Today’s top story in the New York times raises a number of questions which should be of interest to anyone concerned with the future of human society.
A few points of particular interest:
“…from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share…wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.”
“Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system modeled in many ways on the culture of the Web.”
One man describes the protesters thus: “They believe life can be more participatory, more decentralized, less dependent on the traditional models of organization, either in the state or the big company. Those were the dominant ways of doing things in the industrial economy, and they aren’t anymore.”
Another woman was quoted as saying “The biggest crisis is a crisis of legitimacy…We don’t think [elected officials] are doing anything for us.”
In short, the global view of democratic government is going to change radically in our lifetime, and in fact this process has already begun. We may find the idea terrifying or wonderful, but whatever new forms democracy may take in future, we can either take part in shaping it, or sit back and let others make those decisions for us.
Either way, we will all have to live with the consequences.