Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

The ailings of democracy


Domen Savič (his blog) invited me to be a guest speaker at the 1st conference about e-democracy, see its program here.

Herein I start my first written rambling about the topic that should eventually become my 35 minutes opening speech.

My first thought about democracy is that about why it doesn’t work. Tough question, right?

Well, for one, democracy is about giving power from the people to the elected group of representatives who allegedly run the country.

But these representatives don’t really run the country. For one, they are not the wisest and best among us. For two, their salaries are by far not the most competitive. For three, they are attracted for visibility instead of for effective rule.

Let’s explore who really runs countries. For one, countries used to be ran by kings. Generations of kings were hereditary lines, that got established by those individuals with the mightiest armies, or the most vicious behaviour, so that they could attract and retain more power than their peers. The point here is that the main trait to become a king was agressiveness. Power lay with those who were the most dangerous, the best warriors.

Then the world started changing. Power through force became weaker, and in its place a more subtle power emerged. The big change came with rennaisance in which the power of rationality asserted itself, mostly through different aspects of individual expression. This power exists in business, science, culture, sport.

However, power by force hasn’t waned, it just moved into the shaddow. Spies, secret service, mafia, media moguls, generals, lobbyists, lawyers, secret societies still run their show, albeit they remain obscured, hidden from view.

As far as I understand democracy it becomes stronger when its constituents become stronger too. The key consituent is not the representative, member of the parliament. The key is you. Me. Us.

Now, changing myself, that’s hard, right? It is much easier to get angry at everyone around us. At the media. At our employers. At society at large. At universe, even. The world is such un unjust place and we’re miserable by definition, right?

Now let me surprise you. I don’t believe in democracy. I do believe in any system wherein the power is attained by rightousness, respect, wisdom, and I disbelieve systems wherein the opposite of these virtues is the road to power.

Democracy, as we know it today is not driven by virtues. Power does not come from creating new value, it comes from taking whatever is valuable from the ones who created it. This taking is stealing, and stealing does not create a virtuous society.

I don’t think that moving towards e-democracy is the key to better democracy. See Estonia. They have had electronic elections since 2005. In 2009 there were 9,5% of voters who chose to vote via e-voting. And? Did this create a better society?

Coming back to you, me and us. What shall we do to live better? It’s actually easy. But hard. We have to take responsibility. We have to nourish trust. We have to be fair. We have to work. We have to find and create our value to other people. We help us, I help you.

On a lighter note, let us enjoy our lives a bit more. Let us be happy. Let us love each other. And let there be peace.

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