New democracy

Having discussed the topic of participation a lot recently, it was amusing to read the editorial of the current edition of Philosophy (Volume 87, number 339, January 2012) on the subject of ‘Greek Democracy, Old and New’. The New Democracy in question is the Nea Demokratia party in Greece that agreed the EU bail-out and denied a referendum. Professor O’Hear then goes on to compare old-style Athenian democracy where the assembly was open to all entitled to vote and its council made up of 500 citizens drawn by lot annually and not permitted to serve more than twice. O’Hear suggests that with modern means of communications something analogous should be possible and suggesting a new political party – Archia Demokratia – Old Democracy – to pave the way for it.

What is clear is that democracy may be the best we have but it could certainly do with increasing representation and the tools we are developing may assist, if only they were used by the politicians.

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