Invest in Web 2.0 tools to help people create transparent, flexible, Do-It-Yourself communities. Essentially, we have the technology to create our own communities with many of the benefits associated with cooperation and exchange, such as pooled resources, civic institutions, social capital, and cultural capital. We should use it and education to empower individuals, communities, and society at large.
Although we can do these things already, without extra tools, the idea is that technology can make it simple. Ideally, this simplicity makes it more available with less effort and resources.
This kind of software can ease communication between distant people, maintain transparency, and be flexible enough to facilitate many issues. For instance, it could allow customized governing systems (direct democracy, republics, hierarchies, you name it) tailored to the community, it can automate transparent donation funded capital projects, or even run vote based public works and volunteer projects. With strong enough identification, we can even automate binding contracts that can add security and legitimacy to these projects.
For example, a neighborhood community could create a place to voice local issues and solutions. If ten nearby families are suffering from transportation problems, they use a ride share plug-in to coordinate resources. If nearby businesses and houses are flooded, the community can pool money and bid for a contractor or use online volunteering outreach to repair the area. Whatever people come up with, you can be sure it will strengthen the community and help exercise the constitutive social practices needed to make society work.
Still yet, the communities can be abstract, such as a community of family friends who happen to span five houses across two cities. Perhaps international travel is an important part of the experience they want to give their children, so they discuss making a shared money market account to take advantage of economies of scale, a process technology makes trivial. Moreover, since this community can be transparent, outsiders could look in and offer better solutions, such as discounted flights for large parties or more effective investment opportunities.
Since when did our problems become government problems that we couldn't solve between ourselves? Let's make this a reality and take some burden off our bureaucratic institutions and officials, because when a hammer will do you do not need to go looking for a sledgehammer.
We are not alone, and together we can tackle anything. Let's make the tools to take responsibility back into our hands, and make this investment that will pay dividends towards civic society down the road. This isn't rocket science; this is just computer science and democracy.
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