[governance] Debunking eight myths about multi-stakeholderism

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Tue Apr 28 17:51:06 EDT 2015

On 04/28/2015 02:15 PM, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> On 27/04/2015 7:11 pm, Karl Auerbach wrote:
>> And national governments: If we accept the theory that those
>> governments honestly and accurately express the values and interests
>> of their citizens, then why do we do need any other participants than
>> governments?  The answer is obvious: We have learned that governments,
>> just like corporations, tend to be driven by small opaque groups and
>> express the short-term interests of those groups.
> Few other multi-stakeholder skeptics will buy this, because
> representative democracy is the one thing that they most want to
> preserve in future Internet governance arrangements.  Your ideals of
> direct democracy holding back corporations and governments are seen as
> even more utopian than multi-stakeholder ideals.  But IMHO
> multi-stakeholderism and direct democracy are not that far apart
> conceptually; the main difference is that the latter is more difficult
> to realise in practice and is more vulnerable to majoritarian tyranny.

Perhaps I didn't write my prior note well enough - I am not advocating a 
direct voting system.  Rather I am advocating a system in which each 
human has an equal opportunity to make his/her voice heard - and this 
concern is the same whether the system is direct or representative.

And my additional point is that human voices, and only human voices, 
should have any power to vote and decide matters.  Combinations, such as 
corporations and governments ought, of course, be allowed to proffer 
advice, but not to cast votes. Their power ought to be constrained to 
merely offer advice and try to convince those who do have the power of 
choice, humans.

I am a hard nosed person who knows that we can't have direct votes on 
every issue; I know that we need some sort of elected representative 
system with clear means of periodic re-chosing of representatives and 
perhaps even recall.

Rather I am talking about a choice between a system that is controlled 
by people or a system that is as if custom designed to be captured by 
corporate interests and governmental bureaucrats,

Stakeholderism - with or without the "multi" prefix - is the utopian 
dream that will inexorably become a distopian nightmare.

Let corporations and governments give their views and advice, but 
withhold from them the franchise to participate in any process in which 
decisions are made.  Only humans (or their chosen representatives) ought 
to be making the choices.

If a "stakeholder" feels it needs to express its view then let it speak, 
let it attempt to convince, but only to attempt to convince, nothing more.


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