July 31, 2013
If Your Government Fails, Can You Create a New One With Your Phone?

Myanmar is opening up politically, and among the first, largest civil society campaigns is a social movement organized over Facebook for cheaper cellphone calling plans. Syria has been locked in civil war for almost two years; despite the strife—or because of it—cellphone subscriptions have taken off. In Nairobi’s largest slum, a local initiative to digitally map the muddy streets, open sewers, and infrastructure needs has bloomed into a network of community groups that deliberate over development priorities and then collect taxes to spend on those priorities.
Wherever governments are in crisis, in transition, or in absentia, people are using digital media to try to improve their condition, to build new organizations, and to craft new institutional arrangements. Technology is, in a way, enabling new kinds of states.
It is out of vogue in Washington to refer to failed states. But regardless of the term, there are an unfortunate number of places where governments have ceased to function, creating openings for these new institutional arrangements to flourish. Indeed, state failure doesn’t always take the form of a catastrophic and complete collapse in government. States can fail at particular moments, such as during a natural disaster or an election. States can also fail in particular domains, such as in tax collection.
Information technologies like cellphones and the Internet are generating small acts of self-governance in a wide range of domains and in surprising places.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

If Your Government Fails, Can You Create a New One With Your Phone?

Myanmar is opening up politically, and among the first, largest civil society campaigns is a social movement organized over Facebook for cheaper cellphone calling plans. Syria has been locked in civil war for almost two years; despite the strife—or because of it—cellphone subscriptions have taken off. In Nairobi’s largest slum, a local initiative to digitally map the muddy streets, open sewers, and infrastructure needs has bloomed into a network of community groups that deliberate over development priorities and then collect taxes to spend on those priorities.

Wherever governments are in crisis, in transition, or in absentia, people are using digital media to try to improve their condition, to build new organizations, and to craft new institutional arrangements. Technology is, in a way, enabling new kinds of states.

It is out of vogue in Washington to refer to failed states. But regardless of the term, there are an unfortunate number of places where governments have ceased to function, creating openings for these new institutional arrangements to flourish. Indeed, state failure doesn’t always take the form of a catastrophic and complete collapse in government. States can fail at particular moments, such as during a natural disaster or an election. States can also fail in particular domains, such as in tax collection.

Information technologies like cellphones and the Internet are generating small acts of self-governance in a wide range of domains and in surprising places.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

  1. jdisapunk reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  2. spookface reblogged this from stressbubble
  3. niesenn reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. leftiecoast reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  5. stopdropandbeauty reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  6. arcadiasilver reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  7. theyoungwitch reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  8. caffeinatedashley reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  9. pretty-strangers reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  10. stories-yet-to-be-written reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  11. largerthanlions reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  12. kaieffingleng reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  13. supersailormarx reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  14. readerwriterthinker reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  15. lucymiddletonrogers reblogged this from truth-has-a-liberal-bias
  16. truth-has-a-liberal-bias reblogged this from dendroica
  17. muchnessoffiddle-de-dee reblogged this from dendroica
  18. forochel reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. stressbubble reblogged this from dendroica
  20. dendroica reblogged this from theatlantic
  21. hoomanao reblogged this from theatlantic
  22. theriverroseup reblogged this from theatlantic
  23. candvanet reblogged this from theatlantic
  24. vini56876 reblogged this from theatlantic
  25. pinterestwomen reblogged this from theatlantic
  26. ernobius reblogged this from borcsok
  27. threwnoff reblogged this from mindsplat
  28. mindsplat reblogged this from theatlantic
  29. damienericwallace reblogged this from theatlantic