Thursday, January 5, 2012

For your edification.

Or more probably for your amusement as you laugh at my inane ideas. Criticisms would be welcome though. I'd like to bring a few disparate items that have got me thinking. Honeybees, Internet busting legislation and it's alternatives, and the occupy movement. Bear with me.
So, the problem with pretty much any system of government that we have is that they're all open to abuse. Leaders are an essential part of all systems and leaders, sooner or later are open to making accommodations. Here in New Zealand, we've managed to avoid the excesses, but overseas, money eventually worms it's way into whatever system of government is in operation somehow.

There was some work done recently on how hives of honey bees reach a decision. Deciding where to form a new hive that sort of thing. There are parallels with It's remarkably similar to the activity of neurons in our brains (or, at least in primate brains, I'm assuming that means ours as well) during decision making. An interesting thing that. From their research, the researchers generalized 5 suggestions
  1. Create groups with mutual respect and shared interest
  2. Minimize the leader’s influence on the group thinking
  3. Seek diverse solutions
  4. Aggregate the group’s knowledge through debate
  5. Use quorum responses for speed, cohesion, and accuracy
The one that leapt out at me there was was number 2. Two other things bring to mind the minimization of the role of leader. One of which is the recent occupy movement with their general assemblies. This, I will happily admit is the weak point of this theory. As much as leaders are discouraged in the occupy movement, it is still possible for a general assembly to be led. Of the people I know that were heavily involved with Occupy Auckland, all of them left as certain groups started to acquire excessive influence. Something that could possibly be controlled for, but then every form of government has something that must be controlled for.

The other movement that springs to mind, is the open source movement where the effort is again communal, with those initiating the project offering guidance. This did come to mind because I'd just finished reading this. There's a bill going through the American congress at the moment, theoretically to stop online piracy, but it's appeared ready made, probably directly form the motion picture association. It's pretty draconian and if passed, will severly damage quite a few internet based businesses, There's law makers from both sides of the aisle getting a little nervous about it. And one of them is creating an alternative, using an open platform they've vreated. Not in the sense of it's structure, but in it's product. It's a wikipedia type thing where legislation can be viewed and commented upon by anyone as it is created. Which, given the amount of badly written legislation we have, is, I think a grand idea, many eyes catching mistakes and uninteded consequences before it even gets to parliament.

And now he finally gets around to the point. What I'd like to see, just to see how it goes, is a system where leaders are de-emphasized, citizens debate the issue in cells, the decisions of the cells bounce back and forth and eventually decisions get made - like the bees or neurons. And topped off with legislation that is open to all in it's construction. Open source democracy running mostly at the level of the citizen. There would be problems I'm sure, but it would be interesting. I suspect it would make it harder for money to work it's way into the system.

This is of course, entirely whimsical, I'm just interested as to how such a system would play out. Curious. Besides for it to be implemented even on a small scale would require ... leadership.

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