Consumer Citizens

Viewpoint: How the consumer dream went wrong. Jon Alexander, founder and director of the New Citizenship Project. bbc

Alexander describes an experiment in environmental and social attitudes and values, influenced by a single word.

Quote Alexander

The group taking the survey was split in half. For half, the front cover said Consumer Reaction Study, for the rest, Citizen Reaction Study. No specific attention was drawn to this and there was no other significant difference between the two groups; just this one word. Yet those who answered the Consumer Reaction Study were far less motivated to care about society or the environment.

... Perhaps the most significant effect of the dominance of the Consumer has been on politics. Here, the idea of the Citizen has arguably become meaningless in the face of the Consumer.

... The original principle behind the vote is that each individual has their own perspective on what is best for the society as a whole, and the right and duty to express that view as a contribution to the collective exploration of the good of the society.


Although I argue many individual advantages of federation, I am motivated in a deep way by an expectation of service. "Wiki works when viewed as a new way to serve rather than a new thing to consume." See Federated Wiki Design Principles