Sunday, January 20, 2008

Representative or Participatory Democracy?

Hi-
I've added a survey (above). Please take a minute to fill it out. It will help me to know if you are interested in representative democracy or participatory democracy. (Wow! My first hyperlinks! Thanks to Ken Chapman for the instructions.)

Representative democracy, as best I understand it, implies that the public's democratic voice is heard only on Election Day. The public doesn't really play a role in the government's day-to-day decision-making...that is left in the hands of the elected representative, who is trusted to make the best informed decisions on the public's behalf. If you don't like their decisions, you speak with your vote on the next Election Day.

Participatory democracy is on-going. The elected official remains connected to the public, regularly seeks their input on key issues and regards their feedback as crucial to their decision-making process. In this way, the elected official seeks to align their decisions with the values and beliefs of the public.

Some would suggest that representative democracy was the only logical choice when distance, time and the lack of technology prohibited contact between the elected official and the public. It would follow that now because these barriers have been removed by technology that participatory democracy is a valid option.

The question is: Do you want it? Or are you too busy to participate?

5 comments:

Gary Allen said...

I think you should be commended for the participatory style you have adopted to date. This is an excellent style for elected officials who do not have to deal with party line voting. That might limit it to aldermen and school board trustees. I am hoping you do not get overwhelmed with blogs, and that you are able to continue with your approach. An issue we are dealing with outside of Ward C right now is that our trustee is practicing a representative democracy and some very much want it to be participatory.

Carlos Beca said...

Due to the excessive influence of corporations and interest groups on elected officials, democracy in my opinion will not survive without moving more to a participatory democracy.

Sue yoon said...

Well, its really hard to say which would be more efficient but if you get to see Alvin Toffler's book or something he said about Semi-direct Democracy, i totally agree on his view. See, he is more to the Participatory Democracy side but he says there are exceptions where in some categories, it is hard for the individuals like you and me can't even bother to give opinion on. Such as some economic matters with numbers in them .( Can't really make a good example sorry ..)

So this man is saying that in those cases the specialists are needed, what we call in another way Elitist.

So i basically think that the mixture of representatives and the indiviuals would be the most efficient way

Sue yoon said...

Well, its really hard to say which would be more efficient but if you get to see Alvin Toffler's book or something he said about Semi-direct Democracy, i totally agree on his view. See, he is more to the Participatory Democracy side but he says there are exceptions where in some categories, it is hard for the individuals like you and me can't even bother to give opinion on. Such as some economic matters with numbers in them .( Can't really make a good example sorry ..)

So this man is saying that in those cases the specialists are needed, what we call in another way Elitist.

So i basically think that the mixture of representatives and the indiviuals would be the most efficient way

Carlos Beca said...

I do not believe one can classify democracy that way. Democracy is not supposed to be efficient. Democracy is a process that allows us to make decisions that are as inclusive as possible. We live in an efficiency obcessed society and in my opinion that has been creating severe long term problems for us. Our environmental crisis is a good example of that. Why, for example decisions on education have to be made efficiently? What does that really mean?
I suggest reading a book like 'The Cult of Efficiency' by Janice Stein is more helpful to our understanding of Democracy in general then Alvin Toffler.