Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Demokratia

Not as developed as some other concepts, but still some interesting thoughts.
If you see a problem, PLEASE tear it apart.

The idea of “having your voice heard” goes back thousands of years to the Spartans, who created the Demokratia to quell a 20-year slave revolt in 630 BCE. The former aristocracy split the government in half: they created a small ‘council of elders’ to draft the nation’s legislation, and then created the Assembly (open to any male citizen over 30) to vote on it. The council was elected by the Assembly for life. From 508 - 502 BCE, the Demokratia was adopted by the far more peaceful Athenians. They got rid of the council and gave the ability to both propose and pass legislation to the assembly. The Popular Opinion of the masses, from their prides to their perversions, had found a way to manifest itself: the popular vote. No longer were they forced to accept a tiny few holding the power to legislate in their government. Athens flourished.

With Reddit, we see the same type of revolution happening. In both cases, a new venue for the manifestation of the Popular Opinion is introduced. The Grecian Demokratia allowed this manifestation in the form of a popular vote on legislation, allowing the Popular Opinion to decide legislation. The Reddit system allows this in the form of a popular vote over what information and issues are most relevant to the community, and on what side of the issues the community stands.

What makes the Reddit Revolution different is that, whereas in the Demokratia the Assembly could vote only a binary yes/no, the Internet enables you to precisely measure the opinions of entire communities down to the individual level. Their opinions of what is important are quantifiable and perceptible. With the opinion of the masses having manifested into this a form, a number of things become accessible to the community: the most outstanding of which I believe to be is the vastly increased ability of representative leaders to know exactly what it is their community wants. Conversely, this also gives the community the ability to know when its elected representative leaders are going against the opinion of the majority.

It allows the People to better communicate. It allows those that vote a more neutral and informed perspective. But most of all, it allows the People to better steer their elected, representative government.

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