aligned postmoderns, the most vocal of whom have taken to the streets of Seattle, Quebec City and Washington, D.C., among other places, to protest globalization and the excesses of capitalism. Many have rejected the institutions of modernity - they are, at best, suspicious of government. However, they view the Internet as the last best chance for democratic renewal.

Post-boomers, post-nomadics and postmoderns will undoubtedly bump into each other in the electronic public square while contending for what may ultimately be irreconcilable world views. The hopeful, compelling sign is that they all are nesting in a networked world. In the main, they share a sophisticated view of the Internet - using it for communicating, commerce, creating community and arousing interest. Government fails to at least match that level of sophistication at its peril.

The CIA's stark prediction about governments' loss of control in a society of free agents changes the rules for governing. We need a model of Governing Informatics to transcend the technology, people, processes and functions of government to focus on the highest-stake civil prize of them all: the idea of a participatory, representative democracy.

Paul W. Taylor, Ph.D., , is the chief strategy officer of the Center for Digital Government, former deputy state CIO of Washington and a veteran of startups.

Paul W. Taylor  |  Contributing Writer