The Idea of Open-Source Politics and Crowd-Sourcing Leadership


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http://www.mediaroots.org/open-source-politics-an-inquiry-into-the-crowdsourcing-of-leadership/

The hallowed halls of a once respected US government are now filled with the hollow promises of an impotent governing class. In a political landscape riddled with indecision, political pageantry and growing despotism, the people are hungry for a leadership that represents them. Instead, we are faced with a corporatocracy – one hellbent on the consolidation of wealth and power rather than the proliferation of freedom and justice.

Believe it or not, there was a time when representative government worked on behalf of its people, but those days have long succumbed to the political distortions of misguided leadership. Thus, the age old questions remain: If it is possible to revitalize the self-governing power potential of the ‘We the People’, then what might be a viable alternative or how might we augment the current system to provide the proper infrastructure for a change of guard? Perhaps by looking to the revolutionary ideas of the internet and the co-creative force of its users and developers we can begin to find answers to those difficult questions.

One of the groundbreaking ideas that the internet has provided is that of open-source development, which promotes the universal access to a product’s design as well as redistribution of that design. This developmental model set by programmers and software developers exemplifies the highest order of free trade, and serves to utilize the best ideas for the overall benefit of the system. If we are to apply a similar model as the framework for government, we begin to see parallels between open-source programming and the ideas put forth by America’s founding fathers.

Unfortunately, the fundamental ideology of the US political system has been absent from view for quite some time. The growing disconnect between the people and their representatives has led to a lag in public representation, thus resulting in a severe lack of people’s interests and ideas being properly expressed by US legislation and leadership.

A recent example of this contrast is illustrated in the debate over the legalization of marijuana, where an overwhelming public support for legalization has not been echoed by the government, nor the legislation regarding the issue. However, the ‘War on Drugs’ is only one of many examples which illustrates the delay we are experiencing in our current democratic process.

In a world where efficiency and speed are essential to human progress, it’s unfortunate that our legislative powers have become cumbersome and inefficient. However, the internet’s crowd-sourcing concept could provide us with the possibility to facilitate some level of autonomy, where the average individual has the ability to exercise their right to self-representation.

The idea of crowd-sourcing was first referenced by Jeff Howe of Wired magazine, and can be best understood as the purposeful re-appropriation of resources for achieving a particular goal by an indeterminate group of individuals.  Much like open-source programming which relies upon a multitude of contributors, so too does crowd-sourcing rely upon the involvement and contributions of the collective.

There are many examples of crowd-sourcing being used throughout the internet today.  Chemists have crowd-sourced protein folding techniques, YouTube has done so with entertainment, Facebook with different language versions of it’s site, while politicians and artists alike have crowd-sourced funding for their campaigns and projects. If this is a successful tool for science, entertainment and finance, could it also be possible to crowd-source political leadership?

Endless possibilities could present themselves once we focus the “spare processing power of millions of human brains” towards the evolution of political representation. For example, a truly participatory system could unfold which no longer relies upon single individuals to represent the will of many, but instead allows all people to become micro-leaders in a process of collective representation. Although this idea may seem farfetched, it’s not far from the framework that helped to build this country’s political system.

The founding fathers believed that public office should be held by its citizens, to act as contributors as well as beneficiaries in a collective effort to provide society with a fair and just governing body. As we continue to evolve socially and intellectually, it’s the hope that our leadership would incorporate the enlightened ideas of the past as well as those that propel us into the future. If they don’t, ‘We the People’ can and will find ways to represent ourselves through active participation in the political process.

As more and more people wake up to the corruption of the current system and the lack of political reflection on a federal level, passive acceptance of oligarchical rule will end, soon to be replaced by an active contribution in the political progress of this country, and ultimately, the world.

Written by Justin Blush for Media Roots

You can Follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Justin writes for Media Roots News with Abby Martin and you can read more of his content at mediaroots.org

You can also follow the Wax Blog by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

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Bitcoins, Bullion and the Battle for Economic Dominance


Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin Magazine

As the global economy continues to be the topic of interest and concern, the people of the world search tirelessly for an answer to the never-ending  crisis of economic confidence.  Gold has been a safe-haven for many people who fear that the corruption of global government and the mishandlings of our money masters will soon sink the floating currencies of a toppling global economy.  Although gold has served our economic endeavors time immemorial, it unfortunately shares the same trappings of the other controlled currencies within this global economy.  In the case of gold, the fixing of its price is determined daily by five of the most powerful banking institutions in the entire world. These also just happen to be a few of the same banking institutions that have played pivotal roles in the creation of our current financial predicament. Just as gold pricing is fixed by the gurus of modern finance so too are the floating currencies of the world, which find their footing in the foreign exchange market, which relies entirely upon the interdependence of the foreign exchange rates of the day.  In a global community whose faith in financial institutions and governmental guidings is swiftly fading, likewise the controlled currencies and gold fixings of those institutions are fading alongside them as well.  We are left with a single question in response to this declining confidence – If not this system, then what?  Could it be that the answer to that question lies within the ever-expanding and enlightening conversation of the internet?

Over the past decade there has been a revolution happening within the minds of the global citizen.  Each of us, everyday, is being empowered, we are realizing that no longer are our ideas confined to the rhetoric of experts and talking heads, but instead we can be the experts of our own experience.  We are now finally in control of the conversation.  The governments of the world are finding it harder and harder to sell citizens the necessity of representative governance, this is because the people are coming closer and closer to the realization that they can now represent themselves more freely than any corporate shill can. The proliferation of ideas and the empowerment of the average person is all well and good you say, but what exactly does that have to do with gold and floating currencies?

In 2011, Adrien Chen at Gawker wrote an article about an underground website called “the Silk Road” that is facilitating the black market transactions of a budding internet drug trade.  For many people like myself this would be the first time that we would  be introduced to the Silk Road as well as a new currency that was being used on the site called bitcoin.  Bitcoin is a crypto-currency and in addition to being used on the internet for illegal transactions is also being used for many other purposes as well.  Vendors that accept Bitcoin range from the online drug dealer to the local dry-cleaners.  Bitcoin, recently has gained the interest of the global community because of the sudden rise in its value over the past few months.  In January one bitcoin was trading at around $15.00, as of this post the bitcoin is trading at $126.20 on Mt. Gox and over the past few days the price has been perpetually rising.

One of the more interesting aspects of this new currency is that it is not controlled by any government nor banking institution, but rather it is a digital currency that relies upon an open source, person to person, network of transactions.  Bitcoin, in this way is providing a new global currency that is not only free of failing governments and the trappings of global banking institutions, but also mirrors the new paradigm of the internet community which includes innovations such as crowd-sourcing, open-source programming, free file-sharing, etc.  If the internet and the information revolution has taught us anything over the past decade, it is that the decentralization of power has led to an expansion of possibilities and new ideas.

So, in the case of our money, will we merely be destined to be the perpetual purchasers of interest-laden toxic currencies provided to us by the powers that be, or will the future of our financial maneuverings find the freedom that our ideas are only now beginning to enjoy?  Bitcoin, with its promise of anonymity, and its disconnection from centralized banks and governments is providing users with freedom that is seldom experienced in the court of finances and greed.  In the battle for economic dominance, bitcoin ultimately may provide the people with the power and freedom to dictate the strength of their own economy, instead of depending upon the inflationary illusions of our modern money magicians.

Although, Bitcoin very well may not be the answer to our current economic problems, it is a de-centralized currency that’s price is finalized by the free transactions of a global internet community.  If anything, this provides us with a new way of looking at how we handle money and ultimately how we manage the distribution of wealth and power.  Bitcoin is a mark of a new economic revolution, cultivated in the conversations of a cypherpunk community, interested in the freedom and privacy of all people.  Let us continue the conversation.

Just. B.

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If you are interested in learning more about Bitcoin read some of the articles below

& if you are looking to purchase Bitcoin, you can do this by visiting mtgox.com