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Peter Jenkins

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9/11; cross-linking; deliberative democracy; free speech; information aggregation; perfect filtering; political transparency; transaction costs; virtual worlds.; voter mobilization; web 2.0


Sunstein's argument in the original 2001 and in this new 2007 version is that democracy requires a range of common experiences (social glue) and unanticipated exposure to diverse points of view, but that the Internet fails society on both counts. Sunstein believes that the Internet tends to create social fragmentation by encouraging individuals to sort themselves into deliberative enclaves of like-minded people and assisting them to filter out unwanted, opposing opinions. 2.0 is much less than it could have been had the author cited opposing points of view more frequently, not been so US-centric, and considered recent uses of the Internet to enhance democracy, such as voter mobilization and politician voting record sites. The book would also have benefited considerably from a discussion of virtual worlds, such as Second Life. Sunstein should be given credit, however, for withdrawing the misguided policy proposal presented in the original 2001 for legislation requiring cross-links between web sites of opposing viewpoints.