Rule by everyone

A principle underlying systems of organisation that asserts that everyone has the right to make and act on decisions about things that affect them and that no one else has the right to take that away from them.

See A Manifesto for Panocracy.

Comparison with other systems

Panocracy contrasts with democracy in that democracy, rule by the people, is based on the idea that there is an entity, the people, which has a common point of view. In democratic systems it is generally held that the view of the majority represents the view of the whole and minorities may have little influence. Panocracy recognises that there are as many points of view as there are individuals and each point of view is equally important.

There are versions of democracy such as deep democracy or participatory democracy that recognise and attempt to correct the limitations of democracy. Some of these involve elements of panocratic working.

Panocracy is an opposite of anarchy, rule or government by no one. Again, though, there are anarchists who see anarchy as being about the rights of the individual and who favour something akin to panocracy.

Individual rights

It is the fundamental right of every human being to act at all times in their own self-interest. This is not a right that is given people, it is the inherent right of each of us.

Acting in our own self-interest is not just the same as being selfish. Selfishness often refers to a child like need to have something, regardless of whether it is in the person's self-interest to have it. However, the charge of selfishness is often used to teach people not act in their own self-interest. "You are being selfish" often means, "You are not doing what I want you to".

Events will flow from whatever we choose to do and the choices we make will have some effect on those events. Acting in our own self interests means making choices which may lead to events, including other people acting in ways, that are in our interests. Usually it will be in our interests to have peaceful and co-operative relationships with others. This is often referred to as enlightened self-interest.

Most people do not recognise that they have the right to act in their own self interest and so give it up or fail to assert it. Most forms of human organisation have acted to coerce people into giving up their right in order that they will submit to the will of authority.

This coercion has been at work throughout people's lives so that submissiveness and dependency are deeply rooted in most people. Even those who rebel do so in response to authority.


The challenge that faces panocracy is one of empowerment. This means helping people to reclaim and reassert their rights. This is the same as helping people towards freedom. Freedom is a state of mind, people are free when they know what choices are available to them and they are able to make those choices.

This is the fundamental reality of the personal being political. Empowerment work may take many forms and be carried out in many different organisations and levels in society. To be effective, though, the work has to touch on and affect the ways in which people relate to themselves.

Government and organisation

Panocracy does not mean that we necessarily have to do things all that differently from how we already do. In traditional revolution everything is changed and in the end nothing is changed, the old order returns with just the names and faces changed. In the move towards panocracy, nothing major may change and yet in the end everything will change.

At first, the main effects will be a change in emphasis. Elections will be seen more as a process of selection, selecting people to do a job of assisting in the ways in which we organise ourselves. These people will no longer be seen as representing their constituents but as being appointed to work on their behalf. They will make their decisions, as in reality they already do, based on what they believe to be best and they will be responsible for the decisions they make.

The other major shift in emphasis will be towards government by consent. The UK in the latter quarter of the twentieth centre has seen a major shift towards government by coercion. The government no longer finds it so necessary to work with people. Instead it decides what is right, and focuses on ways to compel people to obey. If it feels there is a need, it uses control of the media to indoctrinate people and manufacture an apparent consensus.

To give an example, in the 1970's the UK government would only sanction speed limits on roads that were reasonably close to the speeds that most people drove on the section of the road anyway. Now, lower speed limits are being widely applied, together with cameras and obstacles to enforce people to obey them. Perversely people now actually drive faster when they can get away with it.

Another example is in policing. In the 1970s policing was largely by consent. If a policeman wanted to ask someone who they were and what they were doing, they had to rely on the individual's co-operation. Now we have laws to make it an offence not to answer.

There will never be a clear answer to what constitutes adequate consent. It will be a combination of support from most people and the agreement of others. If a minority is sufficiently badly affected then it may be that there is insufficient consent. It may be that a principle will become established in law that a lae will be invalid if there is insufficient consent.

In due course many ways will be developed to involve people in the decisions that affect them and to make decisions that acknowledge that those who are not involved will have all sorts of opinions and be affected all sorts of ways about which no assumptions can be made.

In the end, everything will change.

John Talbut

[ Panocracy ]

Updated 23rd May 2021