Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Ant's Eye View
Rushkoff on "Open Source Democracy"

Douglas Rushkoff, in cooperation with UK think-tank Demos, is publishing a short book next week called "Open Source Democracy". He's giving away a PDF version of the book for free, though, with permission to republish it in whatever format you like, so go nuts. Those of you in the UK can also attend a lecture Rushkoff will be giving in London on the subject.

Looks cool. Creative Commons license and everything. I'm going to read this on the plane back to Japan...


As a practictioner in this space, I was disappointed with Rushkoff's essay. Most of the interesting ideas about internet democracy were first explored in the early 1990s, and I believe the time has come to put these thoughts into action and there isn't a need to rehash the principles yet again.

The title is well and good, "Open Source Democracy", but the book doesn't take on the real questions. What is the core application of internet democracy? How will it be funded? I could go on.

I think that Open Source may have a role in Internet Democracy, but I did not see how this essay pushed the ball forward. If someone feels differently, please set me straight!

"Electronic Democracy" is bogus. The closer one gets to it, the more one realizes it is dangerous.

A lot of people who never get out in the real world, believe what they read on screens, and making decisions that stick? Forget it.

If you can't get out to a meeting, if you can't scare some bureaucrats in the council chamber or some cops in the street or some corporate types with who you're convincing not to buy, and certainly, if you can't get out the vote, you do not count, and you SHOULD not count:

Politics is the management of violence. If you aren't in the street, you're not involved. Your voice doesn't, and shouldn't, have the same weight as those who bother to show up.

For all we know, you're a bot!

Hold on, I don't think I agree with you. I think the virtual supporters of Howard Dean are very real indeed. In fact that my point: e-democracy (or e-politics?) is moving from talk to action.