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Anyone else have thoughts on society mass collaborative government?

Has anyone else been following the trend of mass collaboration spreading to more than just Wikipedia and Open Source Software like Firefox and Linux? Anybody been following examples of shared power being applied to things like the Ebbsfleet United football team that is now coached by the fans at large? Things being accomplished by societies outside of government or corporations? Places like http://www.thepoint.com/ that brings about social change through group action, or http://www.slicethepie.com/ that allows the public at large to sign and support music artists?

The talk of making government more open and transparent?

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This is a very profound change. I am not talking about people lobbying government or outside parties influencing government. I am talking about, in some ways, unbundling and reconstituting what is a government. I will give an example on health care: citizens, if you give them the tools, will do a lot of healthcare. Right now we have a paternalistic approach and companies that have -- right now we have a paternalistic approach in societies that have socialised medicine which is that governments deliver healthcare. Well that is a lot better than the free market approach, where you end up as you have in the United States with 50 million people not being insured and the healthcare costs being approaching 20 per cent of the gross domestic product. But we can move to the next step in the more advanced countries. So for example, when I am born, I should get a web site and that web site is my health record and I control the record and I have complete transparency into what happens in the record and of course there are various levels of security but I get access to all kinds of information and tools that will help me so if I have diabetes I will absolutely take responsibility, if you give me the tools for measuring my blood sugar and possibly even changing my behaviour so that I manage my disease better and this is about getting citizens involved and engaged in the whole process of one critical aspect of government which in many countries is health care.

And:

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Well the old model of democracy -- you vote, I rule -- is inappropriate. It is inappropriate for a new generation of young people that want to be engaged and want to interact more than every four years. They don't want to just be broadcast to -- they want to be involved, in the creation of policy, in catylising initiatives in their communities and so on. It is also inappropriate because the metabolism of economy in a society has sped up. Things happen. A greater periodicity or frequency than every four years and there is a role for people to be involved and engaged in an on-going way. Now, don't get me wrong I am not talking about Ross Pereaux and the electronic townhall -- you get to vote every night on the evening news. That is a bad idea, AKA the electronic mob. Democracy is a lot more than majority rule on a nightly basis. One of the things it is about is protecting the rights of minorities. I am talking about something very different where citizens become engaged so a good example is Habitat Jam. 40,000 citizens came together for habitat for humanity and participated in a three day conversation. Now, if we can do in a with 40,000 people we can do it with four hundred thousand -- in fact IBM did at a jam of all its employees and their families over three days -- but we can also do that with four million and I would argue, too, with 40 million. The technology is becoming possible for millions of people to have a conversation.

If you haven't, go watch US NOW's film on the future of society. It's on their website free to watch: http://www.usnowfilm.com/.

Now, to how much of government do you think this can be applied?

A lot of the government offices have policies where if a member of the public wants to attend a meeting (even a small one between a couple of people), they can.  No one wants to.  I think the reason why mass collaborative government wouldn't work is general apathy.

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You had me at hello.

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A lot of the government offices have policies where if a member of the public wants to attend a meeting (even a small one between a couple of people), they can.  No one wants to.  I think the reason why mass collaborative government wouldn't work is general apathy.

General apathy because people don't care at all, or because they don't feel like they can change anything?

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I think people care, but not enough to invest their own energy.  It's like air pollution.  People care, but would rather have auto manufacturers design more fuel efficient vehicles than give up their SUVs.

Kind of.  I used to live on California's North Coast (in Humboldt County) and people were very involved.  I now live in Southern California and people don't get involved in much of anything.  Perhaps it does have something to do with people feeling like they can effect change, because it seems that in all of the smaller towns in which I've lived, there were more people involved in what was going on.  Or, maybe there's the same number in both places, but because there are more people where I'm at now, they're less noticeable. 

Dunno.

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Yeah, to that end I think there is a maximum size of a community that it will work on. A city of millions does not seem to be in that range...

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Having lived in several different countries and observed several others via their own news programmes, I'd say "mass collaborative government" is a non-starter. Heck, honey, they can't even settle their own regional differences, let alone collaborate on a worldwide scale. Witness the total ineficacy of the UN, the OAS, the EEC and other such "global" organisations. They start out all idealistic but soon the rot sets in and it turns into turf-protecting and pocket-lining.

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