Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship?

81 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 25 Mar 2020

See all articles by Liav Orgad

Liav Orgad

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS); WZB Berlin Social Science Center; Peking University - Peking University School of Transnational Law

Rainer Baubock

European University Institute

Date Written: June 1, 2018

Abstract

New digital technologies are rapidly changing the global economy and have connected billions of people in deterritoralised social network. Will they also create new opportunities for global citizenship and alternatives to state-based political communities? In his kick-off essay, Liav Orgad takes an optimistic view. Blockchain technology permits to give every human being a unique legal persona and allows individuals to associate in ‘cloud communities’ that may take on several functions of territorial states. 14 commentators discuss this vision. Sceptics assume that states or business corporations have always found ways to capture and use new technologies for their purposes. They emphasise that the political functions of states, including their task to protect human rights, require territorial monopolies of legitimate coercion that cannot be provided by cloud communities. Others point out that individuals would sort themselves out into cloud communities that are internally homogenous which risks to deepen political cleavages within territorial societies. Finally, some authors are concerned that digital political communities will enhance global social inequalities through excluding from access those who are already worse off in the birthright lottery of territorial citizenship. Optimists see instead the great potential of blockchain technology to overcome exclusion and marginalisation based on statelessness or sheer lack of civil registries; they regard it as a tool for enhancing individual freedom, since people are self-sovereign in controlling their personal data; and they emphasise the possibilities for emancipatory movements to mobilise for global justice across territorial borders or to create their own internally democratic political utopias. In the boldest vision, the deficits of cloud communities as voluntary political associations with limited scope of power could be overcome in a global cryptodemocracy that lets all individuals participate on a one-person-one-vote basis in global political decisions.

Note: Kick-off by Liav Orgad. Contributions by Rainer Bauböck, Primavera De Filippi, Francesca Strumia, Robert Post, Michael Blake, Peter J. Spiro, Costica Dumbrava, Yussef Al Tamimi, Jelena Dzankic, Lea Ypi, Dimitry Kochenov, Stefania Milan, Dora Kostakopoulou, and Ehud Shapiro.

Keywords: Global citizenship; Digital technology; Blockchain; Cloud community; Virtual democracy; Legal persona

Suggested Citation

Orgad, Liav and Baubock, Rainer, Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship? (June 1, 2018). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2018/28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3195715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3195715

Liav Orgad (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.liavorgad.com

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
Berlin, 10785
Germany

Peking University - Peking University School of Transnational Law ( email )

Shenzhen
China

Rainer Baubock

European University Institute ( email )

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), Tuscany 50014
Italy

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