Designing citizen-centered, decentralized autonomous governance systems

Adding an additional service layer on top of your current government

Version 0.1
October 13th, 2014

Governments must deliver a variety of core services in order to enable citizens to prosper. However, the foundations of modern, democratic governance systems that are in place throughout most of the Western world today are based in centuries-old political theories and technologies. Surely governments, just like several types of private enterprise, could use some disruption these days. However, since territorial sovereignty plays such a heavy hand on international law, there seems to be no way of disrupting governments without full-on revolution and takeover, or access to unclaimed, sovereignty-free land (which doesn’t exist in this planet anymore). I want to argue in this essay that there might be a third way.

What I’d like to explore in the next few paragraphs is the possibility of designing and launching a layer of peer-to-peer, cloud-based governance on top of all existing, traditional government infrastructures, in order to explore how to deliver new and traditional government services to as many people as possible. New users, considering they are literate and have access to Internet and computing power and the web, could opt-in to be part of this newly created governance layer, and work together using new technology protocols (like blockchain and mesh networks) in order to create value to be shared among themselves. One could think of as these different services as being apps that are designed, programmed, deployed, and maintained by the community themselves, but where the identity and trust systems of the platform are independent, continuous and recurrent.

“(…) government can work for the people, by the people in the 21st century.” — Codeforamerica.org

Now there are two paths one could choose to take in order to start designing this governance experience: either by exploring and mapping its simplest unit, the individual citizen and its needs, or taking a look at the most complex organization, the whole government itself and its current limitations. It feels to me that a wiser possibility would be to start from both corners of the spectrum and work our way to the middle.

More to this text coming soon.


Keywords
International law, political theory, political philosophy, governance, society, human rights, social trust, morality, normative ethics, sustainability, development, mobility, Internet, interconnectivity, blockchain technology, mesh networks, autonomous entities, decentralization, autonomy, inclusiveness, culture, commons.

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