This is a most interesting TED Talk, addressing the downside to the end of the [[Cold War]], transparency in government, and even the Internet. The speaker says that what went right in the social revolutions of the last fifty years are also the same things that went wrong.
One gem from the presentation is that in Democracy, “people start to understand that they can change governments, but they cannot change policies.” This is strikingly pertinent to American politics today. Also, we have the observation that
The more democratic our societies have been, the more equal they have been becoming. Now we have the reverse tendency. The spread of democracy now is very much accompanied by the increase in inequality.
And another astute observation that I don’t want to admit, but am compelled:
[Y]es, it’s true, the Internet connected all of us, but we also know that the Internet created these echo chambers and political ghettos in which for all your life you can stay with the political community you belong to. And it’s becoming more and more difficult to understand the people who are not like you.
Lastly, a very Taoist understanding about transparency, describing it’s intent or result as the opposite of what you’d think:
Transparency is not about restoring trust in institutions. Transparency is politics’ management of mistrust. We are assuming that our societies are going to be based on mistrust. And by the way, mistrust was always very important for democracy. This is why you have checks and balances. This is why basically you have all this creative mistrust between the representatives and those whom they represent. But when politics is only management of mistrust, then … It’s not going to be the Big Brother watching you, it’s going to be we being the Big Brother watching the political class. But is this the idea of a free society?
… Are you not afraid with all these technologies that are going to track down any statement the politicians are going to make on certain issues, are you not afraid that this is going to be a very strong signal to politicians to repeat their positions, even the very wrong positions, because consistency is going to be more important than common sense? And the Americans who are in the room, are you not afraid that your presidents are going to govern on the basis of what they said in the primary elections?
There’s much more worthwhile detail, which is why I recommend watching the whole thing.