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Can the Internet Make Politics More Collaborative?

So what is politics? Is it something we do once every couple of years—electing politicians who then are supposed to do stuff for us? Or is it a collaborative space, what the ancient Greeks called a “polis,” where citizens go to improve their community?

According to California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, we need to change our politics from what he calls a “referendum process” to something more collaborative. More polis, less petition, Newsom says. And that’s where the Internet comes in.

Speaking at the latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, Newsom stressed that it’s the Internet that can change politics and government. The Internet, Newsom said, could be the 21st century town square.

But this won’t happen automatically, he says. It’s we, the citizens, that need to change. We’ve got to stop thinking of politics as a kind of vending machine where we get stuff.

“We are our behaviors,” Newsom says. And politics will only change, when we change our behavior.”

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