The Origins of the Idea
The origins of sociocracy began in the mid-nineteenth century with French philosopher Auguste Comte who had developed sociology, the study of people in social groups. The root word for both “sociology” and “sociocracy” is the Latin, socius, which means associates or companions. The suffix “-ology” means the “study of” as in archeology, psychology, etc. The suffix “-ocracy” means “to govern,” governance by associates, companions.
Why a Sociocracy?
Following almost a century of political revolutions in which monarchies and aristocracies were overturned or stripped of power, Comte was searching for a rational basis for government. Governance on the basis of inherited rights, personal wealth, religious dictates, and military power had all proven corruptible and not in the interests of the people.
Comte had developed a philosophy called “positivism” in which knowledge is based on what is known of the natural world, of what could be proven and not what a monarch or the church decreed. He believed that a society governed by scientists could use scientific method to decide the best social and economic policies.
Limitations of an Ideal
Sociology remained an ideal, however, because Comte was a philosopher, a theorist. Implementation would need the rhetorical skills of a political critic and an educator.
Next: First Implementation