Monday, October 1, 2007

Digital Democracy

New Zealand has taken a new angle on democracy. Their current legislation is over 50 years old, and just can't keep up with the changing world anymore. It's been in need of a serious overhaul for many years.

So they built a wiki site, and are letting citizens help edit the new laws. At first this may seem a little shocking, but it makes sense. Who all will have a voice in the creation of these laws? Lawyers, taxi drivers, police, jaywalkers, criminals, and most importantly: law abiding citizens. They will ALL have a voice in how the law is written. They won't be just voting for someone that will hopefully have the needs of the people in mind.

Personally I think this is a GREAT thing. The universe may move towards entropy, but society moves toward stability. Humans want to live in safe places, and have laws that keep them safe while not being overly restrictive. But it has previously been impossible to ask EVERYONE for their input on EVERY topic. Allowing everyone to edit the bills that will become laws means that everyone CAN have a say, if they want to.

Of course there are downfalls to such a system. Most notably in my mind is the 'vocal minority' issue. If there is an issue that only a very small group of people actually care about, they can do some rather serious changes because no one else really thinks it's enough of an issue to vote (or edit) against. If the majority of the population is apathetic about a decision and abstain, then the vocal minority can still get the laws changed. Of course, it could also be said that politicians in other forms of democracy are the vocal minority, so perhaps this isn't as big of a problem as I think.

I think it's a very cool idea. I think it has the potential to work out quite well. I applaud New Zealand for being the brave people to take on being the test case for this. I do hope it works; it could make democracy fairer, more honest, and more tailored to the REAL needs of the people. Now it's just time to sit back and see what kinks NZ happens to dig up...

(Inspired by another blog post I read by someone else. I forgot to bookmark it though... but if I find it again I'll include a link here so that you can read their opinions on the idea too)

1 comment:

Blue Sun said...

I found out where I read about this! It of course, was from a blog. Check out his blog here:

I found it (last time, and just now again) by following links on another blog, which can be found here: