From Waves to Ecosystems: The Next Stage of Democratic Innovation

Paper by Josh Lerner: “Anti-democratic movements are surging around the world, threatening to undermine elections and replace them with oligarchy. Pro-democracy movements mainly focus on defending elections, even though most people think that elections alone are inadequate. While elections dominate current thinking about democracy, the history and future of democracy is much broader. For over 5,000 years, people have built up competing waves of electoral, direct, deliberative, and participatory democracy. We are now seeing a transition, however, from waves to ecosystems. Rather than seeking one single solution to our ailing democracy, a new generation of democracy reformers is weaving together different democratic practices into balanced democratic ecosystems. This white paper provides a roadmap for this emerging next stage of democratic innovation. It reviews the limitations of elections, the different waves of democratic innovation and efforts to connect them, and key challenges and strategies for building healthy ecosystems of democracy…(More)”.