Democracy is effectively an ongoing experiment and in a constantly changing world it could not be anything else.
A state of any size attempting to govern itself by somehow involving everyone directly in the minutiae of every single decision is simply implausible and, therefore, is rarely attempted – instead systems of elected representation are the preferred Western method of ensuring that power is democractically exercised.
In the course of her resaerch Esther has benefitted from being able to compare the Westminster system to three others that are effecitvely evolutions of it. The supporting ‘ecosystems’ that sit around these systems have also evolved differently over time.
The main source of continued democratic experimentation and evolution is around honing and updating the ‘systems’ in place to ensure that they can effectively represent their electorates and make decisions, or govern, by tacit consent.
Doing this in the context of an ever changing world is a challenge, one that also faces the wider ecosystems that sit around these systems – campaigning organisations, the news media and the civil service are all part of this ecosystem and are all to a greater extent institutions and systems in and of themselves.
Esther highlights the key issues that histroic institutions responding to modern day communication methods face in ensuring that social media can become a useful part of the ecosystem that supports a population to ‘speak truth unto power’.
Shouting Down the House