The New Challenge of Direct Democracy
December 1996, Polity
Can ordinary citizens make good public policy though? Many lack education and expertise and may not even be interested in politics. Even without these individual defects, mass debate may by its very nature lead to arbitrary or downright bad decisions. This book confronts these arguments in light of new communication developments which for the first time make direct democracy technically feasible in a mass society. The result is a highly original and innovative account of the possibility of the direct involvement of citizens in the governance of their own affairs.
1. Mass Participation and its Feasibility.
2. What are Direct and Representative Democracy?.
3. New Answers to Old (and New) Criticisms.
4. Participation in Practice.
5. Citizens and Parties under Direct Democracy.
6. Structural Problems and Constraints.
7. From Rhetoric to Direct Reality.
* Unlike most previous discussions on the subject, author argues that direct democracy is now feasible for a mass society in light of new developments in communication.
* Provides compelling evidence for the existence of direct democracies in half of the US states, Switzerland and Italy and, accordingly argues that direct democracy is both desirable and feasible.