Friend Adam Greenfield has been doing some thinking about emergent democracy, and has come up with a ‘conversation starter’ called “The minimal compact: An open-source constitution for post-national states“.
In recognition of the apparent inability of nation states to adequately address and provide for human goals and desires in the twenty-first century, and anticipating that if anything this situation will only worsen, it is desirable to begin thinking about alternatives to this obsolescing structure.
Of interest are alternatives that are designed from the beginning to
- Ensure the greatest freedom for the greatest number, without simultaneously abridging the freedoms of others.
- Permit individuals with common goals and beliefs to act in their own interest at the global level and with all the privileges afforded nation states, even when those individuals are separated by distance.
- Provide robust resistance to attempts to concentrate power, and other abuses of same.
This paper is intended to sketch, however schematically, just such an alternative.
The question then becomes, what kinds of constitutional structures are appropriate to furthering the stated aims in an internetworked, interdependent age? What sorts of arrangements of power between humans can account for the deep variation in beliefs and assumptions among the six billion of us who share this planet, while still providing for a common jurisprudence? What measures can be taken that enhance the common security without unduly infringing on the sovereignty of the individual?
I believe that a useful model for the desired structure can be found in the open-source or “free” software movement.
Essential reading, and packed full of ideas that resonate very deeply with this particular wonderchicken.
Edit : I am both honoured and pleased that Adam has told me via email that “a lot of this was catalyzed by reading what you wrote about Rick. As a former NYer, I shall know 09.11 in the bone for the rest of my days, but when I read about Rick on MeFi it was my most immediate experience yet of…of…of everything to which I want to offer future generations an alternative.”
I believe Rick would have loved these ideas, and it’s a beautiful thing if the tragedy of his loss may in any way have helped this kind of dream reach more people.
Go, read, think.