The practice of subsidiarity in order to obtain the optimal solution.
“Every truth goes through three stages. First, it’s ridiculed. Second, it is strongly opposed. And then it’s taken for granted.”Arthur Schopenhauer.
Definition of subsidiarity
The social group organized as a network must strengthen its functioning either because it is becoming more numerous or because it is facing technical difficulties which lead to the use of new or more significant means. We have just seen that, once the objectives and knowledge have been defined in the context of the alliance of opposites, the second stage involves the positioning of solutions or alternatives, the measurement of risks. To define this optimal solution, the group then uses the principle of subsidiarity.
In everyday language, the name subsidiarity is certainly less used than the adjective subsidiary, which is defined in its legal sense as follows: It serves to fortify a main means, which comes to support. The root of the word comes from the Latin subsidium “help, help.”
The subsidiarity principle, as it is commonly defined, corresponds to a political and social maxim that responsibility for public action, when necessary, should be allocated to the smallest entity capable of solving the problem on its own.
For example: justice must be applied in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Decisions taken in accordance with this principle then form the case law: these are interpretations of the law applied to specific cases, specific cases. Jurisprudence is indeed a source of law, a source of help, a source of help for lawyers who seek to understand and implement a legal solution in a litigation or criminal trial.
In politics, the use of subsidiarity is forbidden by the leaders of both economic and theocratic and military power systems. The only help, the only help for the citizens, in a system of power, is to obey, to submit to the dogmas and rules laid down by this ruling minority, without having the right to modify them unless they reach the top of the hierarchy of power. And that is all, so there is no subsidiarity!
However, the issue has again become politically topical when supra-national institutions, such as those of the European Union, want to impose their liberal (capitalist) dogma and technostructure on the member states. The Lisbon Treaty, which incorporates the European Constitution rejected by France (referendum of 2005), thus uses top-down subsidiarity to ask states that encounter a problem to help themselves by applying the liberal doctrine and liberal measures proposed by this Treaty and the European institutions.
The principle of subsidiarity concerns the decision-making process and how to solve problems of purpose and cause. When a group is experiencing difficulties or dissatisfaction and it is unable to identify the optimal solution, to measure the risks, it looks for other groups that are experiencing the same difficulties. Each group will delegate a few members to form a joint study group. Its members will become experts on the issue. Once they have identified the optimal solution and a unanimous decision is reached on this optimal state of knowledge, this group of experts will break up. Members return to their local groups and with this optimal solution, each group will adapt this solution to its local particularities.
Subsidiarity increases the level of competences.
There is an obvious logic to this problem-solving process. Over time and projects, each member of the group, depending on their abilities and interests, will participate several times in these expert groups. There he will encounter training, studies, ideas and negotiations that will raise his level of competence to become a local, regional, national or global expert on a specific issue. A member may also choose the other option, after having participated in a panel on an issue, he or she may choose another issue and thus become more versatile. This means that they can develop a horizontal or vertical competency based on their will or group needs.
Working in groups, traveling to the workplace, meeting with other participants from other cultures and languages, using new computer technologies and using collaborative work platforms will also enable members of these expert groups to acquire horizontal competence in the use of group work and communication techniques.
The human relations built up during these expert groups and these trips will also enrich the network, consolidate the links and establish new opportunities for exchange for projects that will be the extension of the previous ones.
The practice of the principle of subsidiarity is thus one of the best training and skills development schools. The guild remains a vestige of this practice capable of ensuring the development of an important knowledge for the benefit of the social group and of humanity, but it is limited to an educational and training institution because the network organization on the political, economic and social level was destroyed to allow the supremacy of the system of royal and then bourgeois and republican power.
In economic and management management, among the four sources of productivity: economies of scale, new technologies and innovations, structural change, there is the increase in skills. If none of the first three is possible, there is always the possibility of creating additional wealth by increasing the level of competence of economic actors. Thus, in a crisis and recession, the only way to prepare for the future is to continue training efforts to raise the skill level of the labor factor.
Often in the current economic system, little effort is made to raise the level of competence, because leaders who use the autocratic or paternalistic style of leadership favor the gap of knowledge between themselves and their subordinates. Their power in an archaic way still rests on a monopoly of knowledge and the prohibition for their subordinates to encroach on that knowledge.
In France, this is one of the main reasons for excluding seniors: if the argument is that they are expensive, this facade argument actually hides a deeper reason: these experienced employees have the means to challenge the management of their management especially if the latter seeks at all costs to maintain a secular conservatism to defend its prerogatives of ruling minority through an autocratic and above all paternalistic style of leadership. We will have an opportunity to return to this when we study the functioning of our current economic system. The network organization and the functioning of the subsidiarity principle therefore guarantee much better than in a system of power, the general raising of the level of competence among the members of the group.
Participatory management and problem-solving are the foundations of subsidiarity.
This process is, of course, inseparable from the style of participatory leadership and management of the third type according to the expression of Blake and Mouton, management of the third type whose purpose is to create a culture common to the group whose symbol is the behavior oriented 9/9: everything for men and everything for goals and tasks. In short, we find here the behavior of a sports team that is a champion of France, of the world, the behavior of a military commando that succeeds in its mission, of a team of researchers who innovate and implement major innovations. This common culture is, of course, at the opposite end of the social divide between employees and their managers, who are subject to shareholder orders, mainly Anglo-Saxon investment funds.
The functioning of subsidiarity is based on the delegation of power between the group and its future experts, who are mandated to report the optimal solution to the group, and on a project approach developed at local level.
To address the day-to-day malfunctions in a production and distribution tool, problem-solving groups, quality circles, quality improvement groups are operational. They have proven themselves in the industry since the 1950s, first in Japan with the methods of the engineer Deming and then in the United States and Europe. These groups use problem-solving methods to define objectives, collect and select data, measure risk through various calculations of profitability, financial ratios, and track decision using automated, computerized dashboards. These groups are autonomous: they define their objectives, set budgets, decide and put in place means to monitor their decisions and monitor the implementation of their projects. They manage their internal and external communication.
Subsidiarity ascending and descending.
The bottom-up operation of subsidiarity is the basic process in the operation of networks. Groups produce the wealth they need and distribute it among themselves. This presupposes that there is not a group of leaders above them who seek to impose the functioning of a system of power in order to capture all or part of this wealth for its own benefit.
“Never tell people what to do. Ask them what should be done. Their ingenuity will surprise you.” General George Smith Patton (1885-1945).
The most efficient military strategy also uses this human constant: the call to intelligence and imagination. Here we are faced with Herbert Simon’s BMI decision model, with participatory management, the principle of subsidiarity and all these fundamentals that enable the development of network organizations.
The top-down operation of subsidiarity presupposes that there is prior and superior knowledge, capable of providing solutions and progress for the present time. We are here in the presence of the origins of civilizations.
Archeological discoveries, which we will return to later in this first part, show that people have known knowledge that we are still unable to understand and imitate. In the history of our civilizations, the remains of earlier civilizations largely explain the orientation given to our present cultures.
The time of cathedrals, an example of subsidiarity.
At the moment, we take only one example that is still current, even though this organization exists only as vestiges, that of the time of the cathedrals ( between 900 and 1,400, or 1307 and the destruction of the order of the Temple ).
We know that Bernard of Nurcia, around the year 500 at Mount Cassin, undertook to save the ancient manuscripts, mainly the manuscripts of Egypt, and what was left of the library of Alexandria last ransacked by fanatical Christian bishops. To constitute his spiritual movement, Bernard of Nurcie used the knowledge saved from the oldest temple on the banks of the Nile, the temple of Dendérah. Faced with the threat of the popes of Rome, after the year 800, the monks decided to transport these archives to France and after having created Cluny from the abbey of Baume les Gentlemen, the monks worked in this abbey to marry past traditions: from the Hebrew branch with Moses, David, Solomon; from the Greek branch with Pythagorean, Platonic, and Muslim knowledge, branches that Benedict of Nurcia and his order worked on at Mount Cassin; from the Celtic branch then brought by the Christian druids with Pelage, Patrick, Colomban then later Malachie.
The Christian tradition was formed in Cluny and a materialist knowledge spread to translate daily the principles drawn from the divine and spiritual knowledge available for the time. It was at Cluny that the monks decided to use Arabic numerals for calculations, much more practical than Roman numerals. The Benedictine rules are based on the prescriptions of Benedict of Nurcia, who himself adhered to the Cenobite rules transcribed by Pacomius, who lived as a hermit opposite the temple of Denderah and who, following John and Anthony, tried to save the teachings of the priests of this oldest Egyptian temple, one of the key initiators of which was the understanding of Revelation. That is to say, the great cataclysm which cyclically corresponds to the tilting of the earth on its axis to find a new center of gravity, once the forces stored due to the retrocession of the planet in its astral navigation have been evacuated.
The Benedictine movement, with the influence of its abbeys, is a network organization and it is also the oldest European, if not world, enterprise since the year 500, each of the abbeys produces material goods, disseminates knowledge that benefits the entire population to get it out of misery and ignorance: how to preserve wine, cheeses, how to work metals, stones, ensure the dissemination of knowledge, books, etc. This production is profitable and the profits, which are not, of course, maximized, ensure the continuity of the company over the centuries.
The monastic organization is also social: to avoid fragmentation of agricultural land, families use the rule of birthright. But what about other children, especially if the family cannot afford to feed and educate them? The solution of placing the children in the abbeys becomes obvious: they will be fed and trained in trades or arts that will serve the community of monks and the general population. The development of the cities around the abbeys will offer other possibilities to find its place in society. The history of the Benedictine Order, which created the Order of the Knights of the Temple after the First Crusade, is at the origin of the European development and of the current cities.
This ancient knowledge transmitted from Mount Cassin has two characteristics: On the scientific and technical level, it represents the remains of superior knowledge held by civilizations destroyed by the last great cataclysm whose date is preserved in Dendérah through the zodiac of this temple. In political and economic terms, this knowledge is characterized by the rejection of dogmas and power systems and the development of networked organizations: the network of cities along the Nile and throughout the empire. This model of organization has been transposed in Greece with the network of Greek cities and republics.
These networks have developed world-wide trade. As proof, and we will return to this later, the presence of coca in Egyptian mummies around 3,000 BC. The Andes exchanged with Egypt via China because silk is also found on mummies or in the remains of temples. Destroyed in part by the military system of the Roman Empire (but Emperor Augustus had the temple of Denderrah restored according to the original plans), these network organizations were also eliminated by the will of the popes to dominate the Roman Empire and Europe by imposing a religious system and a theocracy in order to supplant the military system of the empire. The theocracy desired by the popes of Rome transformed the life of Jesus into a legend of a son of God able to bring to the new Christian religion the universal dimension that was necessary for the popes to be able to rule the kings and emperors of Europe while the Eastern Empire of Constantinople had separated from Rome. We will return to this story in our third part.
The movement created by Bernard de Nurcie at Mount Cassin thus represents a protest movement against the theocratic organization of the papacy of Rome. The work on the available fragments of ancient knowledge is thus opposed to the new dogmas that interpret the Bible and the Gospels in order to defend the interests of popes who want to secure their temporal power above kings and empires.
The use of subsidiarity by these monastic movements has often been described as “social or militant church” in relation to the church hierarchized around the dogmas of the papacy. This challenge to the theocratic system of power of the Roman Catholic Church developed after the end of the cathedral era and the elimination of the temple order through the Protestant movements that separated from Rome and through the will of the French Republic to exclude any influence of religion in public life. We will return to these conflicts in the third part.
To illustrate how subsidiarity worked in the Middle Ages,
we use two specific examples: the creation of the city of Colmar in Alsace and the spread of cathedral construction in Europe.
The feudal system imposes a particularly servile domination on the populations. The break-up of Charlemagne’s empire following the succession squabbles weakened the central power and allowed the local lords to use their property according to their goodwill and above all according to their greed, their ambitions to eliminate neighboring lords to take the place of their hierarchical superiors. People were particularly vulnerable to such abuses and poverty prevailed in the countryside. Monks who spread knowledge based on freedom, spiritual development and respect for human dignity, were granted the right to found abbeys that would become centers of prosperity.
the city of Colmar
is developed around its abbey, which today is the Unterlinden Museum. But soon this organization will challenge the organization of power and expel the lords from their castles. Around the abbey, people gather who have left their conditions of serfdom. A city develops and after a year of seniority, the new inhabitant is declared free, that is to say that the lord no longer has any right of serfdom over him and that if this lord were to want to recover this person, the citizens of the city would oppose this lord, by arms if necessary.
It is obvious that this movement will quickly expand and make new cities flourish, which have every interest in joining forces to defend these new spaces of civic freedom. Little by little the fortified castles were abandoned on the foothills of the Vosges because the city walls offered much better security and freedom to the people.
In Alsace, the Decapolis.
10 cities will unite in a Decapolis that will negotiate with the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In Northern Alsace, the former empire city of Haguenau will have to deal with Colmar, the most important city in Southern Alsace. Strasbourg, an episcopal city and then a republic, will stand out from the crowd while trying not to be overtaken by this Decapolis. With the maintenance of an army protecting the border, these free cities will be freed from taxes by the empire, which allows the wealth produced to remain on the spot to accelerate local development, especially as this Decapolis will seek to maintain peace in the region by widening its alliances along the Rhine, which avoids the ruinous maintenance of an imposing army. These alliances between cities will develop fairs and markets, allow the export of local products and ensure these cities wealth and prosperity. These free cities will constantly have to oppose the claim of the German electorate princes who will seek to retake these centers of freedom. The end of these free cities came in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia. They would then have to fall under the French royal absolutism.
In economic terms, the rapid development of cities poses the problem of the division of labor. The monks train newcomers to the indispensable jobs but this is not enough to give work to everyone. The monks, educated by the example of ancient Egypt, know that when the earth is flooded by the floods of the Nile, all will work on the construction of pyramids and temples. Alongside the work essential to life and survival, there is the realization of works that raise the standard of living and are passed on to future generations.
The construction of the cathedrals.
The raison d’être of the construction of the cathedrals is to give work to those who come to the city. Where there is sufficient labor to do the work necessary for life and survival, the conditions are in place to enable the works that raise the standard of living and are passed on to future generations. These works are mainly real estate: the ramparts and the fortress, the city districts, the public buildings for hygiene and health as well as for leisure and culture.
The construction of cathedrals is an illustration of the application of the subsidiarity principle. The first tests were done in the Paris region, in Saint-Denis and then in Notre-Dame de Paris, the most populated city at the time. The experts were able to develop the plans and the way to build this first building of modest dimensions. Then each region, depending on the particular characteristics of the stones found there, will adapt these plans to its local particularities and demographic development. The experience gained from each site will serve to push the technical prowess of the new sites further, especially when the stone is harder than the limestone.
We now know that to finance this work and the development of the cities, the Order of the Knights Templar used its fleet to collect money from the mines of Mexico and the Andes. Similarly, the Order of the Temple expanded commerce by establishing a banking network that suppressed the physical movement of wealth used as a means of payment.
This network organization led by monks and knights quickly became the main center of wealth management. About 90% of the land ownership of France’s soil was managed by these network organizations. The royal domain represented only ten percent of this territory. The person who donated his property was assured of being taken care of by an organization that put his knowledge at the service of social progress with its training centers, its hospitals, its means of material production and its policy of redistribution of wealth which guaranteed the elimination of famines and misery. And this is how the common goods developed in the medieval period.
The historical record is well known: By 1300, this network organization had ruined the kings of France. The kingdom was deprived of the resources of this organization in life networks unless it could buy the production. The lands managed by the kings who fed the royal finances were few, about 10% of the country’s surface. The monastic and knight organizations had been exempted from royal tax by the papacy and therefore the 90% of the land of the country fed the wealth of the monastic and knight orders that developed social life and ensured the security and development of education and skills.
After the destruction of the temple order by Philip the Fair, the network organization remained in Northern Europe through the Hanseatic and the Teutonic Knights Order around the Baltic. Here we also find the development of the republics in Northern Italy: Venice, Florence, Genoa, etc. We will return to this in our third part by also presenting the case of the confederation of Iroquois nations whose network organization dates back to the passage of monks en route to Central and South America in the 1300s.
Subsidiarity eliminates poverty and hunger.
We can see from these examples that networking through the use of the principle of subsidiarity manages to satisfy the basic needs of populations by eliminating poverty and famines and that it also manages to give work to everyone by enabling them to participate in the realization of work and in the participation of political life through a local and direct participatory democracy. When individual work becomes superior to the basic needs of survival, this work is used for the realization of works, that is to say, mainly buildings, equipment which will serve the security, comfort of the social group and which will be able to be passed on to subsequent generations through capitalization of the land and artistic wealth.
Not all the cathedrals were completed, and we know that after 1307, the companions took an oath to protest against the destruction of the Knights of the Temple network, to build only one arrow at the new cathedrals as long as royal absolutism remained.
Even today, tourists come to these cities of Alsace to visit the remains of that time of the cathedrals when the cities were free and united in a powerful confederation. When the tourist or spirituality seeker, from the platform of the Mont Sainte Odile sees the spire of the cathedral of Strasbourg and some other free cities of the time of the Decapolis, including at his feet the town of Obernai, this tourist can measure the concrete achievements of descending subsidiarity from the ancient knowledge brought by the Duke of Alsace’s daughter from the abbey of Baume les Dames to this mountain with Celtic vestiges and the culture of megaliths. From this mountain, the ancient knowledge of civilizations flourishing in networks of life, has spread in the plain to this cathedral of pink grace, cathedral color of the day (according to the poet Louis Aragon). We will return in our fourth part to this complementarity between individual and common property and collective property, which we will reintroduce.
The link between top-down and bottom-up subsidiarity is easy to forge.
These historical examples show that it is relatively easy to make the link between top-down and bottom-up subsidiarity. The knowledge held by some through the legacies of the past serves to improve the living conditions of populations because this ancient knowledge coming from former flourishing civilizations organized in networks uses the complementarity between the two sources of knowledge and carries in it the values of peace and love, the culture of the alliance of opposites, the practice of subsidiarity and direct participatory democracy, in short this knowledge places the human being at the center of the social organization. This is necessarily of interest to people who are held back by despotic and iniquitous systems of power.
This ancient knowledge about the alternative of network organization then represents the path of liberation of peoples.
Knowledge and technologies are developed through local projects, the lessons of which are then generalized through other projects adapted to new local characteristics. Each project is designed to improve the precedents. Knowledge is not fixed, it is challenged as it is disseminated and used by more and more social groups. This approach avoids failures and wasted resources.
It is not our intention here to dwell on the symbolic significance of the cathedral, on its social role at the heart of the city, when it was open to commercial and lay occupations and not just religious ones. Without also dwell on the consequences of the elimination of the Order of the Temple, we will only recall that with the disappearance of the fleet of the Order of the Temple, the fleets of the Italian republics, mainly Venice and Genoa, continued trade between the continents, mainly Asia. The thirst for wealth liberated from all control has allowed the families of the wealthiest merchants of these Italian republics to dominate the political life of southern Europe, and we will come to this in our third part.
The taboo of subsidiarity in the French Republic.
Today in French political life, the term subsidiarity is still taboo, especially in the mouths of senior civil servants and politicians who know that the development of a direct local democracy based on this principle of subsidiarity removes the raison d’être of their duties in the service of a centralized state that has not moved in its institutions almost since King Louis XIV and Colbert.
The candidates for the presidential elections, especially those on the left, do not seem to dare to utter this fateful word of subsidiarity and of political, economic and social, cultural solidarity, in order to shake the foundations of our republic and open the door to our desires for the future. Is it any wonder that these candidates are repudiated by public opinion? Moreover, in this month of November 2018, these same elected representatives criticize, do not understand, do not manage to talk with the citizens and the yellow vest movement? Whose fault is it, direct responsibility?
Who wants or does not want to listen to the lawyers who know the principles prohibited by all our representative republics since 1789? Who has already forgotten and written off the 2/3 of the non-quality eliminated in our plants by the quality circles, that is 200 billion francs of reduction in the cost of the non-quality at that time? Should we raise the risk of civil war since the Élysée and Matignon to try to save the furniture of representative republican institutions whose vast majority (more than 2/3) of citizens no longer want?
Rightly, since intuitively, everyone knows that another way of living together is possible and necessary, without elected representatives through an electoral system. Since February 2002 and the launch of this website, the poet, jurist, webmaster who speaks here, has been constantly talking about the means, the aids, the relief that allow us to live much better together at local level then regional, national, continental, world… and the moment came with those and those of other planets, sharing in common, managing our common assets, all these aids and relief without which there is no solidarity, civil peace and flourishing civilization.