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Is the Internet the New Social Welfare Delivery System?

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  • Deborah Elizabeth Finn
    (A version of this item - with live links - is also available at ). Dear
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 1, 2005
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      (A version of this item - with live links - is also available at
      <http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/blog/_archives/2005/10/1/1271793.html>).



      Dear Colleagues,

      In 2003, James F. Moore proposed the hypothesis that the internet is
      emerging as the second superpower. Lately, John McNutt has been
      documenting online volunteer responses to Hurricane Katrina, and
      hypothesizing that the internet is (if not the second superpower) the
      new social welfare delivery system.

      John says that a network is more effective than a conventionally
      structured agency during an emergency. I'm not entirely certain that
      this is always the case; I'm a Weberian at heart, and when phone
      service and electricity go down, I take comfort in knowing that
      there's a rational-legal bureaucracy working to restore it. However,
      as John points out that the latter is a model better suited to the
      industrial age, and that in the current information age networks will
      rule.

      I'm intrigued by this argument, and admire those who are taking the
      lead in testing its validity in the nonprofit sector. I usually think
      of "further research is needed" as weasel words, but when it comes to
      understanding whether the internet is the new social welfare delivery
      system, it seems to me that further research is our best hope.

      Best regards from Deborah

      Deborah Elizabeth Finn
      Boston, Massachusetts, USA
      deborah_elizabeth_finn@...
      http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/blog
      http://public.xdi.org/=deborah.elizabeth.finn
    • Deborah Elizabeth Finn
      Dear Colleagues, Just a quick update: in my previous post, I had paraphrased some informal conversations with John McNutt about this topic. He has now posted
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 12, 2005
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        Dear Colleagues,

        Just a quick update: in my previous post, I had paraphrased some
        informal conversations with John McNutt about this topic. He has now
        posted a summary of his current thoughts, which can be found at:

        "The Second Social Welfare System?"
        <http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/blog/_archives/2005/10/12/1294788.html>

        Best regards from Deborah

        Deborah Elizabeth Finn
        Boston, Massachusetts, USA
        deborah_elizabeth_finn@...
        http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/blog
        http://public.xdi.org/=deborah.elizabeth.finn
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