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A curiosity of a couple of Greek city-states

“Democracy was a curiosity of a couple of Greek city-states where the decision-making polity could turn out in one place all together. It only became a generally workable system, at population-scale, after print. So my conclusion is that when communications tools lead to radical increases in the number of producers of media (not just the number of consumers, as radio and TV did), the result is more responsive government.”

From a live webchat with Clay Shirky, for The Guardian, earlier this evening.

Why do I blog this?

Interesting to note Clay positions the roots of democracy in a tightly-bounded geographical space—Brickstarter is testing this idea of how “communications tools” whose scale often ‘tends to global’ can also pull focus on a particular place, for a particular community. And in doing so, we potentially have a richer, more diverse, set of loosely-joined decision-making layers within a democratic system, rather than just the rather blunt ‘National’ and ‘Local’ (thoughts also triggered by a conversation with Timo Hämäläinen this morning.) So more engagement, yes, but at a greater variety of scales too.

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