Plato’s Republic of Blockchain. Re-tooling Lincoln’s vision.

Lincoln’s fabled quote:

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” could never have contended the reality it does in 2018 all over the world.

Democracy is in peril. Trust as the currency of governance has lost its value in a world where demagoguery wins the day.

Socrates vision has come to pass whereupon voting was to be a skill taught systematically through education, and not based on prejudice and ignorance.

Technology has changed the game. It’s made us more informed and aware. Social media, memes and  2 minute [insert politician getting destroyed] videos on youtube occupy more of the news cycle than do any substantial policy debate.

Thus being informed and aware is not, however, an education, where we contend reason, consequences, and judgment in casting a ballot.

Technology in disseminating information in a timely and efficient manner has however exposed corruption in the state leading to an increasing level of distrust within the community.  Understanding just how corrupt the state is and how it has become a place for the elites. A politician will spend more time with a lobbyist that he/she does contending how a policy might impact his constituents.

Plato’s tells us that the most ideal form of justice and governance is aristocracy, followed by timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and then tyranny.  Democracy is here to stay, unless like Italy the world moves toward a technocratic style of leadership.

So can blockchain make amends for this lack of trust you ask?

I say yes.

The increased transparency and immutability of block-chain allow for citizens to be part of a more participatory style of the democratic process. Understanding how and why government expenditure is being utilized, can enhance citizenry participation making the democratic process more informed.

Liquid democracy is conceptually how we as a people take back the governance structure away from lobby groups and their influence, stripping policy away from the highest bidder.

Let’s assume that blockchain harnesses your digital identity. Let’s assume we live in a fluid liquid democracy system (If you don’t know what liquid democracy is please watch it here).

(Yes it’s a Utopian! – But why not ?)

Who would you harness your vote to?

The person next to you in MS&E. Your Academic Professor.

I would contend that the creation of the digital identity to provision votes would in-fact re-affirm Lincolns original vision. Imagine you who have little time and little knowledge expertise on a subject of regulation pertaining to finance or banks or health insurer/provider payment structures could give your vote on an issue to someone who does.

I know what your thinking. University Professors. Yes, I agree.

The University returns with this system with this technology to be once again the bastion of new knowledge, and blockchain makes this process possible.

This process empowers you the individual to exercise your vote in a trusted and informed manner.

Its time to re-think democracy and blockchain technology makes this possible.





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5 comments on “Plato’s Republic of Blockchain. Re-tooling Lincoln’s vision.”

  1. Any thoughts on what the first step towards this future looks like? I’m wondering what a minimum viable product that combines blockchain and democracy would look like. Where would could it be tested and deployed? Perhaps a small town?

    1. Thanks for the comments bergstt1 and Adam:
      Put simply this technology is 10-20 years on the horizon. First port of call will be banks. Until they are implementing blockchain enabled architecture to their backend systems, democracy I would say then presents itself a low hanging fruit. If you trust the tech with your money well democracy is an afterthought.
      The next step in the process is about government adoption process. Think about how fast governments adopt new technology. This is a process that is time and jurisdiction dependent.
      With a bit of blue sky thinking, however, I see it as such.
      Imagine you have 530 connections on LinkedIn. These are cross-disciplinary connections. Imagine you see your friend ‘Harry Potter’ posting about a financial issue relating to banking regulation. This is an issue you have little knowledge about. However, with little time and expertise on the topic, you are to cast your vote to Harry because he does. You endorse harry on the issue that might be up for election in 6 months time. (Much like the process is issuing a ‘like’ on Facebook.) Harry with his collection of endorsements (of which he may have many) becomes then a more ‘powerful citizen’ lobbyist on a topic than a current lobbyist. How many citizens endorsed lobbyist are there in politics today? Remember the process is trying to re-install trust in how government decisions are made. Remember then it takes an informed voter to be part of the system, to engage with his community or his network on an issue.
      I think that as long as the front end user experience is seamless the back end tech looks after itself. As to how to explain how the voting process might work, I use the apt metaphor of a Horcrux.
      Culture is an interesting point, however. It brings to my mind what exactly is a democracy? Is it a process of unifying an ideal? Is it the process of casting a ballot? How many people actually are as Socrates said informed voters? How many people actually engage in the debate? Or is politics just another form of entertainment and once every couple of years we get to re-cast the actors in the play? These q’s I don’t have the answer to. All I can say in my reading is that at least if the process is transparent (which the tech enables), then you can’t then blame democracy for the outcome you get. Remember tech exposes corruption and today contributes to populism in its current form, it’s not the process of democracy that is at fault. If it is then we might want to reconsider one of the other political systems on Plato’s menu.

  2. Thanks for the entertaining post. I like your style of writing.

    Kind of on the same point as Adam Stiles: What do you think has to happen in order to actually implement blockchain into our society? Do you think that the cultural aspect of blockchain is harder to implement than the technological one?


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