Deliberative democracy

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A deliberative democracy, as advocated by Jon Elster, Ralph Nader and others, is a political system in which citizens undertake careful review of every known position on an issue and ample time for debate and discovery of new or bogus arguments. Because of the documentation and level of agreement that it requires, consensus decision making is almost always deliberative. So is a Citizens Assembly.

The more general term participatory democracy does not imply the depth of debate or time taken to make decisions. In principle, a participatory democracy can act more quickly. While some conservatives fret that such a political system may degrade into mob rule, the more probable steady state is that entrenched minority interests vigorously protect their patch or turf in the larger political system.

A political wiki expresses some features of such a polity. It is necessarily forced into a respect for diversity at least within one political party or movement, must agree on a list of policy terms, and may ultimately come to produce something wonderful: a Vision for America.

A deliberative model also usually requires an argumentation framework to compile and allow easy review of all the information relevant to a given decision: issue/position/argument, dating to 1970 or so, is the best known and most stable of these, though there are extensions and competitors.

References

Wikipedia: deliberative democracy
openpolitics.ca: deliberative democracy
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