Direct democracy involves citizens in discussion and decisions about what the government is to do, rather than leaving this to officials or parliaments. It thus challenges the restrictions placed by representative democracies such as Britain and the United States on political consultation and popular participation. Why should responsible adults not take public decisions as well as making their own individual choices? One affects them just as much as the other.
Can ordinary citizens make good public policy though? Many lack education and expertise and may not even be interested in politics. Even without these individual defects, mass debate may by its very nature lead to arbitrary or downright bad decisions. This book confronts these arguments in light of new communication developments which for the first time make direct democracy technically feasible in a mass society. The result is a highly original and innovative account of the possibility of the direct involvement of citizens in the governance of their own affairs.show more