Networked Democracy

From: E. Shaun Russell (
Date: Sat Apr 29 2000 - 21:04:24 MDT

This idea has been bounced around in a number of ways, but I see its
implementation as being cost efficient and fairly easy.

Many would agree with me that the current system of government in the U.S.
and Canada is nothing more than an electoral socialism --any eligible
citizen can vote for a party, but has no real say in any important
decisions that party and its legislature arrives upon. Given the obvious
ubiquity of the internet, and all the different facets of secure
telecommunications, could there not be a democracy in the original sense:
power by the people?

I envision a method where the electoral process is basically the same, but
some aspects of legislation are opened up to the general populous of the
country. For example, when a bill is initially presented to the
legislature, that bill could be placed on an internet site for all citizens
of the country to vote on. Each citizen could have a specific number code
(such as S.I.N. number) they would have to enter to ensure that each
citizen only gets one vote per bill. Results would be tabulated within a
certain time period (probably 24 hours) and the bill would be passed or
scrapped on the basis of this true "power by the people."

There are a few arguments I can foresee with this potential "Networked
Democracy" --for one, there is the accessability issue. Most leftists will
argue that the poor will not get equal voting rights due to their lack of
computers. Though this is somewhat true, the availability of public
internet connections is advancing rapidly, and the accessability issue is
only temporary, to be sure.

The other, and perhaps more valid argument is whether or not "power by the
people" is even worth pursuing. The public has a reputation of being
blissfully uninformed, prefering realistic fiction to cold hard fact. The
people in the traditional legislature are usually above-average
intelligence, and have a basic understanding of the legal system. While
appointing a small amount of leaders may limit the truest form of
democracy, perhaps it is better than letting a large amount of uninformed
people make the crucial decisions of the country.

The above idea is truly just that: an idea. Any comments or suggestions
are more than welcome.

E. Shaun Russell Extropian, Musician, ExI Member <KINETICIZE *YOUR* POTENTIAL>

Hear my music at:

"The creation of the future is in the creation of the present"

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