Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution


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Some things just re-write the rule book. When the financial crisis hit sweeping all before it Iceland simply pulled up their sleeves and started the hard work of re-building their country’s governing architecture. Instead of using traditional routes they used Facebook in a pioneeing way to engage with 2,500 citizens on what is a fairly dry subject.

It is not the way the scribes of yore would have done it but Iceland is tearing up the rulebook by drawing up its new constitution through crowdsourcing.

As the country recovers from the financial crisis that saw the collapse of its banks and government, it is using social media to get its citizens to share their ideas as to what the new document should contain.

“I believe this is the first time a constitution is being drafted basically on the internet,” said Thorvaldur Gylfason, member of Iceland’s constitutional council.

“The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes … This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch.”

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