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[liberationtech] Commercialization makes your online rights irrelevant, more thoughts from my talk with @ioerror at #rp12

Douglas Lucas dal at
Mon May 21 15:59:53 PDT 2012

Hi everyone,

Heather Marsh, former editor of WikiLeaks Central and one of the people
who's working on The Global Square project -- she tweets as @GeorgieBC --
has been writing about governance through stigmergy, concentric user
groups, and epistemic communities. Applying the model of contributions to
Net projects such as Wikipedia to governance. I don't have time to
summarize her thoughts accurately, and to be honest, I'm still thinking
them over. Maybe I'll invite her to join the list and talk about them. But
here are the main links if you want to look yourself:

One thing that strikes me as missing from these conversations (both on this
list and elsewhere) is the lack of discussion about real-world
transitioning to whatever proposed abstract system. The lofty and perhaps
implausible (in my opinion) goal of removing coercion and still maintaining
social insurance and minority rights, or any other abstract system we
discuss, is far removed from the perspective, of, say, a good bureaucrat at
the US Department of Health and Human Services who's working hard to
maintain and spread the new Obamacare Pre-existing Conditions Insurance
Plan so Americans who qualify for the program don't go broke and die from
lacking health insurance. (As I understand it, the PCIP is funded by a
ginormous taxpayer-funded grant sitting at the DHHS, and the PCIP folds
into the rest of Obamacare once the main of healthcare reform is
implemented in 2014, pending this summer's SCOTUS decision.) Just as we
want more dialogue and outreach between hackers and good journalists about
digital security, so people advocating new forms of government should
communicate with those who actually have real-world experience getting
resources to the downtrodden or applying for government grants for
scientific research or whatever -- whether the real-world-experience person
works for the government or for a community center or for a nonprofit
charity or whatever. It is a way of keeping the discussion tied to concrete
specifics, and quite often better answers come from empirically interacting
with specifics, rather than a rationalistic remaining in theory.
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