They that do – rule! The actocracy as a form of governance

There is obviously no perfect form of power-system. At present we praise democracy as the ultimate form of government. The main reason for this is that we have moved from power in a small group (autocracy) to people rule (democracy). But is democracy really the ultimate form of group control? Obviously not. In many hierarchical organizations democracy is directly scorned. Simple examples are the military is an autocratic hierarchy and in operating theaters are dictatorships where the surgeon rules supreme.

Working in voluntary net-based organizations democracy is often seen as a viable alternative. Each member has the ability to discuss and participate. However in many of these groups it is increasingly difficult to gather “the people” and it can even be difficult to ascertain who the legitimate participants are. Even when all the right people are available online the medium itself often leads to endless mailing list discussions which, while promoting open debate can often prevent actual action.

Often in such groups the is an interesting practice which may be defined as an Actocracy. In an actocracy the person prepared to do the work actually steers the movement. In this situation work may be carried out. Naturally an actocracy is not necessarily fair in the democratic sense but as with other forms of government their are checks and balances.