Can the Internet Improve Politics?

Wedecide
Can the Internet Improve Politics?
Can the internet improve politics? The question and answer are structured in a sequence of steps: (1) Politics is about counting, and the web is good at counting. (2) Politics counts evaluations, and the web is good at evaluations. (3) Political evaluations bear cognitive costs that need to be alleviated through trust, and the web is good at employing trust. (4) Political trust relations increasingly have a general network structure, and the web is good at networks. (5) Political trust relations need to be stored, and the web is good at storing sensitive data. Additionally, the availability to address large option numbers and offline access are addressed.

Contrary to aspects of e-democracy that are simply “nice to have”, steps 4 and 5 point to improvements that are necessary: The web allows for a network-based collective decision making that efficiently fits the necessities of societies that are no longer satisfied with the kind of representation that urges everyone to align to one group for all issues. Individualization and the cultural demands of non-Western societies go in the same direction in demanding a different and necessarily web-based solution to the cognitive-cost problem of democracy.

The paper is in the submission process of a scholarly journal. It can be downloaded from Researchgate or Academia.edu.

Wedecide.ch

Making collective decisions is not easy, and the larger the collective the more difficult.

But efficient collective decision-making processes are a huge public good. In the long run, everyone benefits.

They are, however, not a matter of course. They do not emerge automatically. Although some rather efficient procedures have such a long history that they are sometimes seen as being “naturally” given, all collective decision-making processes have to be introduced, and it is not a law that in any case the first procedure implemented is the best.

Larger collectives make for more individuals to be involved. And for more complex decisions, i.e. more options with more different aspects to be evaluated. Both problems have current solutions, but both solutions can be better.

Wedecide.ch offers improved collective decisions-making processes using network-based collective decision making (NBCDM). NBCDM is a method for making collective decisions using web-based information and communication technologies (ICT) with the four characteristics counting, trusted actor deployment, storage, and retrieval:

Counting: Collective decisions by counting individual support NBCDM makes decisions by counting relative citizen support for options.

TAs: Option support distributions: Self-made or delegated to trusted actors Citizens may determine their option support distributions themselves, or they may trust actors (individuals or all kind of organizations, abbreviated as TAs, trusted actors) who openly provide option support distributions, and arguments for these.

Storage: Continuously stored support of trusted actors Support for TAs is stored electronically in a “voting account” which sends the one vote of every citizen to them in a deliberately fine-grained distribution.

Retrieval: Option support distributions: Derived, inspectable, adaptable For specific decisions, TAs provide option support rankings. They may refrain from doing so, if a decision does not relate to their trusted profile. If citizens do not bother at all about the decision, they are represented by their TAs who forward their support to options. Citizens can, however, inspect the support forwarded from TAs to options, form an own opinion, and either confirm, correct, or completely overwrite their TA-derived option support.

With these four aspects, NBCDM is able to improve all kind of mid- to large-scale collective decision making processes.

Trust storage

Trust storage is the base of new democratic institutions.

Currently, trust storage is a taboo. At every democratic election, we throw our ballot into the ballot box and take back our hand, deliberately destroying the link between our documented trust and ourselves. There have been good reasons to do so. But it is no longer justified that they suppress a progress to lift the taboo. It is necessary to secure trust storage with the best available mechanisms. Even with them, it will not be able to grant 100% security for the secrecy of the ballot, especially when actors who currently benefit from lesser-democratic institutions will aim to hack trust storage. But 99.99% are a good and attainable goal.

And trust storage has huge advantages.

Trust storage allows for a flexible direct democracy. The people bear the ultimate responsibility, so the people shall decide everything they want decide. With storing trust, everyone can decide for every political question whether to engage in an own decision or to keep being represented.

And trust storage allows for actor openness: Not only parties or individual politicians can serve as representative actors. Everyone who is willing to bear responsibility can engage in evaluating options and canvassing for trust.

Trust storage will have to be built up as a distributed electronical system, through a non-profit organization that is self-controlled by its citizen-voters as fast as possible. For reasons of legitimacy, this cannot be a Silicon valley startup to be funded by venture capitalists. Crowdfunding will start soon, and if you are willing to support the project, please send me a mail.

Update: In any case, please read the story of Hu to your kids to feel the energy, and subscribe to our mailing list to be kept posted.

A Déjà-vu – and What Comes Next? Two Steps to Modernity in Analysis, Explanation, and Solution

Head of state assassinations
Head of state assassinations: Comparable dynamics with a distance of 85 years in “West” and “non-West”

With the recurrence of terrorism, economic crises, rising inequality, and more: Why is the current decade so comparable to the 1930s?

I have recently finished, uploaded and submitted a paper that condenses the whole story of the “Two steps to modernity” book into only 16 text pages.

The paper proposes an explanatory model: Modern growth leads to four waves of institutional innovation. Rationality and deliberation are introduced first around and later within organizations, while related institutional changes occur first within organizations and only later on macro level. As in the book but much shorter, this model is confronted with evidence for households/intimacy, work/education, and politics. As macro-institutional changes parallel to those of the 1940s have not yet happened for the current transition, those changes are derived that can be predicted for the 2020s.

You may currently find the paper at Researchgate and at Academia.edu. Please comment and share!

How To Cope With Parallel Challenges: The Analytical Theory of Modernity and Second Modernity

Somewhat tired and perplexed – that was how in 2015 the Western world commemorated the end of World War II seventy years ago.

9-11 and Sarajevo
9-11 and Sarajevo: Just two incidents in a parallel history of terrorism

Challenges as terror, war, and migration, being complex and puzzling no less than those of the 1930s, shatter the former complacency of having built a sustainable world order on the ruins of 1945. Even commemoration has changed its face: Over decades, ever new groups of former victims have been included into remembrance. This year, the usual rituals suddenly reminded how many people currently die.

This parallel of challenges should be, however, more a stimulus than a hindrance. It opens the perspective towards changes necessary to cope with the current problems. Instead of seeing the current challenges as signs of an end of modernity, they can be read as signs for a current transition to a second step of modernity – far beyond what Ulrich Beck discussed thirty years ago. Continue reading “How To Cope With Parallel Challenges: The Analytical Theory of Modernity and Second Modernity”

About the book

2020s vs. 1940s: Two Global Crises in Analysis and Solution [Book cover]
Two Steps to Modernity: Two Global Crises in Analysis and Solution
Have you from time to time had the feeling of a dejà-vu? There are so many things now comparable to the early 20th century, from migration over terrorism to economic crises.

This book shows: this is no coincidence. Understanding that modernity has two steps is a key for understanding world history from the 19th to the 21st century, and shaping it to the better.

In the 2020s, institutional innovations bring a climax of crises as long as innovations in organizations are not yet matched on the macro level, and their solution when they finally do. In the current second transition of modernity, modern interaction principles have been introduced within organizations since 1968, but the general acceptance of individualized responsible linkages in democracy and career development as base for regained stability and prosperity still stands out. Read more!