Postwar periodThe objective of world
peace drivesidealistic thinkers to consider worldfederalism. In the US, a ‘Sense of Congress’motion is passed for ‘strengthening the UNand seeking its development into a worldfederation’.
60s, 70s, 80sSo world federalism
fails. But globalisation takesoff: neoliberal economic ideas and powerfulmultinationals open up the world to marketforces, encouraged by international financialinstitutions.
60s, 70s, 80sIn three decades,
the world sees theinvention of satellite TV, Eurobonds, oilcrises, special economic zones, booms in jetflights, international finance, shipping, andgrowing cultural hegemony...
In the 21st century, policies
must be sought todeal with climate change, economic shocks,pandemics, terrorism, financial risks, tradebarriers, transnational crime (human trafficking,drug trafficking, money laundering), poverty andinequality.The success and democratic nature of thosepolicies can no longer be guaranteed by nationalinstitutions. Too many variables lie outside thescope of the nation state.
“Ours is a world in
which noindividual, and no country, existsin isolation. Pollution, organized crime,and the proliferation of deadly weaponslikewise show little regard for the nicetiesof borders; they are problemswithout passports...Kofi Annan(Then) UN Secretary General
One idea is global representative
democracy – alogical next step from having a local representative,a national representative and, in some cases, aregional representative (as in Europe, andproposed in South America and Africa).
Advocates of global democracyshould abandon
domesticanalogies. Instead, they shouldimagine a ‘non-centralised, non-territorial, non-exclusivesystem’ of governance. Heikki Patomaki (adapted) Professor of World Politics, Helsinki
“The first basic principle toensure
an inclusive, tolerant,respectful and decentralisedworld order is globaldeliberative equality” Anne-Marie Slaughter Professor of Politics, Princeton
“Democracy is about communication aswell
as voting - about social learning aswell as decision making. It is thecommunicative aspects that for themoment can most straightforwardly bepursued in the international system.” John Dryzek Professor of Social Theory and Political Theory, Australian National University
A perfect deliberative environment would
bewhere everyone can access any information.And anyone can converse with anyone else.Where everyone has the power to produceinformation that can be shared instantaneouslyanywhere in the world.
Huge population figures are a
problem forrepresentative democracy (and hierarchicalorganisations in general) – but they strengthenglobal deliberative networks, creating broaderand deeper conversations.
Jakarta Tokyo London Sao Paulo
New York Bandung, Indonesia Paris Los Angeles Chicago Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Singapore Istanbui Osaka Toronto Madrid Rio de JaneiroSeoulMiamiAtlantaHouston
In their idealised* form, microblogsspread
information meritocratically(with varying understandings ofmerit).Everyone has the same format touse, the same ability to mentionothers or repost others’ posts. *problems discussed later
Global disease information used to
be sharedbetween governments via the World HealthOrganisation (WHO). But this meant thatgovernments could hide embarrassing or trade-threatening outbreak information.
ProMED-mail was a simple email
list forepidemiology practitioners to share worldwidedisease news, set up in 1994. It created a networkof professionals who shared the latest diseaseinformation from across the world.
As a result, the nation-state
members had tochange WHO’s rules to allow it to share non-stateproduced information. ProMED-mail ended amonopoly on disease information. It provides morepeople with access to better information, leadingto a safer world.
The Sistema de Alerta de
Desmatamento(Deforestation Alert System) connects activists tomonitor satellite data on rainforests. It has thepotential to become a mass collaborative anti-deforestation effort with global benefits.
The project was created by
Imazon, a BrazilianNGO, now supported by Google. As Google’s leadmapper said: “a collaborative monitoringcommunity, powered by the internet, [has] neverbeen possible before.”
Ushahidi (testimony or witness in
Swahili) is a publicmonitoring platform that crowdsources itsinformation. It was invented in Kenya to map election-related violence. Citizens could send SMS and emailupdates to be published on the map. It’s now in usefor all kinds of projects across the world.
This kind of conflict data
used to be the preserve ofintelligence agencies, the United Nations or nationalgovernments. Once anyone anywhere can use thisplatform to contribute information, power shifts tothe information-producing public.
All three examples are really
about participativecreation of knowledge. If knowledge is power, thismatters. But what if you wanted to act on thatknowledge? How does digital democracy result inparticipative solutions or service delivery?For example, the activists monitoringdeforestation can’t actually do anything about itsincrease, right? Because digital collaborationdoesn’t create enforcement mechanisms...
Even this is changing. At
one extreme there isdigital vigilantism: the enforcement of global normsby private actors. ‘Anonymous’ hacked Israeliwebsites in response to the government’s threat toshut down Gaza’s internet access.
Less drastically and with significantly
more activity:offline commitments are inspired by digitalnetworks. Digital communities are funding andsupporting direct action around the globe. A rangeof new platforms is making this easier than ever.
The classic ‘earthrise’ image is
thought to haveboosted ‘global’ movements. It helped peoplevisualise themselves as members of one home –a single shared space, without borders.
Now, with digital social networks,
we canvisualise not only the shared space, but ourconnections with people. There are one billionpeople on Facebook. The average path betweenany two of them is just 4.3 friend ‘hops’.
But private companies will have
to be moreopen too. They are increasingly subject toconsumer control. “social production is reshaping the market conditions under which businesses operate.” Yochai Benkler Professor, Harvard Law School Author, ‘The Wealth of Networks’
Digital democracy might suffer from
a tyranny ofthose who show up. Who really has the timeand energy for this stuff? Is Wikipedia ademocratic information platform when only0.13% write it?
But the transparency afforded by
digital mediaenables a record of who did what. The nature ofdigital communications makes it easy to keepcommenting, debating, editing and re-editing.Reputations matter.
But smart users can get
around censorship usingproxy servers. And ‘netizens’ will develop simpleacts of ‘everyday resistance’ – vocabularies ofdissent, codewords and underground discussions.There have been, and always will be, ways toescape censors.
Ultimately, it’s the numbers. China
might call in thearmy to monitor microblogs, but they’ll still nevercontrol hundreds of millions of internet users. Inthe long run, the people win.
Do notions of solidarity or
allegiance change in the digital space? Do digital social networks reduce a sense of otherness and boost cosmopolitan identity?
Do notions of solidarity or
allegiance change in the digital space? Do digital social networks reduce a sense of otherness and boost cosmopolitan identity?How are all languages and cultures engaged in a global deliberation and participation space?
Do notions of solidarity or
allegiance change in the digital space? Do digital social networks reduce a sense of otherness and boost cosmopolitan identity?How are all languages and cultures engaged in a global deliberation and participation space?Can open internet access, literacy and a robust digital infrastructure be ensured for all?
The Internet was developed in
the 1960s. TheWorld Wide Web, which allows information to belinked globally and viewable through a browser -was only created in 1991. In the two decades since,we’ve experienced a slow-burn revolution. Imaginewhat another two decades might do.
Earth sunrise/Moon earthrise: NASA Tahrir
Facebook: rouelshimi Imazon screenshot: GoogleProtestor: murplejane All-seeing eye: cobalt123 Frog silouhette: ggaliceUNPA emblem: UNPA Notepad: melstampz Amazon rainforest: CIFURStarlings: Elsie Esq. Chain link fence: Thomas Hawk Network: sjcockellStopwatch: wwarby Euro Parliament: Xaf Security Council: riacaleAthens/Pnyz: : qwqchris Mathematical shape: Melisande World Economic Forum: WEFWestphalia: Gerard Ter Borch Napster: pasa47 Yochai Benkler: arcticpenguinKant portrait: v Wikipedia A-M Slaughter: personaldemocracy LazyCat: Nicola AlbertiniThe Crucible: drurydrama H1N1 Virus: AJCann (CDC) Internet World Map: Jeff Ogden1914-1918: yeowatzup Avian Flu Sign: Incessant Flux Internet truck: ALEMUSH1939-1945: Kaptain Kobold WHO speaker: US Missn Gva Internet switch: Mike LichtUN Charter: UN Photo Facebook world; Facebook via dullhunk1999 Battle in Seattle: Steve Kaiser Love(Heart)Peace: israellovesiran.com Number on wall: Pink SherbertPosters: Freestylee Library: 96dpi Incoming tide: Tim DonnellyOccupyResist: Devon Shaw Crowd: Alex Kess Olympic Stadium: Nick WebbGeorge Monbiot: v Wikipedia Lobby: SEIU International CERN NeXT: coolcaesarAnnan TV: Dark Inertia Johan Galtung: Manipulating LightJoe Nye: dsearls Wall St English: futureshapeRichard Falk: UN Geneva