An Internet Idea Army. The Upside Of Down

Posted on Tuesday, November 21 at 12:03 by 4Canada
Of course, many people can talk a good line about impending peril. The question is, what are they actually doing about it? Homer-Dixon places a great deal of faith in individuals, in their ability to collaborate, create consensus, and place that consensus squarely in the public realm in a manner that cannot be ignored. He's fascinated by Wikipedia's ability to create an enormous, resilient document of human accomplishment through a collaborative, voluntaristic process where ego and experts aren't given much sway. And he wants to apply that model to key global challenges, like creating a truly meaningful and widely used measure of human well-being and creating useful solutions to energy and climate-change challenges. In part two of a Tyee interview conducted recently in Vancouver, he had this to say about the inadequacy of existing political systems and how we can tap the Internet to foster useful change… Blame it all on Westminster: "I think we have to begin with the recognition that the system is failing pretty significantly. To provide for rapid adaptation, we need a world that is very different from the world in which our political institutions developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. We have practical and empirical circumstances that are very different. People have enormous analytical power available to them. Much more information, more communicative ability, they travel much more. For the most part, as citizens, we are more competent and powerful. Power has moved down the social hierarchy from institutions to individuals. But along with power comes commensurate responsibility. People aren't taking on the responsibilities that come with our increasing role in governance -- self-governance. [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 22, 2006]


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