READER REPORT:

Let's have Electronic Direct Democracy

DANIEL TALIS
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012

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As it becomes more and more evident that a big change is required to the way we govern our lives, one particular idea surfaces again and again - that of Direct Democracy

Direct Democracy and in particular Electronic Direct Democracy is the idea that each of us takes responsibility for the policies that govern our world by voting for them directly rather than to have others decide for us as in democratic representation. The idea that we vote others into power is based on the assumption that they know what is best for us because in some extraordinary way they are more capable and better informed as to what we need, has now become obsolete.

In an age when an information explosion via the Internet and electronic devices has taken place, there is no reason to be reticent about such a process, as much of the groundwork is already in place and it comes from the most unusual of sources - reality television. Shows such as American Idol, X Factor, New Zealand Has Talent, Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing are all decided by viewers using an online or electronic voting system. Some of these shows generate millions of votes deciding people's careers and popularity for years to come.

Banks and many businesses are now doing most of their transactions online, so the natural progression is for the policies that most directly affect our lives also be voted on and decided online or electronically.

It's safe to say that all people of a responsible age and persuasion own or have access to the necessary devices so all that is required to set things in motion is the "Will of the Majority of People", which is of course the foundation of a democracy. Will it come? I think so and maybe very soon. The question is, what sort of a transition do we want to create and will those who currently have the power let go in a peaceable fashion?

The economic benefits of EDD are huge. The billions of dollars spent on managing and maintaining the structure of our current system, including the enormous costs of elections and politicians, will be wiped entirely.

Economically and socially, EDD will be a great leveller - which is why the "haves" of society are hanging on to the old structure. The empowering effects of a true democratic system will penetrate all levels of society, which is the way democracy was always meant to be, not stuck in a whirlpool of decaying elitist capitalism.

How would the new system be implemented and exactly what form would it take? I suggest that this will be decided just as the rest of the decision-making process will operate. By vote. Everything in society can be voted on, including the structure of the voting system itself, and people can contribute topics to be voted on and it can be voted on which ones we vote on. It will be a voting festival.

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Personally I like the idea of a Decision Season when all issues are voted on. It could be once a year or every two years or three years. Then we get to live with our decisions as a society until the next season, then keep or modify them. Of course, this way of doing things will need to be voted on. Such is the minuscule price of true personal, political and democratic power.

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