If Crowds Are Wise, Why Isn’t Congress? [truth-out.org]
We’ve all heard of the “wisdom of crowds” especially after James Surowiecki’s 2004 best-selling book by that name and Scott Page’s 2007 “The Difference.” A recent entry into the English dictionary, dating from around 2006, is indeed “crowdsource.” In the last decade, every manner of organization has begun using crowdsourcing technology to do everything from write software toproofread text to design armored vehicles. Facebook famously crowdsources the translation of its pages. Remarkably, Iceland recently crowdsourced amending its constitution.
So why does the US Congress, a crowd of 535, seem so remarkably un-wise?
The reason: Group wisdom flourishes under certain conditions, diversity of thought and independence of judgment, virtually impossible under our current plurality voting and single–seat, winner-takes-all (often gerrymandered) Congressional districts.
The good news: This is relatively easy to fix–without overthrowing the government.