[governance] IS THE DIGITAL DIVIDE A PHANTOM?
dan at musicunbound.com
Tue Jul 31 00:08:02 EDT 2007
At 4:47 PM -0700 7/30/07, Karl Auerbach wrote:
>Dan Krimm wrote:
>> What this says to me is that "Internet Governance" is insufficient to
>> address the Public Governance issues surrounding the Internet.
>> Maybe it's time to start defining terms in detail. You guys have defined
>> IG in narrow technical terms, which is fair enough. But then, PGoI is
>> something that needs to be addressed separately starting yesterday, because
>> that is where issues like the Digital Divide and Net Neutrality make a
>> difference to public citizens across the globe.
>At which point this effort comes under what in the US is a very negative
>political banner, "world governance".
I wouldn't cast all of America with the same characterization, but
admittedly the current administration thinks this way. Take heart that an
increasing number of Americans find this approach alien and abhorrent, and
are working actively to change the frames of reference of the political
debate (cf. Rockridge Institute and George Lakoff).
>There are many problems in the world, a goodly number of which touch the
>But they also touch telephones and electricity and medicines and patent
>law and clean water and ... And for the same reasons that drive you to
>feel that these problems should be solved under the "Public Governance
>issues surrounding the Internet" banner, it could be argued with equal
>force that they fall under those other banners as well.
The banners that I think are most important WRT the Internet include
telephone, television and telecommunications in general, because this forms
the platform for the Fourth Estate, which is a critical linchpin of any
>The best way to make no progress on any front is to try to make progress
>on too many fronts.
This certainly makes sense when you have limited resources (a single person
or a small collective), but I think it is possible for multi-front
coalitions to spread the efforts and coordinate across a variety of fronts
The special interests of narrow plutocratic wealth certainly do not limit
themselves to a small number of fronts. They play politics the way they
invest: with a broadly diversified portfolio. If we let up on too many
fronts, we cede the game to them there and allow them greater synergy in
their total game plan.
So, it may well be that the "Internet Governance" community may not address
the "Public Governance" aspects of the Internet, but then there ought to be
another "cousin" community that is concerned with that (PGoI), and the two
communities ought to coordinate their actions across related fronts.
You can be sure the IP lobby and the "morality" lobby and the rest of that
power-hungry plutocracy coalition does not limit itself to any one of these
fronts at a time.
>> How do we "satisfice" in getting the best we can, now? I would suggest
>> that by narrowing our focus to only technical IG, we lose sight of the
>> broader issues that still *must* and *will* be addressed, even in the
>I doubt we will ever lose sight of the needs of people, we tend to
>But if we do not do a decent job with the little stuff - things that
>have a clear tie to technical needs - then we will not obtain the
>credibility to attempt the greater issues, much less to succeed at them.
I suppose I am a bit more ambitious than you with regard to political
dynamics. It all depends on who "we" is. If you define "we" narrowly,
then I redefine the "meta-we" more broadly and I think the "meta-we"
ultimately needs to have as broad a scope of action as the plutocrats, in
order to match them head to head on all fronts.
In your terms, I think *someone* needs to "become noisy" (about PGoI) right
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