Network Democracy: restoring the balance with real-time, comprehensive citizen participation across government, democracy and industry
One network could provide comprehensive citizen participation, governance, transparency, wisdom and access to government and industry. Stage 1 would deliver Government Wisdom with a specific focus on collective governance. Stage 2 could deliver broader citizen participation. Stage 3 could deliver build on collective government wisdom and include the democratic process. Additional stages could include industry governance and other aspects of society.
In this article, we will explain how to organise society to achieve real-time citizen participation and contribution in government, industry and corporations. Rather than citizen participation with a single vote for a political party or a yes/no question, technology can enable citizens to participate and and contribute daily on individual issues in industry, government, democracy across any organisation, institution or global project.
The industrial economy, with a ruthless focus on efficiency and power has centralised not only decision making, but also wealth, governance, influence and as a result has marginalised the citizens of each community and society. There is now an expected trade-off of democracy for management - citizens realistically have only 1 chance each few years to have any significant impact on the management of their society. Its is delegation by proxy to a group that then holds the power over when, how that proxy is exercised and even the laws governing the validity of that proxy.
This article outlines the issues, broader than just the democratic process, that are ailing current society, the mechanisms for active engagement with citizens in networks of processes that have appropriate levels of governance, transparency, and meaningful democratic collaboration between functions of government and the citizens who elected them.
These networks of processes and participants are known as “Wisdom Networks”, utilising principles of classification of policy, people, processes and outcomes, and aggregating these into books of common areas of interest. These principles have equivalents in the Internet of Everything where all “things” are connected and can participate in one or more “networks” that are all linked on common internet infrastructure.
4 opportunities or stages for citizen participation across society
The article will explore 4 opportunities for real-time, comprehensive citizen participation in society:
- Government Wisdom: government reduced to “things” in the Internet of Everything. It provides a more efficient and effective means to organise government. It also facilitates transparency and accessibility to every “thing”.
- Citizen participation (or Wisdom): Government Wisdom provides the means for “active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life. Citizens and the community have access to every “thing” in real-time. The initial focus could be governance, decision-making and financial financial “things” across government departments and agencies;
- Democracy Wisdom: real-time distributed community participation, contribution and governance across the process of democracy
- Governance wisdom (industry): this provides the means of distributed community participation, contribution and governance across industry participants. Community review could ensure community interests are also considered.
Collective Wisdom of Government
Government Wisdom is a subset of Network Society. presents an opportunity to achieve a rapid increase in productivity, accessibility, transparency, accountability (including reducing corruption) and citizen participation in Society. The focus within this article is government governance, decision-making and collaboration.
Government Wisdom comes “Over the Top” and links to governance “things” within the Internet of Everything (IoE) across government departments and agencies. It acts as an aggregator of information, but also reveals knowledge and coordinates action toward outcomes. All “things” that embody government can be defined in a single page. Everyone, anywhere can access every “thing” within government.
The following screenshot of the Government Wisdom application shows what government looks like when reduced to things.
Unlimited combinations created quickly by anybody
Every aspect of government can be reduced to things and books. Things across can be combined into books in an exponential number of ways for multiple purposes. Things can be combined in dynamic ways in unlimited combination. You can see how things are connected. This means that knowledge and outcomes can be achieved by simply creating, viewing or things on mobile devices.
The government is reduced to things and books which can be shared with other bureaucrats and citizens. With every thing accessible to everyone everywhere, there is a profound impact upon productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, participation within and beyond government.
Government Wisdom examples:
- Bureaucrat books: each government executives maintains a book which includes a variety of “things” which they must publish. Potential things include personal governance report, expenses, conflicts of interest, projects, policies, polls, etc. The things defined each book can be unlimited.
- Procurement: all things in procurement processes across government can be revealed and collective contribution and effort organised.
- Collective governance, decision making and action: policy or resolution things can be published. Contribution and discussion takes place. A poll is undertaken on the policy. Tasks are assigned a project plan “things” published to focus the wisdom of the community.
- participatory policy making: citizens could participate in policy formulation (discussions, tasks, collaboration)
Citizen Wisdom: participation and contribution
Government Wisdom would allow anyone to participate and contribute to any “thing”, any where in real time. This includes all “things” in government. This might be government governance documents (meetings, resolutions, policies). It could also be “things” outside of government in the community. Citizens could create a "thing" that refers to a hole in the road and assign a tasks to a local council maintenance person.
Citizen participation and contribution examples:
- Participatory budgeting: policy thing can be published. Contribution and discussion takes place. A poll is undertaken on the budget. Tasks are assigned a project plan “things” published to focus the wisdom of the crowd.
- participatory financial and governance statements: financial statement “things” are made available. Contribution and discussion takes place. A poll is undertaken on the budget. Tasks are assigned a project plan “things” published to focus the wisdom of the crowd.
- Citizen initiative to address local issues: a citizen may identify a local issue (ie; a hole in the road). The citizen uses their mobile phone to create a maintenance thing with date, location and photo of the issue. This thing is shared with the local council or bureaucrat directly. The bureaucrat assigns a task “thing” to someone (citizen or government employee). The task appears on the assigned persons mobile device for action. The person completes the task and everyone is notified of its completion. The status of the maintenance thing is available for everyone to review or action.
- Natural disasters: a disaster could be collectively discovered, managed and effort focused with a use of “things” and books crowd created during the disaster by government, NGO’s, citizens and other members of the public. The things that could be created would be the location and condition of each person needing medical treatment, water demand, food demand, electricity grid rectification, disease outbreaks. All this could be gathered using mobile devices in the field. Temporary mobile networks can be created fast across a vast area in the event that existing mobile infrastructure was damaged by the disaster.
Industrial Democracy needs to be rebalanced (ie great citizen participation)
Democracy is defined in Wikipedia as:
Democracy, or democratic government, is "a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity ... are involved in making decisions about its affairs, typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar assembly," as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. Democracy is further defined as (a:) "government by the people; especially : rule of the majority (b:) " a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections."
According to political scientist Larry Diamond, it consists of four key elements:
1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
Extract: One of the greatest deceptions of our time, Harry S Dent, Marketoracle.co.uk, 10th November
With democracy, if those in power abuse that power, they can be overthrown by the majority – even if the majority only has a fraction of the wealth! Try comparing that to the days when the aristocracy, the land-entitled wealthy, and royalty ruled with an iron fist. You can't! I can't emphasize the importance of this enough. The whole system doesn't work if only a few benefit.That's why I'm so concerned. Today, there is no free market capitalism. Central banks have taken it over. They think they can run the economy like a machine. 3% growth, 2% inflation. A recession? Who wants that! Nevermind the fact that economies actually need them to rebalance and to foster efficiency and innovation.
Where does that leave the dynamic play of opposites? The booms and busts? Inflation and deflation? Innovation and creative destruction? Success and failure? But it's not just the central banks at fault. Sure, they've hijacked the free market system. But it's special interests that have taken over democracy. They've created an environment where 50% of the wealth goes to the top 1%... 25% to the top 0.1%... and 13% to the richest of the rich – the 0.01%. There is no middle class. No middle ground. Tell me: how can the generals advance without the troops?
It is only when we realize our system is so broke it cannot be fixed – that we are actually totally bankrupt, or the government hopelessly insolvent, to borrow a phrase Rodney used recently – that we can finally come back to reality... and from there, rebuild it from the bottom up.No politician will endorse this. How could they ever? The only thing that will bring the change we need is the invisible hand... which always prevails in the end. For now, we're perpetuating the most unprecedented bubble in history, and a global one at that. We refuse to allow debt bubbles to burst... financial assets to deleverage... and bring special interests back to reality. This is one of the greatest deceptions of our time. And at this point, pain and reality are the only solution.
Extract: A Study in Plutocracy: Rich Americans Wield Political Influence, the Rest of Us Don’t by John Light, Moyers & Company, August 14, 2014
The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a “non-significant, near-zero level.” The analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policy making process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.
The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.
The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences, “the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater” than their findings indicate.
Restoring the Balance with Network Democracy
Collective government wisdom (government wisdom and citizen participation) can also be extended to democracy. Our society does not facilitate “the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life”, but it can. Democracy is batch processed in which representatives are elected and are then responsible for decisions until the next election. If real-time active participation was facilitated, then it is likely that “the active participation of people, as citizens, in politics and civic life” and encourage or enforce a society “in which laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens”.
The outcome would be a Shift from Industrial Democracy which enables citizens to vote once every few years, to Network Democracy (or Democracy Wisdom) that allows citizen to vote every day on every thing. Citizen Participation would move beyond a vote between 2 political parties to participation, contribution and participative decision-making across any “thing”, every day.
Democracy Wisdom examples
- Procurement: all things in procurement processes across government can be revealed and collective contribution and effort organised.
Collective governance, decision making and action: policy or resolution things can be published. Contribution and discussion takes place. A poll is undertaken on the policy. Tasks are assigned a project plan “things” published to focus the wisdom of the crowd.
- A Democratic election: this is a combination of “electorate” and “poll” things. Each “electorate” has a poll amongst competing candidates.
- Candidate books: Candidates can provide real-time communication, participation and collaboration with people within their electorate. Politicians can publish “policy” things and have an online discussion or poll to gauge voter sentiment. A Candidate book would be a comprehensive statement of every “thing” relating to a politician.
- Politician Book: each politician could maintain a book of things which can contain a comprehensive statement of the past activities, present priorities and future decisions. This includes policies, expenses, financial statements, conflicts of interest, etc. Any citizen could participate and contribute in any “thing”.
Governance Wisdom (Industry)
In an Industrial Economy, corporations are singularly concerned with “profit” and creating shareholder wealth. Decisions can be made, and are made, which damage society and others. Real-time participation by shareholders in some “things” may be appropriate and more efficient. However, shareholders appoint managers to manage corporations and their desire to participate in corporations may be limited to a small number of “things”. Real-time participation by the community in corporations could also be facilitated to ensure alignment with broader community needs and objectives.
Governance Wisdom is a subset of Network Society which organises governance across all institutions. Industry Governance Wisdom has a specific focus on industry. The following screenshot from Governance Wisdom shows governance “things” that can transcend industry. This provides the foundation for shareholder and community participation within industry in real-time.
Distributed industry governance examples:
- Board meetings: BoardBooks enable virtual board meetings amongst participants no matter where they are
- Shareholder meetings: ShareholderBooks provide virtual shareholder meetings and real-time transparency and participation for shareholders
- Transparency: access to governance books can provide transparency to specific individuals, small groups or the community
- Books provide much improved transparency, accountability and accessibility to information concerning a diverse range of organisations within an industry
Restoring the balance
Wisdom Networks restore the balance across democratic processes in government, industry and democracy by providing all citizens with transparent real-time access and the opportunity to participate and contribute. Access and influence were previously only available to a few. Wisdom Networks could be used by an organisation, industry, country or global organisation to organise democratic processes in government, industry and/or democracy.
All sectors in society could be organised democratically
Appendix - Countries and sectors
Wisdom Networks enable all-inclusive citizen empowerment and democratisation across every sector. 100 times more addressable data means 10,000 times more patterns (or knowledge) and "a profound change in the economics of the world we live in".
Network Society empowers every person by organising every “thing” in Society in the “Internet of Everything" (IoE) into shared books, just like people already do with their social lives. Everyone can participate and contribute to every “thing”, everywhere, across every sector in society in real-time via their mobile devices. Network Society organises collective knowledge, collective governance and collective action in real-time. Network Society is “The App” that drives economic and social development across sectors and countries. Our sector pages provide comprehensive information including screenshots and community definitions (in IoE terms).