My Notes on Direct Democracy
Direct Democracy (DD) is a mechanism of good government. When time is ripe for them,
new important ideas or revolutionary discoveries are often conceived simultaneously
in more than one place. This seems to be true for the idea of DD, which has in recent
years sprung to life in different places of the world. The emergence of the World Wide Web
definitely helped DD. DD advocates are slowly joining forces in a very loosely connected
network or movement. Not another political party promoting a fixed set of views and
solutions. Personal views of DD advocates on individual issues may vary widely.
DD can only be introduced when
the majority of people wants it.
Direct Democracy means direct vote of all (interested) citizens on all important issues.
Each vote should be preceded by wide discussion and self-education of the citizens
on the issue(s) to be decided. This would require unrestricted access of all citizens
to information. And an atmosphere of tolerance and respect for others. For example, the
experience with the Planning Cells or Citizen Juries (see the links below) shows that lay
people can educate themselves very fast and make good decisions on complex issues,
when provided with enough information by professionals.
from the Brasilian city of Porto Alegro: Better tax payment:
After 1992, property tax rates were reduced, but city revenues
continued to climb as tax evasion fell. The inverse relationship
between direct democracy and amount of tax evasion
also been described for Switzerland. The experience of Porto
Alegre seems to confirm the observations made in Switzerland: when
people feel that they have a say in expenditures, that the taxes go in
good use and are collected fairly, they are less inclined to evade taxes.
To me, Direct Democracy is the only true democracy (the government by people)
that can ever be. Therefore, the adjective "direct" is theoretically not needed
at all. Unfortunately, the current usage of the term "democracy" is such that for an
overwhelming majority of people it automatically means "representative democracy" (RD),
and so the advocates of the true democracy have no choice than to refer to it as
"Direct Democracy", where the adjective "direct" indicates the main feature missing
from the present day representative democracy, or
It is fair to say that representative democracy is the best system of government
in use today. However, if you think about it, representative democracy really is nothing
more than elected oligarchy or elected enlightened dictatorship of a relatively small
elite. The citizens are asked only about once every 4 years to select the
ruling elite from a group of candidates whose views are often not that much
different. In between the elections, the citizens have no guaranteed tools at their
disposal to influence the decisions of their elected representatives. It depends
solely on the good will of the representatives whether and how often they will take
into account the wishes of the electorate on individual issues.
- My further notes on Direct Democracy|
- A few short excerpts from "Democracy Direct or Indirect?" by Jiri Polak.
- A similar model of DD is discussed by George S. Sagi in his book, now available online:
A Theory of Direct Democracy
(and also of human nature and society; now being translated to Czech, Italian, Greek, and Korean).
Of course, these models are just very reasonable initial proposals.
As everything else, the actual structure of a DD government will be determined, and most
probably continually optimized, by the DD process itself, as both will be gradually implemented.
- Worldwide Movement for Direct Democracy
Democracy Manifesto by Aki Orr
- How DD can work without creating a new elite (queuing citizens' proposals by the number of their sponsors).
- - FREETIMEA project is a detailed software project along similar lines ("BLINAP democracy")
- - Rahul Mehta (item 1) essentially tries to handle such an initiave queue by the present means