[discuss] Governmental participation (Was: Problem definition 1, v5)

Mike Roberts mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us
Fri Jan 24 21:12:12 UTC 2014

George, Milton, Alejandro and others are nudging this discussion in the direction of a graduate seminar.  To that end, I offer two points:

(a) We ought to give up the distinction between political and technical solutions to the purported ICANN/IANA representation/oversight problem.  The dictionary tells us that politics is  "the practice and theory of influencing other people."  By that measure, there is no basic difference between the IETF appointing itself the guardian of the IP protocol standards, and the GAC coming down on the subject of acceptable TLD's incorporating country and regional names.  

(b) I believe that previous contributions have asserted that claims to a right of representation are inevitably relative.  So, much of the discussion devolves to a test of such claims against various criteria.  E.g., governments will assert their constitutional obligation to act on behalf of their citizens.  Trade associations will assert their obligation to protect the economic welfare of their members.  And so on.  It is claimed by ICANN that "multistakeholderism" is the best way to balance competing claims by constituencies.  The operative word being "best."  To put it mildly, and as recently stated by Alejandro, historically there has been lots of room for improvement in the ICANN MS process.

The solution to a relativistic IG representation environment will inevitably be relative.  Is there an arrangement on which we might reach consensus that is materially better than the good but imperfect arrangement we have today?  Is it possible to construct an evidence-based way of reaching that consensus?

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