Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Competent Democracy

"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." ~ Lysander Spooner

We are told we live in a "Democracy" – pardon to those readers residing within nations which label themselves otherwise – which is often most simply defined as "Government for the people by the people," but what does that really mean in the context of our individual lives and our communities as they exist today?

We are given the choice to "vote" for one set of elected officials or another, but how does this action qualify as a form of government where the people – the masses versus a small elite – are the driving force in the decision-making process? Can we really say that we live in a "Democracy" when the creation of our laws are actually authored & enacted by small highly intertwined groups whom have been delegated this power?

Is this all that Democracy is for the vast majority – simply a periodic & narrowly-defined choice of which elites will rule and nothing more???... OR can we envision more advanced & equitable forms of organization which better embody the ideals of governance "for and by the people"? Can new technologies such as the internet, social networking, "crowdsourcing", "open source" among others work in conjunction to more effectively & fairly distribute decision-making and thus vastly increase the wellbeing of society or would such attempts disintegrate into "mob rule" or "tyrannies of the masses"? Are there methodologies – be them scientific or otherwise – available to us that could stave off the dangers of the latter while strengthening the former?

All difficult question indeed, but in these times of increasing uncertainty and concentration of power, all critical to wrestle with if we expect to turn the tide and build communities which will evolve and thrive like never before.

NOTE: At this time this documentary is not available online. It may be rereleased down the road, so check back later. In the meantime feel free to try this instead.

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