Cognitive Democracy

by Henry on May 23, 2012

Over the last couple of years, Cosma Shalizi and I have been working together on various things, including, _inter alia_, the relationship between complex systems, democracy and the Internet. These are big unwieldy topics, and trying to think about them systematically is hard. Even so, we’ve gotten to the point where we at least feel ready to start throwing stuff at a wider audience, to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a paper we’re working on, which argues that we should (for some purposes at least), think of markets, hierarchy and democracy in terms of their capacity to solve complex collective problems, makes the case that democracy will on average do the job _a lot better_ than the other two ways, and then looks at different forms of collective information processing on the Internet as experiments that democracies can learn from. A html version is under the fold; the PDF version is here. Your feedback would very much be appreciated – we would like to build other structures on top of this foundation, and hence, really, _really_ want criticisms and argument from diverse points of view (especially because such argument is exactly what we see as the strength of democratic arrangements).

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