Monday, January 28, 2013

Armchair Revolution

YOUTH AND social media with the help of technology can bring about a vast change in the way businesses, governments, and even civil societies function, according to a report presented at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos.
The report, Future Role of Civil Society, says civil society along with business, government and international organisations, are challenged to respond to, represent, and engage this proliferation of voices online in a way that leverages the power of connectivity.
Time is not far the scattered voices on social media get organised, as the cost is negligible compared to conventional civil society models, and gather strength enough to dislodge governments or force them change policies.
It will not be surprising if "governments under economic stress, disengage from public goods, leaving civil society to fill the gaps," or in the context of conflict, "governments may restrict civil society activity all together."
With many countries in a state of war and fearful of internal security (between 2015 and 2020), the report says national governments will exert increasing control over the Internet, freedom of speech, and the right to assembly for national security reasons.
Almost all countries will insist user activity online is monitored and logged with unique identifiers, and any attempt to circumvent online security protocols and browse anonymously will be punishable by heavy fines and imprisonments.
Anyone under the age of 40 has grown up with virtual friends as an integral part of their identity, and these networks, which have evolved significantly since early pioneers such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google + emerged, have effectively become online communities of practice and prodigious virtual output and engagement, without the need for traditional organisational forms, the report says.
Quoting '2012 Eldeman Trust Barometer Finds,' the report says in 17 of the 25 countries surveyed government is now trusted by less than half to do what is right.Nealy half of the general population says they do not trust government leaders to tell the truth.
The 2012-2030 period is not good for governments in Europe and North America and by 2030 most of the multinationals would have relocated their headquarters to Asia.
Those under the age of 30 will be a dominant force in the coming two decades both virtually and physically.
Younger generations possess significant energy and global perspectives that need to be harnessed for positive change by civil society movements and organisations, including religions.
In the new world of technology-enabled civil society, there is a need for mechanisms and institutions for integrating online citizen activity into government policy-making, demonstrating both transparency and responsiveness on behalf of politicians and public officials, the report says.
In this scenario, if you are a civil society leader, "reframe your view of what your role could be and should be," the report says.
If you are a business leader "become one of the business leaders who puts societal issues at the heart of business models.
If you are a governmental leader "recognise the fundamental role that civil society plays in building confidence, promoting good governance and enhancing long-term stability." 25 countries surveyed, government is now trusted by less than half to do what is right. In twelve, it trails business, media,

and non-governmental organizations as the least trusted institution. France, Spain, Brazil, China, Russia and Japan, as well as six

other countries, saw government trust drop by more than ten points.

Government officials are now the least credible spokespeople, with only 29% considering them credible. Nearly half o


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