This is a learner’s guide to a better democracy. Sounds ambitious? It is. The catalyst for publishing this book is obvious. There’s no need to regurgitate the public’s disaffection with politics. Mired in the tawdry mechanics of political campaigning, and incapable of climbing out of cyclical electioneering contests, representative democracies are stuck in a rut.
As Dawn Nakagawa, Vice President of the Berggruen Institute, writes, ‘Democratic reform is hard. We are very attached to our constitutions and institutions, even to the point of romanticising it all.’
This handbook is an introduction to minipublics – otherwise known as citizens’ juries or assemblies – interspersed with a few travel anecdotes to share the momentum behind the basic methodology of deliberative democracy.
As the world accelerates into its digital future, with new modes of working, connecting and living – our parliaments remain relics from a primordial, ideological and adversarial age. Meanwhile urgent challenges are stumbling to half-solutions in slow-motion. Collaboration amongst us humans in the Anthropocene is no longer just a nice-to-have.