CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Information Technology, Regime Stability and Democratic Meaningfulness: A Normative Evaluation of Present and Potential Trends

David A. Fraga, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Jack Nagel

Date of this Version: 30 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.

 

Abstract

This inquiry explores the normative impact that the rise of Information Technology is having on society as viewed through the lenses of Social Choice and Democratic Theory. Information technology has drastically increased the amount of available information by increasing information about users, the flow of information to users and the flow of information between users through digital connectivity. This has resulted in a socially fragmenting “long tail” of media, a subversion of top-down institutions and has made for easier identification and mobilization of small and geographically dispersed groups. As understood through the Social Choice construct of multidimensionality, these trends have had both positive and negative normative implications for regime stability and democratic meaningfulness. The two negative normative effects of the rise of Information Technology are Rikerian meaninglessness and connectivity-driven regime instability. However, since these negative effects can be qualified or compensated for by the two positive impacts of democratic meaningfulness and stability-inducing pluralistic disequilibrium, this examination concludes that information technology has a positive net normative impact on society. If this is to continue to be the case, users and policy makers must be mindful of issues that could affect this balance, such as the digital divide and issues of diminishing digital privacy.

Suggested Citation

Fraga, David A., "Information Technology, Regime Stability and Democratic Meaningfulness: A Normative Evaluation of Present and Potential Trends" 30 March 2007. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania, http://repository.upenn.edu/curej/61.

Date Posted: 05 June 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.

 

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