Such initiatives are welcome supplements in the diet of a poorly nourished political body

Such initiatives are welcome supplements in the diet of a poorly nourished political body. The good news is that by bringing people together, they strengthen civic education, engagement, and public conversation. But even as these efforts grow in importance, they remain relatively marginal. The conversation is too often unbalanced and ill informed, and the resulting decisions remain (or at least are perceived as) sub-optimal. Such initiatives are also insufficient in the face of growing challenges and opportunities: Demagogues prosper while people become more frustrated; new digital tools enhance citizens’ expectation to have more say but also unleash disinformation; and new social movements and innovative experiments continue to grow in number and impact.
To ensure more legitimate and effective policies, we need a structurally healthy diet of democracy that incorporates sustained dialogue. As Hélène Landemore comments, “For most political problems and under conditions conducive to proper deliberation and proper use of majority rule, a democratic decision procedure is likely to be a better decision procedure than any nondemocratic decision procedures.”
Fortunately, we know from many experiments the conditions that allow a group of diverse people to solve societal issues with creative, efficient, effective, and timely solutions. Building on such practices and insights, now is the time for what I call “Augmented Democracy.” — http://reospartners.com/augmented-democracy/
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