Magazine article The Futurist

Mike Dillard and Janet Hennard Respond. (Commentaries and Response)

Magazine article The Futurist

Mike Dillard and Janet Hennard Respond. (Commentaries and Response)

Article excerpt

We appreciate the insights of the distinguished reviewers.

Responding to Vary T. Coates, we do not believe that virtual nations can exist in the absence of concrete items such as people, ideals, money, telecommunications, and organization. Instead, we are proposing a connected world in which individuals organize themselves in a self-serving way, a world that transcends geographical boundaries and allows for a new level of organization around ideas, concepts, needs, and wants.

We share Harlan Cleveland's concern about drawing unnecessarily sharp distinctions between virtual nations and traditional, "real" nations. Our stated question regarding the degree to which virtual nations and "real" nations can and should coexist implies at least some kind of eventual blending of the two. However, we believe that as virtual nations emerge sharp differences will be evident. For example, as citizens of nondemocratic nations use virtual nation membership to gain benefits denied by their resident form of government--the ability to complain about injustice, to read or write material censored by their resident government, or to form and solicit membership in communities that have political and even "national" agendas--the differences between their virtual nation and their nation of residence will be both significant and conspicuous.

George Bugliarello points out the weighty imperative for addressing both the benign and the threatening potentials of new communities brought about by telecommunications and information technology. We want to reiterate the importance of developing strategies to deal with the positive and negative possibilities of virtual nations. …

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