The game-changing online think tank​

Policymakr organization
Policymakr’s collaborative, project-mode, operational model explained

In recent years, our society’s ability to solve problems seems to have decreased. Yet we face increasingly complex issues in important fields: the environment, health, social justice, our use of technology, for instance.

Ordinary citizens, those in charge of making laws and governing (policy makers), and experts (the specialized institutions with technical knowledge on the subject) all need to be actively involved in finding solutions.

Yet while the Internet means information is more readily available than ever before in history, it’s also made it more difficult to plan for the long-term.

Policymakr is an online tool to help us find solutions to complex issues. Below, you’ll find detailed, documented information about the problem we intend to solve, and examples of issues we believe we could work on solving. There’s a lot there, so take as much time as you like to read it. Anything that’s missing might be in the FAQ. Or it’s waiting for you to draw our attention to it.

The problem: we can no longer plan the future even when solutions exist

A functional model got broken

A few years ago, there was a consensus about the principles governing political life in most places, with radically different such models, of course, prevalent in the Eastern bloc, the West or the Third World.

Now, information and opinions are shared instantly via online communication tools that have shattered that model. This has partly pushed out traditional media—who have reacted to this by establishing an online presence. They have been joined by a lot of new operators—often with links to lobbies and vested interests.

Superficially this trend enhances democracy

It’s true that in some ways, this trend enhances democracy by giving citizens access to a broader choice of opinions. Yet in practice, the quality and effectiveness of democracy haven’t improved.

People, however, increasingly ignore facts

There is evidence that citizens are incited in practice, in the current world, to ignore facts when making political choices in ways that have no precedent in the Western world.

There’s a growing rift between elites and ordinary citizens

The problem has been compounded by perception of a rift between elites and the rest of the population. And the rise of meritocracy actually fuels this frustration when peoples’ aspirations are not fulfilled.

The problem Policymakr solves
Don't know responses not shown. Source: Pew Research Center, Spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey. Q50a.

New online media are not the solution

The readers of new online media also actively engage in politics on social media: according to the Pew Research Center, 66% of social media users have employed the platforms to post their thoughts about civic and political issues, react to others’ postings, press friends to act on issues and vote, follow candidates, ‘like’ and link to others’ content, and belong to groups formed on social networking sites.

People are now unable to look at the long term

This new system has made largely uncensored information immediately available, but that has come at a huge cost: by accelerating decision-making, it has lessened citizens’ ability to consider issues and their merits in a longer-term perspective. BBC journalist Richard Fisher argued recently that our inability to look beyond the latest news cycle could be one of the most dangerous traits of our generation.

Trust has been lessened

Despite using them for a wide range of reasons, just 3% of social media users indicate that they have a lot of trust in the information they find on these sites. And relatively few have confidence in these platforms to keep their personal information safe from bad actors.

The problem Policymakr solves
Percentage of U.S. adults who say it is _______ to tell the difference between what's true and what's not true when...Note: those who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Pew research Center, survey conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 10 2018, "Trust and Distrust in America".

This mistrust has actually made it demonstrably harder to solve problems.

The problem Policymakr solves
Source: Pew Research Center, Survey of U.S. adults conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 10 2018, "Trust and Distrust in America".

Confidence in the ability of scientists to act in the public interest is actually growing

The growing hold of unverifiable information on the Internet has actually increased our belief need for involving experts in public policy. According to the Pew Research Group, public confidence in scientists to act in the public interest tilts positive and has increased over the past few years. As of 2019, 35% of Americans report a great deal of confidence in scientists to act in the public interest, up from 21% in 2016.

The problem Policymakr solves
Percentage of U.S. adults who say they have a great deal amount of confidence in each of the above groups to act in the best interests of the public. Respondents who gave other responses or who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Pew Research Center, survey conducted Jan. 7-21, 2019, "Trust and Mistrust in Americans' Views of Scientific Experts".

Confidence in democracy is shaken in several key nations

According to the Pew Research Center, between 2018 and 2019, publics grew increasingly dissatisfied with democracy in five out of twenty-seven countries surveyed in both years, while dissatisfaction dropped in nine.

The problem Policymakr solves
Percentage who are not satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country. Note: only statistically significant differences shown. Source: Pew Research Center, Spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey, Q5, "Democratic Rights Popular Globally but Commitment to Them Not Always Strong".

Policymakr provides consensual, long-term solutions

Policymakr is not a social network

It is a work environment dedicated to finding workable solutions to the world’s policy issues. Its focus is on projects, with citizens, policy makers and experts contributing their experience and expertise and benefiting from the contributions of others. It’s more like Wikipedia than like Facebook.

It will provide a platform for informed, long-term focused debate

The longer perspective opened up by this approach will establish Policymakr as a platform on which policy can again be shaped by citizens and elected officials without being subject to media or political pressure. Tools will be provided for groups to engage in informed debate and political action, away from the pressures and superficiality characterising existing social media.

We’ll use online modern tools to revitalize Representative Democracy

Once Policymakr leaves beta and launches in its first country, it will provide a modern, beautifully-designed online tool for the three categories of actors who have a legitimate interest or a useful contribution to make to the shaping of public policy to work together. People who had stopped talking to each other except to trade insults will become partners—which they should never have ceased being.

We will have a unique governance structure

The serenity and quality that are prerequisites for this to happen will be made possible by Policymakr’s unique governance structure. As a non-governmental, non-profit platform, its independence will be guaranteed by a Supervisory Board drawn from retired politicians with unimpeachable reputations in their fields, representing a wide range of political traditions and geographical locations.
geographical locations.

Superficially, we will have some points in common with classic social media networks

Well, only two, actually: (i) members will be able to open accounts and (ii) they will have profiles, which they will have the option to share with other members (but not the public).

But the differences will be crucial

  1. First and foremost, Policymakr will be nonprofit: its corporate objective will be serving the public interest in an unbiased, transparent way, not making money.
  2. There will be no wall of useless chatter, distracting members from their work on long-term projects.
  3. Zero-tolerance for inappropriate behavior will be enforced strictly.
  4. Members’ identities will be systematically verified using trusted techniques pioneered by the sharing economy (Airbnb in particular), making trolling impossible.
  5. Policymakr will have no ads and will be financed only by member subscriptions and by voluntary donations.

Further reading

A great deal of thought went into planning how Policymakr would be organized, how it would operate, and what this website would look like. If you want to read more about other relevant topics, the following list contains most of the material mentioned on this site. Feel free to contact us if you have ideas about possible additions.