Vote for the Solon Challenge - Week of Jan 27, 2009

What are the most important problems of our time? Some would look at the shrinking rivers, the lifeblood of seventy percent of the planet’s population, and say, global warming. Considering that 150 million died in the past century’s wars, and the specter of nuclear and biological weapons promises to quadruple that number in the next 100 years, others contend that terrorism/war is our greatest problem. Another view looks at the huge number of persons poor, underemployed and hungry and says that this is our most potent time bomb.

Consider, what is the common denominator or attribute to these three positions? Answer: Some kind of reflective hierarchy is required for any orderly solution. That 21st Century organization is the nation state. But we know that over half of the world’s governments are in disarray or suffering growing pains. One must conclude that, whether your favorite problem is pollution, war or the poor, it’s just as valid to say that the world’s greatest problem today is government dysfunction. Only by fixing this predicament, can we have a chance at other resolutions.The Solon Challenge attacks the problem of widespread government dysfunction.


In 2010 the Solon Challenge will sponsor extralegal constitutional conventions in ten nations. This exercise will examine the form of current governments and ask basic questions about how these forms might meet the modern needs of stabile, flexible and reflective government. The project is extralegal because it is somewhere between difficult and impossible for most nations to have an actual, useful constitutional convention that does not promote fear and opposition from the standing powers.


Using seed money from a Google Prize, an international board will help the ten nations organize their informal conventions using a method (the Reflective) that select delegates by merit and lot.


The international board will be composed of leading world thinkers and constitutional authorities. Each participating nation will have its own oversight board, similarly composed. Test and lot will choose the 2010 convention participants, so that no prevailing bias will dictate the delegate composition or the discussions.


The Solon Challenge will engage the world in a discussion of how nations can either improve their existing systems or move to new models. Within a few years we can expect many to move away from a reliance on a strongman or ritual factions to systems that tap the educated in a kind of routine that improves stability while expanding freedoms.

Details and Methods?

Future posts will flesh out this proposal. You are invited to contribute to the discussions. Send your ideas or comments to: adultdemocracy at the website