Mechanics

How can the model be implemented?

1. Starting Point – An initiative by citizens with the joint aim to “improve democracy” required.
Systemically the statement appears correct: If democracy is government by the people, then all citizens in a nation are responsible to take action to “optimize democracy”. But to convince a significant number of citizens of the need to take such action will take time. Comprehensive communication and possibly specific school education in citizenship are required. Since moving ahead with our project to optimize democracy is a matter of the greatest urgency, however, the implementation of the model needs to be kick-started by a citizens’ initiative  which generally agrees with the need to “improve democracy”.

2. Initiative should discuss concept for optimizing democracy proposed here.
The initiative should first of all discuss and confirm what the precise goal of its endeavors will be, whether it wants to pursue the precise goal and concept proposed here (or possibly a different better concept). The main issue is to recognize the urgent need to improve or optimize democracy, as suggested here, and to get started on an initiative aiming to design effective and democratic steps forward.

3. Effective know-how system crucial.
It is essential is to establish in each country a highly effective know-how system which identifies the best know-how available on establishing effective democratic policy making systems. Initially the know-how system could simply be called “Institute for the Optimization of Democracy”. (An ambitious name, but, as suggested before, that is what must be achieved.)

4. Action to implement “best systems and procedures” crucial.
It is also essential for the initiative to design and implement democratic measures to ensure the implementation of the best structures and processes for the policy making system as identified by the know-how system .

5. The initiative can later be turned into a formal citizens’ organization aiming to shape and control the policy making system in the country.

6. The name of the organization in each country could (but must not) reflect its purpose:
Optimising Democracy UK, Optimizing Democracy USA, Spain, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany, Indonesia… and Optimizing Democracy in any other democratic country in the world.

7. A network of these initiatives/organizations should be created around the globe to establish effective international systems for handling our joint global policy problems.

8. Citizens need to provide resources.
Citizens starting the initiative will have to provide or generate the resources to establish the required know-how system and to design and implement measures to get the best practices implemented in the policy making system. One measure would be rallying the support of citizens behind the proposals.

9. The more citizens join the better.
The association can be understood as a union operating on behalf of all citizens in a nation with the task to optimize the policy making system. If the membership of the association reaches the same size as the membership of some unions, ultimately only small annual contributions by its members will be required for the work of the association.
The more citizens join or support the work of the organization the more powerful and effective will it be in improving the performance of the policy making system.

10. Free-rider attitude will not lead to results.
Anybody leaving the initiative to others and adopting a free-rider attitude weakens the democratic system and does not fulfill their responsibility to the globe and future generations. As free and responsible citizens we are obliged to join in establishing constructive citizen control over our democratic policy making systems in order to make our policy making systems effective.

11. How can citizens control their control system?
Proposals to establish a new system of control often face the question: And who controls the controllers? For our concept this means: How do citizens control the work of their own citizens’ association shaping and controlling the policy making system?

First of all we have to note that citizens have a highly effective control instrument they do not have to exert their control over the policy making system: They must pay their taxes whether they are content with the political system or not. But they can cancel their membership in the association and suspend their annual financial contribution, if they are not content with its work. As a result the association will do everything possible to make sure its work is of very high quality.

In addition citizens will get a clear impression of the quality of the work of the association from its regular reports. Citizens basically only have to make sure that the association sets up the know-how system and identifies the best know-how for setting up the most effective policy system and that it takes suitable democratic measures to get those systems and procedures implemented. Controlling the quality of work of a single institution which controls all policy making is easier and more effective than aiming to control policy making in all policy areas, a feat which would be impossible to achieve anyway.

The key to ensuring the quality of democratic policy making is to give the association the benefit of the doubt and to support its work on a trial basis, at least for a couple of years. Democratic policy making simply does not work without effective citizen control. What other way for effective citizen control is there?

Finally it should be mentioned that the benefits from enhanced effectiveness of the policy making system are likely to easily outweigh the financial contributions citizens will ultimately be required to make to their association, once the organization has sufficient members.

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