Democracy

Political developments over the last three decades, along with the global environmental problems we are facing, have made it increasingly important and urgent to reflect on the nature and value of democracy. On the one hand, a number of countries have switched political systems, from one-party systems (Eastern Europe), dictatorships (South America) or systems of minority rule (South Africa) to democracy in some form. On the other hand, the power of multi-national corporations and supranational organisations (such as the EU and the WTO) appears to be increasing at the cost of that of national governments. In several established democracies, there is a trend towards increased voter dissatisfaction with political parties and the democratic process and declining rates of electoral participation. This theme addresses issues such as: What decisions should be arrived at democratically? Should we, for example, establish an ”ombudsman” for future generations, and if so, what mandate should such an ”ombudsman” be given? Who should have the right to participate in which decision-making processes?

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