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A Provisional System of Design Criteria for Democratic Technologies

by Richard E. Sclove, The Loka Institute

 


Adapted from Richard E. Sclove, Democracy and Technology ( New York and London: Guilford Press, 1995), p. 98; and Richard E. Sclove, "The Nuts and Bolts of Democracy: Democratic Theory and Technological Design," in Langdon Winner, ed., Democracy in a Technological Society (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), pp. 139-157.

Toward DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY:

A. Seek balance between communitarian, individual, and transcommunity technologies. Avoid technologies that establish authoritarian relationships.

Toward DEMOCRATIC WORK:

B. Seek creative, flexibly schedulable, technological practices. Avoid meaningless or debilitating technological practices.

Toward DEMOCRATIC KNOWLEDGE:

C. Seek technologies that support democratic knowledge production and dissemination. Avoid technologies that promote impoverished or ideologically distorted understanding.

Toward DEMOCRATIC POLITICS::

D. Seek technologies that enable disadvantaged people & groups to participate fully in social life. Avoid technologies that support illegitimate hierarchy between groups, organizations, or polities.

To help secure democratic self-governance:

E. Restrict the distribution of adverse consequences (e.g., environmental and social harms) to within local political jurisdictions.

F. Seek relative local economic self-reliance.

G. Seek technologies (including an architecture of public space) compatible with globally-aware, egalitarian political decentralization and federation.

To help perpetuate democracy:

H. Seek ecological sustainability.

I. Seek "local" technological flexibility and "global" technological pluralism.

J. Avoid technologies that are vulnerable to catastrophic sabotage and to the attendant risks of civil liberties abridgement.

 


 


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