About the Speech

In an era of increased globalization related to the exchange of economic goods as well as human impacts on the environment, analyzing how effective self-governance can still be achieved challenges scholars as well as policy makers. Many books on self-governance tend to equate democracy as the capacity of citizens to vote for their public officials. Simply voting every several years for public officials at a national level and then allowing officials to make all key decisions about political and social life is not, however, a sufficient mechanism to enable citizens to engage in serious self-governance. Citizens need to have a real voice in deciding issues of major importance to them such as how their children are educated, how police and public health are provided, and how to protect biodiversity and resource systems they value. A polycentric approach that maintains governance arrangements at multiple levels by nesting small communities in larger and larger units is an essential aspect of self-governance.