Why is equivalence so important in sociocracy?
Below is an answer (in italics, my emphasis in bold) from François Knuchel on the Sociocracy email discussion list on Yahoo, February 28, 2016:
Because otherwise some become more equal than others, as George Orwell put it.
Because it allows humanity, society and organisations to tap into the inner collective wisdom, which is always better than relying on the perspective of one or an elite of powerful decision-makers.
Because how else can you achieve distributed leadership?
Because if you don’t have equivalence you have already systemically predetermined the direction of decisions on the basis of those with a “more valid views” (more equal?) – who decides whose views are more valid than others, and why?
Because the socius can then resemble the workings of the networked brain – or can someone tell which of their brain cells is the big boss, the master cell?
Equivalence resembles what S. Toyoda called Respect, i.e.. fully respecting the perspectives of every single worker in an organisation, those doing the work. The whole premise of Total Quality Control, for instrance, is that everyone is involved in quality control, not just the inspectors or managers – “total” is a misnomer in English as it is not meant to refer to total control, but to the total workforce.
Equivalence (not equality) is fundamental to collaborative decision-making, and it goes beyond democracy in that people decide on issues rather electing representatives to decide for them and also overcomes the toxicity of majority voting (which in essence at worse means ignoring 49% of people’s perspectives). It goes beyond consensus which is really a kind of pseudo-equality. By giving everyone equivalent voice (in an organisation, circle etc) you allow the organisation, circle to consider all perspectives, rather than deciding on the basis of a few predetermined ones.
The whole point of sociocracy is to ensure equivalence in decision-making, and the point of the consent-based decision making procedures is to demonstrate this equivalence.
I would say equivalence is not just important to sociocracy, it is central.
…. at least in my understanding of it.
Gerard Endenburg on equivalence in sociocracy