David Duffield

Denver, CO, United States

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David Duffield
Posted over 3 years ago
Why don't we use technology to have a real Direct Democracy?
Ok so I've studied a little on how technology can improve democracy and most of the arguments focus on improving the deliberating process. Consider that Democracy is essentially a consensus building process through open communication. If so then the more people deliberate the more consensus is built and thus the more efficient the system of consensus becomes. The first sort of mass communication technology was the book, newspaper, radio, television, internet etc. etc. With each advance democracies have communicated more and more. Other bloggers are right to comment that direct democracy, like the ancient athenians using black and white shards, or our using cell phones have one problem - they represent feeling more than reasons. Direct democracies are more reactionary, less deliberative, than representative democracies. The inherent flaw with direct democracy is a lack of judgments and rationale. In terms of decision making process direct dems make less sense for long term planning. So whatever tool - tv, internet, radio - we have for deliberation, our outcome depends on how we use it. If the technology allows for greater consensus building - arguing out differences, coming to agreements, or even creating new arguments - this is good. If for instance people could en masse vote for bills and laws etc. on their cell phones or any personal electronic devices the problems of long term planning begin to crop up. Users, citizens, people, whatever we call ourselves - participants of a system have to have a more logical, bigger, long term picture before correct decisions can be made. Regardless, there is a tendency within any media, democracy or system for power and control to get concentrated in fewer hands - e.g. diminishing returns. Internet tools could go the way of tv and get owned by a few companies or newspaper and get wiped out with some new tech. I suppose the argument boils down to one question - what kind of democracy and government do we want?