Democratic institutions and prosperity: The benefits of an open society

Paper by the European Parliamentary Research Service: “The ongoing structural transformation and the rapid spread of the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution are challenging current democratic institutions and their established forms of governance and regulation.At the same time, these changes offer vast opportunities to enhance, strengthen and expand the existing democratic framework to reflect a more complex and interdependent world. This process has already begun in many democratic societies but further progress is needed.
Examining these issues involves looking at the impact of ongoing complex and simultaneous changes on the theoretical framework underpinning beneficial democratic regulation. More specifically, combining economic, legal and political perspectives, it is necessary to explore how some adaptations to existing democratic institutions could further improve the functioning of democracies while also delivering additional economic benefits to citizens and society as whole. The introduction of a series of promising new tools could offer a potential way to support democratic decision-makers in regulating complexity and tackling ongoing and future challenges. The first of these tools is to use strategic foresight to anticipate and control future events; the second is collective intelligence, following the idea that citizens are collectively capable of providing better solutions to regulatory problems than are public administrations; the third and fourth are concerned with design-thinking and algorithmic regulation respectively. Design-based approaches are credited with opening up innovative options for policy-makers, while algorithms hold the promise of enabling decision-making to handle complex issues while remaining participatory….(More)”.