One thing I might have neglected to mention about a society without government is that it can work if its automated to a large degree (or should I say, a Cybernated society).
We shouldn't be afraid of technology (this fear mainly stems from the idiotic Hollywood movies written by people who have little to no understanding of how technology actually works).
We aren't infallible, yes... BUT, we also don't make our technology for betterment of everyone, nor are we creating it to LAST (to not break down).
Planned obsolescence is intricately designed into the current system because it drives profits... other than that, we've known for a LONG time how to make technology that requires little to no maintenance and doesn't break down.
We already have machines that build other machines, that are self-maintaining, etc...
Machinery/robotics/computers SHOULD be used to do 'the dirty work'.
We also delegate decision making to machines in exactly the manner that you described... to arrive at informed decisions - however, this is expanding at a large rate to other areas.
You don't need governments to organize thoughts.
Governments CANNOT represent EVERY person on the planet because there are simply too many people who think for themselves and have their own ways of thinking.
Governments can only generalize - and with people in positions of power, you ALWAYS create a setting that is subject to 'power grabs' (regardless of how 'noble' an individual may be).
To create a system without government, you'd need global communications... which we already have had for some time (though it would require some minor modification to allow for direct democracy of sorts).
If you would like something done, you can set up a proposal in an area you wanted it to be made, and see how the people in that area will react.
How will this benefit their lives or influence the environment, and is it sustainable - those are the kinds of questions that people should be asking.
People don't need governments to voice what they need/want be done... they can do that themselves.
And once the global population is exposed to relevant general education, along to notions of sustainability - their behavior will quite likely change as a result.
As for power grabbing behavior... as I said earlier, that kind of behavior is not generated out of nowhere - it needs an environment that prompts this kind of thinking and has a setting where it is actually possible.
In a cybernated society... this kind of behavior would be extremely unlikely to manifest (especially if its NOT encouraged)... and even if it did, there would be no 'power' for anyone to grab a hold of.
Imposing ones will onto another is a behavior based on the present-socio economic system that prompts notions of 'ownership'.
Access abundance (or a system of on-demand usership) could easily do away with 'ownership' type of behavior.
The transitional period to a resource based economy in the real world WOULD require a government an usage of money - but only for a limited amount of time (about 10 years) - after which, both would be dissolved intentionally (as it would be known its only temporary).
The only reason Trek decided to keep governments (and other things that still exist) and superimpose them to the Federation, is because its something 'relate-able' to the viewers.
I agree technology will be used to help humanity, just not to automate decision making when it comes to governing people. There are way too many things that can fall through the cracks with that kind of thinking.
I agree that most technology is made with planned obsolescence, but even the most durable of products will eventually break from regular wear and tear. That is a fact of all technology. Nothing is indestructable or unbreakable. Everything will break, it's just a matter of time, wear, stress, etc.
I agree, machines should be doing most of the "Dirty Work". That's the only efficient way for our society to improve.
Imagine how much better FOXCONN would be if they got rid of all their chinese slave labor for robot automation.
The sheer consistancy / quality improvement from that alone would be huge.
Now if they wouldn't skimp on design / materials, but that is a different problem to solve.
You don't need government to organize thoughts.
However not everybody is going to care to participate either whether out of apathy or lack of time to invest in a subject matter.
Of course you can't represent everybody's opinion.
Not everybody will submit their opinions either.
Representative democracy is there so that hopefully the guy you voted in / won will represent the will of the majority of his constituents, whether or not that happens in reality is a whole different problem.
Government is supposed to make rules to solve a problem that majorly affects society.
Current government is far from that.
In your view, everybody would be connected via the internet and spend their days discussing everything until something had to be done.
Sounds like way too much talking and not enough doing IMO.
The problem with everybody contributing is that there will be too many cooks in the kitchen.
Even with the most well rounded / educated / critical thinking people, this problem of too many differing view points will happen.
Direct Democracy may not work if it's just pure voting on the internet on a subject.
There will always be the issue of somebody rigging the votes and switching out what is the real vote count and what the results are.
Anytime there are hidden votes, this classic con of "Two sets of books" will always be a problem.
If you keep votes open, especially on the net, it will lead to influencing of others.
Keeping count of millions of votes openly on the net will also be problematic.
What government should be doing is creating rules that everybody can abide by and leave all the minutiae(sp?) of everyday life to the people.
I've seen people power grab even if they were raised in the best of environments.
I'm just going to have to agree to disagree with you Deks on that issue.
Power Grab will always be an issue, no matter the environment.