Fukuyama and the return of Big Theory

By Sunday, May 22, 2011 1 No tags Permalink 0

Big Theory!

I finished the Origins of Political Order (2011) yesterday. It is a great read. The obvious criticisms that can be mobilized against it – that Fukuyama generalizes from secondary sources, tries for big narratives, is too enamored with Weberian big theory (he calls it hyper theory), is a biological fundamentalist et cetera – do not become me in the least. I find it liberating to read a book that honestly tries for big theory, for encompassing narrative. I guess that is a sign that I am horribly conservative after all.

There is much in the book for the politically interested, but I was surprised by how much is relevant for those interested in legal philosophy as well. Fukuyama spends a generous amount of time on the concept of rule of law, and makes some interesting observations about that. He notes that humans are hard-wired for norms and that the way norms develop is tremendously important for how societies develop, and then goes on to trace the rule of law back in different human societies. In an interesting section he argues that there is a very simple way to understand why Russia has weak rule of law, but Germany strong rule of law (and also why Russia crashed into absolutism in many different formats over time).

His story is this: in Western Europe we had a battle of investiture where the church and worldly powers fought over who could appoint clergy, and this has characterized our thinking about law ever since: law is divided into realms, laws that the sovereign may change and those that he may not. This then quickly turned into legislation under law, the notion that the executive power only exercises power under the laws, and cannot hap-hazardly change them — the seeds of modern rule of law. In the Orthodox church no such battle of investiture ever happened, and the Eastern church was much more submissive to the sovereign, and the notion of rule of law never could find a foothold in, for example, Russia.

This exemplifies the beauty and problem of Fukuyama’s style. Grandiose explanations of complex processes and deep concepts are wonderful to read, but how do you control for accuracy? How do you figure out if this is in fact an important element in why Russia has a weaker rule of law than Denmark? Is this really legitimate science? Where is the data that supports this, with controls and checks?

We don’t have that, of course. But it is a mistake to ask for it. The idea that there is only one kind of science, one kind of knowledge creation and discovery, is terribly narrow-minded. The ability that Fukuyama has to create big models for global change with strong and persuasive arguments is as valuable as, if not more valuable than, the ability to try to find a mathematical model for the decline of trade unions in economic downturns. The addition of strong, novel narratives expand our understanding, even if they do not provide final explanation of a phenomenon. Indeed, we may ask what category of phenomena indeed lend themselves to explanation at all in the more physics-oriented way that that word sometimes takes on.

So, read Fukuyama, and add to your set of narratives some novel, strong and interesting narratives about the law, legitimacy and political order that can help inform your broader understanding of deep concepts that matter to all people. You will enjoy it. In the words of one reviewer:

It is a bold book, probably too bold for the specialists who take refuge in tiny topics and fear big ideas.


Innovation I: Innovation and job creation, some thoughts…

By Thursday, March 3, 2011 3 No tags Permalink 0

I am attending a seminar at Stanford today on innovation and job creation. It is a topic I find really intriguing, and not least because I have spent quite some time thinking about what Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist said recently, that the problem with politicians is that they want more jobs and less work (i.e. more productivity). I think that is true, and in the context of shifts of the technological base of production this really is a challenge. I was sketching yesterday to find out what I think about it, and it is an on-going process, but here is where I got to.

Firstly, it seems as if technologies start out reducing work (i.e. increasing productivity), and hence destroying jobs. This is before industries have realized this is happened and internalized the changes, as well as started producing new jobs through innovation. If that is the case we end up with a rough picture like this:

That lead me on to a number of hypotheses/guesses that can be formulated about the relationship between innovation, incumbencies and job creation:

  1. The power of incumbencies is one strong determinant of the pace of job creation. Strong incumbents delay structural shifts locally, but cannot stop productivity growth globally, creating inefficiencies and delaying innovation and job growth.
  2. The over-all employment level is technology-independent, but depends primarily on taxes, labor laws and other factors in a society. No technology inherently predicts certain employment levels in a society. (I.e if we have a jobless society that is not because of the technologies of production in that society alone)
  3. The objective of public policy should be to shorten period A, but probably focus on period B, which I suspect to be more variable than A-B.

These guesses are rough sketches. Well, honestly, that is not much, but it is something. And I know I will get more food for though today, so let’s see what we end up with. Having read through von Hippel’s sources of innovation yesterday I also wonder about what we call jobs in any given society, and whether the newly emerging category of knowledge-intensive business services in the EU, for example, represents a new kind of job or not. One thing that I keep coming back to, and that seems to apply here too, is that our methods of measuring are fundamentally broken.

More to come…

Från söndagens New York Times

By Sunday, September 12, 2010 0 No tags Permalink 0

Lång frukost med kaffe, rostat bröd och NY Times. Åtminstone följande artiklar fick mig att fundera några extra varv.

  • “Russia uses Microsoft to Supress Dissent” – och nej, det var inte för att det var Microsoft (bara så att alla konspirationsteoretiker förstår det), utan för att artikeln handlar om något som jag minns diskuterades under upphovsrättsdebatterna: om piratkopiering är vanligt förekommande riskerar rättssystemet att slå godtyckligt, eller värre, med en snedvridning mot de som kan mindre teknik och därför inte vet hur de ska dölja sina spår. I skuggan av det argumentet ligger ett allvarligare problem: om det finns något som en stor majoritet av folket gör, men som fortfarande på papperet är olagligt, så kan detta enkelt användas för att tillåta makten att utöva lagen i enlighet med intressen som är helt skilda från de skäl som motiverade lagregeln i sig. När Aftonbladets grundare vände sig mot den s.k. fyllelagstiftningen var det bland annat därför: polisen kunde alltid arrestera den som var ute sent och hade druckit, men använde den möjligheten främst för att arrestera arbetare, menade han. I dagens Ryssland används enligt artikeln upphovsrätten för att konfiskera dissidentgruppers datorer, men inga utredningar mot regimvänliga grupper genomförs alls. Här finns en viktig iakttagelse av rättsfilosofisk karaktär. Samtidigt som det är djupt otillfredsställande att säga att bara för att många begår ett brott så ska det vara tillåtet, är det samtidigt minst lika otillfredsställande att tillåta makten skönsmässigt använda en lagregel för syften helt skilda från de som motiverade sagda regel.  Sådana marionettregler är ett hot mot rättsäkerheten, ett hot som blir allvarligare med mängden sanktioner som står till statens förfogande. Uppdatering 20100913. Microsoft berättar att organisationerna som arbetar med mänskliga rättigheter fått särskilda licenser. Glädjande!
  • “To create jobs, nurture start-ups” –  äntligen någon som slår hål på myten att vi måste främja små och medelstora företag. Det handlar inte om storleken, visar det sig, utan om åldern. Läs detta noga: “But research published last month by three economists,working with more recent and detailed data sets than before, has found that once the age of the businesses is taken into account, there is no difference in the job-producing performance of small companies and big ones.” Och sedan säger ekonomerna: “It’s all age — start-ups are where the job-creation action really occurs.” — den ekonomiska frågan är alltså hur man kan främja nystartade företag med stora aspirationer, snarare än hur man kan främja små och medelstora företag i största allmänhet. Och just det. En majoritet av dessa företag har invandrare som grundare och tekniska innovatörer.
  • “Dear Fellow Improbable” – vi blir ständigt mer osannolika. Lustigt nog läser många detta som ett mått på sitt egenvärde. Varför tror vi att det osannolika är värdefullt? Här spökar en urmakarmisstanke, tror jag…

Tony Blairs självbiografi — några tankar

By Sunday, September 12, 2010 0 No tags Permalink 0

Det blir svårare och svårare att få ett signerat exemplar…

Läste just ut Tony Blairs självbiografi. Det kanske mest intressanta är att se skillnaden mellan en politiker som förmår, under en del av sin karriär i alla fall, att verkligen sätta agendan med rätt språk, känslor och allianser och den försiktiga, taktiska politikern som nervöst försöker kalkylera fram sin politik ur opinionsundersökningar och kortsiktiga drag. Blair inser också hur svag en modern socialdemokrati är utan en relation till näringslivet. Om och om igen återkommer han till denna poäng:

Where was our business support? Where were our links to the self-employed? Above all, where were the aspirant people, the ones doing well, but who wanted to do better; the ones at the bottom who had dreams of the top?

Det finns länkar här med den frustration som socialdemokratins valarbetare uttrycker i Aftonbladet häromdagen: “Det kan bero på alliansen med de rödgröna eller på att folk börjar få det för bra helt enkelt” sade en av socialdemokraternas valarbetare som svar på frågan om varför det går trögt för det rödgröna blocket. Och det är just det som är den svenska socialdemokratins stora problem, skulle kanske Blair säga — att den inte förmår vara attraktiv för dem som “får det bra”. I själva verket är till och med språkbruket avslöjande. Folk får det inte bra. De arbetar för att förbättra sin livssituation. Det är inte en passiv process, utan en strävsamhet som inte känner sig hemma i socialdemokratin, helt enkelt.

Labour genomgick en moderniseringsprocess (som sedan upplöstes av Brown), menar Blair, men sjönk snabbt tillbaka i den gamla föreställningsvärlden. Den svenska socialdemokratin genomgick nog aldrig en sådan process, den har aldrig haft en Blair. Ett sätt att läsa Blair är att säga att i Persson hade man, om något, en Gordon Brown. I Mona Sahlin en återgång till perioden före Persson.

Blairs biografi innehåller också mycket annat. Det är moderiktigt att tycka illa om politiska memoarer, men jag slukade boken snabbt och med stort intresse. Den präglas av det politiska djurets alla laster – självupptagenhet, messiaskomplex, nogsamt uträknande av lojalitetslistor och förrädare – men den ger också en unik inblick i hur Blair vill bli ihågkommen, hur han ordnat sin berättelse för, inte minst, sig själv.

Andra saker som står ut är de ganska tradiga försöken till försvar för Irakkriget och diskussionen kring olika politiska skandaler, genomgående är dess avsnitt långsamma och svåra att känna något intresse för. Men när det handlar om spelet i partiet, mellan politiska aktörer och länder, då glimmar boken till. Det finns något där som är oemotståndligt, kanske är det just den joie de vivre som Blair så gärna ville omge sig med enligt egen utsago, passionen för spelet och dess omvandlingar.

Blair avfärdar också vänsterns analys av krisen och säger uttryckligen att det var ett regleringsmisslyckande lika mycket som ett misslyckande inom en sektor. Han går längre och konstaterar att finansiell innovation, nya instrument och investeringsmodeller, ytterst är bra. Ståndpunkter som visar klart hur långt från dagens socialdemokratiska rekyl vänsterut han faktiskt står nu.

Faktum är att Blair tycks känna igen sig mer i Camerons politiska stil, än i Gordon Browns. Och hans aningens egocentrerade påstående att Cameron kopierat denna stil från honom leder till en annan fråga. Det finns sannolikt ett begränsat antal politiska former för kampanjer, ett antal olika narrativ som kan användas. Förnyelse och triangulering mot mitten börjar bli (kanske alltid har varit) den etablerade tropen. Vad kan slå den? Eller handlar det om vem som kan vara mest trovärdig i genomförandet?

Till sist: en sak framstår som ganska anmärkningsvärd, och det är Blairs kritik av den offentlighetslagstiftning, Freedom of Information Act, som infördes under hans tid. Han menar att den helt förfelat sitt syfte för att den används inte av folket, utan av journalister. Här sker något märkligt – kanske är det en yrkesskada – men Blairs ovilja att inse att journalister ibland kan göra saker för folket är antingen en brittisk sjuka eller konsekvensen av ett liv i rampljuset. Det är inte ofta en politiker öppet säger att han gärna skulle se mindre insyn i förvaltningen.

Summa summarum: lätt att avfärda. Men läs ändå.

Att läsa på en iPad

By Tuesday, September 7, 2010 8 No tags Permalink 0

Så. Det har hänt. Jag har börjat läsa på min iPad. Jag trodde aldrig att det skulle ske, att jag skulle läsa en hel bok på en skärm, ens på en Kindle. Jag har länge sagt, och tycker fortfarande, att boken är den absolut bästa informationsartefakt som tänkas kan, men jag måste medge att det gick snabbt och smärtfritt att vänja sig.

Obehagligt snabbt.

Jag har haft min iPad sedan i april och har inte kunnat läsa på den, även om jag försökt. Skärmen var inte bra, jag gillade inte upplevelsen, jag kunde inte läsa utomhus — skälen var många och av varierande halt. Men mest ville jag nog inte. Nu när jag väl prövat oroar det mig. Tänk om det inte finns några boklådor kvar om femtio år?!

Jag vill bli upprörd in i märgen av den tanken.

Men jag funderar mest, just nu, på att köpa en Kindle för att jämföra, och för att kunna läsa i solljus.

Jag känner mig svekfull. Ond.

Metainformation II: Law produces metainformation

By Monday, January 11, 2010 0 No tags Permalink 0

It is possible to think about law as a kind of metainformation. Law structures information, concepts and actions and describes consequences of an action assuming that it conforms to criteria set up. Law consists of a set of rules that describe how information should be treated, what it is and how it can be transmitted. Law thus produces metainformation in a very real sense.

Take copyright. Copyright information is metainformation about how certain information may move in a market and under what conditions it can be shared, transmitted, stored…the legal status of a certain piece of information determines its use in several different situations, and we see this explicitly in so-called rights-management information systems. In watermarking metainformation even becomes explicit: any work can be assessed as to its legal status by reading the “meta-tag” provided with the work. In intellectual property law we also see even metainformation being regulated. The most obvious example of this is the regulation of rights management information in the European directives on copyright. The prohibition against manipulating or removing electronic rights information (or metainformation as it were) is a legal rule pertaining to metainformation. The RMI is not protected because of its own value, but because of its value as metainformation.

Conversely, law can also require that we know metainformation about information. In Sweden a recent legal reform prohibited the downloading of information from the net if the user knew or should have known that the information was put there without the consent of the rights holder. That rule, in essence, is a requirement that the user contextualize and assess metainformation about a work before using or accessing it (can we use work and information as synonyms? Well, perhaps we should be careful: works are information sets that present with a certain cohesion). In this case an act becomes illegal if the metainformation is not accessed or at least probably determined.

One argument against a law like this could actually be based on this: that in order to maximize the sharing of information we should never require users to assess or try to determine metainformation about any work before they use it. The logic behind such an argument could then be that any other rule would impose costs on information sharing equal to the determination of the probable metainformation applicable to a work, and that such costs will rise with the information explosion we are living through.

A related question is whether law should really be tasked with determining metainformation. That is an interesting question, and fairly complicated. It requires that we think about points of regulation and points of determination. A point of regulation is where a rule applies its force, the target for a rule. Where we place the point of regulation determines where a potential crime is committed. The point of determination is where we assess if the potential crime is an actual crime by comparing the actions we have observed with the rule we have put in place.

Assume that we want to stop access to pornography. We can then do this in two different ways. The first is to force everyone to use a standard – say PICS – and then simply require a) that all browsers implement a forced PICS-analysis and b) that all pictures published on the internet be marked up with PICS (or not visible in browsers, then). We then exclude some categories of “sexual content” in law. That places the point of regulation in the browser and it places the point of determination in the classification of pictures according to the PICS standard, where no classification means that an image will not be displayed in a browser. The potential crime here is for the browser maker not to include the PICS-based filtering, or for the user to circumvent it. The determination of whether a crime is committed then becomes the determination of whether a piece of software has been written according to the demands or if it has been tampered with in any sense.

The other alternative is to legislate and to prohibit individuals from accessing pornography. If they do so they are liable to be fined or jailed according to the severity of punishment we wish to apply. If a work falls under the prohibition in the law is determined by a legal valuation in court. This places the point of regulation at the user and the point of determination in court. The potential crime here is accessing the image, the determination of if this is an actual crime is made by looking at the image and determining if it fulfills the stated criteria for pornography that is prohibited.

One way to understand this difference is to say that the first piece of legislation is architectural and the second value-oriented. In the first case we determine if a crime has been committed by looking at the design or tampering of a piece of software. In the second we try to determine the ethical content of an action.

There is something here that needs our attention. Laws that target architecture are in a very real sense post-ethical laws, they rob legal rules of moral content. A legal rule that targets the design or tampering of software says nothing about the ethical nature of watching pornography. A legal rule that asks if a picture is pornographic requires a value-judgement to a much higher degree (is not design, ultimately, about values too? Yes, of course, and tampering even more so, but there is a difference here that still qualifies as a difference in kind rather than a difference in degree, I believe).

In the first case the image becomes pornographic when the metainformation is applied to it, and this is a process not necessarily performed in court (not probable to be performed there, as a matter of fact, but more likely to be performed by the publisher of the image). In the second case the image is deemed pornographic after a court has looked at it and the determination is made under rule of law.

There seems to be a possible hypothesis here: the more consequential the application of a piece of metainformation, the more important the judicial nature of the process, the transparency and the openness.

Metainformation I: Information about information

By Monday, January 4, 2010 2 , Permalink 0

Senare i januari ska jag på en konferens med det fina namnet Global Leaders 2010 i Singapore. Ämnet är metainformation och arrangören, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger har redan signalerat att han tror att denna fråga kommer att bli en av de mest intressanta under 10-talet. Jag skall leda en workshop och litet plenarer och så, men framförallt ser jag fram mot diskussionerna. Som en föreberedelse har jag samlat litet tankar och anteckningar om metainformation som jag också publicerar här. De är på engelska.

Metainformation is information about information. There is probably no single point where metainformation suddenly emerges, but we could imagine that information sets of certain diversity and size automatically create a demand for metainformation. One example would be a library. With a few books we can find what we need quickly, but when the size of the book collection grows it quickly becomes impossible to locate books without a systematic description of where the information is. In fact, we could argue, this is the point when the book collection becomes a library. This point, the library point, will differ for all kinds of information sets, but it will always be signified by the same qualities: the emergence of metainformation and attempts to structure the information in the information set to reduce search costs.

Now, when we construct metainformation we can do it in different ways. Constructing metainformation sets is a difficult task since it seems to require that we envision possible uses of the information sets, possible searches that we may want to perform on the material. Metainformation, in a very real sense, will be the thing that enables searches in vast information sets. Without an “index” and relevance indicators search engines would not know how to handle a search query. Or? Let’s examine that idea closer. What is the relationship between search and metainformation? One observation is that the space of possible searches is determined by the metainformation available. When you enter a library you will be able to perform searches according to the metainformation available to you. Imagine two searches: the first is “all relevant books on Picasso” and the second is “all books set in Garamond type”. The first is answerable by the index. The second is not. Metainformation thus delineates the knowable in a very real sense. Wittgenstein used to say that the boundaries of my language are the boundaries of my world (misquoted and misconstrued here, but to illustrate a point). Well, the boundaries of our searching capacity are set by the boundaries implied in metainformation.

What, then, does this mean? I think one answer to that question is that it means that the ways of producing metainformation (in this narrow sense) are ways of producing the boundaries of search space. Innovating the production of metainformation is expanding the set of possioble questions we can ask. It also implies a power relationship. He who controls the metainformation controls the search.

It is worthwhile here to make a slight detour into thinking about different ways of creating power out of information. The first point I think we need to make is that we have moved from an economy where owning information was a viable way of creating value sustainably. It is still possible, where asymmetries of information are stable or at least monetizable at very quick rates, to generate value by owning and transferring ownership of information to other parties. But another form of value creation has become much more interesting, and that is the organization of information. It is well known that Google’s vision is NOT to “own the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It is to organize the world’s information. But exactly how is value produced when we organize information? I think that it may be here that we should begin to examine the notion that if value is not produced by owning information, it may be produced by owning metainformation. I am not sure this is true, as there is another possibility as well. And that is that what we see is not value accruing to metainformation as such, as much as to the means of producing metainformation.

If this is the case it lends itself to a Marxian analysis. Marx noted that capitalism would collapse under its own victories. We would see capitalism make the means of production available to all, even to the workers, by constantly lowering the cost of the means of production. This is, essentially, what has happened to the content industry. In many cases, though not all (there is an argument here pertaining to quality and investments that I will not address here, but which I think is problematic at best), this means that films, photos, music and other forms of content can easily be produced by users. This phenomenon – user created culture – has shifted the power away from the previous owners of the means of producing content or information to users. This is a well-known analysis presented by Yochai Benkler, Lawrence Lessig and others. But what has happened at the same time is that as the information avalanche grows, we see the value shifting to another set of means of production: the production of metainformation.

The argument that we are beginning to shape here is this: in an age where anyone can make a pop song or take photos, the ability to produce metainformation is still an ability where costs prohibit the emergence of wide-scale user created metainformation.

But is this true? Look at folksonomies and tagging as phenomena. Are these not phenomena that seem to indicate the opposite? If we argue from search engines, then, yes, it seems trivial that not everyone can produce their own index and relevance algorithms on a global scale (here is an interesting question: what will happen when the prizes of indexing and relevance structuring become so low as to allow users to create metainformation on a global level?). But that is only saying that not anyone with a digital film camera can produce Lord of the Rings, right?

Well, yes and no. I think that there are reasons to think about the means of producing metainformation as a new and unevenly distributed source of value. The anatomy of the new source of value may offer interesting fields of exploration, not least when we think about how metainformation is best produced. We seem to need two things: relevance producing mechanisms (or algorithms) as well as vast data sets to test them. Now, one crucial question here seems to be if producing qualitative metainformation (in a sense, producing relevance) is positively correlated with the size of the information sets available to the party producing the metainformation. If this is the case – if those with larger data sets produce better metainformation – it would seem that there is still value in owning information. At least in owning vast information sets.

The larger the information sets I command, in that case, the better the metainformation I can produce. Think about the library. Which library would you predict has the better catalogue? A large library or a small library? Here is a thought: may it be that once we pass the library point where metainformation emerges we see the quality of the metainformation grow with the set of information it is being produced from? Is the quality of metainformation a function of the size of the set it is being generated from? Some studies – specifically of translation technology – would imply that this is indeed the case.

Indeed, beyond the library point, where metainformation emerges, we may imagine another point, the general search point, where the marginal utility of adding information to the set for the value of the metainformation being produced explodes. In such a scenario we should expect the producers of metainformation to try to access all kinds of information and accelerate this process as their information sets grow. Of course, we need to qualify this scenario, by thinking about how different kinds of information add value. One thing we can see is that personal information seems to be rich with metainformation values. The value of work shifts to the value of attention, and the value of the traces of our attention in vast information sets, used to structure metainformation, may very well be the main source of competitive advantage in the metainformation markets.

We are all, in a very real sense, librarians engaged in structuring the world.

November andas på mina fönster

By Saturday, October 31, 2009 0 No tags Permalink 0

…förväntansfullt och ritar avgrunder i imman med sina naglar. Nu kommer det våta mörkret. Nu kommer drömlös sömn och kalla gatlyktors blinda stirrande. Och jag sätter mig framför skärmen, letar i musikbiblioteket, hittar till sist det gift som jag behöver för att leva. Canto IV, Radio Inferno, Andreas Ammer och FM Einheit.

iTunes darrar litet, och dess genius säger med darrande stämma:

Jag ler. Plockar fram Blood Meridian och bläddrar, inte utan viss ängslan, efter det efterlängtade stycket, det som måste läsas innan oktober löses upp i löv och morgonfrost. Plötsligt står han där i rummet med mig, domare Holden, ler och säger:

Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have a meaning at all. [...] This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god.

Visst. Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. November bugar sig, bjuder in. Vi marscherar, på led – utan hopp.

Bardens röst skär genom nattens väntan. “The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.”, säger han och jag söker min trygghet i skämtet, slår upp Emily Dickinson och läser, långsamt och om och om igen, tills dess att skrattet tränger igenom:

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”

Svar till Kolsjö: politiker och sociala medier

By Saturday, September 5, 2009 0 No tags Permalink 0

Magnus Kolsjö bemöter i sin blogg det gästinlägg som jag gjorde hos Mary X Jensen. I princip avfärdar han tanken på att det kan finnas något problematiskt i att makten och medierna smälter samman. Prefixet “sociala” betyder nämligen att vi blir mer jämlika, och därför finns ingen risk förbunden med makthavare som medieavsändare.

Men exakt hur blir vi mer jämlika? Är det så att ministrar idag har mindre makt? Har medborgare verkligen ett större inflytande? Är det betydelselöst att varenda bloggstorm hitintills -från FRA till IPRED – misslyckats att stoppa de beslut som stormen gällt?

Och en svårare fråga: om medborgarna och makten är mer jämlika – betyder det då att Kolsjö menar att det idag är bättre att börja använda sociala medier än att gå med i ett parti?

Det fega svaret är “gör båda!”, men låt oss göra det svårare för oss: ger 1000 timmar bloggande samma inflytande, samma faktiska makt, som 1000 timmar engagemang i ett parti? Varför bildades då Piratpartiet? Varför söker sig så många duktiga bloggare försiktigt mot riksdagslistorna?

Nej, makten ligger kanske överraskande oförändrad kvar i de politiska strukturerna. Och när dessa strukturer smälter samman med medierna och ökar sin kontroll över hur de granskas, särskilt med den försåtliga intimiteten i exempelvis statusmeddelandets eller bloggens form, då rymmer det betänkligheter.

Men Magnus, det betyder för det första inte att jag längtar efter förra seklets döende medier. Tvärtom: jag skrev faktiskt att det var deras misslyckande som öppnade för maktens assimilation av medierna. För det andra betyder det inte heller att jag skulle drömma om att Torekullskt gnälla över att politiker bloggar och twittrar på så sätt att jag skulle vilja sätta stopp för det med förbud.

Men jag skulle välkomna, och jag ska medge att jag längtar efter, journalistikens arvtagare. En granskning som makten fruktar istället för en socialitet den känner sig bekväm i.

Här finns för mig en intressant skillnad mellan transparensreformer och politiska kommunikationsverktyg. Inte allt politiskt användande av sociala medier skapar transparens – en del verkar direkt motsatt.

Nyckeln till att bygga system som granskar makten är förstås just transparens i maktutövningen, bättre metoder för revision och insyn och sedan också något nytt som jag inte kan sätta fingret på: kanske en institutionell reform som möjliggör för helt andra medborgaringripanden mot makten, kanske något annat som verkligen kan dela makten tydligare och bygga en ny konstitutionell ordning.

Det här är en intressant diskussion och en vi behöver ha. Så visst kan politiker använda sociala medier, men ska vi verkligen låta makten komma undan med det?

– Posted from my iPhone