[The following text was prepared to provoke discussion in a doctoral seminar. It suggests just how far we have to go to achieve anything like a democratic technology.]

Principles for a Democratic Utopia of Technique

Andrew Feenberg
Seminar of Bruno Latour
Ecole des Mines
Jan. 18, 2001


Case or cause: an officially declared subject of controversy. Cases may be declared by competent organizations (corporations, unions, government agencies, etc.), by courts, and by referendum.

Intervenor: an organized group acting on a case.

Expert: an individual with relevant credentials or certified by an official body as possessing knowledge relevant to a case.

1. Right of Contestation

All citizens affected directly or indirectly by a case must be so informed and have the right to participate in the resolution of the case through such customary democratic means as public forums and official hearings, public demonstrations and petitions, legal recourse, and election of official bodies charged with administering remedies.

2. Rights of Difference

A. Methods: there shall be no established (official) method for analysing cases.

B. Values: there shall be no established (official) values under which cases are judged.

3. Right of Expertise

Counsel: All intervenors have the right to expert counsel. If an intervenor cannot afford expert counsel, it will be provided at the expense of the state.

4. Rights of Information

A. Freedom of Information: Organizations are responsible for disseminating information relevant to cases and must reveal proprietary information to designated counter-experts.

B. Information Equity: Organizations and individuals with substantial resources intervening in cases must place at the disposal of adversaries with few resources sums equal to the amount they spend on propaganda.

5. Right of Knowledge:

Just-on-Time Learning: A National Institute of Technology shall be formed responsible for providing timely grants to experts intervening in cases, and to educational institutions offering public courses concerning cases.