About five years ago, we blogged about Mike Gatto, a California State Assemblyman who had set up the world’s first “Wiki-bill” in order to enable private individuals to help draft an actual law. It turns out that California is not the leader is in this field: Taiwan is! The Republic of China on Taiwan, the official name of the Island of Taiwan, has been experimenting with multiple forms of “digital democracy” since 2016. (The Taiwanese government even has a cabinet-level “digital minister”: Audrey Tang, pictured below.) According to this fascinating and detailed report by Chris Horton, a journalist based in the city of Taipei, Taiwan has used two online discussion platforms to crowdsource some of its laws–one is called Pol.is; the other is vTaiwan. Mr Horton’s report, which was published in The MIT Technology Review on 21 August 2018, explains how these two platforms work, and he also assesses their strengths and weaknesses. In brief, these platforms have generated novel solutions to some intractable problems, such as how to regulate Uber and online alcohol sales, but the recommendations generated by these platforms are not binding on the government. (But is the non-binding nature of these platforms a feature or a bug?)
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