Iceland Crowd-Sources Its Constitution

Scientific American

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Last year, Iceland invited citizens to weigh in on the country's new constitution via Facebook and Twitter. A draft of this crowd-sourced constitution was written and, not surprisingly given their input, two-thirds of the country's voters now say that draft should serve as the new blueprint for the country's government.

Iceland's residents called for a rewritten constitution following a series of mishaps dating back to the 2008 financial crisis, when several of the country's major commercial banks collapsed. The council appointed to write up a new constitution received about 3,600 comments and 370 suggestions via its Web site, with other input coming via the social media sites.

Iceland's parliament will vote in the spring on whether to replace its 68-year-old constitution with the crowd-sourced version. The country has a population of only about 320,000 people, so it's a modest case study in government by the twitterati. Any such efforts in larger countries may prove unwieldy. Still, it's good to see new uses for social media that encourage people to be more civic-minded and less fixated on "liking" the latest online fad.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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