PDM Special Book Event, Sept. 24: Steven Johnson on the Rise of the 'Peer Progressive'
BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 11 2012
Is there a new political philosophy emerging from things like open source software development; massive community sharing hubs like Wikipedia, Kickstarter, and Reddit; peer-to-peer social networking; experiments in "Liquid Democracy," and the rapid spread of resource sharing tools like ZipCar, AirBnb and Car2go? Is it time to start talking about replacing the "welfare state" with the "partner state"?
On Monday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the New York Law School, I'm looking forward to exploring all those questions and more with noted author Steven Johnson, whose new book "Future, Perfect" is must-reading for people who believe in the power of open, collaborative peer-to-peer networking to achieve real social progress.
Johnson argues for a new breed of political beast: the "peer progressive." You may be one if you're wary of centralized control, whether that's in the hands of Big Government or Big Corporations or Big Labor, but you're not a free-market libertarian either because you believe that markets frequently fail to provide essential social goods. Peer progressives, Johnson argues, think the way the Internet itself works--nobody owns it, everyone can connect to it, anyone can improve on it--might offer a model for solving other problems. And they're struck by how voluntary associations that are organized non-hierarchically for non-financial goals like love, or social solidarity, or a shared passion (like Wikipedia) can scale to the size of millions of participants.