Liquid Democracy

Although technology has transformed nearly every aspect of contemporary life, politics has only been revolutionized indirectly. It’s time we consider new systems.

Democracy has a noble objective – to encourage participation in the collective decision-making process. For centuries, that’s functionally required representatives – politicians – with the rare exemptions of ‹direct democracy›, which in most countries happen through effort-intensive, citizen-led referendum. Advances in digital technologies are making possible secure online voting systems, though, which can replace elements of the traditional representational approach. In ‹liquid democracy›, citizens can vote directly on issues that are important to them, while retaining their capacity to delegate their vote to experts or representatives they trust. At the same time, these technologies could enhance transparency and accountability, displaying a sort of live score-card keep and reduce the barrier to entry for citizen engagement.

It could be a long way off before Liquid Democracy is used by local or national governments, but the technology is already being used in smaller-scale organizations and is applicable in many contexts, even as a tool as a part of Social Threefolding – it is certainly a tool that would strengthen the rights sphere. Liquid Democracy e.V., a nonprofit dedicated to developing digital democracy, says over 300 organizations use their free online platform, adhocracy+. If liquid democracy platforms gain traction on a small scale, it would only be a matter of time before they’re used on a bigger scale. Regardless, it seems like a necessity to dream into upgrades for our current technology for democracy. In this vein, Liquid Democracy is a utopian alternative to the top-down ‹social credit score›, which values surveillance over participation.

Further information and image source Liquid Democracy

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