I caught up with some old friends from Emmaus Hampshire the other day, and the conversation came around to social injustice, and whether the world ever would change for the better. That’s right – three grumpy old codgers solving the world’s problems!
It’s not the usual doom and gloom though, for there is something that gives me some cause for uncharacteristic optimism. It’s often occurred to me that the ubiquity of the Internet (not only in the Western world) is becoming ripe to bring a major change in the way democracy works. The prospect of technology enabling referenda on virtually everything has intrigued me for a while, but I’ve actually feared it because I’ve tended not to see beyond mob rule. Since when was a lynch mob a desirable model of democracy?
However… the recent battles over ownership of the Internet, or more accurately over electronic intellectual property, have thrown up some interesting developments. I find the emergence of the Pirate Party very interesting. The most mature of the Pirate Parties seems to be that based in Berlin – it has already had some national electoral success. What I find most encouraging about the German party is its espousal of Liquid Feedback. Even a quick skim of the website’s homepage shows that interactive democracy really could have a sound and sophisticated foundation.
Maybe the world isn’t doomed forever to be run by politicians in thrall to big business, big crime and various dogmatic religions.