Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sketch for an SF plot occasioned by Ondoy/Ketsana Relief
Would be good if the organizational structures remained even after the Ondoy disaster passes/normalizes, even for things not directly related to typhoons. Government is essentially a structure for routing the goods/resources of a group for the benefit of said group, a task our elected government manifestly sucks at (25 rubber boats between all the armed forces AND the National Disaster Coordinating Council, this 4 years after the object lesson of Hurricane Katrina, in a country crossed by an average of 20 typhoons a year.) The relief operations are a web-enhanced example of group cooperation that is the engine that drives all government. There must be a way to systematize this effort. Lessons, cues to be sifted from a study of Obama's election machinery, it's use of/reliance on/leveraging of pre-existent networks, personal initiative, ad hoc coalitions. Probably also from Gawad Kalinga. The philosopher Manfred Halpern once defined politics as "everything we can and need to do together." Imagine a scenario where social networking becomes advanced enough to leverage the kind of tao-to-tao cooperation that the anarchists dreamed of. Where a central government becomes supplanted by a distributed, decentralized government. A politics of community and initiative. A politics even of bickering and exasperated love. I imagine an SF novel, something like a cross between Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and LeGuin's The Dispossessed that chronicles the rise of social networking, said networks becoming the ordinary citizen's preferred channel of goods/money/action, with more and more projects being launched and maintained online until the central government withered away and died, either after convulsive and murderous attempts to stay in power, or from a gradual disappearance of its capital, its constituency.