[discuss] NETmundial / Neelie Kroes: My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Sat Apr 12 17:04:53 UTC 2014


On 12-Apr-14 12:52, Milton L Mueller wrote:
> It’s great that Vice President Kroes chose to address the Netmundial
> outcome draft with a public expression of her opinion. It would have
> been possible for her to express these opinions privately via the HLC,
> but she allowed the broader public to participate in the dialogue by
> making these comments open.

 I agree this is a good thing.

> At a more philosophical level I also have a feeling that her view is
> confusing or incoherent on a specific topic, namely “democratic”
> governance. She speaks repeatedly about “democratic principles” and
> “democratic process,” as do many on this list. However, those principles
> and processes typically are rooted in citizenship in a particular nation
> state with its own (territorially exclusive) legal regime and rights.
> Moreover, democracy in this sense inherently involves a single,
> centralized government. She says this in the context of critiquing or
> expressing reservations about “self-organization.” At the same time, she
> praises “*distributed institutional models for Internet governance,
> avoiding centralised solutions as a default.” I find these expressions
> to be contradictory, or at least not well thought-out. Distributed,
> networked governance is never going to be “democratic” in the classic
> sense, and democratic governance is never going to be as distributed and
> flexible as self-organization by engaged stakeholders. There is a
> tradeoff here, and in a transnational context you can’t really call for
> “democracy” unless you are also calling for a centralized world
> government. Kroes is a politician not a political philosopher or
> theorist, but I think it’s important to flag this. ***

Whereas I disagree with her arguments about Democracy and the
Multi-Stakeholder model in that I see it as a form of participatory
democracy that includes the representative democratic ideal of the
individual countries and the varieties of democratic self organization
among the stakeholders to create a richer trans-national form of democracy.


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