and realisation the co-operation between the local government and the population is actualised. 5. Provisions ruling changes in the content of the document: its significant elements is that amendments can take place only by common determination and agreement between the population and the local government, although both parties can initiatie them. The amendments are nevertheless regulated in time: the revision of the document may take place either annually (simultaneously to the re-elections of district deputies) or going by the rules of participatory democracy, that is every election cycle. The documents are different in every town. It is often the case that the above detailed elements are drafted in different documents. This is how, for instance, in Blanquefort the agreement concerning the functioning of the institutions was phrased years later, in a separate charter worked out by the representative board. It is also a frequent phenomenon that the distict meetings and the work of the representative board is recorded in a different social contracts. Discrepancies are also justified by the different political or social situations they were born in. As we have already seen in great detail, the agreement to set up the system of participatory democracy in Porto Allegre was the outcome of a political bargain prior to elections. Within Europe, in the city of Nice there was a similar situation: here one of the main principles of drafting local elections list in 2001 was a document that recorded the principles of participatory democracy which was signed by every political party and organisation participating in the elections. The document states the following: ƒ Local participatory democracy is the basis of social innovation: renewing and deepening citizen self-consciousness in order to enhance participation is going to enhance the understanding of the needs and demands of the population; ƒ In Nice the structured system of participatory democracy should be established and its continuous development should always be ensured in the city;


ƒ The basic elements of the structure are: information flow in both directions, the broadening of debates, ensuring the participation of every citizen in the decision-making on those issues that s/he is personally affected, ensuring the accountability in the process of realisation of decisions; ƒ The system of structured participation (dialogue) should mirror the territorial principle (district), the logics (civil society organisations) of the work (activity) and the logics of demographic relations (different age groups, handicapped people, etc.) ƒ The operationability of structure should be ensured from the city budget; ƒ Participatory democracy should be gradually introduced to decision-making (setting up the city budget); ƒ The candidates wow that as future members of the representative board, they are going to advance the realisation and success of participatory democracy in the city of Nice. The passage above basically contains the commitments of the local political figures and the co-operation agreement irrespective of the political spectrum they belong to achieve the common goal. The characteristics of the charter accepted by the Italian cities defines exclusively broad principles and goals. The charter is basically the declaration of commitment of local government bodies to participatory democracy. However, it also records the co-operation of cities to introduce the best participatory democracy system possible, the development of a common system and co-operation with universities and researchers as well as other European cities. Contrary to the practice above, every single city and region in France and Belgium has their own charter. Their common characteristics is that in every instance they record their relationship to the constitution (most recently to the EU constitution), human rights and national rule of law. Some documents refer to the programme of Agenda 21 (Grenoble – quartier Teisseire that openly follows the Porto Allegre model; certain districts of Paris). It is a general practice of grand metropolises to test the system (Mons, Paris, Grenoble, Bordeaux). This also means that the charter contains but general principles of participatory democracy, the details being left to the given city district to be worked out into a temporary "document" which after profound analysis and alterations is going to be applied to the whole city (Mons). The new democracy examples and procedures show that beyond Europe and in Europe a spontaneous yet well-organised globo-local civil movement started off, which primarily at a local level tests the model of participatory democracy. This is continuously done in spite of that neither the industrial, nor the post-industrial, nor the information age offers favourable conditions. What follows from the above is that one of the unexpected consequences of substantial globalisation and localisation is that it came up with new state and democracy models as a spectacular alternative.


Chapter Eleven: The Aba model: development of local democracy, creation of a social contract Hungary has not stood away from participatory democracy experiments either. Moreover, it developed a highly efficient model of it. We are going to discuss the concept and practice of democracy development in Aba, a larger village in the Dunántúl region close to the city of Székesfehérvár in greater detail. From the information to joint decision-making (positive participation), theoretically speaking four developmental stages can be distinguished in the realisation of participatory democracy in Europe: 1. Making information flow two directional: this development makes the expectations, wishes of the population transparent for the elected representatives and local government institutions; the population could comprehend the content of decisions and the objective conditions independent of local governments.- This developmental stage was realised in Aba within the first year. They have also worked out the various techniques required for an adequate flow of information. 2. Establishment of the consultative system (structured dialogue): the population is able to express their points of view on given issues, although those in power are not required to take those opinions into account. – In our opinion all conditions are met to achieve the second stage in Aba. Based on the favourable results of opinion polls and the popularity of already regularly held village assemblies, the intention of the parties concerned, thus the population and the local government, is clear. At this stage the establishment of the district representational system and the conclusion of the social contract is of fundamental importance. 3. The system of compliance and co-operation: at this stage of development the participation of the population is total in the realisation of develomental projects in their districts (see also Ile de France, Lille). In Aba this is called the intelligent city programme159, which includes, amongst others, the project called the Gate to the South, etc. At this stage, the local decision-making and executionary body voluntarily makes compromises. In order that this stage should adequately functione, the local government should appoint a responsible person. Generally speaking, in Europe it is one of the deputy mayors whose task is the operation of the system. – The issues, topics should be clearly defined where co-operation is feasible. In the first few years this should be perhaps limited because failure could weaken further developmental steps and would make citizens feel insecure. 4. The stage of participation: share power through joint decions (co-décision). – We think that reaching this stage of development is an issue for the future but its preparation should be a matter of concern for the intelligent (city and regional) development. According to opinion polls, the population of Aba is not yet prepared for such profound responsibilities. We, however, stress the importance of preparation work: preliminary votes through mobile phones, interactivity, sharing public opinion (district) through cable tv programmes, round table discussions, online regular forums held, etc. The population, generally speaking, is open to such innovations.


This was distributed in Aba in the form of a book in 2004.


In spite that the practice of participatory democracy spreads incredibly fast in Europe and all around the world, the achievements are mildy put ambiguous. There are several reasons explaining this phenomenon: ▪ It is difficult to draw today the demarcation line between politics and public politics, thus the antithesis of representational (indirect) and participatory democracy instead of cooperation with the civil sphere and local governments (could) generate conflict of interests. – The polls in Aba show that although the population does not always have clearcut notions, the answers to control questions clearly demonstrate that they can distinguish between partybased politics and local politics. All in all, the population has been positive when highlighting that in Aba it is not party politics that dominates. Based on these convictions, moves could be made to strengthen trust and participation. We should also add, however, that most of those who answered feel themselves excluded from local public life. Because the age, sex, interests and social situation of the population is very diverse in the districts, we suggest that participation should not only be mobilised by local government exlusively around the territorial principle but also around commun topics and tasks. For instance, the Aba Days should be broadened, one or two districts could introduce themselves, children should be mobilised similarly to adults, organisation of competitions, etc. ▪ The fourth stage of democracy development within the current institutional and social environment is more an idealistic than a realisable goal. This explains why in the developed Northern countries the fourth stage is envisaged as a phase where information technology is applied intensively. In Aba this would primarily mean local and regional epublic administration, whose detailed programme has been developed. – We must repeatedly refer to that result of our poll which shows that the population in Aba is extremely open to new directions in spite that voluntary participation is a limited option to many. "Districtisation" should be used to spead information technology: free courses should be started in all districts, Internet access should be broadened, district programmes should be broadcast on cable tv, quizzes should be organised, etc. Such programmes where co-operation of individuals whom otherwise hardly know each other is needed would strengthen. ▪ The communal participation of citizens is doubtful in many countries for reasons of scepticism, personal decisions, fear from public opinion, etc. Large amount of participation has hardly materialised anywhere. Reality demonstrates that generally speaking participation is around ten percent, which is amounts to a considerable number of participants in big cities, while in smaller settlements ten percent could mean the the project fades away. – We should unfortunately reckon with this option in Aba in spite of the results of opinion polls of two districts which show positive attitudes and strong reactions on the side of the population. By examining current civilian mobilisation, we conclude that communal activity levels are very low in the village. While most people alluded to lack of time, the impression of commissioners was the real reason for passivity was rather languidity and lack of community spirit. Also in Aba we reckon that after an initial enthousiasm the numbers of dropout will likely sore. There is also high chance that from every household only one, at maximum two persons are going to take part in the district forum. In a district of 70 adults that would hardly mean 20-30 people, - in an optimal case. Realistically, at ten-twenty percent activity levels that would mean 10-12 people and that once again would have a negative consequence because the question "why only us are present?" would necessarily pop up. We therefore suggest that work should be done either in bigger districts or by unification of a number of districts. Another important element is the time span of meetings and forums. Most of the population is either commuter, has children or is elderly themselves. Never-ending meetings


are usually scary for most people. This is why we suggest that the time span of both the forum and the comments should be limited and come up with procedures jointly with the district representatives. In our polls everyone supported such a solution. Another way of limiting dropout is to continuously keep the local forum and meetings interesting either by discussing issues of public interest or providing important pieces of information or by inviting a guest speaker. The role and personality of district representative proves decisive. ▪ One of the cardinal issues that remains to be solved is that while the population is included in the decision-making, it does not have any responsibilities, and thus the establishment of responsibility is also impossible. This may lead to strong tensions between the elected bodies and the population. – The only solution to this problem is the institutionalised system of "civilian representatives" elected on the territorial principle. Taking numerous European examples, we suggest that they should keep the option of annual elections open in Aba. At these elections they could replace unsuitable representatives and could put forward other active and talented people from the community. This system may strengthen self-control as well as the control of the representative. Another important element is to record the comments, suggestions and elections of district meetings in minutes and to forward the document to every household of the district in question. The personal responsibility of the population as well as the accountability of the system can be ensured exclusively within the framework of publicity. ▪ Today civil society organisations play a minor role in local life, especially compared to the past. Their financial dependence on local governments could be a source of public distrust. From the point of view of public opinion formation and representation, their legitimacy is weakened by the fact that their presence is not representative in every residential districts. – While in Aba there is a well functioning civil society compared to the rest of the country, the majority of people we asked do not or hardly know local civil society organisations. However, their role in local democracy development is far from negligible. The population broadly speaking has a positive image. This is why we suggest their inclusion into consultative bodies where they could help the work of district representatives and provide information as well as taking part in debates.

11.1. The presentation of civil representatives, analysis of their plans At the beginning of May, 2005 a survey was conducted among civil society representatives. From the 24 questionnaires mailed, 20 were answered and filled, these have been subsequently processed. We are going to present below a brief analysis of the research: the first part contains the demographic data of civil society representatives, their levels of second language acquisition and PC habits. The second part focuses on their social commitments and details the tasks of civil society representatives. According to their gender, civil society representatives from Aba are 75% male and 25% female. Most of them belong to the age group of 30-40 (45%), there are only 5-5 representatives in the age groups 40-50 and 50-60 while only one person is younger than 30. The majority of the civil society representatives from Aba are thus middle-aged.


As far as the family situation is concerned, 75 percent of representatives live in families, 25 percent is divorced or single. There is no disproportionate representation of people with higher education nor with lower education. Broadly speaking, half of the representatives have the general certificate of education (baccalaureate) (12), while another half have graduated from university/college (8). Most of the representatives have finished vocational schools (30%), 20% have the general certificate of education, 15-15% is the proportion of those who have finished university or post-gradual studies, while 10-10% is the proportion of those who have 8 years of education or graduated from a politechnic school. 65 percent of civil society representatives have full-time work, 10% work part-time, 25% are inactive (pensioners). Just levels of education differ, representatives also have a variety of professions. 30% of civil society representatives are executives, twenty percent are skilled worker, 15 percent are individual enterpreneur, 10 percent are white collar employee. The statistics show that the citizens of Aba did not primarily vote for the intelligentsia or, generally speaking, white collar workers. 65% of representatives do not speak a second language at conversational level, 20% speak German, while 15% converse in English. This picture is identical by and large to the overall statistics in Hungary, and we can thus conclude that the majority of middle-aged people currently doee not speak a second language. The answer to the question regarding work places, nearly in equal proportion were those working in the private sphere as civil servants, while the proportion of local government associates was of 20 percent. 70 % of representatives owe a PC while 30% do not have access to a PC neither at work, nor at home. This data comes as a surprise because the proportions are double to those from last year. 55% of representatives have internet access which is once more a far larger amount than the country average. The internet is used mostly for orientating themselves and gathering of information (55%), 30% use it for emails, 20% for their studies and the proportion of those who use it for business activities is only 15%. 60% of representatives had no prior social role, 40% have already held similar positions. This is once again a good sign because sixty percent of representatives have received for the first time a communal responsibility, there are thus new people who have received represenational powers. Representatives mean by the term representation democracy the following: broader structured dialogue between local decision makers and the population (85%); broadening the inclusion of the population into the preparations of decisions (80%); with the help of civil society organisations the creation of an efficient local civilian body/forum (55%). Moreover, they consider it important to disseminate information as broadly as possible (40%), the contract between the local government and the population (40%); the expression of thoughts, values, intentions of local society (or that of street community) (35%); supporting the efficient operation of the local government (35%).


Based on the answers the picture emerges that it is structured dialogue that representatives mean by participatory democracy, which implies that civil representatives do understand the central element of participatory democracy. Compared to this answer, only half casted their votes in favour of social contract between the local government and the population (40%) as well as the epxression of the thoughts, values, intentions of local society (or only of the street community) (35%). The majority of representatives became civil representatives so that Aba should become a sustainable intelligent small town (75%), it is 50% who confessed to being called upon to undertake the function, 45-45 % feels responsible towards public matters or claim that it was by chance that they became representatives. The answers to the question what are the most important tasks of civil representatives, the majority of respondents denoted the representation of street community and within it, the people with families (85%), besides the strengthening of population participation so that Aba should become a sustainable intelligent small town (70%). It is 30% of civil representatives who consider it important that the information shoud reach the population. Curiously enough, it was only 10% of representatives who regarded the quest for financial resources to achieve this aim a weighty matter. According to 75% or representatives, the role of Aba Magistratus, the central forum of civil and other representatives, is to enforce the interests of the street community. 70% emphasised the importance of co-operation in order to systematically realise the common future and it was also 70% who saw it as the place to implement the values and goals of street community. It might be a contradiction that while according to the answers for the last two questions the interests/values of street community are a priority, the responses given to the definition of participatory democracy put this answer in the last place. It is 50-50% of representatives who consider the goal of the forum of civil representatives is to give a direction to the village as well as be a co-operative partner with the local community. This is close to the ideal proportions since neither the future, nor the cooperation with the local government should be overshadowed by the other. All in all, we can conclude firstly that the civil representatives of Aba embody well local society, secondly, that they are more prepared, aware of ongoing issues than the Hungarian average, finally, that they interpret their role adequately.

11.2. The creation of participatory democracy in Aba and the chances of e-democracy (the history of events) In this chapter we are going to sum up the most important turning points of the last one and half years (from June 2004 to the end of 2005). The thought of democracy development experiment in Aba or the social contract has come up as an issue in the spring and summer of 2004 for the first time. The programme initiative started off on an autumn day in 2004 when at the village assembly the local government (first and foremost, Lajos Koss mayor) put forward their initiative. The most exciting period in the history of events was at the beginning of March 2005 when the citizens of the 24th street community elected their civil representatives in the community house. In this 163

chapter we are going to publish the most important documents of this democracy development experiment. The official beginnings of the democracy (Village assembly, September 2004) The local government of Aba village convened in the Aba Millenium Park the village assembly on the 23rd September, 2004 (Thursday) at 6 pm. The following text was on the invitation cards: "The 1st of Janury, 2004 is a significant milestone in the life of our settlement. Thanks to the positive decision of the government, Sárvíz has become an independent small region while Aba, as the centre of the region has been given the biggest opportunity in its history. By becoming an independent region, new developmental sources have become available to us with the help of which in the coming months an investment wave is due to commence starting from works costing a few millions to developments of billion forints. The opportunity is also great responsibility too. This is why we are convinced that the physical (external) reform will only be successful if simultaneously the reform of communal – spiritual reform commences, too. For this purpose, the Representative body of Aba village initiates a local social contract. New projects and developments start off simultanously and strengthen each other for the success of which the efficient and close co-operation between the local government and local society is absolutely indispensable.” Appeal for a local social contract So that the social contract could be adequately prepared and debated as well as the civil representatives could be elected, the following Appeal was passed on to every single family. The text of the Appeal is as follows: Appeal for a local social contract "Where do we stand today? How does old truth sound today? One village or one city, common hopes and endeavours. The local society of a settlement is an entity and a consciousness of belonging together. The local government is a joint endeavour to lead the settlement and strenghten the community. The school is such an institutionalised spiritual co-operation which offers knowledge and life strategies to young people. Beyond the production and consumer role, a family is an emotional and spiritual community, too. Has this been realised? Today, in local societies the perception that everything should be preferably done alone rather than together has gained weight. This unwritten life strategy dominates today because the various elite groups in the past century lead against the interests of the community. However, not everything can be projected to external factors. We should not forget that in so many streets neighbours are incapable of co-operation and the smallest conflicts of interest or values are rectified in a harsh way. We should look around in the broader and closer surroundings as well as ourselves. Normal co-operation is clogged up and sometimes we would say it is new barbarism that


spreads rather than diminishes. There is not enough calm and peace within us, we are not paying enough attention to others, the interest of the other person is not relevant to us, we base our judgements on imprecise information or rumours, we see the negative rather than the positive side of the other person, the leaders of the community are judged almost always from a biased point of view, we are angry with the world that surrounds us while we do not settle our own issues. We do not understand the world, we do not enjoy being part of it and if possible, we do not want to do any steps to make it better. Surely everybody considers themselves good and clean, while judges others, although not all, as bad and unclear. What follows from this is either that everyone is bad and that applies also to the persons who see themselves as good too, or that everyone is partially good. If that is the case then we have to conclude that we are also partially bad. If we do not take part in the life of the community, moreover, we tend frequently to hide away from the world because of the numerous bad experiences; and if this is the case then it cannot come to light whether we are good or bad. Well, this is the state of affairs today. We cause so much pain, indignity to each other that it is nearly impossible to share views, to pay attention to each other and to act together with each other. To put it bluntly, there is no community and there is no individual happiness, - and exceptions only prove the rule. This also manifests itself that beyond our personal and family environment in the reality of the settlement and community there is no social contract, neither in practice, nor in a written form. Where could we stand? We might be angry with the external world, the neighbour, the village, those in power, globalisation, but we cannot deny that in our own world, amongst our family members and friends (if we still have them, if we already have them), we are the competent ones, it is us who make decisions. It is primarily up to us how we treat our beloved ones, whether instead of building a carrier we choose to put our efforts in our gardens, whether we unselfishly want to take part in public matters - or not. It does not depend neither on poverty, nor on wealth whether we want to offend others with our utterances, whether we want to believe in the malicious comments heard on street corners, whether as Christians it is the love of God or as atheists humanist morality leads us - or not. For centuries we could have sustained that the majority take good decisions in the majority of cases. This has not yet materialised and we cannot even have the illusion that it is going to be realised on the short run. However, it is often the situation that both we and others are inclined to choose the good path but something or someone intervenes, hampers us, and makes us have detours. And we simply put up with this. Communities are in similar situations today. We have not at all reached the level where people openly and compassionately cooperate with one other or simply for the sake of their common every day interests. In reality, though, every single person longs for companions, to be part of a community of friends and would make an effort if s/he felt appreciated and called upon. Although we are looking for a community, something distracts us, whether exhaustion, setbacks or malicious talk. And we put up with it because we do not think clearly. For a long time now local government could be ethical, the community could take responsibility for the elected ones and everyone would be willing to act for the sake of realising common decisions. For a long time we could have rejoiced at the situation that for


those living in one street it is a moral commandment to appreciate and support the neighbour, and nothing would hinder us in offering our know-how to those living at the end of the street. We could have long reached the stage that there would be a more intimate relationship between relatives and in families; the alternative to love is not hostility. The external world is alas exactly the same as our internal world, or to put it the other way round, our internal world is not any better than the much scolded external world. We expect to be loved by others while we are incapable of loving the others. In our global or local world something has repeatedly become clear: redemption hardly ever arrives from the outside, instead we should look for it in our internal worlds. It does not come from others although others could help us to a large degree. There is nothing to be awaited, although the state could be thrilling in itself. The internal decisions should be taken by everyone on a daily basis and we should face the consequences of our decisions. The community and particularly, the leaders of the community (such as the local government, the church, the kindergarten and the school) should do their utmost best that within and outside the walls of the institution there should be organised support to help personal good decisions and the small community activities that follow from them. How shall the institutional help take form, how shall they be organised and how shall they be accessible? So much the secret as well as the answer hides somewhere here. How can we advance? The assumptions that lead to the answer are evident: 1. We should clarify who we are in settlements and communities; 2. We should clarify what we want together and in many ways! 3. We should clarify how we get where we want to be 4. If we have clarified all relevant issues, then we should decide what we do ourselves in order to realise them 5. If we have clarified all important issues, then we should decide what we do ourselves in order to achieve the goal 6. If we are sure about our will, we should delegate someone together with the neighbours to organise collaboration on some fourty parts of the settlement 7. Those delegated (including local civil communities) should operate some sort of village civilian body or local civilian parliament 8. If our local society joins hands, we should also collect publicly the accumulated knowledge in the form of a civilian university we are going to found 9. If we are to start co-operation at a higher level, then we should love our institutions better and we should make more use of them 10. If we necessarily start off on new ways and new community entreprises, then we should honour them and join forces to realise them, just as people have always done it in the past. We can pose many questions, but the above should maybe suffice to give directions and methods. Answers on a number of issues or at least answer rudiments have been born. In the last years there have been serious answer alternatives drafted that other settlements did not even imagine and by now it is difficult to argue against the program that builds both on traditions and on the future and aims at transforming the settlement into an intelligent city being a good starting point. We feel that time has come that the local government of the village should enter into a public social contract. This makes sense only under the following conditions: 1. if the social contract is not only agreed upon as a body but that the programme is really internally accepted. 2. If the common plan for the future is not only drafted for the coming months but at least plans for the coming decade. 3. If the local social contract is not only signed by leaders but also by local citizens. 4. If it is clear for everyone that everyone is personally responsible for the social contract. 5. If the majority agrees upon the claim that in


our modern times this society – and community development is more important than in the previous centuries. We suggest that the summary of good will and knowledge be created primarily with the participation of local leaders and citizens as well as professional local and international consultants. The assembly should draft the text of the social contract in the coming months, which will ulteriorly be debated by the local government and local civil society. If after the public debates an agreement is accepted by the majority about the text and its purpose, then the social contract of Aba should be signed by everybody, especially those who consciously accept and assume responsibility for it, and afterwards it should be sent to every family in the form of a certificate. If we reach this stage and the spiritual reform is placed on a new foundation, then we have created an extremely serious and long-standing prerequisite for a more liveable and effective and less painful future. The Representative Body of Aba Village” Draft scenario of the local social contract (third version) In Aba village both the representative body and the village assembly has voted and accepted the birth of a local social contract between the local government and the local citizens and families. The concept of social contract and its content is outlined in the document called “Appeal to enter into a local social contract”. Based on the appeal, we suggest the following scenario for the creation and signing of the local social contract: Stages

Name of task


Date of Responsible realisation organisations

Stage 1

Appointment of 24 districts, agreement on scenario, appointment of civil society organisations

Based on drafts delimited the borders of districts; civil society representatives could be nominated by citizens and civil society organisations

15.12.2004 30.01.2005

Local government, civil society organisations, Institute for Strategic Research (ISR)

Stage 2

Interviews in three – four sample districts

Conducting and evaluation of depth interviews through surveys

15.12.2004 30.01.2005


Stage 3

Drafting the content of social contract that is going to be subsequently debated

Editing the text of draft for elections

- until 28.02.2005

Advisory body

Stage 4

Organising elections in sample districts

Overseeing elections with the help of advisors in two-three districts


Districts, civil society organisations, ISR, local government, etc.

Stage 5

Election of 24 civil

Based on the experiments






representatives in districts

of sample elections, organisation of elections in every district


Establishment of local representative body of civil society organisations The collection of civil knowledge on the internet sight of the village

The 24 civil representatives creates a joint co-ordination group

03.2005 04.2005


Creation, addition, uploading and operation of the internet site

04.2005 05.2005


Stage 8

The establishment of civil univesity for the beneift of civil representatives (and others)

The training of the 24 civil representatives with new content and methods


Local government, joint civil society organisation, ISR + HÉA

Stage 9

Open debates of social contract

Inclusion of the population in the preparation of the social contract


Local government, joint civil society organisation, ISR

Stage 10

Signing the social contract based on the joint program; every signatory receives a copy

If the local government and every civil society organisation has signed it, and subsequently the citizens and families, then everyone is going to get a certificate


Local government, joint civil society organisation

Stage 11

The scenarios and alternatives to realise the programne of social contract

In the meantime the finalisation of the detailed scenario of the signed contract

04.2005 05.2005

Stage 12

The first stages of the social contract have been realised

During realisation continuous oversight and putting forward of amendments


Local government, joint civil society organisation

Stage 13

Celebrating the social contract and the preparation of intelligent city development.

Everything is prepared so that Aba could become a town by 2007-2008


Local government, joint civil society organisation

Stage 6

Stage 7

organisations, street communities


Civil society organisations, street communities ISR

Local government, joint civil society organisation, ISR

The scenario naturally only contains the more substantial moves, a stage is necessarily made up by a number of smaller stages. The process is set between the end of October and mid- April; it is to be decided whether this broadly speaking half year is a lot or perhaps too little time. It goes without saying that in the realisation phase a lot more people could be called in; we have limited ourselves to the characterisation of the most important types. The first results could be summed up on the merits over one and half years, at the end of 2006 and this favourably coincides with local government elections.


20.10.2004. Institute for Strategic Research

Letter to the citizens of Aba (February, 2005) The families of Aba received the following circular from the local government in February, 2005: „Dear Madam, Sir, As you are already are aware of it, in the autumn of 2005 the citizens of Aba village decided at the village assembly to enter into a social contract with the leaders of the village primarily to jointly realise their plans of seven to eight years. This co-operation could be recorded in a social agreement. The following developmental period of the European Union is between 2007 and 2013, while the Hungarian election cycle is between 2006 and 2010. This is why on every settlement it is worth planning until 2010 to 2013 and preparing developmental plans for the period. The Appeal for a social contract accepted last year formulated the duties in a very simple manner. We should clarify how we are in each and every settlement and community! We should clarify what we want together in many different ways. We should clarify how we are going to get where we want to be. If we have clarified the main questions, then we should enter into a public agreement, a local social contract with each other. If we have clarified all relevant issues, then we should decide what we are going to do ourselves in order to realise them. If we are sure about our will, we should delegate someone from the community together with the neighbours to organise the co-operation. Those delegated (including local civil communities) should operate some sort of village civilian body or local civilian parliament. If our local society joins hands, we should also collect publicly the accumulated knowledge in the form of a civilian university we are going to found. If we are to start co-operation at a higher level, then we should love our institutions better and we should make more use of them. If we necessarily start off on new ways and new community entreprises, then we should honour them and join forces to realise them, just as people have always done it in the past. Thinking in the above terms, we sepearately convene the population of some thirty street communities or settlement parts to the Culture House in Aba on 18, 19, 20 February. For this reason we request the following from you and your family: 1. Please do come to the meeting you will be separately invited to by the Culture House. (In this letter it will be specified where and at what time you and your family will be expected to be present.) 2. Prior to the meeting, please kindly think it over what the draft of the social contract should contain, and what tasks the citizens of Aba should co-operate. We are going to send you a preliminary draft on these issues. This draft will sum up the present development concepts and attempts to unify them into a comprehensive plan for the future. 3. Together with other people in your street community, you should choose one person who you consider suitable for the post of civil representative on the basis of his/her competence. Since we hopefully live in a new world, we do not expect a protocol person who would repeat the ideas of the past, we do not look for someone marked out by his loud voice


but on the contrary, we look for someone who could realistically and consequently represent civil wills, dreams and suggestions. 4. If the civil representative has been elected and is empowered with the representation of intersts and plans for the future, all civil representatives should jointly finalise the program of social contract and the imagined division of labour during the realisation process. If this is completed by mid-March, then jointly with the local government and the local civil society organisations, we would make the social contract public during 15th of March celebrations and would make it possible for every family and/or citizen of Aba to sign it. 5. Then the “remaining” task is to realise the joint plan for the future by 2010 (or 2013) but only under the condition that it will be the result of the joint effort of the population, in a way that everyone would personally know their duties, how can they help, what are their responsibilities and where they can be counted on. For this purpose there in going to be a continuous civil forum in Aba in the coming 7 to 8 years. We request your participation at the meeting, and please believe in the sense of planning. Please kindly support the efforts that you and your neighbours should elect worthy representatives and help the creation of the social contract and stand by its institution, the civil forum. Let Aba have a wise and responsible civil society. We thank you for your active and creative participation in advance. Lajos Kossa mayor Local Government of Aba 10 February 2005” The programme of social contract in Aba The citizens of Aba received the draft below in March 2005. From the documents completed and published in these weeks, it was this draft that has become the most important because it summed up the development program of participatory democracy in 12 points. „It is with great pleaure that we ascertain that Aba is possibly and simultaneously the city of the past, present and future. Aba has a past because the past is considered important and because Aba wants to build on traditions. Aba has a present because it knows what it wants and it is close to becoming a small city. Aba has a future because it has finally become a settlement that has a clear and long term image of the future. Presently, one of the most important concerns of Aba is how to organise itself more efficiently and how to elevate its citizens into the position of participatory freedom. This curious definition is an answer to the problem that in Hungary there is virtually no settlement where local citizens are fully allowed to be the creators of their village or city realities. This is why the local government of Aba village and the population demanding participation decided that in an attempt to change the above situation it offers an active role to all of its citizens within the framework of a social contract. In view of the above, we proclaim that the social contract and simultaneously democracy experiment of Aba has accepted the following programme:


1. The social contract declares that in Aba the establishment of participatory democracy has started. This was decided by the local government when the process of social contract creation was initiated by a syndical resolution. 2. The social contract makes for every citizen, every family and every street community possible to participate in the formation of the present and future in the current village and future-to-be city of Aba. 3. The social contract aims at the realisation of local participatory democracy. As a result, local society should be characterised by unity instead of disintegration. 4. The most important goal of the social contract is the realisation of long term image of the future by helping one another and paying attention to other citizens of Aba. 5. This contract binds for ten year because the programme itself is formulated until the mid- 2010s. The contract could be continued if successful. The essence of the social contract is to improve life quality of everyone due to the agreement and participatory democracy. 6. The program for improvement of life quality has reached completion. Its kernel is that in Europe and in Hungary in the age of information and knowledge society, Aba should not be not be simply a city, but an intelligent city, loving and applying knowledge. 7. A similarly uplifting perspective is the programme of Gate to the South which offers a concrete civilisation and cultural development. Planned economic developments are the following: a technological park, spa touristic theme park, intelligent neighbourhood, and real, cultured city centre, natural and environmental reconstruction. Moreover, finding one’s way back to traditions, a world built upon mutual respect, intelligent dialogue between institutions is of special importance, and generally speaking the creation of such a city environment and climate where those living on the peripheries of the settlement do not feel excluded. 8. Aba has already passed the most difficult first stages and can look back happily onto them: in the autumn of 2004, the village assembly, representing the whole population and with the participation of many, identified the development programme previously accepted by the local government. 9. The social contract aims for the spiritual identification of local citizens with the community’s image of the future and as a result everyone should continuously participate in the creation of the future small city. What also follows is that not only decision-makers and institutions, but all individuals and families are responsible for the realisation of plans. To formulate it symbolically, everyone should keep the gardens surrounding their house orderly, just as in front of the house and the street. 10. This is why we have created the system of structured dialogue. The members of street communities in Aba have chosen their representatives; the representatives have created their own common civil institutions with which they have created the requirements of real dialogue. 11. The forum of institutionalised dialogue undertakes that it will not push the citizen into the background with methods and style of the old times. In the following ten years it will continuously create personal opportunities for every local citizen and family to act and participate in decision-making. 12. Finally this new democratic process and community co-operation network will be made operational also on the long run and the local government will support and motivate it. With full knowledge of the 12 points we all declare that we accept the programme of participatory democracy, operate the institutional system of social contract and enter into long-term contract with mutual respect and attention for one another instead of squabble


originating in small issues and so that, as we have referred to it in the introduction, the image of the future in Aba should become reality. Shall Aba become one of the intelligent and wise small cities of Hungary that is lovable, benevolent towards its citizens, builds on traditions and furthers culture, last but not least, pays attention to Europe! Together we request that one representative of every family in Aba should sign this social contract as a sign of acceptance. 14 March, 2005.

The (festive) Day of the Social Contract On the 14th of March the local citizens accepted and signed the social contract in the Millenim Park of Aba. This unusal evening (folk festivity) was reported as follows: „Men gave birth to monarchy and the republic, - states the famous French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville. The village, however, was created by God, villages exist since the dawn of humankind while freedom of a village is a rare and delicate matter. Aba is a classic village; it is such a village that because of its size and will, it will become a city shortly. Nevertheless, the most important question is to what extent the freedom of the village is going to be realised. One of the requirements of this form of freedom is found in the traditional form and guarantee, the local government, while the other in the realisation of participatory freedom, which is simultaneously the old and new form. The whole world, amongst it, Europe looks for the modern forms and institutions of this requirement. Aba dared think big and bold when it undertook the social contract, a form of participatory freedom as the first settlement in Hungary. The local government bodies and the local civil society organisations decided to divide Aba into twenty four street communities and to make the election of their representatives possible. The miracle worked: the thought was followed by acts and all twenty-four representatives were elected mid-March and, after the local government, all representatives debated and accepted the text of the social contract. By chance or on purpose the social contract sums up in 12 points what type of future is chosen by the people of Aba and how they plan to realise it in the coming 10 years. The 14 March, 2005 in Aba has been baptised: it is the Day of the Social Contract. For the first time thus, not only the heroes of the 1848 Revolution were commemorated at the ’48 wooden headboard, but from the Heroes Square through the Rákoczy Street the festive, musical procession reached the Community House in front of which the Memorial Stone of the 21st Century was inaugurated and a little later, at 6 pm in the Millenium park the Festivity of Belief, Knowledge, Co-operation commenced among torch lights. It was here that the miracle was really fulfilled. Neither Aba, nor the county of Fejér, nor Hungary has seen something similar: after the stage performance called The dream of horses, in the memory of entering into alliance the local government of Aba village lead by mayor Lajos Kossa read the social contract point by point in front of four- five hundred local citizens. Finally, the twenty four civil representatives that were asked to the stage all publicly made an oath to keep the social contract.


Just imagine the Millenium Park with four-five hundred shivering citizens in the cold, while local governmental and civil society representatives are shivering on stage. After reading the12 points, the chorus made the oath. It was all touching and moving. There is a village in Hungary where the leaders and the population feel and understand that they deliberately create the institutionalised form of participatory freedom and responsibility. And this is not all, because it was after this that the chatarctic turning point arrived: the stage and the “auditorium” went black, and not simply the fireworks followed but two beautiful songs by Zoltán Nagy Sólyomfi, part of the Kormorán ensemble, which involuntarily interpreted and certified the social contract. It was getting really late when the participants trampling on each others’ foot, publicly signed the social contract and thus endorsed it. Csaba Varga” The establishment of the forum of civil representatives (April 2005) It was on 8 April that the foundation meeting of the Civilian Forum of civil representatives took place. It came as a surprise that all 24 representatives (and many leaders of civil society organisations) came, no exceptions. This meeting was continued on 9 May. The items on the agenda were the following: the name of the Civilian Forum, name of street communities, the progamme of the Civilian Forum up to 2006 (realisation of the social contract), working out the operational order of the Civilian Forum, training of the members of the Civilian Forum (Civilian University) and civilian tenders. Both meetings were intensive and exciting; a dialogue evolved that interpreted the tensions; moreover, a discussion took place about the round of duties; decisions were not yet taken at that stage. The reason for the latter development is that the representatives decided to wait for the election of civil representatives in Bodakajtor and Belsőbáránd (two “subvillages“of Aba). From the two settlements three representatives were to be elected each by the end of the spring, thus there were to be 30 civilian representatives of Aba. By chance (if there is chance as such), the first meeting of the Aba representatives was on the day of Pope John Paul II’s death and whole Europe was in exhalted spirits. In the second part of 2005, the most important decisions were taken and in the autumn of 2005 the practical establishment of participatory democracy started to take shape. (In the following year no relevant new step was taken due to the parliamentary and local government elections.)

11.3. The future scenario of Aba, until 2007-2010 If within a research framework, just before the model of democracy development experiment of Aba we would have asked either 10 or 100 experts whether in 2005 in Hungary it was realistic to introduce such a social experiment most likely all of them would have either answered that there was no such chance or that the chances were very small indeed. We did not conduct such a conscious public opinion poll, but we did ask many of our expert friends, sociologist colleagues, third sector researchers and public administration or community developers. Although kindly the dismissal was unequivocal. With hindsight, the arguments could be grouped as follows: 1. Local civil societies are disintegrated, they are incapable of self-organisation, and there is no strong local community consciousness. Civil society is weak in Hungary at present. 2. Citizens are totally engaged in self-preservation, making money and the relationship between people is often conflictuous and full of tensions. There is no self173

conscious bourgeoisie in Hungary that would undertake public activities. 3. Local power, or the local political and economic elite is not going to allow nor support the organisation of local society and that a real partnership and thus control is going to eventually evolve. 4. The bourgeoisie of settlements has neither the knowledge, nor mentality or future-orientedness to see through the complex new global-local world, to initiate alternatives by itself and to independently attempt to realise them. If that was really so, then in Aba a democracy-experiment would not have commenced at all. If there is a social contract, then our image of civil bourgeoisie and society is either not true, or it it is not precise. Which one is the case? First of all, the internal public political condition of local society is likely more satisfactory than it is widely assumed. After the regime change every sign shows that the majority of families could stabilise themselves to the extent that (even though partially) they can concentrate on community matters rather than exclusively on their material needs. The second economy of the past thirty-fourty years has found many tax-free sources of income where those searching for jobs and incomes could put their efforts into in order to increase the life quality of their families. It is not by accident that the most active individuals and those who wanted public roles most have already had opportunities to try themselves out. Because in the party political struggles they have failed, they are no longer in the local political space. The tempers have calmed down, those failed are more cautious and those in the background could make a step forward. Secondly, it is stupefying the lack of future, and it is stupefying that so many people do not understand anything beyond their narrow worlds. We have experienced in Aba (too) that for a minority of people financial problems are enormous, although the majority is more concentrated on their social positions and prestige within the village community. A normal citizen wants to help and for a good purpose s/he is mobilised relatively easily. The most important hindrance to activity (even if the person is not aware of it) is the blurredness of alternatives. Nobody has formulated it in this way, but we found that the accepted future image worked well if they were passed onto everyone. This is the case even if some people said no to this image because they considered it unattainable or exaggerated. It looks as if the unconscious of the society in Aba is strengthened. Thirdly, the people in Aba just as everywhere else in Hungary do not really believe in politics, they have been deeply disenchanted by governments, but this political surfeit and emptiness seems to clear numerous anxieties and reservations. The people have many experiences, they do not believe in things easily, while they are more open and sensitive to every move. There is no rebellion in the depth of Hungary, nor are objections. There are numerous people who are against every form of local aggressive appearances, which does not suggest of course that some people could not be drawn to big words. The middle classes of the local society slowly reach the point that they are responsive to the public matters of the “city” or the citylike “village”. Fourthly, we know too little. Aba is in a multiply disadvantageous situation. It has no strong tradtions either. It does not have a strong industry, nor strong internal culture. There is nothing outstanding in it. Well, we must admist, it has an outstanding mayor who has been supported by the local government body and thus there is no sense in continuing the initial political war (between the devotees of the old and new regime). Siding with certain political parties and their ideas increasingly looses meaning at the local level while slowly it becomes


more obvious that the notion of civil society was inadequately defined and the used categories and interpretations seem to hinder the recognition of change. It is not by chance that based on our observations we also had to reconsider the theory and operation of civil society. The civil society in Aba was thus in such a state comparing to our previous assumptions that it could be mobilised instantly and a minority personally went to elect their civilian representatives. We do not have illusions and we have no determination either. The democracy experiment does not have to succeed in Aba. The most important is not that everything should succeed; negative experiences won’t make us feel doomed. Our one and only task is to monitor the changes, to observe the self-interpretations of the actors and follow suit of the participatory democracy experiment; how and in what is fortified or eroded in Aba. The key question is not only the effectiveness of public activity but the changes in the local social consciousness. The future, whatever comes, depends on the development of consciousness. It might be that nothing significant happens or perhaps real changes are going to take place which would be known behind the beyond. The essence of the Aba model is the following: it is not a single local governmental but multiplied representation, which combined with structured dialogue then further develops into shared local governance and finally into participatory or electronic democracy. One of the new elements of this concept is the joint development of e-democracy and e-public administration. The new main institution of local democracy is the Magistrate. The theory and practice of multiplied representational democracy was not construed by democracy theory; rather by the the plans and practice of the development in Aba. The traditional local governmental representation in Hungary is single representation while in the Aba model there is parallel representation, both based on elections. Thus complex or multiple local governmental structures have been established, which make the concrete and direct representation of major social groups possible. This conception and solution partially anticipates and advances the system of participatory democracy. The programme of institutionalisation of participatory democracy in Aba is complete. First of all, initially the 24 (later 30) elected civil representatives established their own civilian forum. The representatives of civil society organisations also organise their village/city coordinating bodies and elect their representatives. The local government body unceasingly functions according to the regulations specified in the governing legislation. The firm and entreprises (economic corporations) also elect their representatives. Last but not least the denominations of Aba also elect their representatives. All in all, there are 56 representatives. The five bodies subsequently organise the top institution called Aba Magistrate. This is going to be established ceremoniously in the spring of 2007. It is to be regarded as the local parliament; while following this logic the local mayor’s office could also be considered as the local government. This is, however, the old logic that does not hold completely true. However, we cannot really at this stage know what role they are really going to play. What is for certain, though, that participatory democracy is going to be total and real when the egovernance and e-public administration has been created because from then on the Aba Magistrate could hold digital referenda on any issue at any point in time. Today there are four to five scenarios likely to happen: 1. Civil representatives and their bodies become bored by the amount of public duties, become weary of fighting windmills (if this how they will label it) or withdraw if local citizens do not support them emotionally or spiritually. 2. The democracy model runs out of human resources if the mayor


(or his colleagues) who have so far been the generators of the process tire, or put their efforts in other developmental projects, such as small regional development, or if there are (continuously) no appreciated new community leader who stand out in the Aba Magistrate. 3. If within five years Aba does not become at least partially an intelligent small city, all groups of the Aba Magistrate are going completely or partially fall into discredit. If Aba could really become a loveable little city, the participatory democracy model becomes a European and/or Hungarian standard. 4. If in the first two decades of the new century all spiritual and consciousness resources are mobilised, participatory democracy has the potential of becoming completely or partially a sort of sacred democracy. 5. After the formation and strengthening of e-public administration in Aba every major issue are going to be decided in an e-referenda although the preparation and execution of every decision still remains the task of the Aba Magistrate, then participatory democracy is going to permanently take hold or perhaps a conflictuous model of a new democracy will be established full of short-witted, spectacular petty cases, or perhaps with clashes of interest and values. We’ll see what happens.


The Aba model160 Local governmental (municipal) level

The Mayor


Project Board, Development Team

Representative body


Project Board, Expert Team

Village Local Government Mayor’s Office Civil co-ordinating

society organisation forum

Civil Magistrate of local government and civil representatives, civil society organisations, economic associations, church

The Civilian forum of Civil representatives

Regional level: electing districts and street communities District (65-79 adult population) 1. district representative


District (65-79 adult population) 1. district representative

District (65-79 adult population) 1. district representative

Explanation of signs: : → forwarding information, with consultation rights; ↔ ;


District (65-79 adult population) 1. district representative

Table 25.: The drawing of the Aba model (Emese Ugrin – Csaba Varga)


Chapter Twelve: The comprehensive vision of state, democracy and public administration The information age: the embodied future, which seems to be the blurred present. Some fourty or thirty years ago there were only few who believed that information society as a vision of the future is realistic and attainable. Today, when this vision of the future in many parts of the world has become a partial or complete reality, it could still seem unattainable or implausible in the undeveloped world. Compared to the previous (industrial) age, the age of information embodies a radically different present. To put it otherwise, since the 1960’s the information age has been a new vision of the future, it required a new strategy for the future, and by now it is clear that it has really brought a new present which is not at all adequately understood. So far, we have not reached the age of knowledge. The information age, however, has not been a new future, a new vision of the future and a new strategy limited up to the present, for many, particularly in the underdeveloped countries, it permanently means a new future and new vision of the future after the turn of the millenium, too. To simplify matters the following two connections are important to note. 1. Since the 1960’s but especially since the 1980’s the dream for the future, information society aimed at a qualitative change, a holistic vision of the future was advertised and it did not only envisage the modernisation of economy or the state. In this vision of the future there is a continuity while changing contents were carried by it in every decade. The essence of continuity is that by the help of knowledge-centredness it aims at humanising the world and enhancing the quality of life. 2. In spite of the continuity of the image for the future, every decade came up with a different dominant response. While the 1970’s and 1980’s were primarily focused on IT and technology, in the 1980’s and 1990’s new economy, knowledge-based economy came to the limelight, while the past decade has increasingly brought a content-centred information part age with it. The program of the future and the sequence of change, including e-governance and epublic administration are interpretable in such a historical context. In the last decade of the twentieth century, the emphasis was on providing governmental institutions with PCs and new information techonology. Europe at this stage concentrated on e-public administration at the announcement of the Lisbon program (2000) the essence of which was the spreading of online services. In the meanwhile there was plenty of discussions about e-democracy, although less so in Hungary. The development of institutional democracy did not get into the focus of attention although in many places e-elections were to be tested. We are not going to further discuss previous visions of the future of the information age or e-public administration, neither will we analyse the history of the vision of the future. Instead, we will first sum up the the vision of the 2010’s and 2020’s of digital governance – local governance and public administration as well as we will draft possible scenarios to widen the interpretational horizon and search for new state and democracy model. The future thus has once again arrived although presently we do not see the „next” future. The planning of new vision and reality of the future is a central issue.


12.1. Rethinking the future, vision of the future, strategy of the future Future studies is a science, although it is typically a branch of science that cannot do without looking into the future with a sensitive, intuitive vision. First of all, we should briefly clarify the basic concepts: the future, vision of the future, strategy of the future as well as future scenarios. Numerous definitions were born about the main concepts with widely differing content and points of view. We have repeatedly indicated that the content of the concepts is not constant, the information age and the knowlede-centred age are continuously transforming the categories of future studies and planning. Future by today’s standards is always a paradigm change. Future is not the continuation of the present, it is not the involuntary consequence of the present because the present is open at least for fifty percent, it is not decided upon and it largely depends on what we want to happen as a future. Today humankind does not have a vision of the future and therefore more than ever, the creation of the future is necessary. The new theory of the future is the comprehensive vision of the future. The reinterpretation of the concepts Future The future can equally be interpreted as time, space, goal ideal, reality or for instance, as a challenge. It has been well known for a long time that there is not one and only future, we may only think of futures. The future after 2000 as time has a span at least up until 2020 or rather until 2050. It could be considered either as a local or state space, although by now it is basically a universal glocal space. As a goal ideal it is not the continuation, or by chance the repetition of the past or present, but it is essentially a new goal ideal which in our accelerating world necessarily leaves behind the quasi-alternaties in the captivity of the present. The essence of the future: it is a complex reality and consciousness, it is an objective and subjective world. Future is thus a future reality, the individual and collective consciousness of future reality. The vision of the future The vision of the future is the concentrated image, vision of future reality. In today’s European and Hungarian practice, we can equally talk about long-term (15-20 years), middleterm (7-15 years) and short-term (3-5) vision of the future. Undeniably, the future is fundamentally long-term, a time that is even beyond 20 years and in any instance it desires, plans for and illustrates a future that is different from our past and present. The vision of the future has become a major issue because those who plan the global – local world increasingly realise that the future (later as present) depends at least for fifty percent from the future we choose for and the type of vision of the future we want to realise. One of the major recognitions of the information age that the future is not in the captivity of the present although numerous involuntary tracks in this or that way have a long-term impact on those changes. The vision of the future has become liberated although it seemingly depends on the knowledge and consciousness of future vision creators. The vision of the future is necessarily normative because it guides the concrete future developments.


The creation of future vision The creation of future vision is a social and spiritual process which results in the birth of the concentrated image and vision of future reality. The creation of future vision is thus a process and a method of process needs to be defined. Working out the contentual elements of the future image is both a technology of creation and control. It is basically about how we can create the vision of future of a society, a region or an industrial branch, even of a family. It is important to note that in Europe the handbook of future vision creation of knowledge society has been published. Predicting future This is an outdated concept. As far as we are concerned, predicting the future cannot be the forecast of the future of twenty or fifty years that lie ahead of us because the far away future cannot be reached as guaranteed future. This cannot therefore be undertaken by any vision of future. Moreover, predicting future was used to deduce from the analysis of the past what will most likely happen, as a sort of good or bad involuntary track. Because in our opinion the future is not only the involuntary continuation of the past or the present, we do not accept this type of future predictions neither as a method nor mentality. Predicting the future can only be imagined under the condition that someone might wish to interpret the chances of realisation of elaborated future scenarios. Strategy of the future The strategy of the future is the changing, the strategy of created vision of future into a realisable programme. The strategy of the future equally contains a variety of multi-faceted and expert analysis of the past and the present and the vision of the future formulated in concepts based on the elaborated future reality later, and the strategy and tactics to diminish the distance between two points (space-time). Future scenarios Future scenarios formulate different alternatives to realise the strategy of the future. If otherwise there are a number of futures instead of one then there are a number of pathways to reach these futures. Moreover, there are not only several futures but presents, too, and thus every path for the future could have distinct scenarios. Future scenarios do not denote points of views or visions, but concrete realisation alternatives. This is why every strategy of the future is followed by the description of scenario network. Once the future scenarios have been completed, developmental projects are possible on various timelines and programme goals. The future scenarios also differ from what perspective and planning level are differences in the future drafted. This does not have an established methodology yet, although we can at this stage distinguish between at least seven levels in the global spatial structure: the universal, the global, European, state, regional, small regaional and settlement levels need their future scenarios to be worked out.

12.2. Clearing the concepts of future planning and future development We have briefly clarifed above those basic concepts which are used in the planning of the future. When the task is to plan the future of e-public administration, then this pursuit is obviously on the one hand belongs to future planning, on the other to future developments. This is why we briefly want to interpret the concepts of future planning and future development. 181

Future planning Future planning is a complex planning process where in the ways clarified above work out the future, vision of the future, creation of future image, future planning, future strategy and future scenarios. Whether we make an integrated governmental, ministerial, industrial or regional level strategy for the future of e-public administration, every time we will have to complete a complex future planning procedure. This complexity means that the changes (both the planned and spontaneous ones) make up a network. „The omnipresence of change, their close relationship as compared to the past and their impact on one another all create a web.” Erzsébet Nováky161 Future development The outcome of future planning is future development. In the European and Hungarian spatial planning and according to the established planning system, future developments are realised in projects. In most cases the concept of future development means the elaboration of project plans, application for tenders through which the projects could be realised as well as the realisation of the projects supported by various sources aimed at developmental support. What follows from this is that future development should be part and parcel of the last chapters of every e-public administration strategy.

12.3. Long-term future image up until 2020, a comprehensive future image until 2013 It is according to the currently valid European and Hungarian planning theory and practice that the pyramid of development goal can be worked out. Its peak is the long-term vision of the future, up until 2020. The next level of the pyramid of goals is to make our longterm vision of the future concrete: these are the comprehensive goals which are major goals expanded to a number of branches, a number of sectors and a number of developmental directions. Finally, the third and broadest level of the pyramid of goals is the priorities within the goals, broken down to long-, medium-, short-term and concrete development goals. For transparency purposes we note that the pyramid of goals is always broken down into measures (programmes, sub-programmes) and concrete project plans. This is why next to the planning of the future of e-public administration and e-democracy, the planning of measures and projects need to be ensured as well.


The homepage of Erzsébet Nováky:; dr. Erzsébet Nováky: future research papers


Chapter Thirteen: Paradigm changing new recognitions in the first third of the 21st century Having explained some preliminary notions, we are going to present a summary of significant issues in some contentual matters which are essential a way to think about the future of the new state, e-public administration or participatory democracy. In a wider context the new historical challenges question the ideal of the republic, parliamentarism or, generally speaking, the current model of society. The social-economic or political problems are general, therefore, whichever set of questions we may choose to examine (democracy, state, society, etc.), we find ourselves against interconnected and complex fields of crisis. In the Euro-atlantic space-time it is pretty straightforward that the smashing success of experience society is one the one hand the manifestation of a global assertion for happiness, on the other hand it is the wailing of an endangered and desperate culture. The citizen has been freed from the overt or latent oppression of politico-power dictatorships and half dictatorships but only to that extent that the personal and collective emptiness and insecurity for want of better is smoothened or remedied by quasi-experiences. The new key term is not widely known, namely that the present is the age of adventure dictatorship (which is not mellow but soft adventure dictatorship). And this type of dictatorship is more demoralising than other crude forms. The challenge is universal although the depth and harshness is not always apparent. Scientific discourses and public discourses tackle nothing but the event history of crisis phenomena. It should be, however, as salient that time in increasingly shorter spaces jumps into newer and new spatial fields: as if this age was an accelerating trot..

13.1. The challenging timeliness and the alternative of knowledge society From the point of view of future studies the comprehensive model of the present is called information age in the global and European world. As we summed it up during the interpretation of the information society model, the information age is made up by numerous alternative categories: postindustrial-, digital-, IT-, infocommunication-, creative- and knowledge economic age. The name of the short-term future is knowledge age but other terms also exist to denote this term: the age of knowledge society, the period of innovation and information, post-information age. If we want to set things straight in this cavalcade of concepts, we could simplify the name of the present to information age, while the name of the future to knowledge age. By and large, the present has started in the 1980’s and could end somewhere at the beginning or mid-2010s. The future under discussion has kicked off some time after the turn of the millenium and will presumably end in the 2020s. The paradigm of knowledge society rests on nine to ten basic recognitions: 1. Relying on new knowledge theories, the definition of knowledge and the interpretation of the definition radically expends and transforms; its essence is broadly speaking that knowledge does not only include the network of high standing and comprehensive information but the transfer of knoweldge into intellectual capital or its dynamic application as personal or social capital.


2. Based on the approaches of new social theory, rethinking and interpreting the concept of society takes place at the beginning of the twenty-first centure. One of its basic outcome is the birth and interpretation of knowledge society. The universal and global task of the next twenty years is the spread of knowledge society model in human civilisation. 3. Based on the new theories of monetarism, new economy (post-industrial economy, knowledge-oriented economy, internet economy, etc.) is the exploration of already existing functions and operational methods and the birth of the new economic world model (and as part of it, the new processes of money-centred new capitalism). 4. Based on previous conflict theories and the new recognitions that continue them, the interpretation of the information age and the societies of knowledge age as well as their key conflicts; and it goes without saying that the new ways of conflict management need to be identified. 5. Based on a number of chaos theories, the understanding of the Universe that surrounds the Earth and the new relationships, new connections of the universal-global world as well as mapping out new theories of activities that act upon new reality. 6. Based on new globalisation theories, the description of human civilisation and culture and the formulation and debate of knowledge society scenarios that constitute a future alternative up until the mid-twenty-first century. 7. Based on the political theories of yesteryear and today, acquainting oneself with the crises of institutional systems and coming up with possible directions for a new democracy (post-democracy) as a way managing conflict. 8. In view of the old and current utopia theories the framing of norm systems for knowledge society, or going even one step further, the creation of the most important contents of a future vision and making it into a unified system. 9. Even if modern science and post-science has not yet created consciousness theories, one of the most significant mega-alternative could be the preparation of society model, a consciousness-centred development that simultaneously promotes personal and collective consciousness. Not only because nine is not a round figure is it worthy noting a tenth comprehensive knowledge society recognition, namely the sum of those hypotheses that relate to the future of the state and public administration. The twentieth century was a period of strong, centralised states concentrating power and incapable of adequately managing the conflicts of society. In the mediatised public, these issues are discussed either as the crises of the political system, or the crises of the welfare state or as the subjection of civil society. Although the European information society has worked out its digital state- and e-public administration paradigm, neither Hungary, nor Europe has plans for a new state theory and new state model. As a sort of post scriptum we should take note of the fact that knowledge age is not the end of cyclical history either, it is but one of its first statuses. As we have already referred to it, one of the subsequent stages could be the period of consciousness society.

13.2. The unexpected post-modernisation models Under the term modernisation models, we are going to discuss questions concerning the realisation of previous and coming world models and world scenarios. Europe has been in the phase of modernisation for at least 300 years. This long road and similarly extended present is based on a number of essentially different models. It is not our concern now to discuss in detail the modernisation models of the leading European states and those at the


periphery. From the e-public administration point of view, it should suffice to designate the modernisation alternatives of the last twenty years as well as the coming twenty years. In our view two groups of modernisation models can be distinguished: the models of modernisation and post-modernisation. The first group includes the traditional modernisation programs and technologies; resources-, investment-, innovation- and information-led models are amongst these. This means thus that in the industrial age that preceeded the information age dominant state- and regional modernisation models were those led by resources and innovation. The modernisation models belonging to the second group are called postmodernisation models; these are led by knowledge and creativity or perhaps consciousness. These constitute the models of the future with no exception: currently, they are hypothetical models. The knowledge-led postmodernisation model (which no longer takes place at state but rather at a global and local level simultaneously) belongs by all means to the knowledge age, expected to blossom in the 2010s. The future might choose such an option where the above enumerated postmodernisation models are on the one hand integrated, on the other hand amended by other further development programs (led by new democracy or spirituality). The future of e-governance, e-public administration and participatory e-democracy is thus to be considered as one of the dominant elements of information on the one hand, and knowledge-led modernisation on the other hand.

13.3. The accepted digital state and public administration vision If we aim at giving a sound interpretation to the twentieth century, it could be either analysed as the heyday of the industrial age or it could also be considered as the end of the industrial age; or perhaps it was the concluding phase of a modernisation period that lasted a few centuries. We might as well consider the twentieth century as the first period of postmodernisation. In either way the analysis concludes that in this period not only the economy was industrialised, but the society and the state, too. This very simply meant that both society and the institutional system of the state equally operated as an industrial process. The social and state institutional system also took over the characteristics of industrial economy and its operational mechanisms. Right after the turn of the century the most relevant dilemma is understandably whether the state should still function according to the characteristics of the industrial age or whether knowledge, knowledge industry or post-industry should become the central content element of post-industrial operation. At the state level it is highly unlikely that a final answer is going to be given because in Hungary the state is essentially linked to politics and the political institutional system and so its goals an operational manner is necessarily limited to short-term parliamentary cycles. A breakthrough can be expected beforehand at middle- and lower level public administration systems because they are more thoroughly connected to society and local wills compared to centralised levels. By 2020 presumably the modernisation process will fully or partially have taken place and not only in the more developed states of Europe, but also in Hungary the digital state, as understood by the ideology of information society, is going to be established. This state could have a network nature already and it might not be any longer a centralised power institution in the twentieth century meaning of the word. 185

Even if we do not always understand exactly what is really e-public administration and e-governance, it might occur to us Central Europeans or Hungarians that in the last years all over in Europe at government or local government level they have switched to or are currently switching to e-public administration. This might result in a highly significant state and public administration reform, if the majority of the continent considers it as the most important development of the information age as it was listed in the 2003-2005 version of eEurope strategy. This in itself constitutes a tremendous change. This in itself constitutes a huge challenge for the current Hungarian local governments and mayor offices. The effect of the coming 2-3 years is going to be chatarctic because even the public administration bodies did not count on the size and complexity of change. While in the member states of the European Union the year 2000 marked the beginning of the introduction and spread of e-governance and e-public administration, in Hungary this process presumably will be completed with a 5-7 year delay, by the beginning of the 2010s. Where do we reach with this programme? Although at different levels, but the digital state and e-public administration will be introduced by and large. Moreover, due to it the first requirements of e-democracy are going to come true, too. But into what directions do we make advances? The industrialised-centralised state will develop further – but where and how? What type of new post-modernisation model will prevail in the development of the state? There is no valid answer yet. What type of new requirements are to be introduced with regards to the state, public administration and democracy? We might note beforehand that edemocracy as a democracy model could be an essentially different model and thus it could gradually move towards the direction of participatory democracy.

13.4. Network state is the future, but what sort of network state? What changes can the state ideal of the information age and/or knowledge age bring about? After all, can we speak of a new type of state? The state of the future is presumably and expectedly a network state. The new public administration of the network state, at least as its first step, is surely e-public administration; what more, without an electronic state practice network state is not an option. It’s been a long time since the new European model state was last examined; currently, it is sometimes called the digital, other times the network state, sometimes it is referred to as the e-state, other times as the post-state or qualitative state. This train of thought is often linked to the planning of the e-governance programme of information society. But is the task limited the industrial state making place for the post-industrial, thus electronic state? It is already the information age that produces an increasingly apparent new type of state or the digital state, which, based on the example of network economy and network society creates partially a network state. This is no longer has one or numerous centre, nor is it a centralised or decentralised state. Thus in the network state the regional-county level local government and local public administration will be (increasingly) on par with the previous centre of power, the government. The priority of the latter is to create for the presently dependent citizen at least the opportunity of participatory citizenship (public citizen, community citizen). Paralelly, the following step is thus within the framework of the network state local societies should achieve (at least partially) equal status.


According to one of the new theories, „on the one hand, based on the construed nature of the state and the new situation, we should attempt to imagine the state in a new way; we should not stick to the notion of nation-states born in the early modern age and that has become outdated by today. On the one hand, based on the contemporary tendencies and making use of the Aristotelian partnership theory, the power theory of Foucault and the communicative rationality and action-theory developed by Habermas, the notion of politics should be widened. As a result, the inter-subjective state appears in a new light: the number of political actors grow and so will the institutional system mirror that inclusion of the (local and global) society into the political domain.”162 We come up against the problem, though, that in the post-modern global-local structures and the new conflict situations neither the traditional, nor the twentieth century theories give (sufficient?) solutions and orientation. If therefore the role of local society or the intelligent civil society and local governance, as well as the regional-settlement public administration is strengthened, then it is totally understandable why the importance of public administration in the information age also increases. As it is widely known, that concept of electronic public administration is abbreviated to e-public administration. The letter „e”, however, stands for far more than electronic, although this broadened power is inevitably ambiguous; after all, the task is not only technological modernisation. We will also refer to the term digital rather than simply electronic, but even then we refer exclusively to the technological change. In the spirit of the information age we could refer to information public administration, as we have already done it. This adjective in itself, however, is difficult to interpret when it comes to classic public administration or, generally speaking, the state. And we did not solve the problem either if we are to plan a developmental phase between public administration and public utility, or the service-providing state and the service providing e-state. Currently the state needs to answer the following dillemas: • Although every state spends significant resources from its budget to healthcare and social problems, it is seemingly incapable of saving the most poor and most defenseless segment of the population (3-5% of the population). • Although the state puts relatively large resources into alleviating natural and environmental crises, it partially or totally proves incapable of managing expected or unexpected ecological chatastrophies. • Although every state sustains and operates a relatively strong security sector, it is increasingly incapable of preventing internal or external terror activities. • Although most states define themselves as neutral, in the vast majority of cases states depend or will potentially depend on integrated political-economic power groups. • Although in most European states the division of the state and church took place long ago, the state without content, credo, spirituality, sacrality looses or could potentially loose its mission. • Although the law and order of every state as well as every developed constitutional state guarantees the individual rights of freedom and autonomy, the dependency of the individual on the state might become total (especially when s/he is considered an opponent or enemy of the leading power groups) • Although every state makes a significant effort to provide its citizens with knowledge and to create the knowledge to sustain it, it is a general experience that the state 162

Ferenc Horkay Hörcher (2000): Az interszubjektív állam (The Inter-subjective State) in Magyar Szemle, April 2000


grapples continuously with a lack of knowledge and it is not capable of increasing the level of knowledge in its own apparatus to adequate levels. • Although the state was initially created to protect and ensure security for the society and its members, the state consistently under-performs or due to exaggerated state intervention, civil society had to create its own institutional system, - to counterbalance state control, that is. • Although in the global world, the acceptance of democracy as well as building/strenghtening democracy has been rightly supported and appreciated, the recongition that the democracy model of the 19th-20th century is outdated is becoming ever the more widespread and a new operational- decision making model needs to be worked out. We could provide a long list of dilemmas concerning state theory and state practice of narrower or broader significance. All in all, it is almost certain that the dilemmas occuring in the practice of state development as well as the development of public administration need to be solved in one way or another. It is currently unforeseeable which principles and manners will provide an answer to the above-mentioned difficulties. The short-term future is foreseeable at first sight, and so it is a rather simple matter to recognise that an e-state is needed for the establishment of e-public administration and vice versa. We would hereby also like to clarify that digital local government and digital state, epublic administration and the e-citizen presuppose each other and jointly embody or could embody e-democracy, which is also participatory democracy, too. The central question, however, invariably remains whether the post-modern state is capable of finding solutions to the problems we have mentioned above. Manuel Castells states the following: „The internet should be used by people to observe the government, rather than the government to observe the people. In this way the web could be used as a bottom-top monitor, information and active participation; moreover, it could become the tool of decision-making.”163

13.5. The cardinal question: participatory democracy and/or edemocracy? The new state and republic model is unimaginable without new democracy and new public amdinistration. E-public administration, as an institution of participatory e-democracy, could inescapably become the basic institution of localisation that has an indicative role in globalisation and the information and knowledge age. The cardinal qeustion is therefore not the change of public administration but the shift in the democracy model. In spite of the horrors, failures and defeats of the twentieth century, its aftermath was marked by, the spread of democracy on the one hand, on the other hand, by the recognition that all democracy realities that have existed so far were but limited democracies. The difference lies between the scale and scope of the confines. It would be folly to demonstrate such a positive utopia according to which within a relatively short period of time there will be such type of democracy that would free us all from limitations. One of the most exciting questions is as follows: the history of non-democracies and democracies alike relentlessly inspires us to recognise numerous phenomena and processes which has prevailed in all ages, systems independent of the fact whether that was a dictatorship, monarchy or perhaps democracy.


Manuel Castells (2000) p. 187.


We can nevertheless state without exaggeration that after the quasi-mass democracy, or to put it differently, the quantitative democracy of the twentieth century the first qualitative type of democracy might be born. Having extended electoral rights, two tasks remained: electoral knowledge, the distribution of knowledge necessary for elections and paralelly, the broadening of electoral participation in decision-making. The information age can only provide the technological access and the digital institutions of this access. To achieve these results twenty to thirty years are needed instead of two hundred; however, contingent opposition of the political field could slow down the access. The politician and the citizen point their fingers to each to no avail: both of them are likely to think one-dimensionally. By the 2010s there e-public administration is going to be everywhere in Europe, e-work is going to be frequently employed within local governments, direct democracy is going to spread thanks to e-referenda and obviously, e-elections are going to be widely applied in one-two governmental cycles. Originally, democracy meant the acknowledgement of human rights, denial of social priviledges, equality, the existence of the conditions that allow the practice of free will, and thus the success of free will. According to this vision, (legislative and governance) rights are in the hands of the people (or society). However, since the establishement of the system, the state and society have drifted very far away from each other and the members of the state could feel on a number of occassions that the state is not meant for them, moreoever, in dictatorships the state is unambiguously against them. The goal of modern democracy institutions is to make the state and public administration finally serve society. A multitude of citizens will only feel him/herself a friend of the state only under the condition that, in particularly the local government and local public adminsitration become citizen-friendly. The systemlike and uniquely efficient system of this frequently announced change is possibly egovernance and e-public administration which could lead to the creation of e-state and edemocracy. The principles of democracy have been known for the last two thousand years; nevertheless, the theory of visions cannot replace the correct analysis of democracy realities. This, however, is not the lesson of politologists linked to the practice of politics, but it is the philosophical task of political theory and in broader terms, social theory. We are obviously aware of the fact that democracy in principle is about the participation of the demos. In every period the question arises that what the demos means both universally and in practice. Morevoer, it is also recognisable that at least in principle the people control their fate; however, it is hopelessley obscure, who the people are, what their fate is, what the meaning of „in their hands” is, as well as what control implies, etc. We do not only refer here to the extent modern individualism is against the supposedly free institutions of modern society. The ideal of democracy is naturally institutionalised in every modern age. On the one hand, who is in the position to answer to what extent does institutionalisation suit the demands of demos since, for instance, those demands often exist in the social unconscious. The spread of electoral rights was achieved after heavy social fights while it was not only in the 1990s that we could notice that the existing models of participatory democracy, the practices of social existence and thinking almost exclude the realisation of the democratic ideal. It is almost 200 years ago that Alexis de Tocqueville wrote „In the American democracy”164, that in North America people dictate in the narrowest sense of the word,although according to the governmental form democracy is based on representation; in other 164

Alexis de Tocqueville (1993)


words, there is no enduring barrier that would inhibit that the views, preconceptions, interests and even emotions of the people appear in the everyday control of society. Today, there is no social scientist who would dare put this down. We should not think that Tocqueville was a dazzled idealist; it is after all in the same book where he sets forth his view that the biggest danger of the American republic is rooted in the tiranny of the majority. The essence European or Central European democracy or according to the strategy of the new era, the global and local (glocal) democracy could be drafted based on eight to ten interdisciplinary scientific analyses of (post)modern democracy theory. Some of its elements are detectible perhaps, although there will not even be a partial democracy paradise if we are limiting ourselves to political democracy. E-democracy, on the other hand, promises potentially a new democracy model. The distribution of institutionalised knowledge necessary for choosing and decision-making as well as the broadening and realisation of personal participation in decision-making is on the one hand linked to a new social model, to knowledge society, on the other hand to a new global consciousness conceptualisation, a new understanding. All this, however, is not yet widely comprehensible in Hungary. Neither citizens nor the majority of decision-makers and scientists see up to this point, although the first breakthrough, the introduction of e-public administration is due to take place shortly. For this (also) to happen, the spiritual preparation is sorely needed. The future most probably will not be cancelled due to individual or public foolishness. When will we reach this stage? Is the network state of the future and the e-operation of the state, e-public administration known as an idea? The perspectives are no longer obscure although the new practice of public administration is to a large extent unidentified yet. We might rightly be sceptical about the speed of the realisation of e-state although the European state practice could swiftly change even if e-public administration is „only� introduced at the local level. After the extension of electoral rights in the twentieth century, now or in one (or two?) decades the new task will be the spread of electoral participation in decision-making and action provided that paralelly every social group will be enjoying electoral knowledge. In the first half of the zeroth decade of the new century the most important national priority is the modernisation of the state internally, while in the second half of the decade the external modernisation (European role) of the state. Exoteric and esoteric democracy theory What suitable categories are there to describe new phenomena, processes, realisations? Amongst others, there is a well-known pair of concepts in the classical philosophical-theological approaches: exoteric and esoteric theory. The introduction of the twin concept could enrich approaches to democracy with new perspective and recognitions. (The concept of esoteric philosophy is not identical to esoteric religions.) The adaption of old concepts promises alternative points of view today in the democracy theory. Exoteric democracy covers quantitative, institutional-centred, representational (etc.) democracy, while esoteric democracy is qualitative, participatory and collective consciousness-centred democracy. While the first interpretational framework uses the normal scientific accomplishments, the second (multidimensional) interpretational system makes use of the results of post-normal science. All in all, while the theory of exoteric democracy could be the point of view of the industrial age, esoteric democracy theory could be the approach of knowledge age.


Exoteric democracy theory

Esoteric democracy theory

„ The approach in the best of conditions is based on the new glocal space or the current state of the world

„ The starting point is the new glocal space and it is based on the substantial examination of the current state of the world

„ According to the theory the economy, the society and the politics are all objective processes and therefore it is the objective situation that defines the collective and individual political behaviour „ The exoteric point of view does not take into account that the so-called objective processes are primarily triggered by the collective and individual consciousnesses

„ Next to the objective processes of the economy, society and politics, the theory places special emphasis on the individual and collective needs of the real and beyond the real

„ The theory presupposes limited realities and the changes are only interpreted to a limited degree while it is the primordial prerequisite of democracy that it understoods the present- and future consciousness correctly

„ The theory accepts the premise: if the future of society is going to be a basically knowledge and consciousness-centred society then the demoracy and its institutions could essentially be knowledge and consciousness-centred (postindustrial) systems

„ The analysis is based on yes/no logic, logical space is two-three dimensional and characterisation of the democracy model is simplified and slubbered

„ The theory is based on quantum logics and so the logical space has become n-dimensional and therefore the analysis is capable of taking the slightest phenomena and changes into account

„ This democracy theory does not only provide an opportunity for the legal but also social and spiritual particiation; for this reason it acknowledges the fundamental role of dual nature of virtual reality

Table 26.: Exoteric and esoteric democracy theory (Csaba Varga)

While the interpreation of exoteric democracy is the dominant approach of past/recent political theory, the vision of esoteric democracy and its practice could create the future (or rather, long-term future) political theory. The table above documents the differences between the two realities, two ways of thinking. These two democracy concepts suit well with the division and qualitative differentiation of functional and substantantive processes of globalisation – localisation. While functional globalisation tolerates exoteric democracy for the time being, it is possible that substantial globalisation requires and incites the creation of esoteric democracy. This theoretical raising could later lead to new state and public administration concepts: informal state, spiritual state, substantial public administration, public administration serving public consciousness, etc. Finally, we state that today in Europe all states are of exoteric nature.

13.6. On a taboo matter: the e-parliament The major internal problem of the democray model is the fatigue of parliamentarism and the incapacity to adequately answer new challanges. We should raise the question openly:


does participatory democracy tolerate classical parliament in the twenty-first century? Is representational democracy reconcilable with participatory democracy? Can we still sidestep the reform of quasi-democracy called democracy and quasi-parliament called parliament? One of the most spectacular counter-arguments against participatory democracy was that it is simply impossible to convoke everybody on the ice of the Danube to jointly participate in decision-making. However, there is a real possibility opening up on the „ice” of the Internet, the personal political participation of every individual constituent is now an option. We are going to highlight three cardinal problems among the many signs of crisis: 1. In the European nation states, and in Hungary too, the parliament is incapable of managing the strategic control of a given country, it is thus incapable of coming up with a plan that would adequately answer the challenges of the ever changing universal and continental external and internal model changes as well as the governance of the country. In the new globo-local world the recognition is increasingly becoming obvious that there is no planning and executive institution which could fill the role of responsible governance by being a sort of „the council of the elderly” or project manager. The political division of labour in itself is unsuitable to attend to new tasks, namely that the parliament legislates while the executive power governs. It is not by chance that the social subconscious and public opinion suggests to the constituents to support state presidents and prime ministers to elude the law and order of democratic republic and take governance into their own hands. If there is no constitutional institution, then at least there should be an informal „king”. There is a similar situation when it comes to the constitution. We should not deny it today that in each and every country two constitutions exist: a written and an oral constitution. The legitime constitution is often incapable of following changes and because of its continuous belatedness and extreme regulatory mania, the present is repeatedly turned into the past. The socially legitime oral-informal constitution, although that is not necessarily the case, but it is mostly limited to the management of those problems that have been caused by the legitime constitution. This focus on defense mechanism distracts attention from those attitudes that would wish to create a better country and a better world. 2. Well, similarly sweeping changes will be brought about by the phenomenon that within fifteen to twenty years every single constituent and electable citizen is going to become a virtual representative. Every single constituent is going to be able to vote thanks to infocommunication technology and the services installed in every household and community centre. (Ensuring the security of e-elections is by far not an insolvable problem.) If every constituent could vote up to a few times per day digitally, then why would the representatives elected every four years still be needed, especially if we take into account that they are not the direct mouthpiece of concrete constituent interests but rather serve the direct political interests of given political parties? 3. Representative democracy has an advantage from the operational point of view; since it does not need the personal participation of the constituent and the citizen, representative democracy neither directly disturbs nor helps the decision-making of the parliament. (In the parliamentary elections that take place every four years, the constituent only needs to answer one yes/no question about the representative of their choice and with it s/he indirectly votes for a given political party and their programme. This fact does not refine much on the statement above.) Participatory democracy or/and e-democracy builds on the personal participation, responsible- virtuous decisions. What everyone is interested in is


whether the citizens are suitable for such political-community freedom. The experience of ancient Greek democracies is not the best although in the first period for instance „according to the law, the citizen who did not commit to a point of view in group debates, lost their membership in the polis.”165 These questions will result in permanent political upheavals. Almost noone dares change the principle of parliamentarism because unstable political scenes could fall apart and whole regions, countries, continents could suddenly become illegitime and incontrollable. This is why the possibility of e-parliament does not only subvert democracy theories, but makes us aware of basic questions and opens a public debate about the practice and efficacy of representative democracy. This happens especially large gap in the physical and social reality between state/ post-state and the citizen or if in the existing political system there is quasi-democracy, show-democracy in which partially openly, partially secretely a one-man show has evolved. This is why it is not going to be politically shocking that in the information age the symbolic buildings of the parliaments are going to be replaced by the building of the virtual e-parliament. It will be a more delicate issue, however, whether virtual e-MPs could replace parliamentary representatives, whose numbers are otherwise excessive. And at this point we have not even take into account the major issue, namely, if in principle everyone could become a potential MP, can at least the majority of citizens be prepared and made suitable for the participation in representation and decision-making? The other side of the dilemma also holds true: if the state and democracy will not be able to prepare its citizens, then smaller or larger groups of society will necessarily start off unprepared to change the existing democracy model. Last but not least, without the active-creative participation of citizens, the current form of state and democracy cannot be sustained and not only because the swollen state that oversteps its competencies cannot be financed. Every question that has caused grave interpretational and operational crises in the Greco-roman age will be once again on the agenda. It is in noone’s interest in any country to cause unmanageable parliamentary and/or governmental legitimacy crises, - neither by rendering a problem more difficult, nor by hiding it. Some rather difficult decades are to follow in the history of democracies. We should now turn our attention to more simple questions: 1. Presently, parliamentary committee meetings that are not held in some comittee room by those MPs with leisure time at their hand, while with the virtual participation of every committee member an e-committee could be held. 2. Although it is unimaginable today, it will soon become reality that there will be e-interpellations, e-debates or e-decisions taken by parliament members on certain questions with the virtual presence of elected representatives, - also on those days that the parliament does not otherwise sit. 3. Those hopeful times will soon come when the constituents are going to decide upon cardinal questions in e-referenda with which at least will be able to orientate the parliamentary decisions. 4. Parliamentary and local governmental elections will be held with the help of new technologies (internet, mobile phone, cable television, etc.) at the earliest within four, at the latest within eight years. 5. Etc. An e-parliament could have the following further advantages: a parliament with numerous chambers could be easily created; the parliament could inspire concluding a social contract more directly and at more personal level; or: within the context of one-chamber e165

Cynthia Farrar (1992): Az ókori görög államelmélet – Válasz a demokráciára (The Ancient Greek State Theory – Answers to Democracy) Published in: John Dunna: A demokrácia (The democracy), Academiai Kiadó, Budapest, p. 40.


parliament the proportion of civil society organisations could be enlarged. András Sajó166is rigth in assuming that the weaknesses of e-democracy, e-parliament, internet democracy can be warded off by preserving the processes of representative democracy. There is no reason for excitment as long as the digital age forces out only technological change in parliaments (and in local governments). This is why it is not a problem that MPs use PCs as their new work tools. This ideal, evolutionary situation cannot be sustained for ever. The basic strategic dilemmas need to be answered by parliamentarism and governance; this is either supported or hindered by new technologies. We hope that the following picture does not come true: there is a possibility of an open political war between current political elites and political societies. It is preferable that the war is limited to a virtual „war”. However, we should not forget: preventing or managing political wars, hostilities, conflicts could be only be solved by the mature, well thought over introduction of participatory democracy. There is no other choice.

13.7. The secret of the conceivable future: consciousness-guided (post)society and (post)democracy The global recipe of the recent past is as follows: give to a continent, a state or a village a lot of knowledge, make people receptive for knowledge, support its application and soon you will find that knowledge-guided society, economy and people are capable of miracles and paradise will come to earth. The recipe is not bad. We should disregard that fact for the moment that instead of knowledge it is mostly information or part-information offered or rather only the new technology of new knowledge is „on the market” and for this reason alone miracles can be born for a limited and temporary time. However, there were exceptional regions, communities where the culture healing methods were not only taken seriously but they believed in them and so economic-social innovation took place. The change, the development, the investment, the new approach came up against a hard wall: the personal and collective consciousness. Knowledge is thus a very important inspiring, motivating force and transmitter, but in itself does not automaticall solve niether the generic, nor the specific problems. In the last two decades the combined physical field theory has opened new gates to the interpretation of field consciousness. If theoretical physics shows the interconnection of quantum functions, then in the combined space and space-time theory we find an explanation for the collective field of consciousness. In the combined field we are all one, at consciousness level space-time intervals connect us. The social field of consciousness is equally definable with a cloud, fog or ether metaphor. For times long gone the social field of consciousness was imagined as a cloud that levitates over local or national communities and which provides information. Later on it was more clearly perceived that the socialfield of consciousness is not a separated, external, isolated spatial field and so fog as a metaphor came into the limelight. This metaphor described the pheonmenon as if every single person existed in a thick field of consciousness; the fog did not permeate people. Finally, after the spread of quantum theories, an old category seemed suitable to express social consiousness, that is, ether. Collective consciousness is


András Sajó: Internet-demokrácia? (Internet-democracy?) ( )


inside as well as outside humans, equally at the levelof subatom and parallel universes, it is omnipotently present as a creative force and created reality. The recognition of consciousness-centred reality is not new in itself either. For the last millenia we are aware of an inconceivable, almost inscrutable and inexhaustable field, space, energy: consciousness. We should also now disregard that the reality and post-reality we call consciousness has been described in a variety of concepts. Perhaps that is perhaps definitively clarified that neither the brain, nor the mind is consciousness. So much ancient knowledge as modern science distinguishes between vigilant consciousness (vigilant state, dream, deep sleep) and higher consciousness (clear consciousness, cosmic consciousness, Divine consciousness, unity consciousness). The dilemma is what are the stages of social (or collective) consciousness and to what extent are they linked to personal consciousness. If individual consciousness embody several steps, then collective consciousness also presupposes a number of steps. This is why we can talk of clear, cosmic, divine and collective consciousness. We can perhaps take the following as starting points: 1. Among community consciousness a lower (wakeful, normal, sleeping, etc.) and a higer (transcendent?, cosmic?, spiritual?, etc.) type of consciousness must exist. 2. Community consciousness comprises and manifests smaller or larger social and regional unities (settlement, city, regional, national, European, universal). 3. Psychology, social psychology, transpersonal psychology described it long ago that the social unconscious (subconscious) does exist and operates intensively. 4. Although the individuals are rarely aware of it, communal consciousnesses strongly define the content and quality of consciousness of the social members. (Social consciousness most probably better defines personal and social behaviour than the system of social realities.) 5. There is also an inverse process: the personal and communal consciousness of individuals are simultaneously collected and summarised by the horisontal and hierarchical networks of social consciousness.(Every single vibration, thought, gesture is retained and preserved in the collective consciousnesses.) Quantum physicist John Hagelin167distinguishes between two types of collective consciousnesses in enlightened societies: cosmic consciousness and unity conscious collective consciousnesses. While the society of cosmic consciousness is in harmony with laws of nature and the intelligence of the world, the united conscious society is like the Meissner-effect in physics according to him. This means that every unity is visible from the side and people experience unity as existing reality. In this consciousness the nation and society are protected, settled and invincible. This is the state of balance and order. We have thus exposed this old-new recognition as it was suitable for our topic. Many signs and experience show that the social and state behaviour, their democratic (or less democratic) attitudes are mostly, although often secretely defined by social/communal consciousness. This has a larger and blunter impact than any difficult social situation, limited field of movemetn or weak social knowledge, closed spiritual period. If that is true, and it is surely true, then the assumption is valid that post-modern civilisation should recreate at a higher level the creation and ordering of collective consciousness. Consciousness-centred state and democracy theory presuppose the integration of consciousness-centred individual and community conceptualisation of Eastern cultures. 167

John Hagelin lecture at the conference of ISR, where the a Global Union of Scientists for Peace Achieving National Invinciblity was introduced (27.01.2007.)


Having described the above, we must now conceptualise as a measured hypothesis a social consciousness model, and in view of the model the sort of collective consciousness that could be developed. For the sake of simplicity, we can find hypothetical models from the new results of quantum physics, space-time physics, information physics, consciousness physics. According to engineer and physicist István Dienes, it was physicist Roger Penrose168 who realised that he should create such a complex state that is created from null geodesics created by abstract congruences. This would be the primary space behind quantum theory, the space that was created by the fist photons in which quantum space curvature could be made interpretable. As the material that surrounds us is built up on elementary quantum particles, according to Roger Penrose the real spatial time could b born from this most basic space.

Table 26.: The model of twisty-curvy social consciousness spaces As far as we are concerned, social consciousness is thus a primary and complex space, moreover it is the directly manifested consciousness space of spatial time. Previous metaphors („cloud”, „mirror”, funnel”) do not suffice because the model of collective consciousness spaces presuppose a multi-level, multi intervals, twisty, curvy social consciousness spaces. (It is not our scope to introduce a comprehensive consciousness space-time theory at present.) It will be the task of transdisciplinary or rather metatheoretical research169of the coming decades to create an accurate theory of individual and collective consciousness levels and systems. In such a model it will be perceptible and suggestible why and how a city or a continent would step into a higher collective consciousness. The consciousness-centred democracy theory proves that the permanent conflict between interest-based and power-centred political realities is partially or totally a consequence because the actors of democracy are not or not only actors of political interest, but they are also the personification of collective consciousness states. Simply put, the recognition is the following: in a parliamentary election it is not only political, economic, social interest groups competing but different social knowledge and consciousness groups, 168

Roger Penrose (2004) The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of The Universe, Jonathan Cape, London, 2004 169 Metaelmélet, metafilozófia (Metatheory, Metaphilosophy), ed. Csaba Varga, Institute for Strategic Resaarch, 2006


which for the time being are not organised independently although cannot be forced into parties while unnoticedly they bring party behaviour round. (This invisible procedure has been decisive so far too, although the interest relationships of the industrial age and the spirit of the age hid away real events.) In the 21st century that civilisation, continent, country or culture is going to become really competitive and successful, which continues the building of consciousness society world model that starts the organisation of consciousness-centred society or the creation of new universal world state after the superficial, functional, material-centred quasimodernisations. This partially overhangs earthly civilisation, while partially it goes further than the subatomic level. It is not even sure that we will continue to talk about state and democracy at this stage. Even if we have some assumptions it is for the moment unforeseeable to what extent will the model be new. This is why one of the leading theories of the future could be the spiritual (collective consciousness-centred, real-time based, transcendent point of view, etc.) social, democracy, and science theories.170 The secret of the conceivable future: consciousness-centred post-society and post-democracy.


David J. Charmels (2002): Philosophy of Mind, Oxford University Press; Science and The Primacy of Consciousness, Intimation of a 21st Century Revolution (The Noetic Press, USA, 2000); A Tudat forradalma (The Revolution of Consciousness) Ed. Ervin László, Új Paradigma, Budapest, 1999; Metaelmélet, metafilozófia (Metatheory, Metaphilosophy) Institute for Strategic Research (ISR), 2006; Csaba Varga (2006) A globlokál világ kultúrája (The Culture of the Globolocal World) in: Space, Society, Culture, VII. Educational Summer University, Szeged, 2006); etc.


Chapter Fourteen: The characteristics of conceivable future scenarios We have already examined the future in this book. From this point on, however, we would like to draft scenarios of state and democracy development. Future, this time round will definitely not simply be the linear extension of the present. There is an incredible number of odds at stake because free will was given not only to individuals but also to humankind. The future both in a positive and negative sense could be much unlike the yet sustainable present. The amplitude is always risky. Just because the 20th century was possibly the most foul and most shameful century in the history of humankind, from this premise does not follow that the future cannot surpass the recent past that produced two world wars. It is in itself a risk factor that there is no nation, continent or culture that could singlehandedly solve its own problems. Every actor could so much harm all other actors as they could be beneficial, too. It is an another stressed risk factor that neither the old, nor the new human civilisation could solve its new conflicts that are so unlike those of today in the old ways. The biggest risk in itself would be if humankind and especially its leaders and the most influential global-local intelligentsia were not able nor wanted to find new solutions. The lack of new theories, hypotheses, new ways will pose a major difficulty for the future. If the challenges to the state, public administration and democracy are so mighty, then an examination in an itemised manner is necessary to gain perspective in a broader and more profound way about the directions of these changes in the complex glocal world. We should now discuss what future scenarios are on the agenda with regards to the development of political-social fields. What phases are we going to reach in the coming quarter or half a century? We have already listed the most important characteristics of future scenarios in the chapter where basic notions were discussed. In order to help recollection, we are going to repeat the definition: future scenarios formulate the different alternatives of realising future strategies. One of the crucial elements of future state strategy in Hungary is that at the latest by 2010 e-governance and e-public administration should be introduced at every level of public administration, in every institutional type and finally, in every Hungarian settlement and region. Another critical factor is whether the establishment of participatory e-democracy could speed up in the 2010s and thus the conditions for a fourth republic could be gradually met. The scenario stands also serious chances that states that nothing will change against the repeated state system crises beyond the development of e-public administration services. However, a reverse scenario could also happen: the political field under the pressure of social necessities or a new voluntary enlightenment will allow the state and democracy change to take place according to the demands established by the knowledge- and consciousness-centred age. The start was neither promising, nor dynamic. In the first year with the help of the national development plan tenders, the realisation of some fourty e-public administration projects have commenced. There were applications invited in 2005. All in all, we might hope


that after the successful realisation of the almost fourty developmental projects, developments are continuing after 2006. The design will be most likely reformed and a unified (national, regional, small regional) system will or could come about. Based on the situation, middle-term scenarios that have started in either 2000 or 2005 and will be realised by 2013, the end of the second national development plan. However, we must examine and recognise realisable alternatives up to 2020 or 2030. The scenarios of epublic administration and e-state will naturally be based on the logics and recognitions of future studies and future planning. In the last two decades of science, the so-called normal science has reached the phase of post-normal science and has partially stepped into the period of post-science. It is our professional duty to note that the scenarios of e-governance and epublic administration do not cross the border of normal and post-normal sciences. Finally, one finishing remark: in this book there are no images of the future of knowledge and scenarios of new knowledge creation that could fundamentally influence e-public administration content. Long-term future scenarious offer different horisons and very different models. These do not only cross the invisible border of post-normal science, but are also at home in the future world unconceivable at present. Familiarity could equally be true to cruel negative or similarly ruthless positive alternatives.

14.1. The five types of complex future scenarios Future scenarios cannot elude neither complexity nor coherence. It is a major recognition that the future of e-public administration cannot be thought over in isolation and cannot be examined exclusively as a state development sequence of change either in public administration or in a broader dimension. The current and future public administration is equally dependent on economic, social and cultural changes. Local governance and public administration serves the interest of the citizen or, more broadly speaking, the interest of the civil citizen, respectively; public administration thus significantly depends on the knwoledge, consiousness, mentality of each and every individual. The listed dependencies focused on the state and local attachments so far, while in the framework of a new global and local world structure the local government of the smallest village is increasingly dependent on the perpetual changes of higher level civilisation and culture. According to the expected scenarios of the information age and knowledge age, the different levels of world structures are as follows: • universal and global scenarios in the first third of the 21st century • European scenarios up until 2020 and further • the feasible five alternatives of Hungary (the vision of the first and second national development plan should serve as an example) • the scenarios of the Hungarian regions • future ways of settlements and small regions Any alternative at any level will necessarily have a global, European and Hungarian impications just as it will influence the situation of public administration in Hungary, its future atlernatives and developmental directions. One of the characteristics of the new situation that certain levels of public adminsitration are dependent on the centralised state, European and finally, global public administration processes. E-public administration anyway directly allows all institutions at the lowest level to appear as actors at the highest continental level or global decision-making. 199

We will therefore attempt to summarise how at various levels of world structure what sort of change sequences are currently taking place. Having analysed scenarios, we will discuss state, public administration and democracy development alternatives.

14.2. Universal scenarios We are going to highlight four options of universal scenarios: 1. The scenario of internal destruction, self-destruction: the internal crises of human civilisation (population, sustaining ability, ecological state, global economy, military conflicts, etc.) do not only continue but strengthen all of which culminate in hardly manageable crises sequences. 2. The scenario of external destruction, devastation: the Universe, the Milkyway, solar system and/or the Earth is cosmologically endagered. We know at present too little about these dimensions so that we could approximately predict the time and manner of these types of dangers. 3. The scenario of external support and assistance: Earth is offered a cosmic and/or spiritual life-belt. In this scenario other civilisations assist the Earth externally, with information and knowledge presently unknown. 4. The internal solution, the scenario of reform: external and internal destruction and devestation is warded off, what more, solutions with a universal scope are found and comprehensive positive steps are carried out. The people living in the present have but one option: to stay open and assume that a large number of events could take place that cannot be reckoned with. Since currently we cannot talk about cosmic governance or public administration of the universe, seemingly the task is „limited” to accepting the following: universal scenarios have an impact on the life all every country and settlement. We can equally imagine that in the twenty to fifty years to come either some or no major universal crises will effect human civilisation, although the reverse is not outlawed either and both a dramatic or an ideal turn is possible.

14.3. Global scenarios By the global world we naturally understand the totality of human civilisation and culture, and thus only those future scenarios are to be listed under which have an impact on the whole globe, or at least operate on a greater scale than one continent. According to our present knowledge, we can distinguish between four main types of global scenarios that would have an impact on the European situation: namely, the global scenarios of money-centred new capitalism, post-capitalism, the information age, and knowledge age. Money-centred new capitalism comprises at least seven partial scenarios: • The spread of global economy and transnational companies. • The sustainance of venturesome mass society and adventure society. • Changing world economy by a new control system. • The continuation of permanently unregulated present day monetarism.171


Endre Kiss (2002): Monetarista globalizáció és magyar rendszerváltás (Financial Globalisation and the Hungarian Regime Change) Ferenczy & Társa.


• Monetarism regulated by the market and/or the state (that is partially capable of self-regulation.) • The strengthening of symbolic monetarism. • Further strengthening of information finanancial economy. • The subsistence of increasing the degree of risk in the present world economy and society or its partial or total downfall. • Etc. This money-centred new capitalist model basically sums up the validity of monetary world model while it equally assumes its sustainability and insustainability.172 The breakdown of this world model was forecasted repeatedly in the last decades; nevertheless, it has not yet come true. From all this, however, does not follow either that the sustainability of the monetary world model is guaranteed, even though it has considerable reform capabilities. The post-capitalist alternative comprises at least eight partial scenarios: • The continuation of successful technological revolutions. • Return to the natural economic order. • World crises caused by ecological crises. • Sustainable development, enviornmentally sound world. • New economy, the spread of information economy. • The development of locally sustainable islands. • The establishment of social capital-centred moral world model.. • The strengthening and practical development of global constitutional state. • Etc. The post-capitalist alternative comprises those developmental and crisis scenarios which are beyond the capitalist model covering the classical industrial age up to the new capitalist alternative. In the following two decades similar scenarios could emerge and be validated. These alternatives could be summed up as the reform solutions of capitalism. To put it differently, they are such future ways which go beyond one of more characteristics of capitalism while at the same time are part of the industrial-capitalist world reality. The alternative of information age comprises at least seven partial scenarios: • Classical IT development. • New information and communication world order. • The alternative of education-centred society. • Direct electronic democracy or quality democracy. • Tradition- and environment-centred information society. • Mediatised communication society. • Network citizen, digital citizen. • Etc. The information age started some decades ago, although its genesis is invariably disputed. However, it has not yet come to an end for the time being; moreover, it is difficult ot tell, when it is likely to end dominantly or its possible annulement. The information age could be still seen as a particular stage of new capitalism, while it comprises numerous elements 172

For a detailed account see: D. Meadows, J.Randers, D. Meadows (2005) :A növekedés határai harminc év múltán (The Limits of Growth: The Thiry Year Update) Kossuth Könyvkiadó, Budapest.


which could have a significant role in a global paradigm change. Its simple characteristics are that the leading means of exchange and symbols are no longer money but information, which, theoretically speaking, is accessible to everyone. As the end of the information age paradigm, a new paradigm could evolve. This is why the alternative of knowledge age comprises at least eight partial scenarios: • New knowledge changes the world. • Knowledge is accessible to everyone – or respectively, it stays inaccessible to many. • It is the age of artificial intelligence. • New perspectives and new dangers in biology and biotechnology. • Humanity is integrated into the universe. • The alternative of knowledge society as a new mode of existence. • The rebirth of religions and a new type of transcendence. • The preparation of consciousness society. • Etc. Does history come to an end with the age of knowledge? Obviously not. What can be guessed or presumed based on current trends in itself offers numerous alternatives. Or the same alternative could be referred to with various labels. After careful considerations we have come up with the category of consciousness age. The alternative of consciousness age does not exist as present reality, but as a future reality it is intensively under construction. There is no guarantee that knowledge age or consciousness age model will indeed take place, although it is certain that the development of technology and the birth of new knowledge is going to continue. The global crises of the present and the future could obliterate this alternative altogether or could push it to a more distant future. However, the development of knowledge into personal or social capital cannot be further delayed. The consciousness age cannot be imagined without radical changes in the state and state institutional system. Today, however, we cannot state with a certain finality that at the beginning of the twenty-first century a new state or rather post-state will be born as it has been predicted by so many utopias. Post-scriptum (or rather the Thought of the Future): we should face the fact that the West (or the Euro-atlantic culture) pointlessly, or with little efficacy is able to export its model of representational democracy. This holds true even though for the East it is important to learn and utilise democratic processes because that would help to exclude its own negative alternatives. We should also face the fact that East cannot be described as if it hadn’t had any democracy traditions or practices. In the vedic culture high level state theories were formulated and have been applied for thousands of years.173 We should raise the question from a more general perspective: what are the similarities and differences beteen the Eastern and Western social governance and decision-making culture and system? 1. The West: it has developed such a political-social democracy model, which aims at the governance of external reality and problem solving; it is a rational, institutional, and constitutional democracy174; 2. The East: it is not so much a political-social 173

The title of the famous vedic book is Manusmŗti (Introduction by Dr. R.N. Sharma, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishtan, Delhi-110007) 174 It is interesting to note to what extent the developed world does not understand nor has anything to add to the current situation. Francis Fukuyama writes in his new book (America at the Crossroads, Századvég Könyvkiadó, 2006) „The state is going to preserve one essential function which cannot be replaced by any transnational element: it is going to stay the one and only source of power which is capable of enforcing adherence to laws. So


but a sacrd order, it is a consciosness-based „democracy”, which initially „governs” internal reality (the world within the individual), and as a consequence the individuals with hihg consciousness govern themselves and their world. The most ideal universal and global scenario would be if the two cultures did not only mutually have an impact on each other, but the two democracy models could be unified and this would become the general model of human civilisation. The West has not yet established a world government – for the moment and luckily for all of us. In the East (India), however, the centre of consciousness-world governance has been established. There are or could be perspectives and therefore we should look forward to its development. Extended footnote: What does consciousness-based governance entail? One of the possibilities is the following: „The most important observation of vedic governance is the recognition of consciousness as an organisational force, and the identification of the organisational force at every level of Creation. From this perspective, the organisations at ever level of the Universe are the manifestations of the organisational force of consciousness, whether at a material, life or social level, thus the ability of organisation at every stage lies in the force of consciousness. To put it briefly, we could say that social changes and thus the quality of governance is influenced and governed by the collective consciousness of the nation. Society, just as everything else in Creation, is a concept which is born in the consciousness of individuals who create and make up society; its existence and sustainability depends upon this consciousness.” „According to recent research, the field of consciousness is a topic of research in physics and it is parallel to the so-called unified field which is the home of all natural laws that governs creation, which could scientifically explain the advent of maximal oraganisational force in the clear consciousness since natural laws are quintessentially that explicit manifestations of organisational force. It is these results and practical application of knowledge that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi embodies when such smaller cities have been built which ensure the continuous sustainability of greater meditating groups. The goal is that the group should achieve 50,000 people which is five times the size needed for the order radiation to appear in the consciousness of human collectivity.” „The centre of consciousness-based world governance will be in the centre of India. The name of the new city is Brahmastan. The name of the building: next to an earthly sized Ram Radz capitolium there will be a village for 16,000 pandits (vedic scientist). At present 8,000 pandits daily make the Rudra Bishek routine,which in the collective consciousness evokes silence that brings harmony to consciousness in the form of vedic mantra quavers; this will be done every day ciclically for close to 100 countries. The building will be inaugurated in 2007, mid-July at full moon. At this occassion the trained radzas by Maharasi will take place in the capitolium. This tpye of consciousness-based sacral governance is the resusitation of vedic traditions.”175

14.4. National scenarios If the new global and local world order is examined, then in this structure it is the middle level (at national and nation-states level) that has reached a new role. The essence of this is the following: on the one hand, that the nation and the state raises us into the universal and global space-time, on the other hand, it functions as a screen from the negative effects of the universal global level. Moreover, the nation state integrates and supports the aspirations of that power stays effective, however, it should also be legimitate; permanent legitimacy presupposes institutionalisation that is at a far higher level than at present and is of cross-national nature” p. 22 175 István Dienes (2007): Consciousness-based world governance in India (manuscript, 2007)


local levels and its development aims. On the other hand, it takes notice of the fact that local levels must build screens against the encroachment and excessive impact. As far as Hungary is concerned, national scenarios comprise at least the following ten characteristics, which simultaneously represent divergent alternatives: a) Because of the aging and decreasing population, the number of Hungarians to be relocated within the Hungarian borders should be maximised. b) And/or: because of the aging and decreasing population a few million nonHungarian nationals should be invited to live in Hungary. c) The recreation of the economic nation primarily with the tools of the information age; for achieving this new spiritual176and social resources and methods are drawn into. d) Instead of the state-centred nation a linguistic-cultural or knowledge nation should be finally created; this should reach across current state borders. e) Or: after the geographical split of the nation state that had existed prior to Trianon the national spiritual community is also pulled apart for good. f) The gradual but final extinction of national cohesion and identity – or perhaps its intensive rebirth. g) In an optimal case: Hungary preserves its autonomy and culture within the European Union and it becomes well known within the global world. Else, within the new global and local relations it will loose its national and cultural identity or within the framework of the European Union a peaceful quasi unification of nation will take place although even in the long run important parts of the nation will be left outside the borders. h) In a strong United States of Europe a „regional state” will be created instead of a Hungarian nation state. A spiritual-sacred nation will be created, the universal Hungarian traditions will revive and be concentrated. i) etc. Thus if we are to research the future possibilities of the nation and the state, or in our case, the Hungarian nation and the state, then the enumerated characteristics shall be all taken into account independently which one we consider to be potentially successful. If we take into account the listed and not enumerated characteristics of the future options for Hungary, we are to discover at least five scenarios for the coming two decades: 1. black (the end of the world) alternative, 2. the dark gray scenario (serene immersion), 3. the light gray (see-saw) alternative, 4. the blue scenario (information and/or knowledge society), 5. white alternative (unified nation). In all of the five Hungarian scenarios a number of state, public administration and democracy models can be forecasted that differ from one another to a great extent. The characteristics of the end of the world scenario: a) New capitalism fails partially or completely. b) Hungary drifts into a never-seen monetary world crisis. c) Hungary is part of the global and/or regional enviorenmental chatastrophy. d) The European Union disintegrates totally or partially, new regional wars and terror attacks take place. e) Hungary cannot withdraw herself from the effects of soft information world dictatorship. f) The radical decrease in population and the aging of population in Hungary further continues and accelerates. g) etc. 176

László András: Spirituális gazda(g)ság (Spiritual economy, spiritual richness) see: Metatheory, metaphilosophy, p. 199


All of the above negative scenarios would symbolically and realistically either mean the end of the world in Hungary, or it would create end of the world type of situtations. We put together these characteristics for the first time in 1998; at that point nobody believed that Europe could be a victim of an environmental catastrophy or of terror attacks. This is why it is not advisable to underestimate these frightful future paths. The characteristics of immersion scenarios are as follows: a) The crises of money-centred capitalism are difficult to manage. b) Post-capitalist reforms fail to come about, or do not take place not even in the developed world. c) National income repeatedly does not exceed two percent and Hungary permanently becomes uncompetitive. d) We do not integrate into the global information age; all we do is to to keep up with the spread of infocommunication technologies. e) Partial return to classical national economy or the socialist nationalised economy. f) To a limited extent, the Hungarian economy and society renounces the current social street practices. g) etc. The immersion scenario identifies those dimensions and trends which could lead to the immersion of Hungary. These factors by themselves could lead to a temporary or permanent fall; if two or three crises lock into each other, they could even elicit an end of the world situation or mood. That, however, also cannot be excluded that these dangerous alternatives succeed to a minor extent. Even in this scenario, though, Hungary would gradually slide downwards in the order of world development. The reasons for a see-saw scenario could be the following: a) Hungary continuously pitches and tosses among the whirlpools of world economy. b) New capitalism, post-capitalism, information age does not create permanently sustainable social and economic development. c) Hungary, which exhibits a mix of complex post-feudalist, post-socialist and classical capitalist structure, would be struck by repeated crises. d) We integrate into the European information society in an uneven, limited way while the development of the European information society would also be clogged up. e) The political, economic, communication groups of Hungary would not be able to – organically - modernise the country even after having unified their efforts. f) The knowledge and trust-centred organisation of society will not happen at all or would take place in a rudimentary way. g) Individual and group innovation and creativity is stiffled or pushed out. h) etc. Although with varying dominant elements, the see-saw scenario has characterised Hungary in the past decade. This is the case even though there has been temporary growth. If we are to look around in the Hungarian reality, it is unrealistic to assume that the see-saw scenario will be invalidated in the next five years. See-saw entails ups and downs; in the optimistic version this means that sometimes it is a little up, while at other times it is a little down; the most attractive scenario envisions the situation of a five-year-old who persistently sits at the end of the see-saw and comes to a standstill a little higher. If we are to think this vision through, we do not have much reason for enthousiasm: although Hungary was not hit by end of the world scenarios and we do not move permanently neither up or downwards, the rational orbit of a great leap forward is likely to be very far from us.


The important characteristics of knowledge society alternative could be: a) By the mid or end of the first decade in the twenty-first century a European knowledge society will be created and the European Union will partially catch up in the world competition of continents. b) In such a European space Hungary could become one of the creative nations and states of the European knowledge society and is admitted to the developed knowledge-centred countries. c) Even if the European Union delays the building of knowledge society or it is done in a rudimentary fashion, Hungary could still fall in line with or alternatively, further drop behind among the European states. d) The Hungarian knowledge-based (innovation, research and development oriented) economy and society will successfully be created by the mid-2010s. e) In the global and European knowledge market the Hungarian knowledge industry does not only maintain but also improves its current position and it could become one of the national knowledge centres of the developed world. f) By realising or even going beyond European trends, it intensively executes the program of e-governance and e-public administration at every level, including the establishment of regional and digital public administration. g) By the partial realisation of knowledge society alternative, the Hungarian society diminishes differences in social, spiritual and consciousness opportunities. h) etc. The knowledge-society model offers a rather positive alternative to Hungary, or more broadly speaking, to the Hungairan nation. This, however, has very strict requirements. On the one hand, the new type of global and local world knowledge society model could hardly be an isolated, introverted movement, thus it depends significantly on the development of the European continent. On the other hand, it equally depends on the accomplishments of the governments over three to four parlamentary cycles as well as the state of consciousness and actions of the Hungarian society. Moreover, we should not forget that this knowledge society model could be equally realised at a low, mediocre or high level and thus it could produce results of highly dissimilar quality. The root causes of unity society (or knowledge-centred society) scenario could be the following: a) In the next thirty years the simultaneously global and regional conflicts of the information and knowledge society could be managed at a high level. b) Human and especially European civilisation is able to find partial or possibly total solutions to basic environmental, energetic, demographic, financial (etc.) problems. c) If the above conflicts and world problems are not adequately managed, universal functional crisis could enforce a completely new world order, which could initially be called the unity creating age. d) An important requirement of which is that the majority of humankind reach knowledge-centred lifestyles and could apply the old-new knowledge of humankind in their personal lives and collective problem-solving. e) The spiritual condition of unity society is that by the middle of the century a unified theory of nature, society and religions be created and that would give way to new ways of thinking, new paradigms and new philosophies. f) Human civilisation, which will come out strengthened by the world crises of the present and immediate future, is going to continue the establishment of knowledge-oriented


and knowledge-centred world model, which could lead in the second part of the twenty-first century to a unity-creating age, which for that matter could be identical with the consciousness-based society model. g) etc. Naturally, nobody knows or guarantees that human civilisation and culture will realistically be able to reach an age of external and internal unity. The formulation of unitycreating age alternative is „only” meant to serve the purpose that humankind, Europe and within it, Hungary should start formulating its own really long term future perspective that will look well into the end of the 21st century. Without vision and perspective we could hardly plan even for one or two decades in advance. The unity-creating age (or consciousnessoriented age) is already a universal alternative, which applies to even the smallest of settlements. Within the framework of this future vision, the perspective of a state and public administration development could be worked out without exaggerated illusions and without the fears for the future which could make us hollow and inert. Post scriptum: if at the global level a governance guided by collective consciousness is a possibility, then this should also be feasible within the realms of the Hungarian nation. If the collective consciousness field is describable by the theory of unified fields in physics, then sooner or later such old-new consciousness deelopment (or manipulating) techniques could be drafted, with which the consciousness level of society could be hightened. For doing so, new knowledge of numerous disciplines has been available for quite some time (from research of ancient traditions to social psychology, from mind and consciousness research to transpersonal psychology, from media studies to future studies). The relationship between politics and soul, polis and consciousness, democracy and morality has been known for a long time. „The advantages of the big picture of the polis is that the invisible tendencies and forces of the soul manifest themselves in the form of external social orders and classes. The big picture enlightens the internal and reveals an abundance of momentums which are in conflict with one another fighting for sovereignty.” „If through nurturing the soul and by an active morality glimpse a new life is possible, then a new polis must be an option, too. What is implied that the essential glimpse of nurturing the soul should dart on the community, too; this is the way to construct the state of justice and training. The structure of a just soul in such a state should become apparent as part of the structure of social order and classes where responsibility does not inherit wealth, whose continuous growth is also contained and which for the sake of the whole it settles for more modest possessions, where thus the dominance of responsibility is also discernable in the analogy of desire; where power is never autonomous and rests upon itself; because it is based and controlled by the highest quality glimpse, it is able to mediate between both extremes.”177 To continue the analogy above, the new plan of the Hungarian nation is thus none other but the vision of a new polis, where the new polis is but the manifestation of the collective soul and consciousness. Every single real change should first and foremost take place in the collective consciousness. In order for the above to be achieved, it would be worthy to unfold and interpret ancient democractic regulations found in ancient annals, veracities, legends and other 177

Jan Potoćka (2001): Európa és az Európa utáni kor (Europe and the Post-European Age), Kalligram, Budapest, p. 99-100)


narratives as well as the types of decision-making processes applied. We should reach the stage to be able to qualify and apply the policies and methods of pre- and post-Hungarian conquest.

14.5. Local scenarios One of the dominant poles of the new global-local order is locality, which is none other but the ensemble of all levels below the nation state: namely, that of the region, county, small region, settlement. If after the millenium next to globalisation localisation is going to hold an important role, then local scenarios are going to become highly significant within future perspectives. In the next decade it is expected that the independence of local regions in Hungary (in an oversimplified way, the seven regions and 166 small regions) could be attained and thus its capacity for self-organisation and self-governance will also significantly change for the better. Local regions and worlds are at any rate as differenciated and diverse as the dominant or submissive groups of states in the global world. Within the framework of this subject, we necessarily concentrate on the future perspectives of the local units in Hungary. The overall characteristics of Hungarian localities until the end of the 2020s are; • Based on social traditions of nature, objects and economy Hungarian regional units will be established for good. • In an ideal situation, at least three, maximum seven local-government regions will be born and will be here to stay based on the established social and cultural units. • The strengthening of intelligent civil society and its broad institutionalisation is going to speed up in every region. • With the efficient participation and control of intelligent civil society the local knowledge-based eocnomy is going to stabilise and will gradually, although to a larger degree than currently, is going to integrate in the the European and global economy. • As a result of the co-operation between the central state subvention and the regional society, local cultures (as the units of national culture) do not only maintain but strengthen their identities. • Within regional levels or at lower levels of locality similar developments are going to take place, which means that the emphasis does not fall any longer on counties but also on small regions and bigger settlements, while not even the smallest of settlements will be in an inextricable state. • Lifestyle and life quality developments are going to increasingly become support priorities within regional dvelopment, next to economic or public administration developments. • Etc. This future perspective is based on that assumption that the development of localities is not only possible but are necessary. This starting point regards the strengthening the role of localities as real alternatives; it assumes that it is not only European or Hungarian state interest and thus the citizens of regions and small regions as well as civil society organisations are going to support the the process. It does not follow from this, however, that the nation state would loose its significance, function or honour. New globalisation and localisation is really characterised by the following: the nation state is substantially and functionally weakened and eroded from top to bottom by globalisation and from bottom to top by localisation. However, there are reverse processes that are expected to take place in the member states of the European Union, too. In the new world order the state and local levels


could equally have new roles and competencies. From this perspective, localisation could gain greater autonomy and role, although this new independence and will is going to need state screening/umbrella. Here are the possible scenarios for the coming two decades of the Hungarian local regions or worlds: • Suffering scenario: the sometimes dynamic, other times agressive universal-global scenarios cannot be warded off and local regions will have to undergo these universal changes. • Joining the top team. By proper utilisation of European and state support all or the majority of the Hungarian local regions could be among the best European localities. • Locality-centred new type of nation scenario: In the Carpathian basin Hungarian local regions and settlements are going to co-operate with one another in order to create a knowledge society model that crosses borders. • The internal split scenario: in the Hungarian localities regional and social differences and opposing interests are going to consoldiated between regions and among regions. • Central Europe is the island of the future scenario: independently of the crisis in the European Union, Central European and within it Hungarian localities are going to intensively develop and organise themselves into a big region of innovative, knowledgebased, sustainable development. • etc. We have briefly touched upon locality scenarios in order to show that in a locality friendly universal – global world local scenarios could take very divergent routes. The listed five scenarios do not deplete all possible scenarios, although they indicate that even under good global conditions, without the necessary internal will and awareness very divergent results are possible, which could for instance lead to a state of permanent split. If, however, at a continental and Hungarian state level we manage the local wishes and responsibilities, we could reckon with a highly developed locality network by the end of the 2010s in the Carpathian basin. Post scriptum: This book has presented one of the possible future visions in great detail, this is the Aba model. We should only add to this, that in Aba a local adult training civil university was started in 2005. At the first lecture students created and identified the collective consciousness of Aba (its symbolic name being Abasára Abafalvi). So far, we have learned from the model experiment of Aba democracy develoment that the discovery and the organisation of collective consciousness is the easiest if it takes off at the local level.

14.6. On the chances that the scenarios are going to be realised (or left unfinished) Above, we have listed the global, national and local possible changes and the scenarios that accompany these changes. We attempted to escape simplifying the matter to yes or no scenarios, we tried to indicate it at every possible step that it is not feasible to think in either positive or negative scenarios. If we agree upon that there are numerous presents and futures, then it follows that there is a number of good, better, less bad or extremely bad alternatives. The analysis was made more difficult by the fact that we cannot limit ourselves


to Hungary and its future since in the new world order changes at the global, state and local take place paralelly, and thus they either help or damage the chances of the others. First of all, we should examine the chances of Hungary depending whether the universal, global and continental processes are either advantageous or disadvantageous to this country or not. First of all, we should analyse if the changes in the external space are not advantageous: a) If the global and European situation are that of crises, the situation of the world economy and world society are full of conflicts, then one of the possibilities for Hungary is that it helplessly slides back in the world developmental scale. b) A scenario that is even worse than the above one is if the disadvantageous situation is magnified and exaggerated by Hungary, if it is going to be guided by fear and in this case the chances of failure are multiplied. c) The third scenario represents that assumption that Hungary together with the European states attempts to defend themselves against crisis, but this unified defense proves futile or it brings only very modest results. d) The reverse scenario comprises the following: the European Union and Hungary on the one hand defend themselves effictively to avert world crises, on the other hand, Hungary plays an important role in successful conflict management. e) Independently or alternatively, jointly with other active partners (although not with every single member of the European Union) Hungary averts disadvantageous phenomena and its results. We should secondly take notice of what and how could happen if the global and continental chances are going to be advantageous to Hungary: 1. The first scenario is still disconcerting and implies helplessness because it cannot be excluded that Hungary, or more precisely the dominant Hungarian power groups do not or hardly undertand the possible road to be taken in the external space. 2. One of the independent scenarios is that Hungary is going to subtly decline, for one reason or another, the advantageous or semi-advantageous chances. 3. We are well experienced in the role of loyal vasals and as such how to conform to the great powers surrounding us, and therefore it is always a realistic danger that we are going to get lost in the empty, formal adaptation. 4. Due to the internal disintegration or habitual internal disagreement, Hungarian politics (including the economy and society) is not capable of fully utilising chances. 5. Within the European Union and the global world, Hungary is a continuously good performer and with this attitude it is able to cunningly and successfuly utilise the advantages of the external space offered. 6. The ideal scenario would be if Hungary and all its comprising regions were able to use advantageous situations in a sovereign manner; moreover, if they were able to orientate among concrete opportunities and therefore they could even achieve better results than they would stand chances. As it could be seen above, the answers the Hungarian state might give to advantageous or disadvantageous global and continental change are numerous and highly divergent. The external space does not in itself determine anything because the preparedness and attitudes within Hungary play at least as important a role. Recognising this, we should now examine what happens if our starting point is not the external conditions but the internal intensions of the Hungarians. Hereby we assume that the political-economic elite of the Hungarian society identifies itself to some degree with the expected action possibilities.


The first alternative: within the Hungarian society the unified and simultaneous will cannot be expected, and therefore such a scenario cannot even be theoretically imagined where a country or a state unanimously support a future perspective or group that is able to accept it. The second alternative: because of past and present divisions, it is realistic to assume that only a minority is going to be unified and have a common will. In this case there is still hope that the minority of Hungarians consciously would choose knowledge society as their future. The third alternative: We cannot exclude, however, that against the will and/or concept of the majority, the national-social program of the minority together with its realisation is partially or completely hopeless and therefore the immediate aim would limit itself to partial and rudimentary realisation of the new future perspective. The fourth alternative: because of the lack of sufficiently developed national civil society, the key role is still attributed to the political, social, economic elite that represents Hungarians to the external and internal world. At this moment we do not experience such a comprehensive political and social will above the political parties which could equal the support of a (new consciousness) new future. The fifth alternative: if the new alternatives cannot or are insufficiently represented by traditional politics by the middle of the century, then the main goal is going to be to organise a social, spiritual will that is independent of politics. The sixth alternative: if the minority of the Hungarians is partially consciously positive about the new world because they understand and they supoort the new alternative while simultanously the interest and value groups of the majority do not pose unsurmountable hurdles, and moreover, the intensions and problems of the majority are further strengthened by the universal and continental future alternatives, then... The previous sentence did not need to be finished because for many it would be obvious that if the internal and external conditions were advantageous, then Hungary within two to three decades could get close to the realisation of aims that are close to ideal. Naturally, not only the materialisation of disadvantageous but advantageous scenarios could be left unfinished. At this point we should also note that it is not the habit of the scenarios to take place in a clear form, or to put it differently, the reality is always the result of the combination of scenarios. On the other hand, the future always creates more, unexpected, uncalculated, unforecasted new conditions and new opportunities, especially in the present complex situation. We do not have a reason to either give up, to step back or become desperate. By comparing trends we would like to emphatically note that against the difficulties the future is envisagable, that the future perspectives can be worked out and the reality of the future, at least partially, can be tallied to our chosen goals and values. Well, do we still hope or believe in the ability to change?


Chapter Fifteen: The combined future of the new state, new e-public administration and participatory democracy Hopefully, we have so far succeeded in clarifying concepts related to the future, its most important connections and the vital scenarios of the future. In this chapter the task is to draft the future image of the state, e-public administration and participatory and/or edemocracy for the coming fifteen to twenty years (or longer). It follows from our approach that the future comprises not one but several alternatives. Every single alternative has in common, however, the fact that it is not simply the continuation of the current ways of thinking and action plans, since the European and necessarily, the Hungarian state and public administration theory and practice could undergo a number of paradigm changes. Naturally, the first paradigm change is the widespread introduction and hopefully the success of egovernance and e-public administration that follows from the ideology and practice of information society. However, the slow (unorganic and unevolutionary) sequence of change is ultimately going to quickly reach the limits of the currently valid and practiced system. What is going to happen in the grey zone between the changes? We haven’t reached the greyzone so far. In the first sequence we necessarily and naturally need to interpret and apply the currently valid European and Hungarian governmental and professional strategies and the consequences that follow from them. Since the accepted governmental plans are of very similar mentality and represent a highly identical future prospect, it is a relatively simple matter to interpret them in a comprehensive conceptual framework and developmental activity. For this reason, we are going to introduce in the sections below the indispensable social developments needed for e-public administration, technological developments required for the introduction of e-democracy, public administration (local government and state administration) reforms as well as the practical application of new knowledge needed for the paradigm change in public administration. In the last subsection we are going to give an itemised account of the new state and democracy, initiated by the results of e-public administration developments.

15.1. What comes after new infocommunication techonologies have been introduced? One of the curiosities of the European and Hungarian e-public administration and epublic administration development model is that the first steps of the new programme were not initiated neither by public administration, nor by civic action but that they were essentially enforced by the technological developments pervading the global world. As so many times in history, new technology was far more advanced than either politics or economy. New technology has arrived in Hungary in the last decade, which is called information and communication technology, and which has the label of infocommunication technology. The established concepts nevertheless do not comprise the characteristic on the one hand, that it is essentially a mediatised infocommunication technology, on the other hand, that this technology is continuously outmoded. Even experts do not refer to post-infocommunication technologies, although based on the technological forecasts it is unequivocal that practically


every five years a technological paradigm change is expected in the world (changes in the hardware and software culture). The future perspectives of e-public administration should therefore be able to forecast with considerable safety the characteristics of newer and newer infocommunication technology development, such as: • The circle of information carrying devices (telephone, television, computer, mobile phone, etc.) is going to flare relatively fast and basically all devices used by people (cars, fridges, glasses, clothing, watches, etc.) are becoming an information carrying and mediating tool. • The spread of nanotechnology is going to continue at an astounding pace in the next decade. • The majority of tools that carry and mediate information will become mobile. • Suitably to the communication demands of the age, the listed devices are simultaneously becoming – with few exceptions – communication and media tools. • The boundaries between the state and civil institutions interested in providing public administration services will be dissolved completely. • In the new age of infocommunication tools and services, approximately from the 2010s on the role of artificial intelligence is going to increase significantly and will eventually become dominant. • One of the big technological turns of the coming years is that the new generation of infocommunication technology is going to be in direct contact with the human body and thus technology will have acces to the individual and collective consciousness. • The use of infocommunication tools is no longer dependent on wires and in the coming decades new networks are going to be established on considerably new theories and technologies (the introduction of quantum and organic computers, etc.) in everyday communication. • By the midtwenty-first century, the current infocommunication network, system, services is going to look like a fossilised technology. Irrespective of the fact that presently learning and applying current technology represents a major obstacle for every single Hungarian local government and their employees, it cannot be denied that in the mid-term perspective and already within a decade there are going to be further technological changes, - even against the limited state budget.We should therefore note that while new findings, new discoveries, new services are reported on a weekly basis, one thing is certain, namely, that the further development of infocommunication technology is erratic, which could imply an unceasing source of conflict for public administration.

15.2. New public administration and office work: k-public administration While discussing the concepts of public administration and e-public administration, we have already noted that there is a fundamental difference between on the one hand, the state and public administration of the industrial age, information age and knowledge age, and the state and societies of the various periods on the other hand. In this future perspective, a comparison between paradigms of the industrial and informaiton is no longer necessary. However, we should also turn our attention to the state and public administration models


beyond knowledge age. At this stage, we are going to limit ourselves to the state model representing and developing knowledge age; and thus we hereby are going to draft possible future perspectvies of the state institutional system and public administration model.

Public administration – service-providing public administration – community public administration e- public administration – service- providing e-public amdinistration and m-public administration – t-public administration Table 27.: New concepts of public administration (Csaba Varga)

The official definition of e-governance had already been defined in earlier stages: „Both in the state jargon as well as in every day language use, electronic governance (egovernance) has already grown into a remedy of universal future perspective. The meaning is accordingly not „uni-dimensional”, it rather attempts to grasp the ongoing processes of reality at more levels. The most typical contents of its meaning are: • the comprehensive reform of public administration (and jurisdiction), • technological modernisation of public administration, • multi-functionality of services and of channels that make services available, • the establishment of institutionalised, consultative, partner relations between the government and citizens as well as between its communities, which jointly lead to a new democracy situation.”178 Future is necessarily not limited to such public administration strategy. Taken that the state of the information age is digital in nature and that the public administration of the information is e-public administration or m-public administration, then, according to these categories, the state and public administration of knowledge age is knowledge state and kpublic administration. The letter k obviously does not only refer to knowledge but to the consciousness of new public administration and the aspiration to place the cooperation between the new state and citizen to a new standard. Because it has not yet been clarified neither in the European nor in the Hungarian thinking on public administration and knowledge society what k-public administration actually means beyond being a higher level e-public administration development, we relatively get a free hand when it comes to defining this future perspective. However, we can rest assured that experts are going to make numerous new concepts public in the next decade. K-public administration (K/c as knowledge and consciousness) is going to be defined by the following recognitions: • Firstly, e-governance and e-public administration should be introduced at every significant level of public administration on every settlement. As a consequence, every citizen and every community would be able to manage administrative issues faster, easier and in a more efficient, online way. 178

MEH e-Governance Centre (Hungarian abbreviation: EKK)


• Within public administration, e-public administration services should focus on interactive intelligent administration between the public administration institutions and the citizen in such a way that the public administration should make use of the opportunities provided by the new infocommunication tools, technologies, services with as little delay as possible. • The traditional European state model will alter gradually, and so from the model of ruling state a shift is going to take place towards the model of service-providing and socialised state. The state is going to get closer to its citizen and, at least theoretically speaking, the citizen is going to be closer to the state, too; both will be motivated by public and communitiy interests. This is going to be or could be the communal public administration. • The first public function of the state will not only be supported by the fact that state and non-state institutions intensively create and transmit high-level knowledge for every group of society; it will also entail that the state and state apparatus is going to continuously learn and apply this new knowledge in a mandatory way. • Artificial knowledge should be employed in all state institutions, and where it is possible artificial initelligence should redeem an institution, state machinery and/or service. Is it realistic to assume that the artificial communal intelligence will be reached? • If civil society and all its new institutions that are independent but supported by the state will be created and strengthened, then the k-state (or intelligent state) and knowledge-oriented civil society (intelligent society) should enter into a new type of contract. • From 2010 onwards, a new network world community will be created, thus it is going to be a system of numerous poles in a global world state; surely the United European States would come into being as part of a parallel process, which would not necessarily have the characteristics of the current model of nation states. Finally, regional „small” states will be created, which would not constitute the miniature version of the previous nation state model. • Just because in the past centuries the state ruled over its citizens, it does not follow that in the next few hundreds of years the citizens should rule the state. If intelligent civil societies are going to be created, if new types of social contracts are going to come into being, then a double paradigm change should take place, or put it differently, a new and real balance between the state and the citizens could be achieved only if there are not only legal, but social and cultural guarantees, too. • If the external and internal threat does not diminish either significantly or at all at the global and local levels, then the new state should find remedies with the help of new technology, new methods and new approaches to cure the underlying reasons of dangers. On the other hand, we should not forget about the the essentially intelligent state network, which will simultaneously exist at the global, continental, national and local levels, will be permanently threatened if the first half of the twenty-first century is not going to be able to give birth to a new type of (knowledge-centred, intelligent, successful conflict manager) world community. • These new issues for debate could be further developed. We should thus conclude that firstly, public administration is going to undergo at least every ten years newer and newer paradigm changes; secondly, the direction and lifespan of these cannot be the result of a spontaneous development; thirdly, based on our current knowledge and future perspective, public administration is going to reach the period of community-based k-public administration.


15.3. Is new knowledge and new consciousness unavoidalbe in public administration? If we examine any of the lower level paths leading to new state and public administration, we are confronted with the recognition that in every instance the development of public administration based on post-modernisation simultaneously requires new knowledge and new consciousness. There should be no misconception about it: new knowledge and new consciousness is needed in the political system and local society alike, as well as in the state machinery and the families and citizens concerned. From the two requirements it is new knowledge that could be somewhat easier defined because it could be logically thought through. For new technologies, new services and new co-operation or for new communication, too new knowlede is needed, that is, all kinds of new knowledge. For the more or less harmonious co-operation between the communal state and citizens new consciousness and new consciousness quality are required, notions that are currently unclear and undefined. As far as we are concerned, the knowledge and consciousness content of public administration is primarily defined by the following characteristics: • If in the system and practice of public administration continuous transformations are taking place, then it is but natural that we need new information and new knowledge to understand and perform change. • The first group of indispensable new knowledge belongs to new technological knowledge which are necessary for public administration services. • The second group of indispensable knowledge is public administration knowledge that makes the operation of public administration possible (for example the digital library of local legislation, the information science database of the settlement and/or region), the knowledge centre of public administration strategies, programs and developments, the name and address list of the local population, etc.) • From the new knowledge types necessary for public administration we should highlight those and list them in a separate group which are necessary for the oversights of public services, thus refer to the economy, trasport, education system, medical network or regional development of a given public administration region. These types of knowledge would be useful to collect and make public in a (regional, small regional, city) information centre; this centre should for obvious purpose be accessible online, too. • In the next decade thus every single type of knowledge requisite to public administration should be made accessible to every single citizen and community as well as economic association,etc. This implies that we should be obliged to bridge information gaps or information gulfs. • If public administration is going to join the k-public administration (or some other similar public administration) model, then artificial intelligence could play a dominant role thus by applying artificial intelligence we could reach a new stage of knowledge and higherlevel knowledge operationality. • The second part of this chapter’s title is not by chance about change in consciousness. For the present-day and subsequent public administration new consciousness and consciousness contents are needed: current public administration expects from its coworkers service consciousness, while from the local society – what shall we call it? – servicereceiving consciousness. • K-public administration and intelligent public administration based on artificial intelligence, however, requires a new state of consciousness and consciousness quality from


both sides (the employees of public administration and the public administration receiving local citizens) which could be called simultaneously individual and community-centred, past and future-oriented as well as knowledge and consciousness-guided settlement/regional collective consciousness. • Etc. Among the expected changes, it is the knowledge and consciousness content of the new modernisation, or post-modernisation of public administration that is the most arduous to summarise. If this future perspective is realised and a new type of state and public administration system is going to materialise in the whole of Europe and Hungary, as part of it, then the requirement and result of it will be the new communal public administration knowledge and consciousness. In the coming decades thus development does not only mean that the quality of knowledge and consciousness of public administration and local administration institutions changes for the better, but also those of local and regional societies, too. This implies on the one hand a new type of thinking, on the other hand, a new identity. To put it differently, the alienation between the citizen and state should be sooner or later be succeeded by a new relationship between the citizen and the public state that is ultimately based on new technology and the utilisation of artificial intelligence.

15.4. Intelligent civil society – and what comes after it We should repeatedly note that the future perspective of e-public administration and edemocracy is based on such a central future requirement according to which the relationship between public administration and local society is closer than ever. Two directions of development could be envisaged: one from the civil service, the other from local society. The question is thus what direction of development are settlements and smaller regions going to take and what requirements they pose to public administration as well as the way it could strengthen self-development in public administration. This is why the most important propelling force of future public administration is, more than ever, the expected development of local socities, - or the contrary could also happen, namely, the lack of development and continuation of local „commmunities” characterised by frustration and limited cohesive power. In our opinion the following significant recognitions are going to characterise local society (or civil society) in the future: • Especially in the last decade, Hungarian public administration has tried to introduce and amend service-providing public administration, while in the coming decades multidimensional small regional public services are going to be established and strengthened. These processes could help the development of community co-ordination in local societies, or shall we rather say that the fragmented local societies could be on a good path to develop their internal network systems. • The European and Hungarian information society in the next few decades is going to be established also at a local level and that will create a new quality. If the public administration system of the age is e- or m-public administration, this process will on the one hand require, on the other hand support the development of intelligent civil socities where the strenghtening of the social fabric will be done so much by information as knowledge and cooperation. This is why we have introduced the concept of intelligent civil society. • One for the new alternatives could be that local society is going to enter into a new social contract in two different ways: on the one hand, an internal contract would regulate the status of social groups with one another, on the other hand, the social contract will shed light 217

to the relationship between local sociey and local quasi-power. This is also linked to a democracy model, which distinctly attempts to integrate the citizens of local society into decison-making and execution of decisions in a direct and regular fashion. • By and large, through the broadening of opportunities for the intelligent civil society, most Hungarian settlement and small regional civil societies could become integrated into the new global spatial structure of the Central-European and European continental society. This opportunity offers on the one hand, the broadening of horisons, on the other hand, an opening for co-operation. • If the age of information and knowledge-society is going to be followed by further social models, then we should face the challenge of establishing a public administration or new local social model in the value-centred and/or consciousness-centred and/or unified age taking note of those external crises that could endanger the period in question as well as the advantageous/disadvantageous situation of new technologies. This is why we carefully forecast that the age of intelligent civil societies will materialise when the individual and community consciousness is developed and operated by the local unity society. • Etc. Hoping that in the next twenty to thirty years both globalisation and localisation is going to support so much individualisation as a new kind of individualisation linked to community, then we could partially or totally return to an organic social develomental model. This on the one hand follows all previous models, and thus such a society form is going to be established, that could offer numerous alternatives to Hungarian local societies. From the above, we have highlighted the intelligent civil society and consciousness-developing local unity society.

15.5. Finally, is the new state and new democracy vision born? We have so far attempted to summarise those elements which jointly make up the middle- and long term e-public administration future vision and perspective. The state vision constitutes simultaneously the base and summit of this vision which could also materialise in numerous alternatives, although the state future perspective necessarily goes hand in hand with a new democracy model. As the final element of a pubic administration future vision, we are going to draft a multi-version state and democracy vision. We have repeatedly noted that these visions aim at positioning, they attempt to offer optimal solutions although they do not represent an exclusive solution and could not offer any guarantees whatsoever. We should also highlight that all imagined future alternatives have so far only partially come true in history and therefore such visions need continuous corrections, - if they were not to fail altogether. As far as we can tell, the following recognitions are going to define the new state and democracy in the coming decades: • The essence of dilemmas cannot be grasped by such notions as small state or big state, inexpensive state or costly state because these offer alternative answers based on the characteristics of the state. For a public administration perspective our starting point must be a fundamentally new state model, state structure and operation altogether. • Independently of the political systems and regimes, there have been very few changes in the last hundred and fifty years in Hungary. The nationalised state model was primarily built on the realisation of centralised political rule and the bottom-up social desires were taken into account only to a limited extent.


• The first substantive attempt to create a balance between the central and noncentral state elements is offered by the introduction and application of information technology. It is not by chance that the notion of e-state and e-governance has been introduced in Europe, which is far from being identical with the modernisation of state technologies. As a result, the state has become more transparent and the publicity of its operation has also strengthened. It is the responsibility of the political elite in each and every country to continue this modernisation by the introduction of new technologies or whether the development is stopped at some point. • E-state and e-public administration requires the state to become a serviceproviding state, while local society should be willing to co-operate and should use the opportunities of the service-providing state. • The systems of state aims that is operated in a faster, more precise, fairer and more transparent fashion also lead to new state models. As we have already summarised this in the chapter dealing with the conceptual framework, the new alternatives could be called knowledge state, communal state, integrating state, sacred state, etc. Every new model, however, is linked one the one hand by the fact that the state is value-centred without actually supporting all the accepted norms of a particular era; on the other hand, based on value paradigms the development strategies that will define the state will of innovation, creativity, national state strategies. Even though it sounds awkward, this is the vision of a non-neutral neutral state. It is simultaneously a competitive and a new welfare state, although these two concepts are not identical in meaning to those we meantby them in the twentieth century. • The new type of state is spiritually and practically possible if the citizens take up an active role and co-operate with the new state, - and they are thus no longer isolated. This is what we mean by the socialised state and the state developing society. • Democracy and the institutional system of democracy is on the one hand the frame of the operationality of the state and society, on the other hand it is a procedural and methodological system. For any new state to develop, it is essential to keep to the rules of democracy and of legislative procedures. Within Europe it is well known that the concept and programme of e-democracy is the first stage of development. This, however, is not only limited to the modernisaiton of democracy with infocommunicational means. • For decades the world has been talking about participatory democracy arguing that the representative democracy should be replaced by this new model. Although e-democracy is already partially participatory democracy, it also represents one of the early models of virtual democracy. If e-elections are going to become a general practice while local e-society will be operational, this in itself will not mean a radical shift in the democracy model. Long term future is presumably such a new model which is organically linked to the new state model and for the moment we can only but guess its name: knowledge democracy, knowledge-centred democracy, unity democracy, sacred democracy... • Etc. It is of special interest how the Hungarian government imagined the future of egovernance in 2005. What did the power centres expect and count with? • the establishment of real bi-lateral relations between state and citizens; • more efficient, more transparent, less expensive public admnistration; • the establishment of electronic democracy; • ensuring the free flow of information. To sum up we should note that in the present a global, European and national society a new state and democracy model is gradually going to be established as divergent alternatives. The Hungarian model will be partially and necessarily dependent on the European direction, 219

on the new ideals chosen by the majority of the Hungarian population as well as the old and new contraints of the scenarios Hungary will be part of. As far as we can tell today, the direction which e-governance and e-democracy choose to take is an alternative to be supported, although this only refers to the first kilometers of the long path.


Chapter Sixteen: Diverging (and decisive?) alternatives of the near future As a first step, we are not yet going to call Europe to account about the new state and new democracy practices. We should at present settle for the question whether electronic state and democracy is going to be established at all as a first possible developmental stage. The alternatives likely to materialise predict the popular and chosen ways aas well as the scenarios according to which they could be realised. In a previous chapter we drafted in great detail those universal, global, national and local scenarios that are feasible. In this chapter we are going to examine how the future perspectives of e-public administration and edemocracy could be linked with the delineated future scenarios. Here we will pay special attention to national/state and local scenarios. All in all, we are going to draft six alternative scenarios below.

16.1. The e-state and e-democracy scenarios We should first formulate the scenario which is closest in time but which could unfold in a number of ways. What do the e-state and e-democracy scenarios look like? ■ According to the national doomsday scenario and the local suffering scenario every single further modernisation and development of the state is going to be annuled. ■ Furthermore, the national immersion and see-saw scenario, as well as internal disruption local scenario could be connected; if that takes place development could also come to a hault, although the immersion and see-saw scenarios could join more positive local scenarios (joining the top team players, for instance). In this latter case, however, internal development could enforce a devleoped local e-state and e-public administration at settlement and regional level. ■ The national development scenario of knowledge society if it met the local joining of top team players scenario would make it possible to establish a knowledge-centred state and local government, as well as the development of local, digital, participatory democracy. ■ In the new global and local world structure, the development of e-democracy and a high level e-public administration could also unfold if at national level we are not capable of stepping over the see-saw scenario. ■ The ideal future could be created if the global knowledge age and unity age of the national unity society scenario as well as the local Central European island of the future scenario could mutually reinforce each other. It goes without saying that the five alternatives listed above have by far not exhausted all the scenarios that could be realised, although it adequately characterises the complexity and divergent outcome of the reality of future building.

16.2. The European Union, - the odds of an e-federal state


We should not pretend that the near future and the future of the European Union is clear, transparent and manageable. It is not simply a matter of accepting or rejecting the new constitution. The continental dilemma is grave and cannot be answered: in the information or post-information age, among a global competition of states and state federations what shape and content shall the European federation take? ■ The scenario of universal internal destruction or self-destruction could meet the global alternative of monetary new capitalism scenario. In this case, the chances of any sort of European state federation would be zero. ■ If by accident the universal external and internal destruction scenarios would take place at the same time, then there is no better solution possible for the European continent. ■ If a universal scenario of some sort of chatastrophy did not wreck the global postcapitalist information and knowledge age scenarios altogether, then in theory at least, it would exclusively depend on Europe which alternative it chooses: the Union could partially or totally disintegrate, it could equally become an e-state federation with the help of information or knowledge age developments. ■ If any closer European integration or e-state federation was to be opposed by member states, information and knowledge age technologies and services would still be offering higher-level possibilities for a virtual cohesion and co-operation. ■ If the world advances so much towards unification as differentiation, then the most likely alternative is that in this multi-layered world structure every element, and thus at the continental level is simultaneously going to integrate and strengthen their autonomy. The enumerated and non-enumerated alternatives equally show that there are not only numerous positive models possible, but that positive model includes the ideal or the unacceptable outcome wished by nobody.

16.3. The alternatives of e-governance in Hungary until 2013-2015 Similarly to other European Union member states, Hungary has not developed its own future plan and therefore it is not aware of its e-governance alternatives and more generally, it has not realised what to expect from the future. ■ If we are to think in a middle-run future, one of the likely alternatives is that the position and internal division of the European Union is going to continue. In spite of this, however, the establishment of e-public administration will be completed. If Hungary fell behind in this process or the process was long delayed, this would significantly damage the development, competitive power, concensus and operation of the country. ■ If the preceding situation remains stable, but Hungary does not fall behind in the process but keeps up with the pace, then important and smashing developments could be attained. In such a case, the adoption of e-governance and e-public administration should be successfully completed by around 2010. ■ If the European Union (supported by a new, more normal world order) resolves its present organisation, financial, operation problems, then Hungary should not only complete the introduction of e-public administration by 2010-2012, but it should also establish at a high pace an institutionalised, national, state and local e-democracy. ■ If the unifying world takes considerable steps yet Hungary only attempted to make up for the the industrial age where it finds itself in arrears and it only marginally met the challenges of the new age, then in this scenario we would not be in line with the developed world, but would even lag further behind. 222

■ If everything went well, which is not to be excluded either, Hungary could become one of the leading states of the knowledge age by 2014. This would further strengthen the conditions with which it could step into the next age. As it is clearly visible, alternatives come and point to numerous directions, but the breakthrough does not only depend on external and internal rational requirements, but also on the knowledge and consciousness state of the country. All in all, Hungary is one of the European states which will introduce e-governance and e-public adminstration to some degree, although this developmental direction is at the mercy of current power relations.

16.4. The scenarios of Hungarian regional, small regional, settlement e-local governance and e-public administration Is Hungary capable of recognising the opportunities in localisation independently or only partially dependently on the mediatised political-power or state games and modernisation attempts? ■ If the optimal future developments of local scenarios forcast that regional and small regional units are to develop permanently, while simultaneously the local government regions and small regions are to be established, then Hungary could act upon these requirements either in a positive or negative fashion. ■ If due to a negative response the regional and local e-public administration is not established in the period of the second national development plan, then Hungary could be in a disadvantageous position and would lag behind with a decade in terms of regional development. ■ If the positive answer is supported by every single government in the next decade also in terms of finances, then the development could materialise at a low level. This would imply, however, that although the infocommunication modernisation of public administration takes place, there will be no budget for further developments. Moreover, while the majority of local governments will make online administration possible, the unprepared and unmotivated majority of the local society is not going to make the best of the opportunity. ■ If the better solution is going to be followed by high level realisation, then in this case the four e-public administration steps formulated in the first national development plan and accepted by invitation for applications is going to be established and the majority of local citizens are going to become active partners with the help of e-public administration and according to the opportunities ensured by the four steps. ■ If this latter scenario is to materialise at local level and local knowledge societies are going to be created and strengthened, and if these create the Central European future island, then e-public administration and e-governance will effectively help the realisation of further modernisations of the state and the creation of local lifestyles as well as the development of life quality. Since all these alternatives refer to local levels, and are limited to a not too distant future (thus to the end of the second national development plan), these five alternatives represent the most likely outcomes. We cannot exclude, however, that the development could go beyond the changes that we have drafted above.


16.5. The chances of institutionalisation of e-democracy, e-election and e-referenda at the local level A critical development stage of the near future is the following: how to bridge e-public administration with e-democracy. If e-democracy were to be considered a subsidiary process or were to be sabotaged, then the adaption of e-public administration is also going to uneven. ■ One of the options is that during the next two or three parliamentary or local government cycles occassionally no operable alternative will be in place. As a consequence, due to the lack of political or possibly social consensus, the democractic system as well as the political and electoral system will remain unchanged. ■ As always, the most likely alternative is that the development will take the traditional path and thus it will slowly but surely advance, which would not be pushed over by larger global, European and/or national critical scenarios. All electronic-digital development, however, is going to partially take place and large social groups are going to be left out from the benefits. ■ Interesting combinations are also possible; namely, that although public administration online services were available, yet there would be no options available for eelections during parliamentary and local governement elections or perhaps that would be introduced in an experimental fashion, limited to certain districts and the majority of local governments would not dare introduce the legal institution of e-referenda. ■ If development takes place at a normal pace, then by the parliamentary elections of 2014 at the latest, the institutions of e-democracy, e-elections and e-referendum would function in Hungary. ■ If governmental and local governmental as well as civil politics was characterised by fast pace development and could effectively be labelled a couragous developmental policy, then at least within the framework of model experiments, the development of e-democracy and its institutions could lead to the establishment of the institutional framework and services of knowledge and knowledge development age. Above we tried to formulate the key alternatives highly realistically and cautiously. This is why we did not exclude the possibilty that the development of the following decade was going to be highly dynamic. In an ideal state, Hungary could have a functioning edemocracy by 2010-2015. But do ideal states exist in history?

16.6. Individual and community e-consciousness, erealisations as the qualitative requirements of participatory edemocracy scenarios The lack of recognising the future could lead to narrowing of horisons and idleness coupled with down-heartedness. Is the consciousness-based model of the future going to be understood and assumed by broader social circles? ■ The first alternative once again is that nothing substantive happens although there are going to be changes or developments taking place at a superficial level; at the genuine stages (in individual lives, life quality of the individual or family, individual and group state of consciousness), however, nothing will improve.


■ We don’t exclude the possibility that the global and local world is not going to recognise the role of consciousness development and unvaryingly, it envisages some sort of quantitative model of the future. ■ The most likely solution is that in the following eight to ten years a lot of citizens (although invariably an insufficient amount of people) are going to improve their knowledge, consciousness and internal world. Due to the subject-centred program, the majority of a growing minority is going to increasingly undertake responsibilities for their settlements and local governments, and therefore they will internally become partners in the e-public administration developments. ■ If that recognition holds true and in the stabilisation and sense of security in local communities consciousness plays a key role, then one part of the best local government and public administration developments should consciously and judiciously attempt the strengthening of the partially institutionalised settlement collective consciousness. ■ We do not yet know what levels of individual and community consciousness development could lead to. However, we are not going to hereby introduce the utopias related to it, although we would like to note anyways that real chances exist in establishing higher collective consciousness states. So far, both at global or local level it is the consciousness development program and methodology that has been the least thought through; therefore the best scenarios do not presuppose that in the coming years that the local consciousness or, what is part and parcel of it, public administration consciousness could lead to paradigm changes. However, the new goal of the European educational strategies according to which the youth should be prepared to democracy and the development of democratic skills could set in motion a veritable turn. It is thus not by chance for instance that the announcement179called „Education and training 2010”of the European Council published on 21 Feburary 2007 defines the indicators which would realise the Lisabon goals based on current political priorities. The indicators (9 in all) that continue to be valid and that are well known already from the Lisabon strategy have been significantly amended. In the list that has by now risen to twenty postulates the seventh place is reserved for the civil skills (civil competences) right after the skills of reading, mathematical, scientific, language and infocommunication. As of 2008 becoming active civil citizens has shun into the centre of the European education and training. The realisation alternatives we could sum up as follows: we have discussed the possible scenarios from six perspectives, and we have tried to rationally examine all possible changes. We could conclude that biggest national stake of the following decade is the introduction of e-governance, e-public administration and e-democracy; its success, semisuccess or unsuccess is going to essentially impact the achievements and future state of Hungary (and for that matter, every other European state). It makes a big difference whether we are going to consciously choose and if so which scenario we will commit ourselves to. During the conscious decision-making it could also become apparent whether the state and social practice of e-governance and e-democracy is „only” going to be an introduction of the future. The modest chance is still a chance. 179

COMMUNICATION DE LA COMMISSION - Un cadre cohérent d'indicateurs et de critères de référence pour le suivi des progrès accomplis vers les objectifs de Lisbonne dans le domaine de l'éducation et de la formation COMMISSION DES COMMUNAUTÉS EUROPÉENNES Bruxelles, le 21.2.2007 COM(2007) 61 final


Chapter Seventeen: Summary: risk factors and the future chances of creating a new world Invariably, chances and risks cannot be described along yes/no logics. Even if that was possible, we would still have to acknowledge that at least to some extent we are necessarily the prisoners of the way of thinking of our age. Apart from this self-examinatory attitude, we are going to come up against the all-time foresight, that within a decade historical processes could be significantly affected by unexpected events or recognitions. We could nevertheless claim that the introduction of e-governance and e-public administration is a correct endeavour, and most of the odds point to the direction that in Hungary as well as all other European member states, according to current norms and indicators, the introduction of e-governance and e-public administration will have been completed by 2010-2015. The establishment of participatory democracy could take far longer, if it is going to take place at all in an evolutionary way. We should not think, however, that everything is intelligible and in order. Hereby we would like to forecast some basic and typical reasons of conflict: a) The number of interpretations of e-public administration is going to be as divergent as the number of European member states; thus e-public administration will be interpreted along the lines of divergent traditions and political strategies. For the above reason it is essential that the Hungarian e-public administration model should be worked out, debated and socially accepted. b) Many would like to simplify e-pubic administration to the computerisation of offices and to e-administration. To make this approach a state program would necessarily entail the breakdown of e-public administration. c) In many places beyond and within Europe the reform or development of e-public administration is going to be jammed, unsuccessful or would need resumption primarily for reasons of lack of organisation and confusion. Moreover, the chances are that there are going to be at least the same amount of further conflicts assuming that the introduction of e-public administration was limited to a few places that are isolated from one another. d) Further risk factors are: if two (IT – information and public administration) professional circles do not understand each other sufficiently, if there is not a unified governmental will in the execution, and is no sufficient prior preparation or the local government bodies do not want to adopt e-public administration in a number of settlements, or if they are afraid of this modernisation, and last but not least if one part of the intelligentsia does not support the majority of civil society that is expected to support the changes. e) Most people fear that while the widespread introduction of e-public administration is going to take place on paper, which would result in the infocommunication modernisation of the Hungarian public administration, the necessary changes in governance and public administration will be successful only to a limited degree. f) When we gave an account of a long-term future perspectives and formulated some possible future scenarios, we also noted that it is the elaboration of the new state, new public administration, new democracy models and the conscious, timely realisation of knowledge is where the stakes are the highest. It represents a great danger in itself that this scneario is not considered realistic by anyone. The future nevertheless is guaranteed to promise a new political space, new state, new public administration and new democracy. The promise in itself is a reality, a virtual


reality; however, the realisation of virtual reality could also be transformed, both in Europe and on the othe continents.

17.1. The veritable long-term chances and hopes In the global and local space stability and change seemingly go well hand in hand. Old state and democracy models have been creaking and groaning for decades, are hardly capable of corrections, have been gradually emptied of meaning, and have been continuously loosing legitimacy. In spite of this, their survival is supported by serious political and economic interest groups while the long-standing models for reasons of governability of states and democracies are reluctantly maintained. All this happens while in every region of human civilisation new theories and new strategies and primarily at a local level new practical solutions have crystallised. It is hardly disputable that the future is on the side of new state and democracy alternatives which necessarily are going to preserve some of the original highlights or procedures. Nobody tells us, however, when and how the old political system and way of thinking is going to be replaced by the universal new political and civilisational model born from new state and democracy theories. Change is inevitable, the direction of the change is discernible. It is only the timing and way of change which is dubious and incalculable. The best guarded secret is the transition itself. In this book we have formulated and used a fair amount of new approaches, raising of issues that was new and have introduced a number of new categories. New concepts anticipate reality, they are partial realities, visions of reality, vectors of reality, dimensions of reality, projections of collective consciousness. This is why the new concepts are simultaneously the political norms of the collective consciousness of human civilisation, knowledge rooted in new demands and sometimes ambitious dreams. New approaches to state, public administration and democracy (answer alternatives, variations of visions, version of concepts) Consciousness space, consciousness spacial time

Collective consciousness, collective intelligence, spiritual common consciousness, virtual reality, collective unconscious, globo-local consiousness, intelligent collective consciousness, the age of consciousness, cosmic consciousness, universal consciousness, local consciousness, civil society consiousness, god awareness, polis consciousness, quantum spce and quantum field, universal metaconsicousness, knowledge consciousness, unity consciousness, etc.

Knowledge space, spiritual spacial time

Intellectual knowledge, virtual knowledge space, spiritual capital, knowledge industry, knowledge as social cpaital, human capital, new science, content industry, new culture, cyberculture, knowledge community, knowledge nation, universal knowledge space, new knowledge, knowledge age, metaknowledge and metatheory, individual and collective knowledge, spiritual knowledge, new spirit of the age, new philosophy, new metaphysics, etc. Intelligent civi society, globolocal space, knowledge and consciousness-guided society, new polis, new type of community linked to the individual, virtual society, mobile reality, post-market society, unity creating society, sustainable society, wellfare society, mediatised society, spiritual communities, culturecentred society, etc.

Social space, social spacial time Political space, state spacial

Communal state, network state, after the service-providing state society-centred state, socialised state, e-state and e-governance, information state, participatory



constitution, civil state, intelligent state, inter-subjective state, social investment type of state, sustainable state, quality state, post-state, spiritual state, etc.

Individual space, individual spacial time

New type of individualisation, e-citizen, knowledge citizen, consciousness citizen, new public citizen, e-public citizen, local citizen, participating citizen, new democracy, esoteric citizen, knowledge-guided democrat, spiritual citizen, the individual’s solidarity with the universe, intelligent citizen, etc.

Decisionmaking space, democracy spatial time

Participatory democracy, e-democracy, global and local e-referendum, eparliament, participatory democracy, consociative democracy, esoteric democracy, e-public administration, k-public administration, m-public administration, consciousness-based public administration, internet democracy, civill magistrate, spiritual democracy, the democratisation of democracy, cyberdemocracy, etc. Structured dialogue, settlement or city chart, virtual dispute and agreement, local social contract, global social contract, participatory budget, thematic groups, the proceudres of e-citizenry, democratic participatory procedures, new procedural minimums, etc.

Logical space, procedural space

Table 28. New state and democracy approaches (Csaba Varga)

This arsenal of approaches could also be seen as the wallowing in new wills, too. It would not constitute a difficulty to simplify the various concepts into one or two new concepts; however, the new theories and new hopes would be lost. This is why this diversity should stay. It is not for sure that in fifty years’ time there should only be one state and one type of democracy. Today the societies and values of different continents and cultures are so much at odds with each other, there are so many divergent approaches, differences in traditions and future perspectives, that this predicts the difference in the democracy models yet to be established. Between the economy-based democracy brought along by the industrial age and sacred democracy or a formal representative democracy and the knowledge and knowledge-centred participatory democracy there is such a big distance, yet they are all democracies in their own right, they are also sustainable, and in some ways they all attempt to agree with each other. One of the new characteristics of our civilisation and culture is that the world structure has been cut down or that it has fulfilled itself: it is equally important to govern at a global, continental, national and local level. To govern there is a need for public administration and therefore there is democracy not only at the levels of states but also at higher levels. This is why the new content and new method of political resolutions could come about four different levels of the world structure either by mutually strengthening each other or by mutually weakening one another. We can learn from all traditions, we could unify these traditions and therefore completely new theoretical-practical constructions could be created. The gates of solutions are still open. Each and every one of us could be the supporter of any of the alternatives, whether it is about the preservation of representative democracy or the presently dominant mild dictatorship of centralised state. However, we should be open to discussion and should not disdainfully dismiss new approaches which sooner or later always triumph. If once again world wars, continental clashes, global political and economic crises or perhaps civil wars and social crises were to come, these would promptly show that the new state and democracy models have not been established successfully. 228

New (representative or/and participatory, knowledge or knowledge-based, electronic or virtual, etc.) state and democracy approaches and programs according to the levels of world structure Global

New type of global „state�, globo-local public administration, global participatory parliament, global consciousness-based governance, globo-local democracy, global virtual democracy, unity democracy above cultures, universal participatory democracy, global esoteric state, etc. New European state, European participatory parliament, new monarchic state Continental federations, continental virtual parliament, European e-governance, European epublic administration, European participatory democracy, European cyberdemocracy, continental consciousness and consciousness-guided governance, continental network state, European civil society parliament, etc. National/state New nation state, national participatory democracy, national level e-governance and e-democracy, the state mediating between global and local levels, national eparliament, knowledge nation and knowledge state, national knowledge and knowledge-centred state, communal state governance, etc. New local state, local k-public administration, local participatory democracy, local Local knowledge and knowledge-based governance, new polis, network democracy, local virtual democracy, regional/small regional communal governance, local magistrate, etc. Table 29. New state and democracy programs at various levels of world structure (Csaba Varga)

So far we have identified the new state and democracy model at every level of world structure. The set of concepts is open, diverse, carry a number of alternatives and with them various future scenarios could be established. It represents simultaneously a virtual democracy model, too. The future is also open, even though the past necessarily lives further and the long-term future is necessarily blurred. In the history of the state and democracy two radical fractures/developments can be detected: the first one took place when the state and church was separated, thus when the state lost its spiritual content; the second when the state broke away from society, when the state lost its cohesional powers. After the two fractures the cold power contsructions of the state became all too obvious behind the legislative-political curtains. After all this, it is but logical to think in a long-term strategy, which pays special attention to the re-construction of the relationship between the state and society while planning the developmental stages. Although eight to twelve steps could be envisaged, we should hereby limit ourselves to the most important four steps. The developmental steps could be an issue primarily in the member states of the European Union. This is a long-term evolutionary scenario. It is imaginable that at a regional, nation-state or continental level, although it cannot be excluded that the breakthrough will take place at a global level. It begins with the development of the service-providing state and the widespread introduction of e-public administration, which, as we have shown it, does not eliminiate the totalitarian nature of the state. The four steps constitute an organic evolutionary develoment towards the end goal (the unity of state, society, democracy).


Long-term strategy and the development of the relationship between the state and society Stages

The changing role of the state and public administration

The first stage: Service-providing state and e-public administration

The program of service-providing state and A new gate opens for the society to control the electronic public administration makes the totalitarian state, although state exclude the manipulation of services society and the state are at this by regulating the internal technolgy during stage still separated from one state and local governement administration another. processes as well as enforces the state to provide services that are interest- and valuefree. There is not yet a balance The state renounces its dominant role for between the state and society, good, as well as the unilateral decisionbut it is already a partial making competence and by introducting eparticipatory democracy where democracy it accpets that members of the competences of the society could externally influence its individual and community have decision-making step by step, and this been widened. makes a real contract possible between the sate and the society. Within the new framework of The state does not get lost but it is democracy model a balance is strengthened because society re-engages with the state. This is, however, not the state established between the state and society, altough high level of power elites but the state of everyone, thus a civil state where all social groups and consciousness is lacking from communities have a role in decision-making the co-operation of actors at this and participation in its execution, - although stage. by controlling one another The state, public administration, democracy Permanent dynamic balance could be established, because and society becomes a unified knowledge there is harmony between and consciousness field, where the state is the manifestation and institution of a society society and the state and the aware of its unity; a harmony is established individual, state and belief (etc.); there is no separate with the cosmic and universal civilisation, and in this harmony there are no external or power and there is no isolated individual and there is no internal conflicts; every conscious society emptied of meaning community citizen is simultaneously a representative and a represented Table 30: E.Ugrin.- Cs. Varga: the optimal eveolutionary orbit

The second stage: the serviceproviding state and e-democracy

The third stage: civil state and participatory democracy

The fourth stage: knowledge and consciousnessguided state/democracy and society

The changing role of society

Next to the optimal evolutionary scenarios, completely different scenarios exist too: a) development stagnates at the first or second step for a longer time; b.) instead of the third or fourth step, there is going to be another reversal; c.) the real long-term future vision could be exchanged to other visions although at the beginning of the 21st century no other „dream� alternative could be forecasted but the global consciousness-centredness and unity society; d.) there is a rational possibility that because of the expected global-local crises and conflicts, humankind will step over certain stages altogether; e.) if we do not limit ourselves to Europe but we envisage some sort of a unified East-West, North-South governmental and democracy model, then we could relatively quickly find ourselves in the fourth stage. 230

History will be on our side if we clearly know what we want and where we want to go. In this book, we have attempted to shed more light on the path. Last but not least: what is going to happen here and now or in the very near future? Today, after the milennium we are are so far from the ideals of the nineteenth century and we are at this stage very far even from the dream of participatory democracy. At present, the highest level of democracy is in Switzerland, while the lowest in the post-socialist states. For the last few decades certain European nations have thought about developing the state and democracy model further and have started off numerous smaller or larger reforms, but it seems in the execution of new constitutional solutions constitutionality itself is already a hindrance.

17.2. Short term prognosis It is highly interesting that even if we are to forecast a short-term prognosis, there is but the future-model development of the four stages. In this case the content of the third and fourth stage is limited and sums up smaller changes possible. The end goal is also more modest and simple and therefore it could seem more realistic to achieve it whereby the law of reality predicts just the contrary: it is only the general and substantive change that can lead to success in the short run. Short term prognosis Stages:

First stage

Second stage

Third stage

The expected name of the stage Serviceproviding state, digital state and e-public administration

E-governance and limited edemocracy

Intelligent civil societ and social participatory democracy

State lead by

The more important elements of the developmental phase Simultaneoulsy citizen-friend, serviceproviding state and partially digitial egovernance, completed by islandlike epublic administration and local governmental e-public administration within the framework of traditional representative democracy, and partially based on the new and formalised social contract Partial European and national democracy reform, national and regional or smallregional, as well as settlement level edemocracy with e-referenda; simultaneously simply and complex representative and electronic participatory democracy The establishment of intelligent (real and virtual) civil societies at the global, continental, national and local levels which step beyond the framework of traditional democracy which either enforce a new democracy and society model based on direct participation and direct decisionmaking in more important questions. Widespread real/virtual democracy that is


The prospects of the developmental phase Established digital state and total epublic administration

Established edemocracy, while representatory democracy is still is place Intelligent civil society and network democracy


Fourth stage

participatory democracy and participatory society

simultaneously built on individual decision- participatory making and civil associations that have democracy, free looser structure to that of the parties as well society and as not separated power elites, participatory responsible state where the civilian is prepared and not communal citizen manipulated and therefore responsible Table 31. Developmental steps, vision- hypothesis (Csaba Varga)

In the introduction of this book we put forward this table. This is how we are also going to end this volume. We would hereby like to note firstly, that we do not want to be seen as being capable of knowing the future and that we guaranteed at least on the short run that the proposed integrated future scenario is indeed going to take place. Secondly, we would like to add to this developmental vision that this is the development program that we could disentangle from the present state and future trends that have their starting point in the present and therefore we consider that this action plan is a realistic schedule. Thirdly, we should like to strengthen as a hypothesis that beyond 2020-2030 (after self-developments and/or crises), many more significant and dynamic changes could take place than what we could account for today. We should be prepared for suprises. If human civilisation continues to support the democracy model, then these new state and democracy models should sooner or later be realised. If Europe intends to survive and stay a competitive power then we can hardly afford to go into any other direction but establishing knowledge and consciousness-centred states and democracies. If ten years in the present make a hundred years in the past, then it is not impossible to step two hundred years ahead. If in Hungary there is simultaneously going to be a comprehensive, long-term future strategy and future will, as well as new collective national/social consciousness, then we should at least clarify how we imagine the alternatives of state and democracy development in Hungary. We are not so far from it. Not even from the future.


Major publications • • • • • • • • • • •

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Agy és tudat [Brain and Consciousness], Eds: Vizi E., Szilveszter, - Altrichter, Ferenc, - Nyíri, Kristóf, - Pléh, Csaba (BIP, 2002) A regionális politika közigazgatási feltételei [The Public Administration Conditions of Regional Politics] (BM-IDEA-MKI, 2004) Állami e-kormányzati, e-közigazgatási stratégiák [State e-governance and e-public administration Strategies] (MEH EKK, IHM, BM) Bauman, Zygmunt: Globalizáció, a társadalmi következmények [Globalisation, Social Consequences] (Szukits Kiadó, 2002) Bánlaky, Pál – Varga, Csaba: Azon túl ott a tág világ [And Beyond is the World] (Magvető, Gyorsuló Idő) 1979. Bourg, Dominique: Les fondements du développement durable: la limite et les fins Brachet, Philippe: Service public et démocratie moderne. Analyse de l’étatisme en France et propositions de citoyenneté active aux différents niveaux territoriaux (local, national, européen), 2001, Aitec-RSP-Sigenu www. Brodhag, C.: Le développement durable à l’épreuve de la gestion locale, Pouvoirs locaux no 34 (III), 1997. 27-33.o. Budai, Balázs Benjámin: e-Government (Bp. 2002) Carta del Nuovo Municipio per una globalizzazione dal basso, solidale e non gerarchica – Cameron, David –Stein Gross, Janice: Mondialisation, culture et société: La place de l’État au sein d’espace changeants. Canadian Public Policy – Analyse de Politiques, vol.XXIV Supplement/Numéro Spécial 2/2000. 15-35.o. – Castells, M.: The information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Oxford (Blackwell), 1996 Castells, Manuel: Az Internet-galaxis [The Internet Galaxy. Reflections on the Internet, Business and Society], Bp. 2002 Czeglédi, János: The United Gordian Knot, Prelude to an Investment Figue (Institute for Strategic Reseaech, Hungary, 2006) Depaquit, Serge – Vrain, Gilles: Renouveler la démocratie locale, Dertouzos, M. L.: Félkész forradalom. Útban a megszelídített számítógépek felé.[The Unfinished Revolution: Human-centred Computers and What They Can Do For Us] (Typotex, 2002.) Dommel, Daniel: Corruption et développement durable: deux notions antinomiques Drucker, Peter.: Innováció és vállalkozás [Innovation and Entrepreneurship], Park Kiadó, 1993 Dunn, John: A demokrácia [The Democracy](Akadémiai Kiadó, 1992) e-közigazgatás e-önkormányzatok [e-public administration, e-local governments], Eds.: Takács Emőke, Zászlós Angéla (Bp. 2003) The e-public administration issues of the e-Világ periodical (Bp. 2003-2005) Fukuyama, Francis: A nagy szétbomlás [The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconsitution of the Social Order](Bp. 2000)


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Fukuyama, Francis: Amerika válaszúton [America at the Crossroads](Századvég, 2006) Global Forum on Reinventing Government Globális Civil Társadalom 1. [Global Civil Society 1] (Eds: Helmut Anheier, Marlies Glasius, Mary Caldor) Typotex, 2004 Gosztonyi, Géza: Vigyázz! Kész! Rajt! (Nonprofit érdekképviselet – 2003) A(z ön)kormányzat és a civil szektor szerződéses viszonya Nagy-Britanniában és itthon – az első lépések. [Attention! Ready! Go! (Nonprofit Representation of Interests - 2003) The Contractual Relationship Between the (Local) Government and Civil Sector in Great Britain and Hungary] SZIME IV. International Scientific Conference, Visegrád, 26.08.2002). Guyot, François: La (mise en) place des Conseils de Développement au sein des nouveux territoires de projet: vers une démocratie participative à l’échelle internationale. L’example du Conseil de Développement de la communauté urbaine de Nantes, Mémoire univ., 2003. Harms, Hans: La crise de la démocratie représentative – de la nécessité de participation des citoyens Kamarás, István – Varga, Csaba: Reformvár [The Reform Castle] (Magvető, JAKfüzetek, 1984) Kistérségi tervezési módszertan [Small Regional Planning Methods], Ed: Németh Jenő (BM, OTH, TÖOSZ, IDEA programme, 2006) La charte européenne des droits de l’homme dans la ville (Saint-Denis, 2000.május 18. – Partie II. Droits civils et politiques de la citoyenneté locale Lévy, Pierre: La séparation de la culture et de l’Etat. Intervir,2001/12 McLuhan, Marshall: A Gutenberg-galaxis [The Gutenberg Galaxy] (Bp. 2001) Meadows, Donella, Randers, Jorgen, Meadows, Dennis: A növekedés határai harminc év múltán [The Limits of Growth:The Thirty Year Update](Kossuth Kiadó, 2005) Melo Foucher, Marilza de: Démocratie participative au Brésil Metaelmélet, metafilozófia [Metatheory, Metaphilosphy], Ed: Varga, Csaba (Institute for Strategic Research, 2006) Molnár, Miklós: Civil társadalom, és akiknek nem kell [Civil Society and Those Who Do Not Need It], Educatio, 1996. Paoletti, Marion: La démocratie local participative: constats et propositions. Texte de référence du groupe de travail démocratie locale, le 1er décembre 2001. Paquet, Gilles: E-gouvernance, gouvernementalité et État commutateur, Publication du 55e Congrès des relations industrielles de l’Université Laval, Canada, 2000. Philosophy of mind, Ed: David J. Chalmers (Oxford University Press, 2002) Polányi Mihály filozófiai írásai [The Philosophical Writings of Mihály Polányi], Budapest (Atlantisz), 1992. I-II.köt. Potoćka, Jan: Európa és az Európa utáni Kor [Europe and the Post-European Age](Kalligram, 2001) Prévost, Paul – Lagalé, Mélanie: Démocratie, e-démocratie et gouvernance locale: réflexion sur les nouvelles voies de solution aux enjeux actuels de développement collectif, Université de Scerbrook, 2003. Seligman, Adam B.: A civil társadalom eszméje [The Idea of Civil Society] (Kávé Kiadó, 1997) Science and The Primacy of Consciousness, Intimation of a 21st Century Revolution (The Noetic Press, USA, 2000) 234

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Társadalmi metszetek [Social Sections], Ed: Kovách, Imre (Napvilág Kiadó, 2006) Tocqueville, Alexis de: Az amerikai demokrácia [The American Democracy] (Európa Könyvkiadó, 1993) Ugrin, Emese: A fenntartható fejlődés új utópistái [The New Utopists of Sustainable Development], INCO, 2004. Ugrin, Emese: A participáció paradigmája [The Paradigm of Participation]– Lecture, MTA Future Research Conference, Lillafüred, 2002. Ugrin Emese: A részvételi demokrácia mint az organikus államszervezés modellje [The Democracy … ]. Polgári Szemle, 2006. március. Van Ermen, Raymond: 2015 Nouvel Horizon pour l’Europe. Ses institutions, ses Entreprises, ses Syndicats, sa Société Vivile: La Société de Bien-être Varga, Csaba: Magyarország jövőképe a poszt-információs korra [Hungary’s Future Image for the Post-industrial Age], eVilág publication, March/2005 Varga, Csaba: Új elmélethorizontok előtt [Facing New Theory-Horisons] (Tertia, 2004) Varga, Csaba: Kistérségi tervezés rendeltetése és módszertana [The Aim of Small Regional Planning and Its Methods](see: Kistérségi tervezési módszertan [Small Regional Planning Methods], Ed: Németh Jenő, BM, OTH, TÖOSZ, IDEA programme, 2006) Varga, Csaba: Az e-közigazgatás távlatai [The Perspectives of e-public administration] I-III. (eVilág periodical, 2005/10-11-12) Whitehead, Laurence: Demokratizálódás, elmélet és tapasztalat [Democratisation: Theory and Practice] (XXI. Century Institute, 2001)

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