CFA is a unique institution. The CFA’s nongovernmental character gives it a flexibility that makes it possible to work in some of the world’s most difficult circumstances, and to respond quickly when there is an opportunity for political change. CFA is dedicated to fostering the growth of a wide range of democratic and development institutions abroad, including political parties, trade unions, free markets and business organizations, as well as the many elements of a vibrant civil society that ensure human rights, an independent media, and the rule of law. The CFA is guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures, and values. Rather, it evolves according to the needs and traditions of diverse political cultures.
CFA operates with a high degree of transparency and accountability reflecting our founders’ belief that democracy promotion overseas should be conducted openly. Democracy involves the right of the people freely to determine their own destiny. The exercise of this right requires a system that guarantees freedom of expression, belief and association, free and competitive elections, respect for the inalienable rights of individuals and minorities, free communications media, and the rule of law.
The concept of democracy is all about collective self-governance. It is about inclusive, disciplined, rich and enjoyable conversation. And it is about community- based decision making and about public buy-in to legislation, which an older generation was far more inclined to accept as edicts from on high.
Humanity has prospered through its ability to act collectively. However, problems with how groups make decisions has led to critical challenges, including economic inequality, climate change, political instability, military aggression, and dwindling resources.
These are the great challenges of our times, and they cannot be solved using the same decision making processes of time’s past.
Democracy has been famously described as the worst system of government, except for all the others. But problems with democracy are becoming more apparent. Concentrations of power, undue influence, factional division, lack of accountability and disengaged citizens are bringing faith in democracy to an all-time low. At the same time, democracies are facing a challenge from technologically sophisticated authoritarian states.
To survive, democracy must use technology to deepen the advantages that group participation and collective wisdom can provide. We need to optimize mobile technology and social networks to access the best available human understanding. We need to integrate our collective intelligence using information technology and big data analytics. We need real-time feedback loops and inclusive, iterative processes that can generate broad consensus and united efforts for effective execution.
CFA was created to improve group decision-making using democratic principles. It harnesses the reach and computational power of the internet to aggregate the intelligence of groups in a fair and broadly supported way.
CFA avoids the polarizing dynamic of majority votes, in which a single “winning” faction holds all the power.
Instead, it uses behavioral science and sophisticated data aggregation to achieve the fundamental democratic principle, “fairness in the distribution of influence.”
CFA allows broad engagement in solving complex problems of planning and public policy. These multi-factor problems can have thousands or millions of scenarios – far beyond the grasp of traditional processes. CFA uses social technology to distribute the task of decision analysis, and then applies tailored algorithms to find decision paths that will attract broad support.
CFA makes scalable, optimized consensus on contentious issues an achievable reality.
Our strategy for social change is to upgrade democracy by providing citizens with the tools to create and participate in democratic processes. CFA helps people and citizen organizations build a public mandate for political change.
We provide free CFA licenses for citizen groups to engage citizens in democratic decision-making on public policy issues.
Upcoming in 2021 we will provide a public API to the CFA Engine, and open source access to the core CFA code for public interest-minded developers to experiment with and build upon.
CFA enables groups to come to collective decisions on political issues ranging from community action to public policy and legislative change. If you or your organization would like to use CFA to build a public mandate for social change, please contact us.