Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A wiki wiki world -- Part 2

posted by Chet at 12:29 PM UTC

When I suggested the other day that the Wikipedia concept might provide a model for world government, I had my tongue partly in cheek. I'm not surprised that the Onion got there first.

Still, I would love to see a wiki site devoted to writing a constitution for world government. It would attract the input of experts and amateurs, people of all nationalities, races, and religions. It would also attract crackpots and ideologues, dreamy idealists and incorrigible pessimists. But you know what? I'll bet what emerged would be better than anything politicians or political theorists could come up with.

My wife scoffs. She thinks I'm hopelessly optimistic. And yes I am optimistic about the collective wisdom and intelligence of the mass of humanity. I'd rather be ruled by the wiki consensus of the first 1000 people in the New York or Shanghai phone book than by the current crowd in Washington. Most of the troubles in the world are caused by puffed-up egos, mostly men, some well-meaning, some not, who think they know what's best for the rest of us.

A wiki site would not only draft a world constitution, but also draw up a plan for implementation. Presumably, the wiki concept of web-based free-for-all consensus-building would be part of how any such government works.

Of course, my tongue is still partly in cheek, but even if never implemented, a wiki world government would be instructive to contemplate. Within a decade, the internet has transformed how we think, communicate, and conduct business, but its potential for global social organization has hardly been tapped. If I had the skills and resources, I would build the site myself, and then sit back as see what "the collective wisdom and intelligence of humanity" came up with.