There’s a smell of Spring in the air this Fall. With so many countries and cities seeing growing numbers of protesters it seems this is more than just the Arab Spring, and it’s not only the London bridge that’s falling down. Mr. Scrooge has been burning bridges for centuries, in a constant effort to allow political sellouts to corporate giants and interest groups, lower taxes, create tax shelters, hide funds, kill healthcare, Social Security, Medicare, cut down the number of police officers, firefighters, teachers and everything and anything else that conflicts with one of the gods of Mr. Scrooge’s religion, the profit.
On the other hand, technology progress is not only accelerating learning and access to information worldwide, but most politicians still don’t understand what’s happening as they are about to get the deer in the headlights look.
Human interaction with the internet is contagious and amazing because it helps connect, communicate, organize and gain so much more power over tyrants, warlords, thieves, exploiters and bullies in general. Offending people shouldn’t lead to success, but hurting people or stealing from the people should lead to failure and jail time. In the information age all this deviant but frequent behavior is much easier to detect and expose.
Politicians around the world are still used to the “old school” favors and protectionist deals, unaware how transparent today’s present will become in the future. With the constant growth of the available information and its reach deeper into the past and the growing amount of details, it is much easier for the constituents to do the math, read between the lines and reveal hidden political ripoffs, corruption and fraud. This in the long run contributes to setting higher ethical standards and rules of conduct for politicians. Consequentially, this may reinstate a more ethical politician, the one currently on the list of endangered species.
The effect of heightened connectivity is cumulative. The Arabs overthrew some of their old bad guys, but they can overthrow their new guys again if they prove to be bad. I actually wrote this sentence a few months ago, unaware how soon it may reach its realization, which brought me back to finishing this post. The tipping point is easier to reach and it does happen incredibly faster. People are better informed and better organized. The ruling 1% (yes, I am the 99% and here’s why) can’t cut access to information any more like they could 50 or 100 years ago. We live in a transitional period and I believe that the Internet will radically change political representation, elections and the ways bills are brought into life. Have you seen the number of petitions circulating around lately?
What I would love to see and what I believe we will see in the future is an improvement in the way we all vote and/or delegate our votes in the information age. Each and every one of us should have control over our miniscule percentage of each of our representative’s votes. Then whenever we don’t agree with their position and their vote, we should have the right and some short time to move our vote for the particular issue to the opposing side. This way we wouldn’t have to vote everybody out of the office just because of one issue we disagree upon, but we’d establish a better democracy where people not interested in the subject can still have their hopefully expert and well informed representatives vote on their behalf, while the well informed ones could influence the politics on their own without having to run for the office. To me this seems first and most plausible in the Scandinavian countries which are already ahead of us with numerous referendums, but there’s no way to stop the progress, unless the establishment puts up a much more rigorous fight to divide and conquer by suppressing knowledge, which, although censorship still exists and there are attempts to make it worse even in the USA, thermonuclear war aside, I don’t see happening.
With the rapid growth of easily accessible Internet information about anything and everything it is easier than ever to trace and figure out office holders exact behavior through history and hold them accountable for any wrongdoings, so those accepting humongous contributions and favors from yet unknown sources and serving the money instead of their constituents will sooner or later be exposed and voted out. The only way to keep the position of a representative of the people is to realize that the status quo is not the flag to fly, and to recognize that you should serve the voters instead of corporate entities, special interest groups and money itself. The times, they are a-changin’.