Books to Blog About

My last blog was about saving democracy (7-6-13). Today I am reading my newest book, The Nature of the Future, by Marina Gorbis, 2013. The current chapter I am reading is Governance Beyond Government, which is about a new kind of democracy, going from governance by professionals to governance by citizens. The coincidence of my reading this chapter after my posting my democracy blog is so strong that I am writing this as “A Chapter To Blog About”.

Although in my blog I couldn’t think of any signs that democracy might be saved, after reading this chapter, I now want to add a positive comment to that list.

Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of The Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA., begins the chapter with a best possible future scenario 2021 of new governance in the state of California. The California Constitution was rewritten. The legislature was disbanded and a new system was put in place that called for rotating representation of five hundred citizens from the state. Lobbying had been outlawed by the constitution.

She described this “socialstructed governance” as having four key elements:  rich and open data for making informed decisions; sophisticated decision-support tools for exploring alternatives and uncovering complex interdependencies; engagement platforms for wide citizen involvement and deliberation; and microparticipation of regular citizens in government decisions and delivery of public services.

Here is her statement that impressed me: Is it possible to create a truly participatory governance system given the set of today’s tools and technologies? I think we are at a unique time in our history when these tools will make this vision not only possible but inevitable.

I know this may sound like a “pie-in-the–sky” fantasy future scenario, but it just might be possible. The chapter gives so many positive examples of what is going on in governance throughout the world using these new tools and technology. It gives me a spark of optimism, or at least hope. I want to add this as a sign of how democracy might be saved.

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  1. Gene Unger says:

    Well my friend, good to have back . Making us all think about your thoughts. Well, as usual I am having trouble agreeing with your position. Democracy,our Grand Experiment, is alive and struggling as it always has been.Has it ever been without problems to solve? Your new mentor ,in my view, lacks common sense! Who, without the power of revolution will eliminate the Calif Constitution? Use of FaceBook? Use of Twitter? Add the masses to the decision process of government. Have we been able to inoculate our present government leaders against greed, power lust, and all the rest of mans failings while they govern? Does this picture begin to look like Libya, Egypt , and all the rest of the worlds flailing governments? Europe? Asia? Democracy is messy!!! In our history hundreds of thousands of men and women have died for the chance to live in its messiness. Why does our Democracy succeed? Our faith in freedom and each other to eventually get it right. Why does it need to be messy? Fallible people. Why dies it succeed? Fallible people. More data, more technology? Oh my look what’s happened to the Markets. No one trusts anyone as transactions take place at the speed of light,as they are generated in the darkness of computers! Freedom of speech works for all.Freedom to fail works for all. Faith is available to us all. Turn our government into a metaphor of the streets of Oakland or San Francisco at war with each other?intelligent masses( 500 at large legislators ?) I don’t like the picture. Lobbyists outlawed? Now there is an Idea worth some action! As for me, this gives me gas. I think I will get old tomorrow.

    See you Tues if our world is still running Your friend Gene

    Sent from my iPad

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