Why this project is needed.
What are the goals of a healthy society? If they were being met within our current economic and governance models this project wouldn't have even been conceived.
Humankind has reached its Malthusian limits, there's no more territory to expand into to create value. Despite the initial, quenched, rush of the first Internet wave, society currently exists in a sort of limbo waiting for the next "phase transition", which will take it to the next level. The only way to create new value is to interconnect more effectively. Here we're literally creating the nervous system for the Body of Mankind.
Put simply, the project aims to create new economic and governance models leveraging the technological efficiencies never-before available in the history of civilization, namely ubiquitous and pervasive inter-networking which has democratized masses of information and places everyone only a step away from each other, breaking, once and for all the limitations of geography and the nation-state. With that greater freedom comes the greater need to provide structure to those new structures and orders.
The drive to create the Internet and open, collaborative platforms like Wikipedia are two such indicators of society's desire and need for greater personal and community participation. These aren't the old fashioned communities of yesteryear, defined by physical geography or job location and organized around "civic pride"; these are creative communities -- people organizing themselves due to "psychic" proximity rather than geographic. With this abundance of interest, there arises the need (as well as opportunity) to effectively connect all these people and sift though the mounds of information that it generates. Here enters the PanGaia project.
The Internet and our global society are undergoing a radical transition, evolving in parallel across many different internet locations. Each is fundamentally trying to answer the same question: How can one build an active community of upwards of a million users without centralized control? The question is asked both politically and practically: It's simply not feasible to manually process and sift through everything and manage everyone using old paradigms and methodologies, nor is it desirable. When everyone can be their own publisher, one must give serious thought of how to give voice to all without drowning in chaos; most, like Wikipedia capitulate back into old-power techniques as the burden gets too high. Hence, we're creating PanGaia as a Free Software project and have the algorithms, the will, and the vision to solve the problem.
In any case, one thing is clear: Our market system and democracy fall short of their ideals due to exploitation of information imbalances (see also Trust). Like any form of protectionism, this inefficiency hurts everyone--even, ultimately, the ones at the "top".
Finding ways to establish true merit, in real time, and the means in which to cultivate it and allocate decision-making authority are inherent in the notion of PanGaia as well as making an efficient marketplace and thriving society.