In the darkest hours come the light of a new dawn, so is true for the natural cycles of human society. In European history the fall of Rome (450 AD) led to the Dark Ages that culminated with the plagues which killed an estimated 75-200 million people in less than a decade. What followed was the Renaissance that gave us a new birth in art, science, and technology which changed the course of history forever. We are at that same point in the cycle again. Systems that have sustained us for generations are beginning to collapse just as new paradigms are emerging which will carry us into the next exciting chapter of human civilization. If you have been feeling despondent or depressed lately watching the news, this slight change of perspective will re-orient you from focusing on the cold dark night to seeing the warm glow of a new day.
Ask yourself a few simple questions... Is there one single ideology, religion, world-view, or philosophy that holds all the solutions for our current challenges on Planet Earth? Are economic equality, human rights, and environmental ethics practiced in a way that allow for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all? Does government currently enact the will of the people all the time for every policy? If you answered no to any of these questions then you are ready to consider democracy re-imagined. Considering that all democracies in the world were developed before the advent of the internet, what would democracy look like if we built it in a way that took these questions, and our current technology into consideration? It just so happens that some of the brightest minds on the planet are doing just that... and they invite you to join them!
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”― R. Buckminster Fuller
Fake News, fraud, corruption and scandal have become common-place in the end phases of Democracy 1.0. Democracy is about community whereas politics are about power. There is a distinction. What we are witnessing now is what happens when politics and power corrupt democracy causing it to not deliver the shared needs of the larger community. Just as a ripe fruit eventually becomes heavy enough to fall from a tree where it slowly rots allowing the seed within it to sprout, we are coming to terms with the limits of the old paradigm. Welcome Democracy 2.0!
What if you could vote on individual policies instead of political candidates or political parties? What if there was a way to make sure that voting was 100% secure with un-hackable, transparent ballot boxes that are accessible to every citizen? What if there was a way to inspire citizens to participate in the direction of their community, country, and planet without getting hung up on divisive politics? What if there were representatives who did not take any corporate money and only enacted the will of the people on a per-policy basis? This might be hard to imagine but it is already possible and it is on the verge of being implemented. Are you ready to help make it happen?
Adam Jacoby is a father, a 25-year entrepreneur, innovator, and a finalist in the 2016 Singularity University Grand Global Challenge Awards. His role in a movement and a technology platform that is likely to effect the lives of a billion plus people is actually rooted in something simple and common, his children. He began to grow concern that his children, and children everywhere don’t have a voice in shaping the future they will inhabit. So he put his entrepreneurial mind to re-imagining democracy. He began to muse: what if we could rebuild democracy as if it was a useful product on the shelf that everyone wanted and had access to? This is how the community and movement called Mivote began.
“As a parent your main responsibility is to make sure your children are safe.” - Adam Jacoby, Mivote Founder
Community roots and collective ideas make for exceptional innovation. So Adam and others began meeting up at local coffee shops to discuss these ideas. This is where he met technologist, Jamie Skella who began developing a blockchain technology that allows for these ideas to be implemented. He co-founded, Horizon State which developed a secure digital ballot box that cannot be hacked, wherein results can never be altered, and voter identities are protected. This technology is already being used in Australia and about to launch globally for use in collective decision-making by organizations, political parties, multinational enterprises, global NGOs, communities within developing nations, and beyond. With your help spreading the word and calling your representatives, it won’t be long before we see this being used for national elections allowing individuals to weigh-in on individual policies.
“This is set to be a global gamechanger and will soon be adopted by political parties, multinational enterprises, global NGOs and communities in developing countries.” -Forbes, Blockchain Ballot Boxes And Democratizing Distributed Ledger Technology
The Human Element is filled ideals, feelings, individuality, ego-identification and personal allegiances. This is a beautiful aspect of being human but it can become problematic in government. What if a political representative has an ideological belief, ego-identification, or personal (financial) allegiance that contradicts what their constituency wants? When voters like some ideas from one party and some ideas from the other party, they are forced to settle for the lesser evil. What if we could vote issue-by-issue rather than through a political-party-package that has some good stuff and some not-so-good stuff?
The solution to these and other modern political problems can now be solved through this emerging technology. Sometimes our ideas and beliefs are contrary to facts. Meanwhile information is growing faster than any of us can keep up with. Artificial Intelligence algorithms can mine data from the blockchain and aggregate the latest peer-reviewed science, research, and technology from all over the world. All while simultaneously making the process accessible, secure, and transparent to political representatives as well as citizens in real time.
This allows democracy to be focused on goals and problem-solving instead of policy compromises that come from competing interests and political parties. This requires stripping personal egos, and individualism from the system while allowing for real community engagement. In essence this is what a direct democracy nested within a representative democracy looks like.
The governing ecosystem has to work like a forest with each element cooperating within a larger organism to achieve balance. Does the soil compete with the tree? Do the rivers extort rain from the clouds? No. There is a historical, psychological root to why humans struggle with each other and their environment for dominance. As we recognize that this way of being will eventually destroy us, we are beginning to awaken to new possibilities.
I explore the historical, cultural roots to these ideologies in depth here and scientific cognitive bias here. As brilliant as we humans are, we are fallible and easily corrupted from seeing clearly sometimes. We need to be able to utilize technology combined with our larger community to help us think and see outside the box of our own mind. In order to know what is best for the larger natural and human systems that sustain us all we must learn to think collectively and collaboratively.
Mivote shows us the way to a healthy democratic ecosystem. Representatives don’t take any corporate cash, the platform allows them to crowd-fund effectively from individuals instead. Policies are shaped through discussion of peer-reviewed data from around the world instead of individuals’ ideologies or personal/political allegiances. This voting system is inexpensive to deploy, completely secure, and accessible to all. The community network allows individuals to form collectives, and large volunteer bases. How-to tutorials are also built into the ecosystem, which also houses access to best-practices, and vetted educational media. Though the first version of this platform is already in use, version two launches at the beginning of 2018.
Strong democracy depends on an informed constituency. Collaboration allows the best ideas to rise to the surface. Respectful civil discourse and compassionate listening will be important tools as we evolve to meet the challenges of our era. I will be helping to curate content for the new Future of Humanity Facebook Page, and you can find other solutions-oriented writing on my Author Page.
Though we are witnessing unprecedented polarity, dysfunction and corruption in our governing systems, the darkest hour may be behind us. Though we face daunting environmental concerns we are on the verge of immense potential for collective decision-making and action. Just as centuries of violence, ignorance, and sickness gave way to the Renaissance, we are alive to experience the next great changing of chapters for humanity. There is no silver bullet and we may continue to stumble on our way forward. With persistence and dedication our evolutionary leap will come from game-changing technologies, local communities, and self-aware, healthy individuals dedicated to acting compassionately to make a better world for all. Can we count you in?