State of Emergent Democracy

Joichi Ito is heading off to Berlin for the 21st Chaos Communications Congress to speak about the State of Emergent Democracy.

Emergent democracy refers to the internet phenomenon of web-based communications platforms to change the geopolitical landscape to increasingly reflect more democratic principles. It is used in the context of defining a political rift in the current world order between the interests of corporate-run business and the public, and to describe the new abilities of the public to organize as (‘at long last’) realistically capable of trancending the preexisting and established order.




Background information on speaker:
Joichi Ito is someone that I have come to admire greatly for he is one of the few non-corrupted individuals in the corporate world that still fights for what should be in the cyber realm of the Internet. Joi is associated with ICANN, Creative Commons, and other organizations and founder of Neoteny, Infoseek Japan, Digital Garage, and other major players in the communications industry.


With the state of the current Greensboro blogging sphere, I would well-recommend everyone read Joi’s paper on Emergent Democracy. In it, he writes that blogs are evolving beyond the interests of the author. The role of media is to incorporate these ideas and philosophies into their every day practice to initiate a more alternative media.

The balance between what’s relevant and what’s not relevant is culturally biased and difficult to sustain. We need mechanisms to check filters for corruption and weighted perspectives. A variety of checks and balances and a diversity of methods and media can provide the perspectives we need for a balanced view of current events.

Interestingly enough, this is exactly what has happened with the current tragedy in south east Asia with tsunamis that have caused upwards of 21,000 in deaths and bloggers everywhere are gathering to help those in need and keep people informed.

Whether a system is democratic or otherwise, people or groups with power or wealth often see no benefit in keeping the general population well informed, truly educated, their privacy ensured or their discourse uninhibited. Those are the very things that power and wealth fear most. Old forms of government have every reason to operate in secret, while denying just that privilege to subjects. The people are minutely scrutinized while the powerful are exempt from scrutiny.[5] (Dee Hock) We can’t expect support where power and wealth are concentrated, beyond lip service, for greater, truly meaningful citizen participation in governance. Greater democracy requires that we work constantly to build and sustain structures for effective democratic participation.

Simply put, democratic involvement should not require the wealth nor should there be “secret” meetings where certain individuals are slandered. The immersion of blogging should provide a more well informed perspective to whatever event or subject matter.
I find that the concept of emergent democracy should not be foreign to Greensboro since we have been a piece of the pie all along. We have all been fighting for the same cause [blogging community], the same goals [growth of the Triad blogosphere], agreeing with and/or challenging the same bureaucracy that binds this nation together but also allows us to participate in the governance of our society. Strangely enough, different perspectives as shown in the latest of discussions between Greensboro’s finest has shown emergent democracy at work. This is the next step in which all of us will play a part, however significant. Perhaps it is time to show the world that we are a prime example of emergent democracy within the fair Gate City.