Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Future form of democracy
Today in school the question what effect it would have if there were no political parties was raised. While almost all opinions were that democracy would not be possible without, I think otherwise. The current democratic form in Germany is a representative democracy, meaning we elect parties and their representatives, which then decide upon matters (more or less according to what they promised before the elections).
An alternative which would give citizens more possibilities to express their opinion would be direct democracy, defined by Wikipedia as "[...] a form of democracy and a theory of civics in which sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate". The problem commonly mentioned first for a direct democracy is how to manage the countless amounts of votes which would be necessary. Well, I think the technological developments of the last years or decades have made it at least possible for the more important decisions to be voted upon.
For example, there is a technology called "LiquidFeedback" (German Wikipedia link), which was developed on suggestion by members of the German pirate party (Link). LiquidFeedback is a free software that enables users to submit initiatives and vote upon them, and also to delegate their vote to others. The pirate party uses it in test mode to hold votes on topics on which it's position hasn't been decided yet.
Considering the current percentage of 72% households in Germany which have internet access (a number that grows by 2-3% per year), and if the voting technologies would be properly developed, I think it could be used now or in a few years as a first step in the direction of more civic participation, at least in some mixed form of direct and representative democracy, in which the citizens directly decide upon the most important and controversial topics.
What do you think about this? Do you think future developments could go in this direction or to something completely different?
Posted by Vrith at 12:52 PM