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Can Internet-based apps save our democracy?

23 May, 2015
By Allison Orr

Interesting article by Manuel Arriaga about the potential pitfalls in seeing a technological solution to our current democratic malaise. 

He points out that while technology might give us a better chance of making ourselves heard by the political class, it still leaves political power in the hands of professional politicians.  He believes that seeking remedies through technology is a distraction from the real task of reclaiming political power.

Arriaga argues that the answer lies not with new technology, but in reviving an ancient aspect of democracy: involving ordinary citizens in real-world policy-make through deliberative forums.  While the idea of having ordinary people involved in decision-making seems radical or scary to many, one of the advantages is that they can truly act in the public interest, since they do not face the pressures of reelection.

The article goes on to provide several examples of successful citizen deliberation projects.

Many proposals put forward for using Internet-based solutions to increase citizen engagement are based on direct democracy models, so are difficult to work in to current political arrangements, but face-to-face deliberative forums could be incorporated to existing decision-making processes.

Previously published in undefined.

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