Thursday, February 03, 2005

Democratizing Democracy

Low voter turnouts, low levels of trust in public institutions, and low citizen involvement in societal affairs signal diminishing civic engagement and crisis in Western democracies. Democracy, as an instrument to help us most effectively govern ourselves, has become narrowly associated with territorially-based competitive regular elections. This main mechanism of political representation seems incompatible with the ideals of democratic politics such as reaching political consensus through dialogue, promoting active political involvement of citizens and crafting public policies that create healthy societies. This problem would prevail forever unless our so called "democracy" embraces a more integrated approach in how it sees and understands life.
Life is a whole; therefore, its problems should be addressed in its wholeness. This is a paradigm that Oriental traditions could lend to the atomizing Western rationality; an approach to recognize the interconnected nature of being. This approach rejects any early division of life to spheres of polity, society and economy and division of labour to state and civil society as the elements of a secular mode to govern people and plan for their betterment.
If our democracy would like to victoriously surpass the existing challenges, it should see society as politics and politics as social, it should embrace economy as a social realm and society as embedded in the political grounds of economy

No comments: