The need to reboot / reform our understanding and implementation of democracy has been recently acknowledged in Finland and in some other parts of the World. The way we elect our democratic representatives, the way our elected ones communicate with their electorate, the ways in which political parties are formed etc - all these things need to be re-thought to fit the needs of the 21st century citizen, who are increasingly well informed, networked and dynamic.
The representation of the young generation in particular is in need of greater attention. The voting activity of the young has been falling throughout many decades already and the belief of the young in democratic principles is seriously shattered. At the same time the life for the young is getting increasingly difficult: living costs are rising, the value of formal education is declining, the path to forming families is longer and the number of youth not in employment, training or education is gradually increasing. To aggravate things further, in some aging societies the net intergenerational transfers have turned from young to the old. This report from "The Economist" argues that "the young are an oppressed minority, held back by their elders." Thus, after the young leave their parents' homes they simply do not have the time & resources needed to allocate to voting.
Thus, there is a big risk that today’s record-low youth turnout presages a permanent shift. Voting habits are formed surprisingly early—in a person’s first two elections. And those people who start voting while still living at home are much more likely to preserve the voting habit later in life. If future generations, discouraged by their fading influence, never adopt the voting habit, turnout will fall further, weakening the legitimacy of elected governments. Thus, unless we believe in and defend - and raise our children to believe in and defend the democracies - the democracies in many countries might be destroyed - and replaced by less inclusive regimes.
On this page we have collected selected reading materials and links to organizations which contribute to renewing the concept of democracy. Please also see the events where we participate in.
READING MATERIALS & PRESENTATIONS
Pia Mancini "How to upgrade democracy for the Internet era?" TED talk, October 2014
E-voting in E-stonia Estonia became the first nation to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet with their pilot project for the municipal elections in 2005. The electronic voting system withstood the test of reality and was declared a success by Estonian election officials. The Estonian parliamentary election in 2007 also used internet voting, another World first. Read more here. See also the "Independent report on e-voting in Estonia".
"Declining trust in government is denting democracy." The Economist, January 25, 2017.
"Tiedemiehet: Demokratia ei toimi, koska ihmiset eivät ole tarpeeksi älykkäitä". Talouselämä 1.3.2012.
LINKS TO ORGANIZATIONS
"The Next Era" - the joint project of SITRA and Demos Helsinki related to building understanding of current societal transformations and future of just society - democracy and participation in particular
List of freedom indexes
Gerardo L. Munck, Jay Verkuilen, "Conceptualizing and measuring democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices", Comparative Political Studies, Sage Publications, 35 (1): 5–34, February 2002.