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Principled Societies Project

Empowering Community Cognition Through New Societal Systems

Science-Based R&D on New Societal Systems

Climate change, biodiversity loss, income inequality, soil degradation, and other interrelated social and environmental problems together pose grave risks. Progress so far has been incremental, and as a result scientists, global policy experts, and the general public increasingly call for bold change across all sectors of society. At least two kinds of bold change are conceivable, both of which target societal systems (e.g., financial, economic, legal, education, and governance systems) and/or their institutions, policies, rules, and priorities:

  1. Reform of existing systems (for example, various Green New Deal programs)
  2. Transformation, understood as the development of and migration to new, improved systems.

The focus of the Principled Societies Project is transformation. Reform is viewed as an important and necessary complement. John Boik, founder of Principled Societies Project, has proposed a science-based R&D program to create, test, and implement new societal systems that better serve the common good.


A society is viewed as a superorganism that expresses the intrinsic purpose of achieving and maintaining vitality. The systems of a society are understood as a societal cognitive architecture. The goal is to develop new, integrated systems that better facilitate societal learning, decision making, and adaptation (i.e., societal cognition). Our major unsolved problems, like climate change and biodiversity loss, are viewed as symptoms of dysfunctional or maladaptive societal cognition. If we wish to solve these problems, and to flourish, we will need to implement better systems that are designed from the ground up to facilitate healthy societal cognition.

The proposed R&D project represents a partnership between the global science community and interested local communities and other parties. New systems are field tested and implemented in interested local communities via a special kind of civic club. Participation in a club is voluntary, and only a small number of individuals (roughly, 1,000) is needed to start a club. No legislative approval is required in most democratic nations, even at the city level. Individuals can start or join a civic club without authorization. Clubs are designed to grow in size and replicate to new locations exponentially fast. Transformation on a near-global scale is possible within a reasonable amount of time. The project spans a 50 year period, but early adopting communities could see benefits relatively fast. The R&D project is not yet funded.


Participation could offer numerous, even massive benefits to individuals and communities, including higher and more stable incomes; improved problem-solving capacity; increased funding for education, environmental restoration, and other worthwhile projects; and the creation of stable, high-quality jobs in local businesses. By design, incomes for club members rise and equalize over time, regardless of work status, which eliminates poverty and resolves other major problems that arise from income and wealth inequality.

Learn and Engage

Use the menu to browse the book "Economic Direct Democracy," as well as articles and papers, the LEDDA framework, and an interactive simulation model of currency flows in a LEDDA. The most recent work (April, 2020) is a series of three working papers available on the IDEAS preprint server. These represent a maturation of ideas and terminology. Please subscribe to our (low-volume) mailing list. We will use that list to announce developments and opportunities to further engage.

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