Knut Svanholm


Demoting democracy

Democracy. Does it really work? It has been said that it’s the worst form of government except all others that have been tried but is it good enough? Take global warming for instance. Humanity should probably have done something about this decades ago but our processes are, at best, much too slow. Nothing happens. How big an impact does a political decision really have on our lives? Very small in functioning democracies. It’s hard to criticize democracy though. Even when obvious buffoons are elected there’s really no one to blame. The people have spoken and they very clearly chose the sweet shop owner over the doctor as Socrates predicted. Sure people criticize parts of the democratic methods in various places but you seldom hear criticisms of the very idea of democracy. You can’t really change the system from within the system.

Democracy might very well be the least worst form of governance that humans will ever try but what if governance is the key word here and not democracy? What if we don’t really need governance. Some would argue that the likes of Google and Facebook has had a more profound influence on people’s lives than any political movement over the last few decades. And what ideas have enabled them? Internet protocols, open source software and the declining prices of computing power are propelling us towards the future faster than we think. No Linux, no Android. Micro Economies pop up everywhere and when a centralized system gets shut down it becomes decentralized and thrives. The shutdown of Napster spawned the birth of BitTorrent technologies. The Silk Road is being replaced by Open Bazaar and there’s even a decentralized Uber just waiting for its predecessor to fall. And then there’s Bitcoin.

Democracy won’t change but its power over your life will diminish if you choose to opt out and you can do this on very many levels. Replacing your newspaper with a Twitter feed was just the first step. There are already ways of managing your whole life through your phone. There’s always been a social class wealthy enough to not have to care much about borders. You don’t have to either. Emancipate yourself in every way you can. Promote decentralization. Educate yourself. Your candidate won’t do it for you.

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