Politicians should take citizens’ assemblies seriously

Last week, The Economist UK strongly and clearly endorsed that the use of juries of citizens warrants the attention of anyone seeking to do democracy better. At the core of their reasoning is a practical reality: real-world policy issues which would normally get mired in ‘politics-as-usual’ have been freed up and seen elected leaders from...Continue reading

Can we follow the French out of gridlock on climate?

By Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, July 8, 2020 Not since the war has an Australian government mobilised so comprehensively: $260 billion, or 13 per cent of the country’s GDP, is a whopping big number. It was only six months ago that Australia was tested by bushfires and floods, but those calamities have now been overtaken by another...

Malcolm Gladwell talks to Adam Cronkright on Democratic Lotteries

In Bolivia, a political activist radically reforms the voting process for… student council elections. Who else does he convince? Revisionist History. And maybe a fancy private school in New Jersey. http://leopard.megaphone.fm/CAD9439991498.mp3 Revisionist History, Season 5, Episode 3: The Powerball Revolution Student Government Lottery in Bolivia, video courtesy of Adam Cronkright and Democracy in Practice. Adam...Continue reading

Opinion: a new window has opened for deliberative democracy

By Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, Wednesday May 13, 2020 During this period of the pandemic, many have remarked how well the national cabinet has worked — something it rarely does. It would seem that we need a crisis for politicians to leave politics at the door. Why can’t they do it all the time? Do we really...

Politics Without Politicians

The political scientist Hélène Landemore asks, If government is for the people, why can’t the people do the governing? By Nathan Heller, in The New Yorker, February 19, 2020 Imagine being a citizen of a diverse, wealthy, democratic nation filled with eager leaders. At least once a year—in autumn, say—it is your right and civic...Continue reading

The problem with knowing – and not knowing – a great deal about a complex policy matter, and how to overcome it

Lyn Carson, in The Mandarin 20th December 2019 If we know a great deal about something, we close our minds to alternative pathways, we share our knowledge with people who support our opinion (confirmation bias), and our creativity is constricted because we think we know what’s possible and dismiss anything that sounds unrealistic. Lyn Carson shoes how...Continue reading

Britons should learn to vote like the Ancient Greeks

Much has changed since democracy emerged 2,500 years ago. Women vote. We do not kill or exile politicians who mislead us. We choose representatives to make decisions on our behalf. Our civic responsibilities are hardly ever enforced. Occasionally, we make our way to a conveniently located polling station, cast our vote in private, and trust...Continue reading

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