Book : Republic.com 2.0 by Cass R. Sunstein



A good idea but such a pain to read it


The central idea is indeed a very interesting one : excessive personnalisation of information (tv news, websites, chats, ...) is a great threat to Democracy. why ? because people will only talk to, meet and hear only like minded people and at the end it will balkanize society and democracy.
This is a brilliant idea but :

  • The book is US (including US constitution and laws) centric !
  • The book is a never ending repetition
  • Only a few studies are briefly explained
  • The rest is obvious examples (repeated !)
  • The writer doesn't like internet and its freedom

About internet ... I can't stop thinking that the hate of internet was caused by ILOVAYOU virus. This rather non relevant author's experience is the start of a full chapter about the necessity for the gouvernment to protect poor users of the web (and the the web is better regulated by governement...)


Some good quotes :


"Knowledge is the great ally of both freedom and welfare".

"Fragmentation and extremism, which are predictable outcomes of any situation in which like-minded people speak only with themselves"

"In a democracy, people do not live in echo chambers or information cocoons"

"When people deliberate together, they often give disproportionate weight to “common knowledge”—information that they all share in advance."

"Group polarization is a product of limited argument pools, social comparisons, and the effects of corroboration"

"The fact that after people buy a new car, they often love to read advertisements that speak enthusiastically about the very car that they have just obtained. The reason is that those advertisements tend to be comforting because they confirm the wisdom of the decision"

"When society is fragmented in this way, diverse groups will tend to polarize in a way that can breed extremism and even hatred and violence"

"in the history of the world, there has never been a famine in a system with a democratic press and free elections"

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