Comment 63574

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:46:56

I definitely wouldn't ever try to confine democracy to elections. Participating in grassroots/civil society groups, "voting with your wallet" and other options have a much larger effect on the world around us than voting in an election. What makes voting special isn't that it influences society to a large degree, but that it's our only real way to exert binding influence upon the state. And the state holds a very large amount of influence upon all of us.

Democracy isn't just about feeling good about ourselves - it's a fairly essential part of information transmission within a group/organization. Those who participate get a far better idea of what's going on (rules, procedures, laws etc), and the system itself gets meaningful feedback. In the absence of it, convoluted alternative means to accomplish these goals must be invented ("management", "marketing" etc) which tend to cost a lot more and be a lot less effective. And when people don't feel they're being taken seriously (especially when they're trying to help), they return the favour and stop taking the organization seriously. Marginalization breeds disengagement.

A widespread increase in political engagement in the country isn't going to happen until people don't feel that it's a lost cause. And the current structure of our government, parliament and elections aren't helping. Waiting until people are more engaged to fix the system is kinda like refusing to spray a fire with a hose until it stops burning.

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