I've been reading a book by Bruce Stirling, one of the great observers of humanity, where a not too distant future society has all but dissolved. In its place, are smaller, nomadic societies. These societies exist as functioning groups, completely co-dependent. Everyone has a role and a skill that can be used. Government is dynamic and liquid. It exists when it is needed by the community and changes often. Anyone could have responsibility at any time. And, it worked.
I have seen this on a smaller scale in a shorter time frame, but just as effective. The weekend gathering I attended recently was just such a society. Everyone was responsible and everyone contributed.
I believe this is what we are missing in our larger societies. We no longer feel a part of the solution. We have no real recognized responsibilty or skills. Our participation has been reduced to tax payments, and activity we all resent. How do we give everyone the abilty to 'chip in'? How can we all feel like we are part of what we are building? Give us pride in the results? Make us all instruments of change?
There is no doubt that to do this we need to make huge, wholesale change. Governing can really no longer be a career; it needs to be a necessity and one where everyone understands and reaps the benefits. If we can achieve this, I believe we will have made great steps toward effective communities again.