Direct democracy

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About

Direct democracy (DD) is a system of government in which decisions made by the government are voted on directly by the citizens – as opposed to representative democracy (RD), in which citizens elect representatives to make those decisions.

  • Advantages:
  • Problems:
    • DD generally does not scale well to a larger, more complex society:
      • Many issues require specialized knowledge or at least a substantial amount of study in order to understand the likely results of each decision.
      • The number of decisions currently made by representative bodies require the full-time attention of representatives, generally with help from staff and advisors -- and the signal-to-noise ratio of the decisions made is already unacceptably low. This ratio would surely be lower for those making those same decisions in their spare time while still working on other projects.
      • Meaningful debate between opposing viewpoints (to help resolve differences and reach a consensus, rather than falling back on crude majority rule – where a majority may be influenced by disinformation) approaches impossibility as the number of voters rises.

Solutions

  • Liquid democracy attempts to address the problems inherent in DD without creating the problems inherent in RD.
  • Debate mapping may make it possible for much larger numbers of people to participate in a meaningful debate.

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