Representative democracy is in dire straights in the West, in the rest barely exists.
The root problem with representative democracy is that gives the government, the legislature, the judges and the economic and intellectual elites the power to progressive accumulate more power.
In all representative democracies, the power of government has increased without the explicit consent of citizens.
Ordinary citizens feel it in their bones. They experience how every year there is one more tax to pay, one more permit is necessary, one more paper to fill out, one more obligation or prohibition. It does not happen by chance; it happens because the politicians and the bureaucrats have the power to accumulate more power.
The rise of rightist and leftist “populists” is not the problem of representative democracy, it is the symptom. The people see how the elite they elect talks about “the people”, “justice”, “education”, “jobs”, etc., decade after decade, but it does not happen. What happens is more and more responsibilities and more limits to their freedom every year.
It is no longer a matter of “the Left against the Right”. Millions of voters perceive the differences among Left and Right are cosmetic; both row in boats of different colours, but in the same direction.
The political, economic and social elites in the West speak and behave as if the leaders of the new leftists and rightists are the devils who fool the people.
The elites believe the people can be easily fooled, perhaps because they have been doing it themselves for decades.
But the people are patient, not stupid. Their frustration and anger builds until it explodes. History shows it. The elites should know that.
Sometimes is even worse, the elites treat those who support populists as if they were a bunch of idiots who do not understand what is good for them. But it is the other way around; it is the elites who do not understand ordinary people.
Therefore every revolution catches the elites flat-footed; think of the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution.
Revolution does not always mean things will improve for ordinary people, they often make life worse, but that is after the old regime is gone.
The elites seem to believe that because they have more years of formal education, because they know more about academic subjects, they are wiser, superior to ordinary people; it is a huge mistake.
The elites in a representative democracy are not really democrats; democracy is government by the people. For it to be “government by the people”, the people have to be the decision-makers in all important issues affecting their lives. They have to be so in the country, the city, the town and the village. In representative democracy, the people vote but do not decide.
The elites in representative democracy agree that the people can elect who governs, and no more; that all important decisions should be made by the elected representatives, the top bureaucrats and the “experts”, who often are lobbying experts too.
Other elements of the elite, the rich, the intellectuals and the media commentators, also believe they are wiser than ordinary people, and even wiser and morally better than the elected representatives. They are convinced they have the wisdom to suggest to the elected representatives what is good for ordinary citizens.
Under representative democracy, things can not change. The people have the power to elect their representatives, but they always elect people who belong to the same elites, nothing really changes.
The system is not too different from the time when kings ruled; the king may die, but another king took his place, the aristocracy did not change, etc. In representative democracy we have freedom to speak and criticize, and that is a huge advance, but we still no power to decide.
Direct democracy is based on a different idea; that the people must have the power to elect representatives and to make the decisions. Direct democracy is about the majority, the people, deciding, because the majority knows what is best for the majority.
Direct democracy turns the power pyramid upside down; at the top we have now the people.
Because the people make the key decisions, in direct democracy the politicians have no choice but to carry out the will of the people. In a direct democracy, the people are the real boss.
We know direct democracy works because Switzerland is the best-run country in the World. Don’t take my word; just inform yourself about Switzerland and its direct democracy.