Democracy in a Time of Change
A country is a system.
All systems are composed of subsystems.
Subsystems change at different speeds. Technological subsystems change the most rapidly. Business subsystems, change more slowly. Political subsystems change even more slowly, and the values subsystem of a society change the slowest of all.
Due to the fact that subsystems change at different speeds, in times of change we experience disintegration and accelerated change causes accelerated disintegration. If the change is systemic, it results in systemic disintegration.
Modern societies are experiencing accelerated systemic changes. Globalization is one of them. It causes financial and economic interdependence.
Accelerated systemic changes create complex systemic problems like terrorism, immigration, and a domino effect in cases of financial failures.
Systemic problems call for systemic corrective actions.
Systemic corrective actions require that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of a democratic society work in unison. The participants in all these branches are either elected or appointed by elected politicians.
Politicians fight for power, and in a democracy by definition they do not necessarily cooperate. The result is that systemic problems in a democratic society do not get solved until they are acute, and the level of crisis is so unbearable that all parties are in danger. Only then will politicians close ranks and solve the problem. But by then it might be too late to take corrective action. The result could be a revolution or a breakdown of the country.
One more reason to ponder how change and democracy are related. .
As change accelerates, government machinery and thus expenditure, and power will mushroom in attempting to solve the problems caused by change.
People in a democracy resent the increasing power of government and the taxation necessary to finance government and its services.
Politicians emerge that make promises that they will lead change of the government role in society. Because the cooperation of all political powers is needed to make major changes they are not able to deliver. ( See Obama). As a result, politicians lose credibility, which makes systemic solutions even more difficult. ( Trump by having Republicans in control of both houses and having the choice of appointing a Supreme Court justice has a better chance to make change but will the other half that did not elect him accept those changes? Expect turmoil.)
The solution is not to change only certain decisions like the right to reproduce, immigration law, taxation laws etc. What we have is a systemic problem which calls for a systemic solution. We need to change the system not just the decisions the existent system produces.
My conclusion is that representative democracy, as we know and practice it now, might not be the adequate system for a country with accelerated, chronic change.
Dictatorship is not an answer either . in accelerated change decisions have to be made and dictators who listen only to themselves, who do not allow diversity of opinions and judgments can make major mistakes and lead a country to ruin.
Not a movement on a horizontal scale from democracy to dictatorship. It should be a vertical change.
We need to reduce government’s role and decentralize. We need grassroots involvement. We need grassroots democracy. On all levels. Comprehensive grassroots democracy. On corporate, local, state and federal level. In business and in non business organizations. Comprehensive. All encompassing grassroots democracy. (1) What we have now is partial (only in political governance, not anywhere else ) representative one and it does not work well anymore.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
(1) see a. Ichak Adizes : Industrial Democracy;
b. Ichak Adizes Self Management , New Dimensions to Democracy
Both published by Adizes Institute Publications