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LexPop.org is a new wiki-based website that invites participants to collaboratively craft public policy.

LexPop’s About page points out that, despite sea-changes in how we communicate with one another, how we seek information and how we are entertained (all due to constant innovation), we make public policy in essentially the same way we always have. Step one: those in power yell at each other. Step two: those in power (and those with money) go into back rooms and make deals, the details of which are opaque. Step three: more public yelling followed by years or decades of a mediocre policy. Step four: new officials are elected promising to change the system. Step five: see step one, above.

Just as pamphlets were once the most efficient and effective means for distributing ideas, so too was this type of democracy the best solution at one point. But that moment is long since passed. A legitimate twenty-first century democracy will invite the public into meaningful collaboration.

And that’s the theory behind LexPop. The idea is that we (the People) can do a better job. The idea is that by introducing more voices, the policies that win out won’t be limited to the best-funded.

LexPop's solution.

The project is ambitious, but something similar is already working in Brazil. The Federal Government is experimenting with collaboration through ExpertNet and Peer-to-Patent. Yet neither of these projects opens the gates to policy making by the people. LexPop is a start that, while imperfect, it will help bring public participation into public policy.

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