Information & democracy

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Finance, Politics, Technology
Tags: ,

Where is our information coming from? I don’t mean reportage. I don’t mean news. I mean INFORMATION. Data. Figures. Facts.

Information on politics. Information on finance. Clear information about where money is going. How else can we be expected to make informed decisions, when it comes to voting?

How do we know what we know? An article in a newspaper. A blog post. Occasionally a report. Isolated. Often vague. Sometimes biased. Hard to read up on. Often featuring jargon. Sometimes gossipy.

The internet has made it far easier to get these snippets of information. It hasn’t made it any easier to get clear, consistent, up-to-date information.

The lifeblood of a democracy is the people, making decisions based on what they believe is right according to the facts. If the facts aren’t available, the very concept of democracy begins to fade as only those in the upper echelons of power know what we as a country are dealing with. The people become susceptible to misinformation, to misunderstanding, to giving up (as remarked upon by this article.)

Those people I know who are apathetic as regards politics and finance say it’s because they don’t understand. I don’t understand much more than they do. I try, but it’s difficult. And that’s because there’s little in the way of clear information out there, worded in a way that the lay person can understand. Because after all, when the votes are in it’s the lay person calling the shots.


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