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Hacking democracy: a simple, legal way to put the power in the hands of the people

Literally all the problems in the way we're governed right now are due to the people with decision making power being disconnected from their constituents. No one except those running the military industrial complex want our tax dollars to fund endless war. No one except the bankers want our tax dollars to bail them out.

Occupy wall street, anonymous hacking government emails, peaceful protestors yelling at passerbys on weekends, hundreds of thousands of people signing online petitions, anarchists dropping out of college to go live in the woods, these techniques have not proven at all effective in fixing the broken system. No one seems to want to get to the root of the problem, the power structure itself.

I propose an online direct democracy system that any registered voter can use (not only members of a particular political party) that would allow every citizen in a community to propose, edit, upvote, comment, and vote on legislation that impacts their community. But this system is toothless without the hacking democracy part of my plan.

A person (not a politician) runs for office under the platform that he will exclusively use this decentralized decision making process to make decisions. Imagine that instead of his own brain deciding whether or not to pass legislation, he agrees to submit to the whims of the people. He will still be proposing legislation through this system, but now everyone can. If he has good ideas, the citizens will vote for his legislation. If he doesn't, he can just execute the legislation his constituents come up with.

I have a million bulletproof counter-arguments for any criticism of direct democracy & I have the time to explain them to you, but the most important idea you need to consider is this: we need to incrementally improve the system. No one is going to come up with a plan tomorrow that fixes all of society's problems and instantaneous paradigm shifts aren't practical.

Check out my site: http://hackingdemocracy.wordpress.com

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  • Feb 26 2013: My comments"
    " the people with decision making power being disconnected from their constituents" No. They are disconnected from sanity. A huge difference in my mind. So too are many of their constituents. Most are today Manchurian Citizens who are voting on Manchurian Candidates.

    "No one seems to want to get to the root of the problem, the power structure itself" This is a broken system. It cannot be fixed. It is an unjust system. It lives and thrives on corruption, greed, crime and so on. It cannot be made just. A completely new and just system has to be created, installed and implemented. How does this begin? By following the dictates, commands, wishes and authorization of the Declaration of Independence that tells the citizenry what to do and what a successful culmination of that should result in.

    People will have to be told and educated that most of our lives will have to be dropped and we will all have to pitch in if we are serious about bringing about real change. We cannot keep telling ourselves that we need and want things to change for the better and then keep doing the same ole things that keep the old one running.............out.....of......steam.
    What is more important? The now of your children, or the future? There won't be one if you don't change now. Everyone wants their cake and wants to eat it too. It won't work. It can't work. It doesn't even make sense to think it would work. Change means change. What did anyone think it meant? Chump change?
    It seems your method does involve change in "how we make decisions". This I agree on. It isn't who makes decisions, but how we make them as town, city, county, state, country.
    I believe we must get rid of the monetary system but let's say we don't.
    Decisions then must never be made because of money. Ever. They are almost always the wrong decision because they don't involve doing what needs to be done.
    Things don't....."get done"...... because of money.
    Things........."don't get done"...because of money.
    • Feb 26 2013: >They are disconnected from sanity. A huge difference in my mind. So too are many of their constituents.
      >This is a broken system. It cannot be fixed.

      So what do you propose? Dissolving government and living in tribal farming communes? Killing all the people you think are crazy? While these are legitimate ideas, and they have both been tried in the past, I'm not going to waste my space explaining to you why this is retarded.

      > By following the dictates, commands, wishes and authorization of the Declaration of Independence that tells the citizenry what to do

      Sure is religious in here.

      >Decisions then must never be made because of money. Ever. They are almost always the wrong decision because they don't involve doing what needs to be done.

      If you want to eliminate money, if you want to come up with a new world order where everyone works together, with hacking democracy you can. You just have to come up with a good enough argument for your plan to convince everyone else. Unfortunately for you, merely claiming that "money is the devil" is not enough evidence for people who don't already agree with you.

      It seems to me that you people all think the problem with how we're governed is human nature, not the system we use to govern ourselves. Look, human nature isn't a universal thing. People are always going to disagree on how we should live. Hacking democracy just puts everything to a vote. The reason why democracy caught on so hard in the 1800s is because it's a useful meme. It benefits the societies that use it. The reason why direct democracy will catch on so hard in the 21st century is because it's a useful meme. Direct democracy didn't work before because we couldn't communicate with everyone else on the planet at the speed of light. We didn't have the technology known as the "internet."

      And try to remember, I'm not proposing we exterminate the existing system. This frightens all the people that like the status quo. But even they can handle gradual change.
      • Feb 26 2013: To implement gradual change in a democracy will fail because as soon as the going gets tough the people will take the path of least resistance, what's best for them, a messiah and so on.

        The problem is throughout society not just in the power structure. The people keep electing the same people!

        The American Founders were genius for their time, and there is much we can learn from their original intentions. Thomas Jefferson said there should be a revolution every generation, instead we have been compliant citizens for GENERATIONS.
      • Feb 27 2013: When you cross a stream, you don't make huge leaps. You take small steps from one rock to another. You made a huge leap which indicates to me a degree of brainwashing, which we all suffer from.
        Example: "So what do you propose? Dissolving government and living in tribal farming communes? Killing all the people you think are crazy?" Ultimately though, over time, it has to drastically change.
        We need to take back certain powers from those in power and their power structure.
        Money is power, politics doesn't solve any problem whatsoever, but most importantly we need to hurry and wake up the populace and introduce new ways of thinking, a la what you are suggesting.
        I don't quite see or understand all your proposition but was just commenting on a few things.
        I really believe this system is so broken it cannot be fixed, thus something new has to begin being built and installed and it must be just. This has to mean (to me) that any and all reasons that allow or could allow corruption to exist, must be eliminated ahead of time
        For instance, Jacque Fresco has been working on re-engineering societies for over 75 years. No one else has done anything like this, including you or me. Is his perfect? No, but it is a better start than anything anyone has and many just push it aside because it isn't perfect. So foolish that it implies people no longer think for themselves but have sound bytes they are brainwashed into repeating. It isn't they vote for the same people. It is that they think voting works when it doesn't. It is completely broken.
        your idea feels to me to be very unwieldy, so perhaps I need to understand it's finer details, which I don't yet. Keeping what we have means keeping the bad parts too, and that I think, is foolish, won't work and is exactly what the bad parts want. If we don't get rid of the causes that erode our system and try and fix it with the best looking bandage, we are just fooling ourselves again.
        • Feb 27 2013: We seem to agree on a lot of things. I also believe the existing system is broken, and that humanity benefits from having some sort of system. I'm not sure of your views on various details for governing society, but because you're posting actively on ted.com I would bet that we agree on most other things too.

          It appears that the only thing we really disagree on is how exactly to go about fixing them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it comes off like you believe we need to completely trash all components of the current system. The new system we install in it's place must be pure, immaculate, and infallible, possibly the work of some magnificent genius such as Jacque Fresco. I believe that it will take at least another 30 years before the chosen one saves us from ourselves by inventing the groundwork for a utopian society. I refuse to wait around for this.

          For some reason, this part of hacking democracy isn't clear to many people: it decentralizes decision making power, it's not a new system of government.

          What do politicians do that influences the course of society? They write laws that dictate the flow of societal funds and energy. They could write legislation banning plants that grow naturally (and they did). They could write legislation that puts taxpayers money in the hands of bankers to gamble with (and they did). They could write legislation strengthening the power of the federal government (and they did). They could write legislation criminalizing alcohol (and they did). They could write legislation *undoing the criminalization of alcohol* (and they did).

          There's no reason why they couldn't also write and pass legislation that does the opposite of any of these things. Or why they couldn't write and pass legislation that does anything else. The point of hacking democracy is to give this ability to everyone in society, instead of just the upper echelons with enough money and connections to run for office.

          It's not a band-aid, it's the white blood cells.

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