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Collaborative Democracy

Transition from Representation to Collaboration

The concept of collaborative democracy is simple. It is based on two interconnected fundamental principles of Social Evolution related to two of its most significant aspects: Decision-making mechanism and Social structure.

Firstly – governing of society is mode of making decisions. Becoming more complex, evolving society generates more complex problems and insists higher intelligence, more powerful and complex decision-making mechanism to be ruled properly. So far there are known only two forms of intelligence used as decision-making mechanism: individual and collective. For thousand of years relatively simple Agrarian societies have been ruled by single individual. This is autocracy. Understandably power was inherited. More complex Industrial societies are ruled by more sophisticated collective decision-making mechanism – representative democracy. The history of representative democracy is a history of parliamentariasm. It could be traced back to Magna Carta and almost completed around French Revolution and now is broadly spread across the world. Representative democracy transformed the world from sleeping to digital village. However representative democracy now faces same problems as autocracy in the 18th century – lack of intelligence. Although Industrial societies are very complex compare with Agrarian, forthcoming “post-industrial” or Humanitarian society is even more complex. This is so because currently dominated politico-economic system is “one dimensional”, based only on profit or economic growth and money is world spread religion. Moral is in decline and side-effects of financial capitalism destroy society. Ongoing globalisation generates global problems, which cannot be solved by collective intelligence. Those problems insist higher intelligence and more complex decision-making mechanism. This is collaborative intelligence.

Secondly: Social evolution is a gradual transfer from a hierarchy to heterarchy. In principle simple systems are hierarchically organised, more complex system like, Universe, free-market, Internet and human brain are heterarchical by nature. Not surprising simple societies are hierarchical, more complex societies are heterarchicaly organised. Agrarian societies have complete hierarchical structure by definition. More complex Industrial societies are partly heterarchical. They have two clear heterarchical components – representative democracy and free-market economy. To survive forthcoming Humanitarian society insists complete heterarchical structure. However for society heterarchical structure doesn’t mean “equality” as politicians and economist could assume. It is a matter of using and abusing of power.

Interconnection between both principles – higher intelligence and heterarchical organisation explain dynamics of modern society – emerging of hierarchical politico-economic systems like communism and fascism, collapse and destruction of both systems. Historians could count number of various reasons: political, economic or what so ever, but at the end of the day they both were wiped away due to inadequate decision-making mechanism. Decline of democracy and degeneration to plutocracy; emerging of financial capitalism and corporatocracy, which is the last hierarchy based on possession and control of resources is a completely different politico-economic system compare with earlier stages of capitalism. It generates unsolvable problems by collective intelligence, which in addition is turned down by money masters and corrupted, arrogant and hypocritical power elite.

Although collective and collaborative intelligences seem to be tricky and misleadingly similar, they are very different indeed. Collective decision-making mechanism is based on competing political parties, general elections and elaborated voting system. Decisions are made in favour of majority. In most cases this is thru, but not always. Throughout history collaborative intelligence created folklore, myths and legends, in modern times – science and technology. There are no elections and voting system only self-selection according abilities, skills and expertise. In short, collective intelligence is quantitative by nature based simply on number of participants and decisions are made in favour of majority assuming that majority is right. Collaborative intelligence is qualitative by nature and only best minds could collaborate in an attempt to resolve a problem or contribute to creation of something socially significant. This is collaborative democracy. So, the point is could collaborative intelligence be organised in a manner to solve social problems and make-decisions? How collaborative democracy will look like and works?

For simplicity collaborative democracy could be called “netocracy”. However “netocracy” as higher form of democracy should be disambiguate clearly from a technocratic term “netocracy” coined by the American magazine “Wired” to describe emerging digital “aristocrats”, who supposedly will control future society. There is nothing in common between democracy and aristocracy, apparently noting in common between “netocracy” as collaborative democracy and “netocracy” as a “digital aristocracy”. In fact they are diametrically opposed and totally negate each other.


March 7, 2010 Posted by | Democracy, Society | , , , , , | Leave a comment