Doc Searls reported on Larry Lessig’s talk at Berkman last Friday. The talk is part of the launch of Lessig’s and Joe Trippi’s initiative, Change-Congress.org.
Toward the end of his talk, Dr. Lessig pointed out that project has no board and no structure yet, prompting Doc to write a “Note to selves: a lot of what Larry wants here is what Britt Blaser and friends are working on.”
Fair enough. I’ve kept Doc informed on the Independence Year project that my partners and I have been slowly hatching: a comprehensive back-channel for governance. Our back-channel will attempt to set straight the erosion of features as our United States Operating System (USOS) lost so much usability as it devolved from Version 1.0 (1789) to V. 2.0 (2008).
The founders of the USOS implemented the following vision, with the Congress in charge and the chief executive “presiding” over the federal functions:
1789: USA, Version 1.0: The Foundersâ€™ Design
That was fine with the owners but, like so many managers who hijack the organizations they have been trusted with, things have changed a lot 22 decades later:
2008: USA, Version 2.0 – From Presider to DECIDER,
A Management Takeover
At last count, 81% of the country is longing to put things back where they were. Lessig says that, of course, change must come from the outside and, for starters, Change-Congress wants people to pressure their congresspeople to adopt four initiatives:
This is where the going always gets tricky. What specific mechanisms would compel a majority of congresscritters to do that? There’s no shortage of online outrage and cries for reform. How do we make Change-Congress.org more than simply another howl of anguished outrage? What mechanism transforms “Yes we can” to “How we can”?
What my friends and I continue to work on is a purpose-built web-based framework supporting about a thousand nodes, all communicating with each other. Yes, we’d prefer it was simpler for us, but that’s the only way to make it simple for the voters. It’s simpler for the constituents of a representative or senator to go to their own hyperlocal site than to pressure their politicians from a general site.
Here’s our plan for the oversites needed to reign in our politicians and agencies:
2009: USA, Version 3.0 – We The People, Re-Founding US Governance