Sunday, September 27, 2009

Democracy 2.0

I've mentioned this a few times.  I need to define the term for you.

Athens established the first modern democracy about 500 years before Christ--yes, there is evidence of several democratic-like governments elsewhere and earlier, but Athens left us written records and clearly influenced ideas and ideals for generations to come.

There have been a large number of improvements to how democracy is done.  The US Constitution, for instance, introduced a large number of wonderful improvements to the operation of democracy--separation of powers, checks and balances, and regular elections, just to name a few.

But in the last few decades corruption appears to have become so ingrained in the way that democracy is done that democracy itself is becoming tarnished.  At the same time multi-national mega-corporations have appeared with their armies of lobbyists and buckets of cash.  More so than ever money equals power and power corrupts.  The great gap between the representatives and the people has fully insulated the representatives from the consequences of their corruption.

Democracy 2.0 is a fresh sheet of paper approach to designing a new form of democracy.  I want to get the outside money out of government--to break the link between money and power.  I want to make democracy responsible to the people again, in a way that is relevant to modern life.

Documenting all of the various forms and structures of democracy over the centuries would be a huge project.  In all reality what I am trying to design is probably something like the eighteenth to twentieth major revision of democratic process--with many minor variations in between.  Instead of working through all of that I am drawing a broad line through human history and declaring that everything that came before is 'version 1'.

Everyone I have ever spoken to about this says that it is impossible.  That doesn't bother me.  It just clearly illuminates the first hurdle that I must get over.  First I have to prove that it is possible.  Then I will prove that the benefits outweigh the costs, even the transition costs.

This is my life's work.

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