Decentralize, Democratize, or Die

Nov 1, 2018



Every digital system needs on-ramps and off-ramps, and all of those ramps are connected to the real world, where real governments make real policies that determine whether and how your digital tools will work. Policies don't occur in a vacuum. Bad policies are sometimes the result of confusion or negligence, but more often they're the result of corruption, where dominant incumbents figure out how to put their thumbs on the scales to maintain their dominance and crush upstarts who oppose them. The more centralized an industry is, the easier it is for its dominant players to collude to achieve their common policy goals. Centralization is corruption's handmaiden.Democratic processes produce good governance. Without good governance, all bets are off: from information security to privacy, the game will always be rigged. And that's the conundrum: to get good policy, we need to decentralize. To attain decentralization, we need good policy.There's a lot at stake: the internet is more concentrated that at anytime in its young life, and it is growing to encompass every field of human endeavor. Getting tech policy right is the prerequisite for addressing the most pressing problems of our times, from climate change to inequality to xenophobia and racial and gender bias.



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