A farce called representative democracy

3 reasons why democracy as we know today is a waste of intentions, time, money and opportunity. It is a costly mistake that needs to be corrected.

1. Rule of the elite
The word Democracy is an antonym of Aristocracy - the rule of an elite. Yet, the elected representative turn into elite the day he/she gets elected. For a true representative democracy, the representative must remain a representative of the constituency - socially, morally, financially... What is the point of this charade if the representative goes and sits in the capital and leads an entirely alien life to that of the constituency he represents. For a representative to be a 'representative' - he /she should share enough common traits, concerns, social condition with his/her constituency.
There must be rules regarding the validity of candidature and his class & geographical mobility. For eg. if the candidate becomes x-times richer than the average enrichment of his constituency, his candidature must automatically be reviewed.

2. The wrong arithmetic of house
The representative represents people - not a region, or an idea or interests or pockets. PEOPLE.
So shouldn't the number of representatives increase with the increase in population? For a representative to not become alien to his constituency, it is important for him/ her to be easily accessible, communicable and available. Smaller the constituency, smaller the distance between the leader and his people. Larger the constituency, the leader would be more alien to his people. Science tells us that there is an upper limit of people for whom we can truly care. Perhaps the size of constituency should be based on this.

3. Distribution of power

Kanye West says 'No one man should have all that power'. Perhaps he is quoting someone smarter than him.
The whole point of democracy is giving power to common men. But instead what happens in real life is a re-distribution of power between the elite few.
Egypt revolution is actually a good example of the futility of revolutions - People keep on toppling one absolute power after another. They are forgetting that absolute power is corrupt - not the individual per se. As long as you keep on vesting supersized powers into few individuals, you are perpetuating your own subjugation. 

Real revolution will be with true redistribution of power. The best example I know of a true revolution is the Bhudan movement started by Vinoba Bhave in 1951.



What is a 'vote'?
Apparently, an exercise in choosing between limited alternatives. In representative democracy like ours, the limited alternatives are truly very very limited. Take this year's elections - what have we got? an idiot versus a despot.
And should a true democracy only be about choice of representative?
If the issue of water scarcity affects me a great deal, and I know a thing or two about the subject, shouldn't I have a say in the matter?
 Do you think the representatives passing bills that affect us really have the competency or a stake (apart from the possible kickbacks) in the decision they are affecting? (and imagine the impossibility of corrupting a whole constituency as against a single representative. the efficiency of representative democracy is geared for the lobbyists and corporates, not for the masses.)
Shouldn't referendums amongst public be the tool of democracy, instead of the farce of ballot boxing every 5 years? 


21st Century Democracy
In today's connected age, information flow is truly ceaseless and its reach is almost equally distributed (well, not really. but quite commendable nevertheless) than any other technology's reach in the history of mankind.
Wikipedia and countless other free sources are helping people learn things that they could never earlier learn outside the precincts of the very classicist university structure of education.
Digital technology can theoretically reduce the cost of a 'vote'.
Democracy 2.0 should allow for referendums among people who are being affected and who understand the complexity of the issue. The mechanism can be that of electronic test to gauge the individual's grasp of the subject matter who wants to vote and then an electronic vote.
Also, the process needn't be time bound.. it should be determined by the need.
Instead of elections every 5 years, lets have referendums every time a bill is to be passed among the people who are affected.

There are so many amazing ideas that can inform the design of governance - open source, wiki, kickstarter etc... democracy of tomorrow can be so much better than what we have now. here's an example from Sweden - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aktivdemokrati

 to be continued...

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