Book: Next Generation Democracy

The challenges of the twenty-first century are of an unprecedented scale. Climate change, financial instability, the housing crisis, the need for health care—all of these are political issues that could be managed with ease if they were occurring on a much smaller scale. But with a huge global population and inextricable connections between the issues, our old tools for change look increasingly blunt. Many of the large bodies we once appointed to manage our common problems—including national governments— have begun to fail at critical moments.

But there is good news: We can use our vast size and complexity to our advantage. Drawing on the lessons of open source technology, social change leader Jared Duval offers an inspiring call to action. Next Generation Democracy chronicles some of the watershed events, such as Hurricane Katrina, during which centralized leadership was not enough, and then tells the success stories of the leaders, both inside the government and out, who are finding effective, directly democratic ways to address our public challenges. Telling the stories of participatory organizations such as SeeClickFix and America Speaks, Duval describes a new approach to solving complex problems that draws on the contributions of vast and diverse communities of engaged citizens. An artful blend of personal writing, journalism, and political argument, Next Generation Democracy not only gives us a vision of a brighter future, it inspires us to be apart of it.

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About the Author:

Jared Duval is a fellow at Demos and the author of Next Generation Democracy: What the Open Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change (November 2010, Bloomsbury). As the inaugural fellow of Demos's Emerging Voices Initiative, Jared has been helping to build the first-of-its-kind program for young authors since 2008.

Prior to joining Demos, Jared served as the National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), the national student chapter of the Sierra Club and the largest student environmental organization in America. During this time he helped build the Energy Action Coalition and the Campus Climate Challenge campaign, serving as co-chair of the effort for two years. Jared currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Orton Family Foundation and is a former member of the Sierra Club's national Board of Directors.

A recipient of the David Brower Youth Award and the Morris K. Udall and Harry S. Truman scholarships, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2005 and holds an MPhil degree from the University of Cambridge. Jared is currently a student in the Master of Public Affairs program of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Jared Duval participated in the Social Action Panel during the 2011 D4D National Conference.