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Saving democracy. The Economist , read by Ângela Santos March 2014. Remember. Free elections alone cannot guarantee democracy. The democratic mechanism needs constant maintenance and must be adaptable to changing human reality. Suggestions

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Saving democracy

Saving democracy

The Economist,

read by Ângela Santos

March 2014

Saving democracy


Free elections alone cannot guarantee democracy. The democratic mechanism needs constant maintenance and must be adaptable to changing human reality.

  • Suggestions

  • The identity of party financiers should be public knowledge.

  • MEPs should be obliged to present receipts for their expenses.

  • The number of Italian MPs should be cut, as should their salaries, and the powers of the Italian parliamentary bodies should be less evenly distributed.

Saving democracy


Globalist and localist counter-pressure forces exist and it would be harmful to ignore or repress them. If the right balance is obtained, harmful effects can be neutralised and positive ones put to good use.

  • Suggestions

  • Use the new technologies to encourage civic involvement in decision-making but

  • oblige popular decisions to be controlled by independent committees that will assess the feasibility and costs of the decisions taken.

Saving democracy


Ongoing experiments

  • The state of California

  • introduced the Think Long Committee for California to counter the short-term trends of electoral initiatives;

  • charged an independent committee with redefining the limits of political power.

  • Finland

  • charged a non-partisan committee with proposing measures for the future of the pension system;

  • obliged its parliament to consider every initiative by citizens obtaining 50,000 signatures, with a view to implementing an e-democracy.

Saving democracy


Democracy's prestige constitutes a guarantee and should be nurtured inside and outside national borders.

  • Suggestion

  • Denounce all foreign governments that try to rid themselves of the restrictions limiting their powers.

Saving democracy

Practise self-control

  • Place restrictions on what the state can give, by limiting its size.

  • Introduce a requirement whereby rights may only be established if they can be financed.

  • Introduce a requirement whereby actions may only instigated if they can be carried through to completion.

  • Condition – Voters and governments must accept restrictions on their countries' natural tendency to expand.

Saving democracy


  • Avoid the idea that the only thing that matters is a majority vote: there is more to serving the majority than simply winning an election;

  • Monitor governments' power closely, preventing those elected from accumulating power;

  • Guarantee individual rights, such as freedom of speech and organisation;

  • Guarantee minority rights;

  • Prevent unsustainable expenditure;

  • Prevent corruption.