Global Values Update: Alan Tonkin Developing Countries, Democracy & Values

Alan Tonkin

Global map image

Alan TonkinIntroduction
In considering the role of developing countries in the 21st Century there is little doubt that their position on the “values scale” largely determines their relative progress on the economic and social fronts. There are a number of global indicators that can be used including the “Failed States Index 2008” produced by and The Fund for Peace.


The map shown above courtesy of indicates five categories ranging from Most Stable (the top ranking), through Stable, Borderline, In Danger to the lowest level, which is Critical. We have already commented in an earlier issue of ILR this year on a number of countries falling into the Critical position and will now consider the challenges facing developing countries falling into the “In Danger” category.
Some countries falling into the “In Danger” category are those attempting to move into higher levels of stability, while at the same time reducing corruption and building a more open and transparent system of governance. However, there are many that are unable to move from their current position as the values present in the society do not allow for this to happen, certainly not in the short to medium term.
A Process not an Event
The process of becoming more a more transparent and open society is a process not an event and is often slow and interrupted. If we look at history it is clear that as countries and their populations move on the values scale from “collective” to the “individual” the journey can, as in the case of the European and other developed nations, take hundreds of years.
Europe in the 1800’s was a collection of nation states, each fighting for territory and resisting threats on their individual sovereignty. In some cases these states were still monarchies which had evolved over the centuries prior to this period. It was during this time that “Blue Western Democratic Values” began to form in Europe. It should therefore, not be surprising that the values which have developed over two centuries or more can be expected to have reached all nations equally, particularly those in the developing world. This is particularly well illustrated in the graphic below and adapted from the World Competitiveness Report 1992 updated in 2002.

Alan Tonkin

There is a real need to ensure that the “appropriate” governance model be used in developing countries. Generally, developing countries require strong Blue Order leadership as they transition from Tribal Purple and Power Red. Probably the best examples are Singapore under Lee Kwan Yu and China today as it moves into the 21st Century. This is best illustrated in the graphic on “Stratified Democracy” shown below which confirms the findings from the graphic above.
The graphic produced by Dr Don Beck in 2002 using his “values” approach, indicates the appropriate style of political and economic systems appropriate to a particular level of development. In this regard we will show some examples arising from the various levels as indicated in the graphic:

Alan Tonkin

Tribal Purple
Afghanistan and Iraq are good examples of this level of development. At this level the concepts of Western democracy at the Blue Order and Orange Enterprise levels just do not exist as a broad percentage of citizens. This is one of the major reasons why the governments in these countries are not receiving the acceptance and support they require from their general population.
Power Red
This level is characterized by Zimbabwe where the Mugabe Regime has essentially taken over the country. In addition, the bulk of the rural population are located in Tribal Purple and are unable to respond in a way that will allow for positive upward movement.
Blue Order
As countries move into this level there is an element of strong central leadership as in China and Russia. This provides the base for stability and economic growth which is considered to be more important than a fully Western type democratic system at the current stage of development.
Orange Enterprise
This system is characterized by the USA and countries such as Australia. However, there are still strong links to Blue Order, especially in the midwest of the US as well as in Australia.
Green Environmentalism
There are very few countries falling into this system, most of which are in Scandinavia and the more mature states of the EU such as the Netherlands.
It is also important to note that all systems incorporate elements of earlier systems in them. However, the core value is the one that determines the position and overall behaviour of that country. Countries transition from the “In Danger” category as they move their core values from Power Red to Blue Order. Once countries move into Blue Order they are on their way to becoming part of the “global establishment.”
In concluding this short explanation of values and how they influence our world it is important to realise that values only change gradually over time. In addition, values normally change when circumstances become too uncomfortable for people and/or countries to stay where they are. This is the major element that motivates change of either a positive or negative shift up or down the values spectrum (see Annexure A).
It is possible to anticipate the type of change by focusing on the key values present in a particular society or organisation. The GVN WorldSCAN survey allows for the monitoring of the core values over time and the placing of appropriate strategies in place in order to anticipate the leadership models required for the future.

Alan Tonkin
Updated 05 August, 2008

Annexure A.
Some recent graphic examples using cartoons and pictures of the various levels of values as discussed above:
Collective Values Individual Values
Level 2. Tribal Purple
Level 2. Tribal Purple

Level 4. Blue Order
Level 4. Blue Order

Level 6. Green Environmental
Level 6. Green Environmental

Level 3. Red Power
Level 3. Red Power

Level 5. Orange Enterprise
Level 5. Orange Enterprise

Note: The cartoons / pictures shown above are by no means exhaustive but provide good examples of how one can read and map values in the “real world” allowing for real world strategic interventions by leaders at all levels. In addition, we also have our unique WorldSCAN instrument which provides an on-line ability to map values at both the global, regional and local levels.

For further information contact us at or visit our GVN Group website on for more articles and examples.