Meetings as a key element of democracy


#1

I am not sure I have fully grasped the idea behind “Designing Open Democracy”, but from what I’ve seen so far, I thought I’d mention the Kunsido forum as being of potential interest:

It is not primarily about democracy but about meetings. But I believe that meetings are a key element of democracy (especially when conceived “Outside The Ballot Box”) so that there is much space there to discuss the democracy aspect of meetings there…


#2

Agreed, meetings crucial to democracy. Not just meetings formally arranged to talk about politics, but also social meetings in public spaces. I believe Jurgen Habermas theorised that Coffee Shops and Salons were crucial to the development of liberalism within 18th Century France as public spaces in which people would meet and exchange views and ideas.


#3

Meetings are not a key element of Democracy. They’re a key element of “Democracy as we know it.” And that doesn’t work very well.


#4

Okay, but then we need to tweak the statement just another little bit:

“Meetings as we know them” are a key element of “Democracy as we know it.” :slight_smile:


#5

That works… But then, why don’t we just fix Democracy?


#6

Before you fix something you need to analyze what exactly is broken.


#7

It’s interesting that you assert this, rather than asking me if I’ve analyzed what is broken.

I’m a problem solver. I realized I was resigned about politics. I spent two months, with a coach, discovering the shape and effect of my attitude and freeing myself from it. Then two months asking people new questions about politics, then two months searching for the problem. In a sense, there wasn’t one. Everyone’s doing what they think is appropriate. The problem is just a mismatch between what we think our system delivers and its design- no one had experience with Democracy at the time. The design was based on untested assumptions. The system was pretty good, but was missing a key piece. Then we created a culture that believed we had a stable democracy, atop an unstable system. It turns out, adding the key piece either fixes, or allows us to fix, all the big problems in politics.

Would you be so kind as to assume I’ve got a clue, and ask questions instead of make assertions?


#8

I think you misinterpreted what I said. You asked:

And I replied:

That’s all.


#9

That’s like me telling you: Before you fix meetings, you have to start talking with others about it.

About: “That’s all” - Why do you want to fix meetings, but not Democracy? Why the lack of curiosity?


#10

I’m not sure I understand what you are arguing for or against. If it’s about the website you linked earlier, I don’t understand what it’s about, or how it might be related to meetings.

I said none of this.


#11

I was responding to what you said, but we digressed. Please let me start again. You say that meetings are a key element of democracy.

I think this is just incidentally true. To me, democracy is defined by citizens having certain roles and responsibilities. In all but the tiniest countries, these must be delegated which means the relationships between voters and delegates are vital. Relationships are maintained through communication. The quality of a relationship is almost entirely determined by the qualities of the communication. Deeds matter more than words, but most timely knowledge of deeds comes through words.

In most countries, especially the U.S., this communication is poor, leading to most or all of the problems in U.S. politics. The blog on the website I pointed you to: http://bit.ly/peoplecount-guide , proposes a way to remedy these problems by providing an efficient and effective political communication system.

Meetings are a very natural way for humans to communicate. With many people around, we feel the event is important and when a crowd feels emotion together, whether it be gravitas, inspiration, urgency or anger, we feel that “we” are in sync and being understood. Of course if our emotions differ from those of the crowd, our disaffection is magnified.

What meetings do you feel to be a key element of democracy- meetings between a politician and constituents, meetings between legislators, other meetings? What are these meetings supposed to accomplish? Toward what end do you want to improve them: make them more satisfying, more effective or efficient at accomplishing their goal, less expensive to attend?

-r