On Future Challenges we’re focusing on globalization issues and a big network of bloggers provides a broad range of perspectives on these topics. How is free trade perceived in developing countries? Is it different from what people in developed countries think about it? How does labour migration affect societies around the world and what are the concrete impacts not only on a macro level but rather on a personal level? Our bloggers tell us.
All this is possible via the use of the Internet which is one of the reasons why we at Future Challenges are interested in the intersection of globalization and the Internet. We’re happy that we can deepen our understanding of these processes in a project that was launched in Berlin on Thursday, last week: „Globalization and the Internet: People, Information, Goods“.
This project is based on a cooperation between the Internet and Society Collaboratory and Future Challenges. A group of round about 30 people is divided into four working groups. These working groups are a direct result of an initial brainstorming during the kick-off workshop in a former supermarket in Berlin.
Participants off the kickoff workshop in front of the “Supermarket” in Berlin. Photo taken by the author.
The working groups will collaborate online to refine their initial concepts. At a second workshop at the end of August the #CoLab9 participants will take part in a booksprint, which is an innovative way of writing books – not the classical way but much faster and written by many authors. At the end of November the Internet und Gesellschaft Collaboratory and Future Challenges will present the results of the „Globalization and the Internet“ initiative. Feedback is welcome at any point of this process!
I’m personally involved in the second working group which will analyse the impact of the Internet on cultures worldwide. Does the Internet even facilitate the development of a supranational, meta culture? One of the participants in this group proposed to start a blogparade among the Future Challenges bloggers as soon as we have detailed questions we’ll be working on. I think it’s a brilliant idea!
The #Colab9 participants are discussing the booksprint format. It’s planned to make such a booksprint during the second workshop at the end of August. Photo taken by the Internet und Gesellschaft Collaboratory.
Another working group will focus on the impact of the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU. During the kickoff workshop this gorup has already set up a Tumblr blog: TAFTA TTIP WATCH.
It will be interesting to see how the working groups will highlight different aspects of the overall topic „Globalization and the Internet“. I will keep you posted!
Empowerment. Engagement. Participation. You know all the buzzwords. The Internet has been a decisive catalyst for the ever increasing importance of these characteristics for a modern democratic society. Social Media platforms and the breakup of the traditional societal one-way communication (top-down approach) have an important stake in this development.
If you’re browsing through the Internet you get overwhelmed by the amount of websites that are devoted to political or societal engagement. Take for example Avaaz. Within days they induced more than 5 million people to sign a petition calling for a ban of ACTA. Every few days I receive an email from DoSomething.org with information on certain projects that had been carried out. You can also mention Change.org with its petitions that generate thousands or even hundreds of thousands of signatures. There is no doubt that many people across the world love to do good and that they would take some time to support a certain cause.
So what’s the matter?
All the aforementioned initatives have a clear focus. They ask their readers/users/members to support a certain cause.
Should the oceans be saved?
Then please sign here and tell your friends.
Apple: Protect Workers Making iPhones in Chinese Factories
Please sign this petition.
Photo taken from “League of Women Voters of California” on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Don’t get me wrong. I myself love to sign petitions as well. It’s a quick win: you help to support an important cause and all you have to do is to offer up one minute. There is every reason to promote and to support these kind of projects!
This is not my point.
My point is: Could we also achieve a slightly similar degree of engagement when it comes to finding policy solutions for complex problems? Can we try to work on policy solutions not only in closed circles but in a transparent manner, not only including experts? There are already interesting projects in place, for example in Germany which are called Bürgerhaushalte. People can submit proposals on how a certain share of the city’s budget should be spent. But what if it comes to global problems, global challenges that the world needs to tackle like climate change, resource scarcity or migration. These are issues that the majority of people may be aware of but it seems like they are too complex to generate a high degree of engagement.
It seems to me like it’s already very difficult to motivate people to comment on stories that deal with these large-scale issues. But is there any chance that people will even think about policy solutions for some of the biggest challenges that humanity is facing? If you know of any best practices please let me know!