Iceland Uses Social Media to Write New Constitution

Coat Of Arms Of IcelandAaron Saenz writes on Singularity Hub:

The newest government in the world was designed with help from comments on the internet. God help us all.

After Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, the island nation decided it was time to write a new constitution, this one not based on its parent country of Denmark but rather made from the original ideas of its citizens. Iceland’s small population of 320,000 elected 25 assembly members from 522 ordinary candidates (including lawyers, political science professors, journalists, and many other professions), who in turn opened their process up to the public in an unprecedented fashion.

The Constitutional Council was highly active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, where they solicited comments and suggestions for the new government. On Friday July 29th, 2011, the Iceland parliament officially received the new constitution, comprised of 114 articles divided into 9 chapters. Set to be reviewed, and then put before vote for ratification by October 1st, the internet-assisted document marks a possible paradigm shift in governing. In the 21st Century, we’re writing our constitutions with social media. The future is a crazy place.

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50 Comments on "Iceland Uses Social Media to Write New Constitution"

  1. Anonymous | Aug 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    Direct Democracy 2.0.

    pay it forward.

  2. Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

    Direct Democracy 2.0.

    pay it forward.

    • Hadrian999 | Aug 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

      its an exciting experiment lets see how it works, what people want and what they need often doesn’t match up

  3. Hadrian999 | Aug 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    its an exciting experiment lets see how it works, what people want and what they need often doesn’t match up

  4. Direct Democracy failed without the internet. With the internet, it could start revolutions around the globe. I’m all for it.

  5. Direct Democracy failed without the internet. With the internet, it could start revolutions around the globe. I’m all for it.

    • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm |

      Where did it fail? Some of the largest indigenous nations of north american used forms of direct and consensus democracy for several thousand years. I am unaware of any examples where it failed.

      I agree with you on the internet making it possible in the modern world.

      • Where has direct democracy failed? Ancient Greece, and if we’re feeling cynical, modern Greece and modern California (the latter according to the Economist at least 😛 )

        • Jin The Ninja | Aug 14, 2011 at 11:52 am |

          I would not consider California nor Greece to have a direct democracy. Greece, in both a historical and contemporary context do not have delegates whom can be recalled, they do not have active plebiscites, nor did the gov’t listen to the majority who protested the IMF bailouts.

        • Democracy has always failed which is why the U.S. was founded as a Republic, officials turning it into a Democracy and reiterating that we live in a Democracy is why the U.S. has been circling the drain for quite a long time and will continue to do so.

      • Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

        hate to break it to you but those nations fell, that constitutes failure

        • Jin The Ninja | Aug 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm |

          Due to colonialism and genocide, not quite the same connotation.

          • Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

            if a government can’t stand up to outside pressure it is of no use, I’m not saying it will never work but those were not successes

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm |

            I am saying you can’t judge democracy in the context of those societies, because of the extraordinary violence used to dismantle them. We’re talking about 5k years of known democracy, not a small amount, who knows about he other 10k years or 15k years before that? It took 200years for those systems to be broken, yes, BUT WHY? you cannot exert pressure on societies without giving them time to evolve and adapt. The romans wiped out the celts in a similiar fashion. There are 5 stages to colonialism and all seek to utterly annhiliate a culture.
            Those pressures are unreasonable stresses on 5k years of history that had adapted to other conditions. What are you suggesting is akin to social darwinism, and i know that isn’t really your opinion.

          • Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

            any new system will have to be able to stand up to that pressure, any new system gets attacked, it happened after the reformation, it happened after the french revolution, it happened after the american revolution and it happened after the Russian revolution. any time there is a new order the old order attacks it. any new system will need to hit the ground running and be able to withstand the full force of the old order

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

            I agree that any NEW system MUST be resilient enough to withstand attack, but we also live in a GLOBAL society connected via the internet and technologies are generally universal; however in a historical context this was far from the case. But moving forward there is an obvious need for a high degree of adaptability and fortitude.

          •  There’s a little thing called smallpox, if you’ll recall…

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3plmkRy_k5o&feature=related

          This is the exact answer to your question.

  6. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 12:41 am |

    Where did it fail? Some of the largest indigenous nations of north american used forms of direct and consensus democracy for several thousand years. I am unaware of any examples where it failed.

    I agree with you on the internet making it possible in the modern world.

  7. Where has direct democracy failed? Ancient Greece, and if we’re feeling cynical, modern Greece and modern California (the latter according to the Economist at least 😛 )

  8. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 6:59 am |

    Wait. There are 320,000 people in iceland?
    I need to move to iceland.

  9. JoiquimCouteau | Aug 14, 2011 at 2:59 am |

    Wait. There are 320,000 people in iceland?
    I need to move to iceland.

  10. sounds like real democracy to me, whats his problem? politician’s apologist?

  11. sounds like real democracy to me, whats his problem? politician’s apologist?

  12. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    I would not consider California nor Greece to have a direct democracy. Greece, in both a historical and contemporary context do not have delegates whom can be recalled, they do not have active plebiscites, nor did the gov’t listen to the majority who protested the IMF bailouts.

  13. It’s interesting and wonderful…in theory. I’m a bit cynical at times about things like this. One just has to spend an hour reading youtube comments to know that it is as much about fight picking, name calling and other such BS as it is about freedom of expression and productive discourse. People who use the internet for productive discourse and building of community are in the distinct minority when anonymity prevails. There is some of it taking place on fb, but less, because these people are your “friends” and a certain civility and reciprocity is required to saty in one’s network. Take that away and people are as mean as they come. I know it sounds horribly elitist, but given that The Jerry Springer show was the most popular show on television, most people really aren’t up to governing themselves.

  14. It’s interesting and wonderful…in theory. I’m a bit cynical at times about things like this. One just has to spend an hour reading youtube comments to know that it is as much about fight picking, name calling and other such BS as it is about freedom of expression and productive discourse. People who use the internet for productive discourse and building of community are in the distinct minority when anonymity prevails. There is some of it taking place on fb, but less, because these people are your “friends” and a certain civility and reciprocity is required to saty in one’s network. Take that away and people are as mean as they come. I know it sounds horribly elitist, but given that The Jerry Springer show was the most popular show on television, most people really aren’t up to governing themselves.

  15. Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    hate to break it to you but those nations fell, that constitutes failure

  16. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    Due to colonialism and genocide, not quite the same connotation.

  17. Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    if a government can’t stand up to outside pressure it is of no use, I’m not saying it will never work but those were not successes

  18. Anonymous | Aug 15, 2011 at 12:28 am |

    So am I to assume then that this new constitution contains a lot of poorly spelled ethnic slurs, Firsts and links to pay porn sites?

  19. So am I to assume then that this new constitution contains a lot of poorly spelled ethnic slurs, Firsts and links to pay porn sites?

  20. Anonymous | Aug 15, 2011 at 12:53 am |

    I am saying you can’t judge democracy in the context of those societies, because of the extraordinary violence used to dismantle them. We’re talking about 5k years of known democracy, not a small amount, who knows about he other 10k years or 15k years before that? It took 200years for those systems to be broken, yes, BUT WHY? you cannot exert pressure on societies without giving them time to evolve and adapt. The romans wiped out the celts in a similiar fashion. There are 5 stages to colonialism and all seek to utterly annhiliate a culture.
    Those pressures are unreasonable stresses on 5k years of history that had adapted to other conditions. What are you suggesting is akin to social darwinism, and i know that isn’t really your opinion.

  21. Hadrian999 | Aug 15, 2011 at 1:31 am |

    any new system will have to be able to stand up to that pressure, any new system gets attacked, it happened after the reformation, it happened after the french revolution, it happened after the american revolution and it happened after the Russian revolution. any time there is a new order the old order attacks it. any new system will need to hit the ground running and be able to withstand the full force of the old order

  22. Anonymous | Aug 15, 2011 at 2:19 am |

    I agree that any NEW system MUST be resilient enough to withstand attack, but we also live in a GLOBAL society connected via the internet and technologies are generally universal; however in a historical context this was far from the case. But moving forward there is an obvious need for a high degree of adaptability and fortitude.

  23. Anonymous | Aug 15, 2011 at 2:43 am |

     There’s a little thing called smallpox, if you’ll recall…

  24. Anonymous | Aug 17, 2011 at 7:05 am |

    Every one want to be follow the New Constitution law of Iceland.This is the better news for the iceland.
    http://www.cabeloslindos.com.br/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=287373

  25. Severinosmith | Aug 17, 2011 at 3:05 am |

    Every one want to be follow the New Constitution law of Iceland.This is the better news for the iceland.
    http://www.cabeloslindos.com.br/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=287373

  26. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3plmkRy_k5o&feature=related

    This is the exact answer to your question.

  27. God did help us 😉
    The people finally have a voice via social media.
    Sweet, sweet internet-thank you for liberation.

  28. God did help us 😉
    The people finally have a voice via social media.
    Sweet, sweet internet-thank you for liberation.

  29. God did help us 😉
    The people finally have a voice via social media.
    Sweet, sweet internet-thank you for liberation.

  30. Perhaps the US constitution could use a twitter?

  31. Perhaps the US constitution could use a twitter?

  32. Perhaps the US constitution could use a twitter?

  33. Democracy has always failed which is why the U.S. was founded as a Republic, officials turning it into a Democracy and reiterating that we live in a Democracy is why the U.S. has been circling the drain for quite a long time and will continue to do so.

  34. Future from crazy people..ha…I  think Bush was crazy..Donald Rumsfeld, Anaconda Lisa RiceEater and Cheney..those betrayers of humanity…Crashing planes into buildings is not crazy to create a war and make billions of dollars..like the bottom lock that broke in Gulf of Mexico was made by the Halliburton company but no one talks about that. USA is run by LOONIES….and no one cares

  35. Future from crazy people..ha…I  think Bush was crazy..Donald Rumsfeld, Anaconda Lisa RiceEater and Cheney..those betrayers of humanity…Crashing planes into buildings is not crazy to create a war and make billions of dollars..like the bottom lock that broke in Gulf of Mexico was made by the Halliburton company but no one talks about that. USA is run by LOONIES….and no one cares

  36. i hope they made free beer fridays a part of the new constitution.

  37. i hope they made free beer fridays a part of the new constitution.

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