The Future of Governance

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Please see Unwisdom of Crowds for an intro into this piece.

Future of Governance

My basic assumption is that the process of governing human societies in cyberspace will ultimately go back to the classical model we have today in the Western world. It may take 10, 20 or 50 years of experimenting with but I believe we will come full circle to what we have today.

I believe that the core governance process that is our democratic process (which is in essence the same basic idea as that invented by the Greeks, with several important innovations built on top of it) is immune to innovation in the short range. This belief applies to our core governance process now and at any given time, i.e. it will always be immune to innovation in the short range. Change in any process that is fundamental to our existence tends to happen every so many thousand years. Our system today is not that different from the system the Greek invented thousands of years ago.

Many would disagree, but in the short range, I don’t believe that we will be successful in changing the core process that is the current process we have today. If we were able to change the system of governance so easily, we would have witnessed a much rapid rate of incremental change by now. It’s simply frozen where it’s at and will be so for many centuries, at the least.

Somewhat related:

  1. Unwisdom of Crowds


Trends, wisdom of crowds, tagging, Startup, mass psychology, governance, cult psychology, Web 2.0, Web 2.0, digg, censorship, democracy, P2P, P2P 2.0, social bookmarking, social networking, Web 2.5, hierarchy

  1. Marc,

    As you know, there are a lot of discussions of your work at the P2P Foundation blog ( http://blog.p2pfoundation.com ). Though I’m positive about your work, I find myself disagreeing that peer to peer dynamics, typical for distributed networks, will be governed by a fundemantally different decentralized balance of power model, based on the loss of sovereignity by individuals and groups. This does not mean that the democratic delegative model will disappear, but that in every case where self-organization of common projects emerges, they will be run by distributed modes of peer governance.

    These modes are explored here at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/index.php/Category:Governance

  2. Michel,

    I’ll be right over to participate in the discussion.

    My view is that the “truth” is “this debate” we’re having. It is in the act of debate. The ideas themselves are very transient as all ideas are.

    Again, the truth is the debate itself and nothing more.

    So I’m very glad that a debate IS happening. For one thing it’s exciting to learn about all the new ideas. I definitely think there will be decades of trial and error, and I happen to think that we’ll eventually come full circle to the model we have today in the real world, with some innovations built around it.

    Massive change in the governance process will only last as long as the experiments do. That is my belief. Change in such a process that is fundamental to our existence and progress tend to happen every so many thousand years, not at once  in such broad manner.

    I’m glad we’re debating it… It makes me more aware of what’s happening. :)


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