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Adam Greenfield

I love your metaphor of pointless "political" debates as taking place on different branches of a logical tree; as an analytical tool, it certainly explains that feeling of smoking tires on wet asphalt you get when trying to argue a point with someone hellbent on disagreeing - that lack of traction, of purchase.

Of course there's no purchase! The two parties are arguing different points.

And, yes, I (obviously) agree: our system is broken to the extent that new models should be pushed to the fore, tested in the real world, and deployed.


Emergent democracy is from the bottom up instead of the top down. It gets confusing, but participative democracy instead of representaive, which seems to amount to plutocracy. Doesn't look like something in our lifetime beyond discussion and maybe more use of the initiative process.

John Abbe

I share your interest in radical change in social & political organization. One thing i especially like about Adam's approach is that it implies the building of alternative systems, without right away tearing down the existing ones (with all the attendant disruptions that would lead to). Please tell me if i'm reading you wrong, Adam.

I believe Emergent Democracy can take a two-pronged approach, both addressing some of the problems in existing systems, and building alternatives that can replace existing systems in part or whole. Emergent Democracy is not (yet) a term with a particularly fixed meaning. The group calling itself the Emergent Democracy group is working on a definition right now, please do come and help out.


(You need a password to get in there -- you may be able to get one automatically somewhere at socialtext.com -- otherwise, contact someone who was at the F2F meeting you went to i guess. Let me know if you have any trouble.)

p.s. I think you'll enjoy John Brunner's books :)

Adam Greenfield

Funny you should mention Brunner: *Shockwave Rider* and *The Sheep Look Up* have both come up in conversation in the last few days, in conversations apropos ED.

John, have you poked your head in at marginwalker.org yet?

John Abbe

A couple Brunner novels (in fact, those two :-) were in Dav's to-read list.

Yes, i ran across marginwalker somewhere before, and have loaded up the latest to look at when i'm off-line (my on-line time is limited). Is there an RSS feed?

Adam Greenfield

Mais, bien sur!


John thanks for the link. It's going to take me a week or so to dig myself back out of the hole the conference and holiday have left me in, but I plan on taking another look at the emergent democracy stuff ASAP.

By the way, I started reading Stand on Zanzibar on the plane down to Los Cabos. It starts off so good I swear I got too excited to read and had to put the book down and just think about it after a dozen pages! I'm amazed this was written around the time I was born yet I've managed to not run across it until now. I hope I get time to finish it in the coming month.

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