Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change

Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change

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by Jared Duval
     
 

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The challenges of the twenty-first century are of an unprecedented scale. Climate change, financial instability, the housing crisis, the need for health care--all of these are political issues that could be managed with ease if they were occurring on a much smaller scale. But with a huge global population and inextricable connections between the issues, our old

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Overview

The challenges of the twenty-first century are of an unprecedented scale. Climate change, financial instability, the housing crisis, the need for health care--all of these are political issues that could be managed with ease if they were occurring on a much smaller scale. But with a huge global population and inextricable connections between the issues, our old tools for change look increasingly blunt. Many of the large bodies we once appointed to manage our common problems--including national governments-- have begun to fail at critical moments.

But there is good news: We can use our vast size and complexity to our advantage. Drawing on the lessons of open source technology, social change leader Jared Duval offers an inspiring call to action. Next Generation Democracy chronicles some of the watershed events, such as Hurricane Katrina, during which centralized leadership was not enough, and then tells the success stories of the leaders, both inside the government and out, who are finding effective, directly democratic ways to address our public challenges. Telling the stories of participatory organizations such as SeeClickFix and America Speaks, Duval describes a new approach to solving complex problems that draws on the contributions of vast and diverse communities of engaged citizens. An artful blend of personal writing, journalism, and political argument, Next Generation Democracy not only gives us a vision of a brighter future, it inspires us to be a part of it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Jared Duval has written an inspiring and necessary book, a message that real democracy, and real change, is more possible now than ever. An energetic leader and a fearless thinker, Duval shows us that we have the tools for change at our fingertips. Now it’s time to stand up, stop complaining, and make the world we want.”—Van Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy

“God knows previous generations have left those that are coming of age a world of trouble. Happily, they’re figuring out a world of ways to set them right. Jared Duval’s book offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the next wave of activism, organizing, inspiration, and change. It will give you cause to hope—and cause to go to work.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth and Deep Economy

“We’re seeing a wave of greatly increased civic engagement as people find ways to improve governance via the Internet. Next Generation Democracy tells you what the deal is about the rising millennial generation and our new tools for real democracy.”—Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

"Some writers are known for telling uplifting stories, others for making compelling arguments. Jared Duval is the rare author who does both. What's more, Duval, grounded by his own experience creating social change, is uniquely able to help us understand how to responsibly and effectively engage in the world." —Judith Freeman, Co-Founder and Executive Director, New Organizing Institute

“Next Generation Democracy is an insightful intellectual tour de force linking the emergence of the Millennial Generation and the power of open source systems to describe a hopeful future for American democracy. In the middle of a cacophony of confused and fearful voices, Jared Duval presents a lucid, calm argument.” —Morley Winograd, Co-author of Millennial Makeover

“Jared Duval has proven himself one of the greatest leaders and thinkers of the Millennial Generation. Next Generation Democracy is a bold, visionary, and empowering exploration of the social and political progress we need in the 21st century. This is the kind of rethinking that happens once a generation – don’t miss it.” —Teryn Norris, Founding Director, Breakthrough Generation.

Kirkus Reviews

Political treatise suggesting that the wired and tolerant under-30 "millennials" must apply open-source principles to the process of governance.

Demos fellow Duval was national director of the Sierra Club's student chapter and received awards for his own organizing efforts. From adolescence, he was intrigued by the notion of tackling difficult social problems in a collaborative fashion, and his early experiences as a Howard Dean volunteer convinced him that the democratic process was ready for innovations. "I was intrigued by the possibilities this new approach held for our politics," he writes, "with the potential for people to become active participants at all levels of our democracy." Later, his experiences as a volunteer in Tanzania dealing with HIV prevention suggested to him that today's challenges are interconnected and thus require solutions reflecting the linkages of wired social media so familiar to millennials. Duval argues that such online, interactive game-changers as Wikipedia demonstrate that collaborative content management "turns out, however improbably, to work remarkably well." The most powerful chapter examines the Coast Guard's improvisational rescue efforts during Hurricane Katrina, and the efforts of residents to rebuild, as examples of collective efforts that benefitted from nontraditional leadership and technologies. His argument reflects the work of, among others, Linus Torvalds, revered for developing the "open-source" Linux/GNU operating system. Torvalds' invitation of widespread user contributions resulted in quicker, more efficient improvements to the OS, and Duval sees this as applicable to politics. He examines projects like SeeClickFix in New Haven, Conn., which allows real-time critiques of urban problems, and President Obama's ultimately successful pursuit of health-care reform. The author's social outlook is ambitious and hopeful, but his prose is neither fiery nor forceful and relies on jargon-heavy repetitions of his basic argument. The book lacks historical context or a cold-blooded sense of the real opposition to progressive movement in contemporary America. Includes a foreword by Tim O'Reilly.

Well-intentioned but repetitive and too hypothetical.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608190669
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/09/2010
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Jared Duval is a Fellow at Demos, a New York based think tank where he is helping to build a first-of-its-kind fellowship program for young authors. He was the National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition, the national student chapter of the Sierra Club and the largest student environmental organization in America. A recipient of the David Brower Youth Award and the Morris K. Udall and Harry S. Truman scholarships, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2005. A Trustee of the Orton Family Foundation, Jared is a tenth-generation Vermonter. He currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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