Get Against Elections: The Case for Democracy PDF

By David Van Reybrouck

ISBN-10: 1847924220

ISBN-13: 9781847924223

Democracy is in undesirable overall healthiness. the indications are well-known: the increase of fear-mongering populists, common mistrust within the institution, character contests, and point-scoring rather than reasoned debate, slogans rather than expertise. opposed to Elections offers a brand new prognosis —and an historic therapy. David Van Reybrouck reminds us that the unique function of elections was once to exclude the folks from energy by way of appointing an elite to manipulate over them. He demonstrates how through the years their impression has been to lessen the people's participation in govt to an absolute minimal, confirm energy is still within the fingers of these who already wield it, and strength politicians to pass judgement on rules no longer on their benefits yet on their probability to win or lose votes. and that is while elections pass good. but for many of democracy's 3000-year historical past governments weren't selected via election in any respect: they have been appointed, very similar to the jury process, via a mix of volunteering and lottery. Drawing on titanic studying, a global array of facts, and increasingly more winning trials, Against Elections demonstrates how a cosmopolitan and functional model of this old procedure might paintings this day and therefore cast off the underlying reason for democracy's illness. pressing, heretical, and entirely convincing, this ebook leaves just one query to be replied: what are we ready for?

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Or so they think. Instead of meekly recognising that the balance of power has changed and going in search of new and more worthwhile forms of government, they keep on playing the electoral-media game, often against their own best interests and those of the citizens who are starting to find it all a bit tiresome and whose trust is not likely to be won back by so much overwrought and transparent hysteria; the efficiency crisis only exacerbates the crisis of legitimacy. The results are predictable and the symptoms exhibited by Western democracy are as manifold as they are vague.

7 The distrust is mutual, incidentally. In 2011 Dutch researcher Peter Kanne presented some interesting figures on how politicians in The Hague look at Dutch society. 8 So politicians assume that, on the whole, citizens adhere to other, in their view lesser, values than they do and there’s no reason to believe that the picture is different elsewhere in Europe. However, getting back to the citizen, the reason often given for this increase in distrust is the ‘apathy’ which results from individualisation and consumerism.

Those qualified to vote in Europe not only vote less, they are more capricious. Those who do vote may still recognise the legitimacy of the procedure, but they show less and less loyalty to a particular party. The organisations set up to represent them receive only provisional support from the electorate and in this context political scientists speak of ‘electoral volatility’ and conclude that it has increased enormously since the 1990s. Figures suggest a turnover of 10, 20 or even 30%, resulting in the rule of the floating voter and an increasing incidence of political earthquakes.

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Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck


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