Decision Making

Decision Making in the SIFAplan

Decision-making in this sustainable supplementary economy would involve all participants. 

To illustrate in principle how such decision-making might take place on a global scale, Kooistra applied the inclusive approach used by sociocracy, in which participants grant their consent to each decision. If consent is withheld, the decision must be reformulated. 

Consent must be duly considered and in keeping with the principle “for all and against none, including Nature” and reasons furnished to the group.1

However, sociocracy need not be the only form of decision-making used. Other communities and organizations also have their own traditional inclusive decision-making processes, like the Panchayats in India, as well as the Quakers and the Baha’is on a global scale.

Such decision-making where all have an equal say are the standard norms in groups that function as commons and those which function as cooperatives. It is a part of the Cooperative Identity as set out by the International Cooperative Alliance, with one billion members worldwide.

Selecting the SIFA Development Workers

In the first year, each group of participants in the SIFAplan chooses two local persons to be trained in sustainable development in relation to the SIFAplan. One will be sent back to the area they came from, where they are familiar with local culture and norms. The other is sent to another area with about the same cost of living. 

These development workers will act both as individual consultants to people as later they make their decision on goods and services they personally would want, and also to guide the group decision-making on which goods and services to allow through the SIFAplan. Kooistra emphasized the need for gender parity.

Determining which goods and services may be offered through the SIFAplan

To facilitate inclusive decision-making among groups of approximately 25 people each, Kooistra suggested that each group chooses a man and a woman to be a facilitator and a coordinator. In addition, each group will have two SIFA development workers assigned to advise them.

Once a list of goods and services is decided by each group, the facilitator and the coordinator move up to a higher level of decision-making. At this higher level, each group consists of 20 people plus two development workers, who safeguard the process, but do not have a vote. Each of these groups of 20 people repeats the process using the lists of deeply considered goods and services brought by each from the first level.

Once at this higher level, where a new list of permissible goods and services has been agreed upon, two members of each of these groups move up with their lists of sustainable goods and services to a next level. The decisions made at each level are communicated to the levels below, to explain the new lists that have been made.

This drawing illustrates the sociocratic method of decision-making, with the groups at each level sending one representative to the next higher level, from where they will receive guidance. Kooistra designed a variation on this system, in which each group sends two representatives to the level above.

If 10 billion people were involved in this form of decision-making, which is already used by some world organizations, only eight or nine levels of decision-making would be involved.

The members at each level have three tasks:

  1. to consider the list of goods and services permitted under the plan in consideration by other groups;
  2. to communicate the outcome of their group to the groups below, with reasons why the new list has been made; and
  3. to send their representatives to the level above to repeat the process with representatives from more diverse cultural and geographical areas.

Some advantages of such a form of inclusive decision-making are:

  • A sense of community is formed as such topics are discussed regarding what is best for individual for planetary health.
  • Through these in-depth and well-reasoned discussions, all become familiar with the standards and principles relating to sustainability.
  • Within one year, the number of people conversant with and implementing sustainability standards would skyrocket. This would greatly enhance the achievement of each SDG.

“Sociocracy” is a governance system, just like democracy or corporate governance methods. It’s best suited for organizations that want to self-govern based on the values of equality. Some people refer to sociocracy as Dynamic Self-Governance or simply Dynamic Governance.” (Ted Rau, “Sociocracy – basic concepts and principles”, The system was first introduced by Kees Boeke.