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OP/ED: The Fourth Information Age and it's Political Consequences.

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posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 01:30 AM
We have now embarked on what will be known to future generations as the fourth Information Age. The First Information Age, the development of writing thousands of years ago, not only saw the beginning of recorded history, it also heralded the birth of organised government. The second age, the invention of the printing press, was the beginning of the end for theocratic control of Europe from Rome. The Third Information Age, the innovation of the first newspapers, which were nothing more than circulated pamphlets, put an end to absolute monarchy.

The first age created recorded information and put it in the hands of administrators, the second placed it in the hands of the upper and some middle classes classes, the third placed it in the hands of the middle and some lower classes. Each dawning of an age has induced profound change in the way normal people are governed. As greater information is accessed by more and more people systems have had to cede greater powers to the people.

None of this is new, infact you'll find many references to exactly the same phenomena on the internet, including some written by myself. It poses a fascinating philosophical question. If each information age has heralded such profound change and a widenning of the governing base, then what changes can we expect to see as a consequence of this Fourth Information Age, the Internet Age, and what could government look like in fifty years from now ?

Well, I think I may have an answer and the first examples of this could be seen as early as a year but no later than five years. If you live in the U.S.A or the UK then don't expect to see any successful examples in your own country any time soon, your electoral systems are simply incompatable and they can't take advantage of this new approach.

The new innovation will be the birth of the Democratic Dot Com Political Party and it can only be successful in countries with Proportional Representation like Germany (who's next scheduled election is only next year), Holland, and Italy.

The basic blueprint for the Democratic Dot Com Political Party is simple and rather obvious once explained.

1/ A political discussion board is born with a name that sums up it's ethos, for examples sake only we'll call it

2/ also registers as a political party in the targetted country (just for example we'll say it's Germany)

3/ The members of the board discuss and create their own manifesto and elect the members of their board who they want to see on their party list (In Proportional Representation the electorate vote for a party and the percentage of votes they receive reflects the representation they receive in the parliament. The members are selected from a list, the higher up the list a member is the better the chance that that member will become a parliamentarian.)

4/ Board members discuss the issues as they arise and their elected representatives (who are also members) vote in parliament on their behalf.

Within five years I would suggest that such a party with parliamentary representation will exist. Within fifty I would think that it would be quite normal and they would be challenging the traditional political parties for dominance in most countries that have Proportional Representation.

Any thoughts anyone ?

[edit on 24-4-2005 by John bull 1]

posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 05:46 AM
Interesting read.

Scotland has proportional respresentation and they actually have Liberal Democrats sharing power with Labour. So a dot com party wouldnt even come close to suprising those constituents.

Could we expect to see an ATS party in German general elections?

[edit on 24/4/05 by subz]

posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 06:16 AM
Very solid point on the magnitude of the Internet impacting international and national systems. Couple thoughts to ponder though, wouldn't the Internet actually be considered an 8th Information age? (i.e. Telephone, Radio, and Television in that order no less..)

For nations who have a while before another election, now would be the time for it in order to build a rock solid foundation for a given goal. (grass roots) Sure the next few months might only score maybe 20 hits initially, but if it is serious and intended to be a real movement, then by way of webspider, link exchange, and word of mouth in the span of a few years would have quite a strong populace.

I think having the internet as a means of expression is merely the beginning signs of it's infancy. So much more can be done.
I know I've mentioned this in other posts a few times, how far away would 'Network level voting for public office be?
not necessarily web or irc.. perhaps even a nation specific network protocol for internal purposes.. Imagine developments in the area of diplomacy where in a custom and highly encrypted(512-bit crc redundant) peer to peer network topology could allow diplomats from multiple countries to communicate information that would practically be heard nowhere else (save for each nation's leaders)...

Definately food for thought John!

posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 06:21 AM
It would certainly give people a better medium to voice their opinions on the government...they could just flame them instead of protest....I suppose in america it might get a higher voter % because they will have heard more about the party over the net and so be inclined to vote....interesting.

posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 07:26 AM
An interesting concept.

In order for this to become a reality, there would have to be considerable advances in Internet technology. Like it or not, we are primarily visually-orientated beings, and - notably since the advent of television - the manner in which we judge our leaders' honesty and strength of character is largely based on visual and audial cues, such as attractiveness, body language, oratory ability, saxophone playing ability, and so forth. Therefore, in order for a political party that uses the Internet as the medium of communication with its constituency to have any effective power or popularity, it would need to have huge syndicated webcasts and the like, which simply would end up being a fancier version of television.

Continuing with this line of reasoning, the old flag-waving, cheer and holler at every second word political rallies will always be a necessity. If you think these rallies are politicians communicating with the people, you're kidding yourself - they are pure, visual propaganda. We are sheeple when it comes down to it, and we crave acceptance, community and the company of like-minded others. A leader with cheering masses in front of him/her is a very powerful convincer of worth and a force of persuasion to follow, just ask Hitler or Ah-nuhld. A guy in a room with a webcam rings of cult.

However, one advantage of JB1's model would be the opportunity for an increased level of interactivity between these "Internet politicians" and their voters. Imagine a world where you could discuss the electoral issues with party officials on the party's Internet-based forum. Imagine submitting questions to your candidate of choice and having him or her answer questions in a format similar to the "guest speaker" events we have here on ATS. This would be a much needed return to the ancient days of the 'village elders' where we could communicate directly with our leaders. Today's democracy is a repugnant, frustrating farce, where we tick a box to make a one-time choice between two idiots who pretend to give a s**t, and then hope for the best over the next 3-4 years.

[edit on 2005/4/24 by wecomeinpeace]


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