I gave a short talk on January 15th on political design to a group at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The attendees were folks interested in either/both recent constitution-making efforts or the application of futures to designing governance. Coming out of that session, someone loaned me their copy of the book The Ancient Hawaiian State, looking at the political society of ancient Hawai’i.
Why would a book on political history be terribly interesting to someone like me who should be oriented forward? For the simple reason that any good process for designing new governance systems should incorporate not only explicit explorations of emerging issues and new technologies, but also an explicit review of past solutions that societies have used for governing.
For Native Hawaiians, one of the challenges in putting together a good political design process is in ensuring that past, present, and futures (re)views are more equitably balanced in order to honor the past, learn from it, be critical about what works today, and to be insightful about what new things to adopt, anticipate, and construct.