Phi Beta Iota: Mr. Johnson is the author of Integrity at Scale, free online, whose many ideas are being integrated into the vision for a Smart Nation Act and the hub of the Smart Nation, an Open Source Agency and global Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) network of networks. He is a party to the on-going push to establish the Open Source Agency and create a more competent and ethical America.
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As I look at the Open Source idea, I find myself experiencing a fair amount of dissonance between a methodological vision of open source intelligence, at one level, and at a very different level, an aspirational vision that sees it as a way of disinfecting a misguided and corrupt set of bureaucracies.
One mission is potentially endorsable by the powers-that-be. The second mission is not. Ask people to endorse both and it isn’t likely that either will move forward. If corruption prevention is to be the mission, the open source agency will have to find a home outside of government. If transparency of intelligence is the mission, then perhaps it can find a home inside government.
My second source of dissonance has to do with design and scale. Open source intelligence is potentially as vast as all the server farms Google will ever own. How does a relatively modest site, squeezed in between State and Watergate, ever acquire the heft to handle the challenge? The scope of the mission and the scope of the agency seem out of sync with the scope of the real estate footprint.
I am quite excited about the progress that has been made in various citizen political participation proposals. All of these clearly have tremendous potential and the articulations of their rationales are becoming quite compelling.
With such innovative deliberative democracy proposals, I want them to be thought through well beforehand, engaging a variety of authorities and perspectives in a search of answers that can embrace that diversity with greater wisdom than otherwise. I am especially interested in finding out people's concerns and what solutions appear when we seriously seek to understand and address those concerns (this being a basic principle of creative consensus processes and of collective wisdom in general). I consider this vital if we seek to inject sane, powerful initiatives into the kind of toxic political environment that exists today. There is just too much at stake to fail simply because we didn't explore our design issues sufficiently ahead of time.
With that intention in mind, I have the following twelve thoughts and inquiries to offer. I would love to be part of a serious inquiry into questions like these, both in person and online.
There are numerous misleading and misinformed assertions being made about the defense spending parts of the debt deal.
The White House's “fact sheet” asserts a $350 billion savings in the “base defense budget.” The $350 billion in defense savings that the White House declares apparently uses a different “baseline” (basis of comparison) and pretends that a two year cap the bill establishes on “security” spending will extend to ten years. Most misleading of all, it assumes that all savings in the “security” category (which includes DOD, DOE/nuclear weapons, all State Department related spending, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security) will occur only in DOD spending. In fact, the “security” category was designed to broaden the base for “defense” cuts and to lessen the impact on DOD. The undocumented $350 billion in “security” savings will actually translate into lesser reductions in DOD spending, but the amount is unknown. The actual amount will be decided by Congress in the future.
I have worked for several months to develop the ideas in this article and to articulate them in an accessible way. They are fundamental understandings underlying the co-intelligence vision of a wiser democracy.
If the ideas intrigue you, you can find a longer version with more detailed guidelines and references online. I wrote the abstract below to make it easier for you to see the whole pattern at once. I hope you find both versions interesting and useful.
As a civilization we have tremendous collective power, but we don't always use it wisely. We can make good decisions, but we face messy, entangled, rapidly growing problems with complex, debatable causes. Efforts to solve one problem often generate new ones. We need more than problem-solving smarts here. We need wisdom.
A good definition for wisdom here is
the capacity to take into account
what needs to be taken into account
to produce long term, inclusive benefits.
To the extent we fail to take something important into account, it will come back to haunt us. But often we only realize we overlooked something long after our decision has been implemented. Certain practices – because they lead us to include more of what's important – can help us meet this challenge. Here are eight complementary ways to do this. The more of them we do, and the better we do them, the wiser our collective decisions will be. Continue reading “Tom Atlee: Making Wise Decisions on Public Issues”
In 2001 the Co-Intelligence Institute released a breakthrough compilation of more than 100 democratic innovations. At that time there was no other comparable resource on the web.
This year we decided — and began — to update this list, to fix its broken links, to add new innovations and resources, and to make it into a wiki to allow other people to add democratic innovations they knew about. You can see our initial progress online.
While preparing a grant proposal to expand the project, we researched the web for other lists of democratic and participatory practices and resources. We were surprised to find quite a few.
We decided that to add the most value in the context of this great wealth of resources, our project should
In January, a time when many scientists concentrate on grant proposals, Jennifer D. Calkins and Jennifer M. Gee, both biologists, were busy designing quail T-shirts and trading cards. The T-shirts went for $12 each and the trading cards for $15 in a fund-raising effort resembling an online bake sale.
The $4,873 they raised, mostly from small donations, will pay their travel, food, lab and equipment expenses to study the elegant quail this fall in Mexico.
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In the crowd funding genus, MyProjects is a different species from Kickstarter. All projects on the site have been vetted by scientists and already receive financing from Cancer Research UK. And the funds are guaranteed regardless of whether the MyProjects goal is reached. Mr. Bromley calls it “substitutional funding.”
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The quail project was one of thousands that Cassie Marketos, a community editor at Kickstarter, has approved. “It’s one thing to buy a book about quails,” she said. “But to know that you played a small part in making it happen is a much different experience.”
Phi Beta Iota: The world is in an intermediary stage toward governing without government. The era of outrageous fraud, waste, and abuse–massive investments by the government of tax-payer funds on the basis of ideology or special interests, not intelligence with integrity–is coming to an end. Participatory democracy, alternative localized or specialized currencies that cannot be taxed, and intelligence-driven self-governance that is open to all stakeholders (Panarchy), are all emergent.