NextDemocracy: empowering the citizens to decide

This is the pitch of the idea of Next Democracy more or less in the form as was submitted to Google’s 10 to 100 competition.

 

One Sentence

Democracy, as done today, is a Stone Age technology in an Internet age society; with NextDemocracy we can DECIDE DIRECTLY on political issues.

 

The Itch (Issue Addressed)

With elections you buy everything in one big package. All the policies, behind-the-scenes agreements, friends and special relations come with the candidate and the party behind.

We elect representatives to make all the important decisions for us – instead of us – in the coming 4 years, and we can just hope, that the decisions are going to be good ones.

We do this, because – why exactly? Because we have so little time? Because information is so hard to get and so expensive to distribute? Because it is impossible to meet people to discuss the issues when you have a work and a family to look after?

The world has changed, the mechanism of democracy has not.

The way how democracy is done today is actually a Stone Age technology in an Internet age society. It is expensive, it is ineffective, and open to distraction or outright corruption.


The Scratch (InDepth Introduction)

With NextDemocracy any eligible citizen can participate in the making of political decisions.

Why is this better than the traditional way?

Because the WEAK INTERACTIONS between the participants ensure focus on the issues at hand, without the disturbing effects of STRONG INTERACTIONS between the members of the political class: group dynamics, behind-the-scenes agreements, back-rubbing and high exposure to corruption.

How? In NextDemocracy the participants are anonymous, their individual votes are untraceable, yet they can come together on this platform, discuss the issues, formulate decision options, and cast a vote.


PROCESS:

1.) IDENTIFYING, WHO CAN DECIDE with the help of credit card companies, state records, social security number, etc. The citizens remain anonymous.


2.) DEFINE AN ISSUE FOR DECISION

A government, a government agency, parliament or a local council, etc., calls for a decision, or citizens initiate a new issue.

A public assistant is assigned to the process, to provide all the necessary background information to the participating citizens.

 

3.) DISCUSSION

The participants discuss the issue on the NextDemocracy. They bring in knowledge, aspects of judgment, outline the general interest of the society and the conflicting particular group interests. They may ask for more information (statistics, studies, etc.) if needed.


4.) PREPARATION FOR DECISION

3 or 4 options are outlined, and precisely formulated by the most active participants.


5.) DECISION

The participants cast their vote. However, to do so, everyone should PASS A TEST to prove, that she/he has understood the issue and the stakes of her/his decision.


6.) REMUNERATION

Participating in public decision making is essentially a voluntary work. Participants get NextDemocracy Bonus Points for their activity, which can be converted into direct payment or tax refunds, if a government chooses to enhance citizen activity in this way.

 

 

Where we scratch (Who would benefit most?)

By having better political decisions, everybody living in a society would benefit.

The most active participants would enjoy special benefit by some forms of remuneration (e.g. tax reduction).

The society at large would benefit also from having more informed, more responsible, conscious citizens.

NextDemocracy can work also in non Western-style democracies, so this would be a soft, less intrusive way for spreading the democracy in the world.

Disbenefitted are going to be the old-style politicians, special interest groups and companies that have built their business on acting against the common good.

Again: no one can track down a participant’s voting history, to keep the trade with votes out.

Google and everyone in this competition would benefit, since NextDemocracy facilitates great ideas to become public policy.

 

 

Initial steps

Basics:

NextDemocracy cannot be owned by one single private company or be influenced by one specific government. Its company form should ensure the neutrality in the processed issues and the privacy of the users. Since developing and running this tool is relatively inexpensive, it is realistic to remain financially independent.

 

Step1:

Developing prototype + publicity work

– funds coming from philanthropic, pro-democracy organizations


Step2:

Pilot: making it work in a smaller scale

– funds coming from pro-democracy, major international organizations and from businesses

– start to use NextDemocracy for making specific decisions in a smaller scale

– system is refined, bugs are eliminated


Step3:

Large scale usage for all sorts of decisions.

From this moment on every government has to have a good argument why NOT to use NextDemocracy in making decisions.


Step4:

Financial independence is ensured through the fees which participating public organizations pay, and by the spin-off applications.

Why, this is an ultimate crowd-sourcing tool for the business, too!

 

Optimal outcome

The majority of public entities in the Western-style democracy use this tool.

The political discourse changes style: the language becomes more common-sense, less exotic and lofty.

Better decisions are made, even those, which seem unlikely today: effective policies prefer renewable energy resources against burning fossils, etc.

The political elections change shape, true leaders are looked for, and – since the policies are decided directly by citizens – fear and desperation is factored out from election campaigns.

The special interest lose power, their arguments should be more about common good, less about special advantage to representatives.


Measure

General Happiness Index raises 31,8% in each country, where NextDemocracy is used in at least 20% of political decisions. @}-}—-

 

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