I was reading the list of problems that motivate Tom Steinberg and it reminded me of something that the MIT professor Alex Pentland said:
“The biggest problem in the world is not global warming, is not war, but how can we organise among ourselves to make good decisions and carry them out”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCn9iV2P9Dk
This is one of the reasons behind www.AgreeList.com When we are interested in an issue and have time, we read about it, contrast different points of views, etc. But when we don’t have time or are not interested in something, we believe what our culture, friends and influencers say.
For example, is climate change real? If NASA, the Royal Society, Obama, the Pope and a friend of mine who knows more about this than I agree, I believe it.
Nowadays most people agree that climate change is real, but not so long ago it was quite different and having a database of who agrees and disagrees might have sped up the collective discussion and decision making. There was a time when on TV they mostly interviewed one person who agreed and one who disagreed on climate change, just to be neutral even though most scientists were in agreement.
Now in the UK there is an important issue — Brexit — and the media again is trying to split media coverage between both sides. But what if there are key arguments such as economic growth and employment where most economists, Nobel laureates, Royal Society fellows and others agree? And what if everyone in the general public were aware of the consensus among experts on Brexit? Maybe then the mass media — and politicians — would spend time only on the issues that are not clear yet.
In 2008 I created a political party promoting liquid democracy. Liquid democracy is a mix of direct and representative democracy where you can have representatives but vote directly when you disagree with them. But now I think that in order to make better decisions new political parties are not the only solution. Tools like Change.org are empowering citizens.
To sum up, as the economist Jeffrey Sachs said in his book The End of Poverty, the single most important reason why prosperity spreads is the transmission of technologies and the ideas underlying them. But currently we don’t need more bridges or faster communications (in this part of the world), but making good decisions and carrying them out. And the first step is to know who agrees on what and why.
PS. You can help us to gather people who agree or disagree on brexit, letting us know what other issues are you interested in (more issues will follow), sharing this on social media, giving your feedback here in the comments or in my email firstname.lastname@example.org or just visiting www.AgreeList.org Thanks!