Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Improving the Processes and System of Democracy

Democracy - System Kaizens

Independents in Democracy

Wikipedia article


Monarchy Out, Democracy In, But Dynasty is  Getting Entrenched



Democracies have to take steps to prevent emergence of dynasties.


1. A close family relative should not be allowed to take up a political executive office immediately after resignation, retirement, or death of an existing person in position. A gap of ten years or two general elections gap should be recommended.

2. Two members of a family cannot be in same legislative body simultaneously.



Ananya Vajpeyi, Assistant Professor of History, University of Massachusetts wrote an article titled "The Paradox of Dynastic Democracy". The article is written in the context of India, where Nehru family is the ruling the country for many years since independence. The  presence of youngest Gandhis as well as that of sons and daughters of  number of politicians in Indian legislative assemblies and parliament poses a direct challenge to the very principle of democracy, since their presence in politics is primarily a function of their lineage.

Source: The Economic Times, 27.5.2009


Emphasize Representing People


Politician at any level in a democracy is a representative of the opinion of people. Both political party members and elected representatives need to have systems in place to accumulate public opinion within their constituency.


Unfortunately such systems are not visible.


There is more emphasis in media as well as in party and government affairs on the leadership and authority and the role of representing people is almost forgotten.


There is a need to emphasize representing people in democratic systems.
Views of Professor John A.Quelch
Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy (Harvard Business Press, 2008) is a book by Quelch co-authored with Katherine Jocz
The present democratic systems are less democratic as they lack  “perpetual referendum”. By treating people as voters who only participate during elections, once every four to five years, politicians may see less need to be as engaging and persistent as marketers who have to make efforts for every sale. Quelch suggests that politicians in a democracy can afford to take a leaf from marketing - to treat citizens as consumers with distinct voices and needs, establish long-term relationships and earn their loyalty. Democracies will be the richer for it.
A Result from a Survey conducted by CNN-IBN in India
14,786 respondents in 18 states
For the question politicians don't care about people like me  58% said yes, and 17% no and rest no answer.
Source: Hindustan Times, 25 Jan 2009, page 11

Book Information and Reviews

1. Democracy: Crisis and Renewal by Paul Ginsborg, Random House Profile Books, 168 pages
Paul Ginborg is a historian and political theorist.
According to him, in many modern nation-states, politics and the political class have now become excessively professionalized. Majority of the citizens have retreated into the private sphere, and are often involved in the politics only to the extent of bemoaning its quality. Thus even though governments are representative in theory, in practice there is no participation of people. This conclusion supports my theme that "Representing People" needs to be emphasized in democracy instead of leadership and authority.
Ginsborg demands in his book that  inviduals must become agents of democracy instead of being content to be subjects of democracy.
2. Unparliamentary Expressions, A Book published by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, India, 2008.
It is 900 page tome. It contains statements disallowed in various Parliaments of Common Wealth and India.

Material for Parliamentarians

Combating Trafficking in persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians published by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2009

Download from

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy is a group of 17 media, policy and community leaders. Its purpose is to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs.

The Knight Commission sees new thinking about news and information as a necessary step to sustaining democracy in the digital age. It thus follows in the footsteps of the 1940s Hutchins Commission and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960s.


 Related Knols

How to Improve Democracy The article is based on research thesis

Related Web Sites and Pages

Open Democracy - Free thinking for the world
The Dewey-Lippmann Debate Today: Negotiating the Divide Between Participatory and Elitist Models of Democracy
Original knol - Number 742

No comments:

Post a Comment