Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Been searching the web for an opposing or alternative view to all the orthodox center left thinking, and I found a good one. I love this lady's style. She says it all in such an easy dialogue, that it embarasses the many, but I think it's quite a breath of fresh air. She is a welcome addition to those of us fighting for a center left position, or I probably should say, to the rest of us joining her, since she has been espousing these positions for over thirty years or more.

Hazel Henderson is a giant in her field of the leadership in common sense and profound ideas made plain. I think only Molly Ivins can come close to this plain talking lady. Economists and others who fear this wonderful spirit should rethink their insecure positions, and truly embrace her. She is a major spirit the center left really needs.

By Hazel Henderson - {Link}

When Jim Fournier asked me to come and speak at this conference, I soon realized that I had been waiting to be here and play with a group like this for 40 years! Some of you may even remember my electronic democracy scenario from my 1978 book Creating Alternative Futures: The End of Economics, which was an underground best seller before many of you were born. My scenario of electronic democracy was based on an article I did for an early computer magazine FORUM70 in, yes, 1970! My article was titled "Citizens + Computers + Communications = Community" - very similar to the vision we are all sharing today as we consider the work of the Link Tank and The Augmented Social Network. Naturally, I'm psyched to be here!

My scenario back in 1970 was for enhancing the machinery of democracy by linking the power of computers to simulate social conditions and map dynamic complex interactive problems and issues and include feedback from citizens (later examples include SIM CITY, DAISY WORLD and later, SUGARSCAPE, which was a perversion - captured by economists, mathematicians and mis-guided foundations). My scenario included voting in elections using telephony and smart-cards (there was no internet, no PCs, no windows, no worldwide web).

Neither was globalization an issue then - even though the world impinged on everyone's lives - in the cold war threats of nuclear annihilation. What I tried to envision was how US national politics - still based on 18th Century conditions - could be augmented to accommodate a vastly larger electorate with exploding information requirements to help manage regional issues, watersheds and whole ecosystems undreamed of by our country's founding fathers and mothers. I updated these scenarios in Building a Win-Win World, Chapter 10 "Perfecting the Machinery of Democracy (1996).

How the world has changed in the intervening 40 years!

The cold war superpower rivalry has given way to mostly guerilla and civil warfare, distributed terrorism by non-state actors, global mafia, cyber attacks and hacker crime. The world now must deal with a single neurotic military superpower waging global war on evil, while teetering on a failing democracy, a tanking economy and a rapidly falling currency.

Regional environmental problems and local crises have morphed into worldwide issues of ecological sustainability, human-caused climate change, desertification, species extinction and ozone depletion.

Globalization of technology, markets and $1.5 trillion of daily currency trading has eroded the sovereignty of nation states. Driven by laissez faire market fundamentalism, these unregulated markets have become the flywheels of ecological, social and cultural disruption.

Democracies are both spreading and being corrupted by money. The governance gap is becoming critical in every part of the world. The machinery channeling feedback from citizens lags behind accelerating social and technological change. Both of the key feedback mechanisms from individuals to decision-makers - votes and prices are failing. Votes and elections must be undistorted by money and prices must include all social and environmental costs. Thus, both governments and markets are steered perversely in unsustainable directions.

Oligopolies and special interests have hijacked our politics. Corporations dominate our market choices and, together with five commercial conglomerates, own all our media, shape our choices and culture - increasingly even on the Internet. A corrupt Federal Communications Commission oversees the giveaway of more of the electromagnetic spectrum - a public commons - to these media giants. And, now Microsoft, by agreeing to license SCO's UNIX technology, seems to be trying another sabotage attack on LINUX!

Moore's Law is colliding with Murphy's Law as heat becomes the problem of ever more transistors on a single chip. Even if Intel can continue doubling transistor density for another decade, does it still matter? Or is The Economist right in saying that the IT industry has entered its "post-technological period"? (May 10, 2003) ...{continued link}

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