We can very much regret the rise of the far right in France and in too many other European countries. But the naive European federalist democrat who I am, wonders if we should not also thank these bad stinking old ghosts for showing the total failure of politics in France and in too many other places. Insecurity, unemployment or poverty are not the only reasons for the far right to prosper. The old and totally unadapted political system in France and other places also very much contributes to this disgusting brown wave.
Fake representativity, pure communication games, denial of reality, permanent lies and demagogy, self-interest of a political caste, and this over approx 30 years, no wonder that the French people finally decided to push the clowns away.
Well it could be also the right time to think about what should be democracy in the digital age.
I had the chance to participate a few months ago in a workshop organized for the MIT Innovators under 35 on this very topic. People coming from many different countries, but amazingly we all agreed. To condemn the weakness of our current political systems and to call for a new one. Ideologies are gone and therefore you do not feel you belong to one particular camp anymore. There are no camp any more, or they are so much fragmented that you cannot stand on them. The today’s debates (on Europe, on immigration, on environment, on the transition to a new economical order, …) dramatically split the existing old parties. It is then impossible to identify yourself with a political party or to trust one for representing your opinions.
People are now less keen to fight for ideologies but need very concrete solutions to concrete problems. This evolution might also come from mature and fairly recent consumption habits: the today’s consumer is not anymore the easy consumer of the 60s, he or she demands transparency on the offer, possibility to compare and analyze, quick delivery, after-sales service, reimbursement or change in case of non satisfaction. Politics should now deliver the same. We do not care about the noise made or the brightness of the brand, we care about the efficiency of the solution.
We want the politician to be a true project manager, fully dedicated to the emergence and then implementation of the solution to our problems. We do not trust any more these politicians supposed to know everything, and supposed to have solutions for everything. But more and more we trust the crowd, because we know that within the crowd we find this fantastic mix of expertise and users feedback, which is so efficient to shape what we need. Then we just have to know how to take the benefit of this. This is the new assignment of politicians.
And we have now the technology to deliver this, to mobilize neurons, to control the process and implementation. This is where Digital platforms come, not to mention blockchain ones.
Well this is for the prospect, but before entering too quickly into naïve and then false systemic dreams, or before offering too easy food to hungry politicians desperately looking for new words, let us build modestly our proof of concept and MVPs. Let us test this on few local pilot projects. in order to build the new age of democracy on more solid legs.
And let us remember that technology is void and can even be awfully dangerous if not inhabited by a true soul. Ours is humanism.
We are the Crowd!