Drive-by Democracy Isn’t Working

With Brexit, the rejection-by-referendum of the Columbian peace accord with FARC, the Trump win and the troubling popularity of ethno-nationalism in Europe, it is clear that liberal democracy as we have experienced it in the post-war era is facing unprecedented challenge.

In a time of 140 character policy pronouncements and of real-time reaction by anyone with a mobile device and a few seconds on their hands, the grand debates to inform the best of our societies have been marked by appeals to extremist entrenchment instead of centrist collaboration. And where the citizenry does get engaged, the troubling propensity is to do that anonymously, reactively, reflexively on-line – assuming that a ‘like’ on Facebook or a Twitter re-tweet is the fullest expression of their democratic franchise. Having stood on the digital ‘speakers box’, but without the responsibility to show their face to their peers, the engaged citizen then offers themselves self-congratulations for a job well done. This trend of substituting a ‘like’ for a thoughtful vote is what I think of as ‘drive-by democracy’.

We have allowed for the fiction that solutions are obvious, simple and plentiful – and that the challenge of democracy is to speak one’s mind, rather than to shape it. If we are, as many have observed, witnessing the failure of existing post-war elite structures, then the failure in part has been to feed and give voice to that dangerous fiction – that sense of articulated aggrievement. Instead, leaders need to demonstrate by their example that there is no absolute, single answer to anything, and that the solutions to our opportunities are as nuanced as the challenges that precede them.

We can’t look to the leadership structures that were defined by the command and control systems of European empires and two world wars, or to the 62 individuals whose net worth equals the bottom 50% of humanity. Instead, we must mobilize the ‘militant middle’ – those who do not want others to speak for them, and who, because of their accomplishment understand that their collective voice could provide the example of leadership that is today being sought by so many.

Many years ago my first year political science professor observed “for the most part and in the long run, people get the governments that they deserve”. Is that true for leadership as a whole – that we get the leaders we deserve? If thats true, what are you going to do about it?

 

Exponential Finance: Our Children Won’t Know a Bank Teller from a Chimney Sweep

Exponential Finance: Our Children Won’t Know a Bank Teller from a Chimney SweepWe’re in New York this week to bring you coverage of Singularity University and CNBC’s Exponential Finance conference. Bitcoin, blockchain, mobile banking, peer-to-peer lending, AI financial advisors, insurance and driverless cars, and more: The financial world will undergo significant change in the coming years. Come here for […]

 

Contextual Storytelling, Part 1: UX Beyond the Screen

Contextual Storytelling, Part 1: UX Beyond the ScreenIt is coming fast and strong, a user experience that will not involve your computer, and possibly not your mobile phone or any screen. Or your screen will only be a part of the experience, and it will speak to “things” around you, like your refrigerator or a sensor, or even a can of soup.  […]

 

Mobile, the Metatrend of the Decade

Mobile, the Metatrend of the Decade

Four billion people are buying new smartphones every two years, massively outpacing the PC industry (where we buy 1.6 billion PCs every five years). Our desire for the most powerful, newest tech in our pocket is the beginning of a symbiotic merger between human and machine. This post is about […]

 

Proteus Digital Health raises another $52 million for sensor-enabled pharmaceuticals

Proteus Digital Health raises another $52 million for sensor-enabled pharmaceuticals

Proteus Digital Health Digital medicine company Proteus Digital Health has raised an additional $52 million from undisclosed investors following a whopping $120 million raise the company announced just last month. That brings Proteus’ latest round of funding — its seventh — to $172 million. By our count the company’s total […]

 

Apple, Google, Samsung vie to bring health apps to wearables

Apple, Google, Samsung vie to bring health apps to wearablesFor decades, medical technology firms have searched for ways to let diabetics check blood sugar easily, with scant success. Now, the world’s largest mobile technology firms are getting in on the act. Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc, searching for […]

 

An Ideas Exchange For Solving Humanity’s Grand Challenges

An Ideas Exchange For Solving Humanity's Grand Challenges

Mobile is quickly becoming the de facto platform for consuming services and products with 55% of internet traffic in the United States coming from mobile devices. The most remarkable thing about the mobile revolution however is that it is having the same impact all over the world regardless of demographics and income. Its disruptive nature is enabling entrepreneurs to build products and services that cater to some of the poorest people in the world and in the process create significant social impact.   […]

 

Weekend Confidential: Ray Kurzweil

download (1)Ray Kurzweil is teaching computers how to read better—one more step in the march of technological progress. The 66-year-old inventor and futurist thinks that by 2030, computers won’t only be able to understand ordinary spoken language but will show emotions too. Next to arrive will be the “singularity”—a term he popularized nearly a decade ago for the point at which humans and computers will merge as one. That will happen in 2045, he predicts, when human intelligence will be enhanced a billion-fold thanks to high-tech brain extensions.  […]

 

Your digital footprint can say a lot about your health. Clariture leverages that for healthcare advertising

Your digital footprint can say a lot about your health. Clariture leverages that for healthcare advertising

Healthcare providers are looking for ways to connect with potential patients on the web, on mobile devices, and through social channels. And San Francisco-based Clariture is ramping up to fill the need. Clariture’s platform uses social media and patient data to find people who are likely to respond to a healthcare provider’s […]

 

How Wearable Tech will Redefine the Future of Marketing

How Wearable Tech will Redefine the Future of Marketing

We have all heard, seen or used Wearable Tech gadgets that have started entering our daily lives. Just like radio, internet and mobile phones, Wearable Tech gadgets hold immense potential and will create new challenges for all of us. Here, I have highlighted 5 changes that marketers will face […]

 
Subscribe to WESTROPELEADS digest NOW!
Subscribe