Eduardo Paes on Open Government

Mayor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the Huffington Post: “The Internet revolution has transformed the way knowledge is disseminated and how people unite over causes. Social networks are playing a key role in this movement, just as books and the press have done over the last six centuries. During the recent demonstrations in Brazil, approximately 62 percent of the people were informed of the event via Facebook, a much higher rate than TV, which was first source of information to 14 percent of attendees, according to Ibope Institute. Three out of four agitators used social networks to round up support. As generations succeed and the digital gap narrows, these statistics could possibly rise.
This revolution is also accentuating the imperfections of the representative democracy, the only plausible alternative, as Churchill famously said. We live in an era of “Liquid Modernity” as defined by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, which describes the ephemeral nature of contemporary social interactions. Bauman says that these days society, in a similar manner to liquid, adopts various unstable forms under small amounts of pressure. They are incapable of stabilizing in a consistent form, which results in consequences to social relationships and politics. Meanwhile, political parties, bureaucracy and institutions seem to remain firmly in the 17th Century.
Democracy has to reinvent itself in accordance with this new “liquid society” where collaboration happens between many millions of people directly. Leadership is not vertical, as in the past, but horizontal. Nowadays some say following is more important than leading. Cyber culture understands open code as a principle, something the music industry has reluctantly had to learn. There is no time and space limitation for public accountability on the Internet. Creative commonality is standard and does not resemble the authoritarian style of the dead communist experience. It seems that it is no longer society’s obligation to understand legislation, it is a duty for governments to be understood by their people.”