The Problem: Exclusive Democracy

“… . Among other things we immediately cease to wonder why it is that politicians so often fail to serve  the interest of their class  or of the groups with which they are personally connected. Politically speaking, the [person] is still in the nursery who has not absorbed, so as never to forget, the saying attributed to one to one of the most successful politicians that ever lived: ‘What the businessmen do not understand is that exactly as they are dealing in oil so I am dealing in votes’.”[1]

Exclusive Democracy, Canada’s current “top-down” form of democracy, has evolved into a political system that generates highly polarized citizens, highly polarized political parties, and highly polarized government. Exclusive Democracy has, for example, served to continually widen the inequality chasm: The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer as the growth in the width of the chasm accelerates. 

Exclusive Democracy has not evolved to consistently include, or make an attempt to functionally recognize, the needs of all of the people. Are we creating a new class of citizens? Call it the “minimum wage “ class.

The principal intention of democracy is to have communication flow from the people to government, where the needs will be turned into national policy and “laws of the land”.  Unfortunately, the political parties, in their overwhelming need to be in power, have reversed the voter communication process. Whereas the MPs were to carry the message from the voters, those representatives now deliver the party platform to the voters. The resulting polarization of parties, along ideological lines, has created an inequality gap in society which manifests in ever-widening standard of living differentials which are evident to the populace, and not happily so.

“… In fact, political prejudice has become our most accepted form of bigotry. … What today’s voters see is not a candidate, or a set of policy proposals, but a party affiliation …  a political label …,  a symbolic colour. But imagine a world without such labels.”[2]

Additionally, human rights and other issues, have not been adequately addressed, if addressed at all. Fortunately, with information flow increasing via the internet, aided by communications advances and social media, a wider swath of the populace has become aware of the actions and deficiencies of government. A positive outcome of this evolution stems from the ever-increasing willingness of the citizens to “take to the streets” in protest – an attempt to wrest away from the political parties the control of information flow; and to be included in policy deliberations.

As control begins to slip from the political party elites, the extinction of Exclusive Democracy is hastened. It would be unwise to not address the void created. Witness the increasing number of autocracies, and autocracy initiatives, around the world. A new Era of democracy is needed. And arguably Inclusive Democracy may be the saviour of democracy.

Sun Sets on Exclusivity

A sunset over a city

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[1] Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) – Joseph A. Schumpeter HarperCollins, Publishers – Third Edition (2008)

[2] What If We Got Rid of Political Parties?