Our democratic system is being challenged. Our system is what I refer to as “modern-day feudalism”. My children have a good grasp of feudalism and when I talk to them about our Government and the democratic system of today even they see the similarities:
– a small number of very wealthy supported and pandered to by those who aspire to reach their position or at least benefit from the association
– a corrupt and dishonest group of representatives in Parliament who are overpaid and hugely influenced by the small number of wealthy and powerful
– a vaste majority who are tied to their properties and to their jobs by large mortgages and overall indebtedness
One major difference is that the power of the Church has been replaced by the power of the large Corporation.
What is challenging this system?
When I first came across the Internet in 1994 and purchased a pair of jeans from the US using Compuserve I saw not only the power of this medium to change business forever but also the much more fundamental change that is Governments worst nightmare – freely available information that is uncontrolled and uncensored and available to all those with a computer and Internet connection. Anyone with the time and motivation can now learn more than ever before and extend their horizons beyond anything that a traditional education can bring – this is the era of the autodidact!
The democratisation of information is the one major event of the last century that will give back power to the people. Bring it on!
How will easier access to information bring change? Well, we have already seen, with the publishing of MPs expenses, a public outcry against elected members who are abusing the system. We have also seen a rise in social networking, a phenomenon that encoruages more transparency. One the of the major issues though, as we have seen with 9/11 is also the rise of conspiracy theories – yes, when information is easily created and distributed then the truth can sometimes suffer. Exactly how and to what extent the Web changes our society will be intriguing to see – my feeling is that information is power and the more we all have access to it the better for the majority.