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Original position and veil of ignorance in Secondlife

Friday, December 15, 2006

Posner had previously told that secondlife looks more like a benign authoritarianism in a way, due to linden's leadership. But if one carefullly examines the moves of liberation organisation such as SLLA (Secondlife's Liberation Army), one can see that there is a magna charta and bill of rights baragaining now in progress. So, that's a hope of future democracy. People even have started to draft a concept for a constitutional court in secondlife (Rube Goldberg's image):

Opinio Jurist made an intriguing post:
And if one wanted to leave Second Life and create a new utopian virtual world, it would be a great place to test John Rawls' idea of a social contract and the original position. Although no one has done it to my knowledge, during the establishment of a new Rawlsian virtual world, each individual could be in a veil of ignorance about their avatar. But what they do know is that they will not get to choose their avatar, because in the Rawlsian virtual world someone else would choose it for them. How should such a world be structured in light of that lack of choice?
But there could be a problem in drafting the basic constitutional text (apart from the terms of use) as Rawlsian veil of ignorance may not apply one hundred per cent. Wealth, race, citizenship and social status are already pre-determined. The basic idea of avatar is exactly in choosing what will we become in the new world, whereas, in real world people cannot choose to be born in certain family, race or nationality. However, there still some uncertainties in secondlife which can be used as Rawls' "veil of ignorance". Non programmers or lazy people could become a second class citizen, therefore, their rights needs to be maximized in accordance with the maximin rule.