Some people speak of corporatist democracy as a better system than “democracy”. Perhaps such people have not heard of direct democracy.
I believe corporatist democracy appeals to those who trust the people even less than those who support representative democracy.
Corporatism rests on the belief that representatives of employer organizations and representatives of unionized workers, working together with the government, is the best way to run a country.
Direct democracy is superior ethically, politically, and socially because, the people vote to elect representatives too but, more importantly, the people vote to decide issues. The people also make laws and the people control de constitution, not the elected representatives or the corporatist representatives.
In representative and corporatist democracy, the people elect representatives but have no power to decide anything.
Corporatist government is even worse than representative government because it takes mainly into account the will of people considered (by corporatists) to represent the will of voters. Corporatism ignores the concerns of workers beyond work issues, but workers are citizens also, and have other concerns too.
Employer organizations are even less representative, because they only represent a small portion of the population.
Corporatism also leaves out any voter who does not belong to a union or does not have a business.
Of the three legs of corporatist government, only government can be considered to represent ordinary citizens, but there is a problem; it does not do it well.
The problem is that in representative democracies, once the people vote, they have no say on the issues government negotiates with the representatives of unions, business, and other pressure groups
In representative and corporatist democracies, if the elected representatives decide they want to listen to ordinary citizens, they may hold open hearings.
Only a few citizens will participate in such hearings, but even if most wanted to take part, it would impossible for them to do so; if they did, the hearings will go on forever.
The result is that, even if government wants to know how the average citizen feels about an issue, in corporatist and representative democracy it can’t, because most citizens can not be heard.
There really is only one way for governments to really know what the people want; have the people vote on the issues.
But that in itself is not enough if, for example, the government has the power to ignore the results of such votes. That is the case with the plebiscites on the European Constitution and even with many referendums, such as “Brexit”.
But even if the results of what people decide are binding for government, it is not enough. It is not enough because the government still decides when and on what date to hold referendums.
This is where direct democracy comes in; the people vote to decide issues, the people also decide what issues are important and must go to a referendum. Only in such a system can we be sure laws and government decisions reflect the will of the majority of the voters.
It is interesting to note that political parties, even in countries who practice corporatist democracy, like Germany and the Scandinavians, are now saying that corporatist “democracy” does not adequately represent the broad interests of citizens. I agree with them.
Unfortunately, most political parties in representative democracies do not support direct democracy either; they believe they represent the interests of voters better than the voters themselves.
To change things, you can push for your country to follow the time-tested Swiss model of direct democracy.
In Switzerland, it does not matter if there are elements of corporatist democracy or representative democracy. It does not matter because the people decide. It does not matter what the politicians want to agree to in the back rooms with union and business representatives, with the representatives of other parties, or with the representatives of other pressure groups.
The best thing about direct democracy is that the power to change the laws, to stop laws politicians propose, to change the constitution, is directly in the hands of the people. This means that as the needs, values, and priorities of the people change, so do the laws and policies of the country, and the constitution too.
Now is the time to bring direct democracy to our countries.