Thursday, March 8, 2007

Wiki Politics

I'm working on a paper today, that I don't know if I will finish in time. The journal Re-Public which is a very neat journal about the future of democracy in the super-connected world of today and, hopefully, also tomorrow.

The journal asks for papers that discuss Wiki Politics - Papers that discuss "the openings for democratic theory and practice" that are created by new technologies like Wikis and other children of the read/write web. Its due by the end of tomorrow, so I don't know if I'll get anything in, but I'd like to take a stab at it.

For understanding Wiki Politics, we first need to decide what a Wiki Political system is, and then to decide what it would feel like for the individual. As it turns out, the answers to these questions are different.

A Wiki Political system refers to a system in which a very large number of individuals participates actively in governance of their society. It requires tools and social mores that enable and encourage every individual to not only accept the opinions and follow the decisions of others, citizens must create opinions to influence others and make decisions regarding the system which governs them. Every individual would be substantially autonomous but would have the inclination, habit and ability to choose to work to support the good of the society. Howard Simeon in 1773 discussed this as the freedom, not from restrictions, but to work for the good of the society. Since then, scholars have discussed this distinction as the difference between the 'freedom from' and the 'freedom to' (Clark 2004)

A Wiki Political system will rely on people understanding their responsibilities to the system as a whole, and to all of its members. "With great power comes great responsibility" (Was that Pres. Bush or Spiderman?)

This is sort of what I want to write about - the ethical and behavioral obligations of individuals in a society of Wiki politics. A wiki society must be one which enjoys diversity, creativity, and nurtures its citizens to teach them the skills and principles necessary for participation.

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