Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fixing Democracy, Part 2

Today is the next in a series of posts on how to make our democracy work better based on an article in The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) by Tom Atlee.


“All of this does not add up to an environment that supports integrity, authenticity, openness and unfortunately, wisdom. Two strategies can help disrupt these dynamics: random selection and limited time in office.


“If decision makers are randomly selected and therefore unpredictable, neither they nor special interests can prepare to manipulate their power for personal of partisan gain. The lobbyists don’t know ahead of time whom to lobby.  And then, when decision makers are in power, their brevity in office gives less time for them to be lobbied and for the competitive pressures of politics and the dynamics of elite culture to erode their personalities and principles.


“Putting these two strategies together creates a new possibility for all citizens in a democracy: to delegate some of their decision-making power to temporary panels of randomly selected ordinary citizens. They are like juries, but they deal with public issues and policies instead of crimes and personal injuries.  They can be plugged into the existing political system in various ways.”

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