Social media futurism – the perfect government?

It’s widely acknowledged that the advent of social media has completely changed our lives. Friends around the world are closer and always in touch, news spreads like wildfire, and communication is instant. With Twitter being used by more than 175-million people, Facebook approaching 600-million and even LinkedIn with over 70-million, it seems that social networking is an unstoppable force.

The question begs to be asked: Where will all of this lead us? The impact that these services have had on society is unquantifiable, and is exponential. Is it conceivable that, very soon, every adult on earth could have internet connectivity as a basic human right, and that this could change the way societies are governed?

Let’s jump ahead a bit and paint a picture of what the world could be like with continual and unhindered growth of networking.

Current government ceases to exist

The collective online community of a country has replaced government as we know it. Every citizen constitutes the ruling body of the country, and every individual has a say in all aspects of national policy. Anything and everything is voted on, including finance, health, education, and international relations at both provincial and national levels. Social voting networks allow for issues to be easily tallied instantly, and for information regarding those issues to be easily researched.

Gone is the situation where the majority of people get their news from a few, select sources. When a national issue arises, every person contributes views and links to sources online, maintaining an unbiased wealth of information from which the best decisions are made.

“Ministers” will be transitory

In this society, there will be issues that need specific focus by specific people. Take, for example, a national revamping of the road system. An individual, with the correct credentials and clean track record, will be selected to head the development of the roadworks. This person’s salary and all other finances relating to the task will be out in the open, and controlled directly by the people. His performance will be reviewed periodically, and if it is not satisfactory he will be replaced.

Issues like payment for the revamping and upkeep of the roads will be discussed and voted on by everyone, and no decisions would be made that leave the citizen worse off and benefit the few.

After the project has been completed (assuming the candidate chosen was not voted out) they will be relieved of any position in power, and then put back into the pool of candidates for other positions. In this way, power is always transitory, and the ability to accumulate power in this new-found society is limited. Roll in, roll out.

The system will work for the people

The competence and ability of the chosen few to perform designated tasks will always be an open question, beyond any ethical attributes. In this open system, performance, appraisal and appointment will all be dealt with by the collective voting of the people – directly. No one person will have enough power to twist situations to their favour, and the collective will rule.

Potential flaws

There is a real possibility that the people who are not the most competent will not get appointed. Instead, the ones who are the coolest, funnies and most outspoken using social media, will be the ones who are elected into power. Essentially, it all becomes a giant popularity contest. And how much time will citizens be forced to spend on the voting process? Will it impact on their ability to get on with their own tasks?

The balance of power has always been heavily weighted in favour of the “have’s” over the “have-not’s”. For the first time in history, true global collectivism is possible through the power of the internet. How this affects our lives and the lives of others, on a grander scale, is up to us.

As technology and connectivity continue to increase, some of the above scenarios could very possibly be in our grasp. Whether we decide to grasp it or let it pass is in our hands.



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