Home Loka Projects Search Site Updates Contents


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.


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


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


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


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.



Home Up Dem Tech Eval Social Effects Alts2criteria Demcriteria Social Effects ScenWorkEval


Support Loka with an on-line secure-site donation: Donate Now!

The Loka Institute
660 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.
Suite 302
Washington, D.C. 20003
Telephone: 301-585-9398
Send mail to Loka@Loka.org with questions or comments about this web site.
All materials are for educational purposes only. All rights revert to author where applicable.
This page last modified: October 14, 2004 The Loka Institute