Global Swadeshi

because one world is plenty

or: How to Pry your Legislative Process out of the Cold Dead Hands of the Legislature, and put it into the Very Live Hands of your Social Network.

Please read and comment. This idea needs eyeballs, comments, and people who want to help write code.

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I posted a short but sweet comment on the blog. I actually wouldn't mind writing code for this project but have other projects I should be putting coding time into.
Remind me why it has any interface to the existing nation state systems at all?

Surely if there are enough people with political awareness to make it work in an existing nation state, they can form a party and get elected by the traditional routes?

I like the tech, but I think that trying to bolt it on to existing political units through the back door is a waste of time. The software could get used for a hundred thousand things now, from deciding where to meet for dinner next wednesday if one has a large group to organize, through to management of open source projects.

All the existing nation state political stuff is, I think, an aside to the core: building software to allow groups to effectively make decisions.
Building software to allow groups to effectively do all sorts of things is actually one of my core interests. Like yourself, I'm not that interested in nation states as their time is clearly passing.
http://seasteading.org has a lot of very cool stuff going on.

http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/global/free-guptastan-583 is my own horse in the new state races :-)
Intriguing. The WSLE proposal has something going for it.

I've been wanting to take a small African nation and kickstart a leapfrogging process that would take it from poverty to 22nd century standards of living and sustainability. Similar things have been done in Hong Kong and Singapore, so there has been some historical precedent, but none on the African continent.
I think once the $1 / watt solar panels come into general availability, it will be pretty easy to get a full-scale technological revolution going in the poorer parts of the planet. Nanosolar is churning out 430 megawatts of panels a year from their first factory at that price, so I think we won't have to wait very long.

http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/life...

Quick and dirty way to map these systems - number of deaths from various causes on the chart, getting bigger in factor ten chunks as you proceed towards the edges. All the infrastructure does one of two things:

* pushes back the Six Ways To Die (too hot, too cold, thirst, hunger, illness, injury)

* produces some service at a cheaper price than without infrastructure

I have an upcoming piece on that model out in a few weeks.

Anyway, what I'm driving at here is that if you design infrastructure from scratch as a whole system, working back from energy capture through to providing the essential services which push back the Six Ways To Die, you relatively rapidly produce a very streamlined infrastructure system that can be scaled back to even very, very low standards of living.

http://files.howtolivewiki.com/TIDES%20-%20Hexayurt%20Infrastructur... - for example

Then plug in the information and communications technology components:

http://guptaoption.com/4.SIAB-ISA.php

http://guptaoption.com/2.long_peace.php

and something interesting happens.

Both of these pieces were written for a US military audience, so the work has been presented in, ahem, a rather different perspective. But you can see all the concepts are there, it's just a question of are they implemented using the US taxpayer's money, or by an free/open source type project.

I'm literally trying to pre-position the ideological and design resources so that when the cheap panels and computers arrive, we can bootstrap the transformation without the customary two-generation delay. But nothing - no force on earth - is going to stop solar panels causing an utter transformation in the lives of the poor, equal to or greater to the first industrial revolution in England, which was (of course) powered by a new energy source - coal.

Solar is the coal of Africa and India and South America and all the other places where people are poor, and live with massive solar resources falling uselessly all around them. When the capture devices become cheap...

... it's showtime.

I think it would be fun to work on an infrastructure upgrade for an African country.
The material from the Gupta Option site reminds me that I should write a lot more than I actually do. Or at least capture a lot of what I say.

The ISA stuff is probably the most comprehensive proposal I've seen along those lines and the only one that seeks to implement biometrics without enabling an intolerable amount of privacy intrusion.

I've never gotten as ambitious as a State In A Box, but have thought a lot about what a Community In A Box or what I call a Community Engine should be like.
I've found it much, much easier to redesign the whole mess as a whole system than to work piecemeal. Obviously that's work in progress, but just maintaining the interfaces to the old systems is enough to junk up the new systems to the point where they barely work because of the additional overheads you have to carry.

It's like all the paperwork around grid-tie solar power: really, fundamentally, that energy should have gone into fixing energy storage, not figuring out how to be back-compatible with a broken system.
Wonderful idea Smári,

yes yes yes. Talk about the transformative power of example.

Vinay says:

Surely if there are enough people with political awareness to make it work in an existing nation state, they can form a party and get elected by the traditional routes? I like the tech, but I think that trying to bolt it on to existing political units through the back door is a waste of time.

Well, forming a party and getting elected by the traditional routes is a possibility, however a very remote one seeing that things are fixed against it.

The important point in my view is that current parliamentary business falls down from the inexpertness of the legislators we have named to make decisions in our stead. They (the MPs) are not able to obtain the real views of people on the issues they are to decide on, and most of the experts they must rely on are put there by someone with a vested interest in seeing decisions go one way or another.

The different electoral and voting system that lets people decide directly (or name the experts they trust to make the right decisions) is what is missing in today's politics.

Shadow governments (and shadow parliaments) are a common political tool of opposition parties to compare how they would do what the government is actually doing.

Of course there would be a lot of work involved in putting this in practice, but the outcome will be - I agree with Smári here - nothing short of revolutionary and transformative.
Well said.

One of the big transformative forces about the internet age, that I haven't seen mentioned much, if at all, is that in theory we can now have each decision made by the person best able to make it. You need an expert opinion, you can fluidly refer to an expert, or find one if you don't know one, and have them tell you what you should do.

That's a radical change, and it's not something that's being systematically exploited, but I think that Smari's direct-democracy proposal really empowers individual experts in their own policy regions. That alone makes it very, very powerful.

We need tools.

Some ok liquid democracy tools are beginning to emerge:

http://www.delicious.com/uniteddiversity/liquid_democracy

 

Mamading, Sepp, Vinay, thanks for good replies.

Vinay is right about one thing in particular - the software has far broader uses than as a governance device for the nation state. The fact that it is ultimately scalable is the key thing - whether organizing a group of ten or a global organization of millions, the system should be able to adapt pretty rapidly.

What is key here is, as Sepp pointed out, that "the different electoral and voting system that lets people decide directly (or name the experts they trust to make the right decisions) is what is missing in today's politics." - and that's what we're talking about building. Step one is we build the software and make it freely available to adaptive purposes.

The second step is to acknowledge that interfacing the existing nations states is just a method to accelerate their downfall. I don't like nation states any more than you do, but I am uncomfortably aware that they currently cover all worthwhile landmass on the planet, and if we really want to make the future viable for local economic independence, we need to replace the nation states. This can be done by traditional means: political tomfoolery, revolution or war, or by more modern means: hacking the system and injecting an exploit.

The latter is my suggestion. The software will be useful even if this fails, but it's at worst a wonderful testbed for a modern voting technology.

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