Platform Democracy and Governance
December 13, 2017 11:43 PM Subscribe
Estonia, the Digital Republic - "Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure. Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?"
The openness is startling. Finding the business interests of the rich and powerful—a hefty field of journalism in the United States—takes a moment’s research, because every business connection or investment captured in any record in Estonia becomes searchable public information. (An online tool even lets citizens map webs of connection, follow-the-money style.) Traffic stops are illegal in the absence of a moving violation, because officers acquire records from a license-plate scan. Polling-place intimidation is a non-issue if people can vote—and then change their votes, up to the deadline—at home, online. And heat is taken off immigration because, in a borderless society, a resident need not even have visited Estonia in order to work and pay taxes under its dominion...A systemic approach to deliberative democracy - "The ideal of a deliberative system, then, is a loosely coupled group of institutions and practices that together perform the three functions we have identified – seeking truth, establishing mutual respect, and generating inclusive, egalitarian decision-making. In this section, we describe five pathologies that keep political institutional arrangements from approaching more closely the deliberative ideal in the system as whole: tight-coupling; decoupling; institutional domination; social domination; and entrenched partisanship."
He lit several cigarettes, and talked excitedly of “building a digital society.” It struck me then how long it had been since anyone in America had spoken of society-building of any kind. It was as if, in the nineties, Estonia and the U.S. had approached a fork in the road to a digital future, and the U.S. had taken one path—personalization, anonymity, information privatization, and competitive efficiency—while Estonia had taken the other. Two decades on, these roads have led to distinct places, not just in digital culture but in public life as well.
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