Can Democracies Be Fixed?

by | October 12, 2011

This web site is mainly about two distinct concepts: (1) the ways democracies are deficient and the means why which they can be improved, and (2) whether a new democracy needs to be created from scratch (see Starting from scratch). The question we pose here is whether or not there is any hope at fixing democracies or if the only hope is the creation of a new one.

Change is difficult. Witness the experience of Barrack Obama, who promised change but has not delivered it. If the various criticisms leveled at democracy on this web site are to be addressed, what would be the mechanism for change? Unfortunately, the only reasonable mechanism we have is the current political system. And it is this system which presents us with several problems:

  1. Vested interests are not interested in change. This includes current politicians, lobbyists and civil servants, all of whom understand and leverage the current system to their own benefit.
  2. The electorate itself. Apathy, disillusionment and inertia all conspire to make the electorate unwilling or unable to support significant change.
  3. Leadership. Some one or some group must take a leadership roll to encourage change. Because of the above listed issues with the vested interests and the electorate, this is a risky endeavor.

So what are we to do? If you are following this web site on a regular basis, you already know some of the serious deficiencies of democracies. You also know how much better and fairer our societies could be with some of the changes suggested on this web site. But you must also have realized that change from within will be unlikely without a catastrophic event. The case in point is Greece, whose dire economic condition has not even stopped protests against change.

While change from within remains a laudable goal, it must be worked toward in parallel with the creation of a new, fair, truly democratic state. That creation, although itself fraught with risk, should have two wonderful outcomes. First, it will provide a destination for like-minded people with democratic ideals. But, more importantly, it should be the best catalyst for internal change once other countries see the successful implementation of a true democracy. At the very least, the migration to the new state of some very successful and influential citizens should become a cause of significant concern and debate in existing countries. And it is that debate that we most desperately need.

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