The emergent democracy paper was scobleized thus:
Here are my thoughts...Robert ScobleNext time I see Joi, I'm going to ask him how his emergent democracy idea will help get radical new ideas into political life. Letting the masses run things is OK, but you don't get the radical innovations that only a small wacky minority sees at first.
Remember, 50 years ago most Americans thought it was OK to discriminate against blacks. It took a radical minority to push the idea through that that wasn't OK.
So, in the paper, I am arguing that democracy should protect the rights of the minority while being governed by the will of the majority. In emergence, for instance in the brain, the trick is to allow diversity to stimulate new ideas and creativity.
In Calvin's theory of how our brain works, he explains that the edges or parts of the surface of the brain which are not adjacent to many other areas is where new ideas form which can come back and influence the rest of the brain.
In evolution and the theory of genetic drift and gene pools, it can be shown that when you have large populations, genes tend to stay more similar and drift more slowly but on islands with smaller gene pools, genes can go wild... like the Galapagos islands.
So I believe the trick is to have the various levels. The radical ideas and the great products come from small groups (the creative layer) to be allowed to work on a diverse set of ideas. When these ideas reach a certain level acceptability, the social level (the early adopters?) picks up the idea and "puts it on the radar." It then gives the opportunity for the idea to take a real shot at the masses. If you think about The Woz, I would say that the Home Brew Computer Club was the creative layer where the idea percolated. Then, Silicon Valley (the social layer) decided to give the idea a try. Eventually, it chanaged the world (the political layer). Many ideas don't make it past the first layer or the second.
What I think good emergent democracy will enable is exactly the kind of thing you are talking about Scoble. Right now most "thoughts" are thunk by experts in powerful positions. Was The Woz, an "expert"? Smoking might not have been intuitive, but it took a huge number of people fighting against Big Tobacco for A LONG TIME trying to break through the resistance that Big Tobacco were able to put in place with their money before this thing was able to happen. Couldn't this have been enabled more easily with emergent democracy where the debate could have captured the hearts and minds of bloggers more easily than the years in court that this took for people to notice?
Scoble... why are comments turned off on your blog?