The debate rages on as the referendum fast approaches but the overwhelming sentiment I have experienced and heard is one of ‘who cares’ and ‘what significant difference will it make to my life?’. Though I don’t agree, I can certainly sympathise with the lack of concern, care or worry. The absence of inspiration from either campaign to capture the public’s imagination has been marked by a descent into argumentative rhetoric characterised by the race to be the most convincing scaremongers in the hope of convincing the undecided that the alternative to what they stand for is even worse. Instead of educating, suggesting and selling a vision of improvement neither side is able to escape from project fear for worry that their adversary will steal a march by unveiling the most convincing tale of horror yet. That is before you even consider the implications if, for example, England Votes to leave but the other home nations vote to remain. I have no interest in fighting for either side, instead, I wish to raise a far more potent and important point.
The world is evolving before our eyes, faster than at any point in human history due to the rise of technology and connectedness. Whether you are in Europe, the Americas, Asia or Africa the winds of change are gusting through our streets and altering the course of the future. It is visible in the way adversarial lines have been drawn between ideology as political parties evacuate the middle ground, escaping back to their further right or left roots, marked by increasingly aggressive demonstrations by both sidea fighting to have their views heard and demonstrated by the clamouring for people to escape the monstrous regimes that control their countries.
Democracy in its current form has always had one overwhelming flaw. In order for someone to win, somebody else has to lose for a period of X years, typically predefined by a constitution. This was born in a time where is was physically impossible for democracy to include everyone so it was decided that in order for everyone’s views to be taken into account a representative would be elected in order to defend our best interests. But, it feels like this is lost; the public no longer trusts the honesty of those who are meant to serve our best interests. Instead, they see the only choice is between heinous, self-serving liars or somebody worse.
It feels like the public no longer believes in the sincerity of government or media to improve our standard of living. Social media has enabled something truly frightening for the establishment to come to terms with; they no longer control the message consumed by the masses. The democratisation of media to the public has enabled you to publish anything you want to a massive audience which had obliterated traditional press in the process. Think about it, before social media the Newspapers had carte blanche to publish whatever they wanted and shape public opinion to whatever agenda they saw fit. They took huge revenues for advertising from big business who then influenced the message which was spread for wider consumption. Those same businesses spent fortunes lobbying politicians in an attempt to convince (pay) them to change the law. Those days are quickly going extinct.
The status quo is no longer kept by a few select billionaire Octogenarian press moguls, see Richard Murdoch. Of course, they still hold a monopoly on the publicly consumed content, but the key is it is not the only way for us to consume anymore. It is at least kept honest to some degree by social media which holds them to account. Worryingly these developments may be hindered quickly by something else. It is what has quickly made Mark Zuckerberg arguably the most powerful man in the world, able to control the message given to nearly 2,000,000,000 people for up to 12 hours a day. When news grew that facebook had been suppressing publication of conservative view on people’s feed, allowing the prevalence of liberal ideology to grow, the question of press control reared is disgusting head again. The prehistoric dinosaurs occupying positions of power in governance and media are mere bystanders to the storm that is currently raging, are unable to seriously impact or influence development and are now desperately trying to cling to power by any means necessary.
With the on-going world uncertainty which is moving towards a more broken up and uncertain world, specifically relating to migration and refugee status while also looking at what is happening within politics something had to give.
What does the future hold?
Technology has advanced to a point where Instantaneous-democracy is no longer only a dream. Participation of an entire nation in the decisions which fundamentally affect their daily lives is possible. Evolution to a technologically advanced economy could feasibly occur. Votes could be cast at a predetermined time each week enabling us to escape from the nonsense which currently occurs at the houses of parliament.
Furthermore, what would a world look like where you had the opportunity to opt out of a political regime while still remaining within the same country? For a moment consider that only 2/3 of people voted in the UK general election. What would a democracy look like which involved everyone? Technology would be utilised to directly canvass the opinions of the citizens. Instead of spending 5 years resenting the government of the day you were able to pursue the political ideology that you subscribed to alongside others who do the same.
Socialist parties would stand alongside capitalist and parties governing over those who had opted into that system. Taxes would be paid and collected by the parties you subscribe to and you would have access to the intrinsic benefits tied to your beliefs. Those who believe in free healthcare would have access to it and most likely contribute higher taxes for the pleasure. Those who were more capitalist-inclined would be free to chase the agenda that interests them. This wouldn’t have to remain within the shores of a single country, ultimately it could be rolled out further afield enabling anyone anywhere to participate in the politics which they believe is right. Imagine socialists around the globe connected and one through technology.
I’m not suggesting the above is what should happen, on the contrary, I’m merely exploring alternative paths which have been made accessible by technology. I understand the above is a barely coherent attempt at explaining a potential instantaneous-democracy but the very thought of it is incredibly intriguing. Doing things a certain way because it is the way it has always been done is so ridiculous that it is dangerous. Something needs to change or we will forever remain stuck with what is already inadequate. Change doesn’t just happen, you need to embody it.
Whether you believe we would be best served by remaining or leaving Europe for me isn’t the right question. The more important question is: what is next? Neither side truly addresses the challenges we face or the forthcoming economic crises. The cost of the decision made will be felt in the short term with hugely volatile markets, but the true economic cost may not be felt for decades. This generation’s challenges aren’t one brought forth by political union, they are ticking timebomb of an ever aging population married to the increasing prevalence for automation of jobs which will reduce real earning further.