Somos finalistas no projecto Movimento Milénio
In this letter I propose a new political system that will become possible in a society where all its citizens will be connected to the Internet. Its main philosophy is inspired in the free market mechanism, and I will call it semi-direct democracy. The main points of this model are: i) the substitution of political parties by a set of non-profit political organisations specialised to deal with most aspects of the executive and the legislative power; and ii) the introduction of a constant electronic scrutiny by the citizens of the activities of these organisations. The emergence of this system will be enhanced by the increasing need for more democracy and transparency in public affairs, on one hand, and the increasing incapacity of the actual political system to deal with an increasingly complex society, on the other.
A new political system is badly needed. People are looking with increasing distrust and alienation to politics. Political partie have failed to adapt to an educated society and a global economy, and have lost much of their power, influence, and even their reason of being. Scandals, corruption, and lobby influences, only contribute to further widen this gap between citizens and politicians. The hopeless attempts of governments to follow public-opinion polling, only demonstrate the agony of this decrepit political system. But what should be the alternative?
As the public impatience with governments rises, the inexorable progress of democratisation, together with the widespread availability of the information technologies, are turning the people themselves (not the media!) into the new fourth branch of political power, alongside with the executive, legislative and judiciary. The recent technologies, in special the Internet, have the potential to greatly increase the democratic participation of citizens in the framework of new political systems. I present in this letter the baselines of such a possible system.
The advent of the digital era is about to change radically every aspect of our society. In particular, the Internet, with its flexibility, speed, ubiquity, ease of use and feedback capabilities, is rapidly connecting people and computers around the world. Information is being set free from the bound of paper, and begins to flow quickly, cleanly, cheaply, and without any respect for hierarchies or bureaucracies. A few seconds are enough to share a message between thousands of computers scattered around the world. It is not surprising to say that the Internet is bringing the world to the eve of one of the greatest revolutions in history: the information revolution. Politics will not escape from it.
This revolution is paving the way towards a long desired, and also feared, political system: the direct democracy. Although its principle is appealing, “decisions that concern all are decided by all”, I have serious doubts about its applicability. The system proposed in this letter, that I call Semi-Direct Democracy (SDD), was inspired on the possibilities of a connected society and was designed to avoid the disadvantages of direct democracy.
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