Why Netopia Says #Bremain!

Netopia started six years ago in Swedish. (You can still check out the original site here: www.netopia.se) While it was a great project in many ways, it was also frustrating to talk about a global issue – digitalization – in a local language. Most of the best minds wrote in English and I could not interact with them in Swedish. Also, the question I was investigating – what should be the roles of democratic institutions online? – suggested that the answer to a global issue was not local. So in 2013 I moved Netopia to Brussels and switched to English. It was a great move, now Netopia can be a part of one of the most interesting and challenging policy topics today, using the same language as all others. But also, the European Union is really the only feasible government structure that has the chance to wield any significant influence online. The UN of course, but it lacks the proper institutions of the EU and has the problem of the democracies being outnumbered. The US government of course, but there is a problem of US-dominance of the internet as is. Europe has a big enough consumer market to not be ignored by the online businesses and strong enough institutions to regulate the internet, at least that is my bet.

Sure, but what does that have to do with Britain’s referendum? you ask. Because digitalization is only one of the big issues today. Climate change, migration, economy, peace, hunger, energy… make a list of the world’s challenges and find that all of them are global. So how can nationalism be the answer? We need better institutions, more democratic institutions and more global institutions. Nationalism is the wrong direction. Sure, nationalism can be fun, I enjoy the Euro Football just as much as the next person (well, maybe not today as Sweden was eliminated last night), but while the teams are national, the point of the championship is to be transnational. The workers’ movement knew this a century ago, that’s why their song is called “The Internationale”. And in case you’re a liberal, you know that a truly free world knows no borders. Nationalism belongs to the 19th century. The answers to tomorrow’s issues are global. The British voters can help today.