"This points, we think, to a very clear constructive agenda. To exaggerate a little, it is to see how far the Internet enables modern democracies to make as much use of their citizens' minds as did Ober's Athens. We want to learn from existing online ventures in collective cognition and decision-making. We want to treat these ventures are, more or less, spontaneous experiments10, and compare the success and failures (including partial successes and failures) to learn about institutional mechanisms which work well at harnessing the cognitive diversity of large numbers of people who do not know each other well (or at all), and meet under conditions of relative equality, not hierarchy. If this succeeds, what we learn from this will provide the basis for experimenting with the re-design of democratic institutions themselves."
This is absolutely wonderful. Via
Xavier Marquez originally shared this post:
Cosma Shalizi andmake an epistemic argument for democracy (vis a vis markets and hierarchies). I suspect at this level of generality the question is a bit too abstract – the more interesting questions remain below this level, concerning the scope of each mechanism and the mediation of conflicts at the edges between markets, participatory discussion fora, and hierarchies. Nevertheless, a very interesting piece.
But the economical advantages of commerce are surpassed in importance by those of its effects which are intellectual and moral. It is hardly possible to overrate the value, in the present low state of…