Mr Sarkozy has now taken the battle of the Internet to the next level of open conflict between governments and the Internet by initiating the e-G8 meeting where he argued:
“The universe you represent is not a parallel universe. Nobody should forget that governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies. To forget this is to risk democratic chaos and anarchy.”
“We need to hear your aspirations, your needs,” but that “You need to hear our limits, our red lines.”
(quote from Don Tapscott – G8 and the Internet – Sarkozy Messes With a Good Thing – you can read even more about this in Alex Howard’s article: At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy)
What Sarkozy miss completely is that the current form of democratic government system, the current ideas and laws around Intellectual Properties, well the whole concept of the nation state and even of our current civilizational form is in fact a result of, and is completely built on the previous major communication revolution: the printing press.
How revolutionary we might regard the printing press, we must understand that it provided just a gradual change of human organization. It was a innovation that only increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the old model of one-to-many communication. We are now facing a much bigger and more profound change in human organization than ever. The global diffusion of Internet is the birth of something completely new and unprecedented, a fundamental change of the inner wiring of human society and organization: many-to-many communication between already hundreds of millions and soon billions of people and artifacts on this planet.
Fundamentally new communicational and computing capabilities is on it’s way to completely redefine almost everything and in particular how humanity is organized in larger groups as e g cities and countries. To use Sarkozy’s words and seeing the world from his or many other traditional democratic governments perspective: this will without doubt result in democratic chaos and anarchy. The change will not take the form of something to fight with or decide about but will rather emerge from the inside of ourselves and take the form of old concepts, systems and structures that suddenly and curiously become irrelevant or at times even dangerous and counter productive.
The challenge for all of us now (including governments) is to put ourselves into a state to avoid repelling everything new but continuously learn about the new logic as it emerges in order to 1) dismount the current systems which in the current situation might cause more harm than good and 2) in their place develop new interim systems that will result in temporary islands of order where we can thrive in waiting for the next wave of deep change. Always knowing that the current structure, the current idea or the current system soon will be irrelevant again and need to be rebuilt .
It is becoming increasingly clear that the knowledge and systems that have taken us this far NOT will take us into the future.
And in times of fundamental transformation any firm and unadaptive construction will most likely turn out to be the things that keep you immobile and stuck to the bottom when the water rises and the tsunami is rolling in.