The goal behind the model is to optimize the performance of our democratic policy making system.
Why must we pursue this goal?
We live in a world of seven billion people, expected to rise to nine billion people in the next decades. 80% of the global population live in so called developing countries, 20% in the old industrialized countries.
Key problems in the developing world are persistent poverty and hunger for still hundreds of millions of people, near to one billion around the globe, and widespread unemployment, also among young people. Different cultures and religious perspectives often create tension and conflicts and must be integrated to establish tolerant and cooperative nations.
Key problems in many industrialized countries are great unemployment, especially youth unemployment of up to forty or fifty percent, growing imbalances in income and wealth, increasing discontent with established democratic political systems, disenfranchisement of large parts of society from democratic political processes, support for populist parties, and rising social and political instability. Substantial influx of new citizens is welcome in many respects, but makes maintaining and forging integrated societies a large problem.
In addition, both developing and industrialized nations together face such problems as the global population increase, the depletion of global resources including water, global warming, and global pollution. New technologies and advances in genetic biology bring opportunities and threats for the quality of human life and must be managed with the greatest care by our policy making systems.
In the light of these problems just aiming “to fix” our democratic political systems is not enough. Only the best political systems will be able to cope with the different challenges of such magnitude and complexity. We are obliged to do “everything possible” to maintain our nations and the world in a good state for future generations. We must aim to “optimize” our democratic policy making systems.
What would be the alternatives to “optimizing democracy”?
Basically we have three options:
1. To let things continue as they happen now.
This means we risk the stability of existing democracies due to increased discontent with economic and social developments. We also risk complete pollution of the globe and that our precautionary measures against (the effects of) global warming are insufficient. We finally risk that technological and biogenetic developments destroy the dignity of human life as we know it. We are not allowed to let these things happen for the sake of future generations.
2. To hope that an individual person or a group of persons take care of our needs.
This means opening up to a dictatorship or an oligarchy of a few people in a nation over whose action we have no control. It means giving up democracy and control over our own fate completely.
3. Making democracy able to cope with the policy issues of our time and world, i.e. “optimizing democracy”.
There is no valid or permitted alternative to aiming to “optimize” democracy. We must do everything possible to maintain our nations and the globe in a good state for future generations.
Necessary foundations to move forward – no detailed solutions
Some readers of the concept proposed here may be disappointed. They may expect more specific suggestions for example on what the best electoral system could be, on the best set-up of representative chambers, or on the best way to determine the goals of our policy making system etc.
The reason why this model does not go into such detail is that it works on the basis of the perception that a single person simply cannot have the required know-how and by no means the “optimal” know-how to design all the building blocks for an optimal democratic policy making system. Identifying the best building blocks for our democratic systems takes the co-operation of many people with different qualifications. It also takes reviewing all existing knowledge in a country and the globe on policy making systems, and complete openness for suggestions from the wider public.
What we propose here are the necessary foundations for building an optimal democratic policy making system. Without such foundations it will not be possible to design the best or perhaps even effective solutions and probably not in the time frame required for such measures. The foundations include the need for citizens to adopt a constructive and creative attitude about democracy and to establish an effective citizen control organization, the need for optimal know-how, and the need for citizens to combine their resources and power, if they want to have an optimal democratic policy making system which supports them adequately in fulfilling their needs.
With sketching what the parameters affecting the effectiveness of our policy making system are, we illustrate furthermore what the suggested “Citizens’ Control Association” (we could call it “Optimizing Democracy” plus the country name) must look at, if it wants to optimize democracy. Those parameters are the quality of systems and processes existing in our policy making systems, the tax resources we provide to make policy making succesful, and the qualifications and motivation of the people selected to work in the policy making system.
A key purpose of the proposal made here is to suggest a review of our prevalent attitudes which we as citizens have on democracy. Another prime aim of the concept is simply to highlight the urgent need for a more constructive way forward, whichever way we as citizens might ultimately find conducive to establishing sound policy making systems. The prime step required to generating effective concepts must be to establish an effective initiative of citizens concerned with fixing or “optimizing democracy”.