Skip to content

Democracy - Approaches

There are basic categories that I would consider "traditional" of how to approach Democratic Decision Making

These include:

Direct Democracy

Representative Democracy


Direct Democracy means that citizens can vote directly on a policy.

Representative Democracy means citizens elect a representative to vote on this area on their behalf

Sortition is that a random selection of citizens are placed together to discuss and create decisions for the state.

Other approaches to democratic governance:

Liquid Democracy: - Citizens can vote directly on a policy, or elect someone else to vote on this policy for them, and are able to withdraw the power of their vote back to themselves any time Stockmarket democracy - You can trade votes on one issue/candidate for votes on another issue/candidate.

Within this, there is also a spectrum of how deliberative it should be, and whether that is formally part of the system or not -e.g. debate has to be X amount of time, or if there is a formal house of review. Some of this can be part of the government process but not in the area of making laws, such as, in Australia, a Royal Commission can give recommendations to governments on a particular issue, and engages a deliberative process to find out what should happen and create those recommendations accordingly.

There are some approaches that look to ensure minimum deliberation by citizens, it is unclear whether this is truly democratic or constitutes some technocratic approach, as it could disenfranchise people who do not engage in minimum deliberation. Another alternative is that by ensuring deliberation as a citizen duty as well as compulsory voting will ensure that this approach could still be considered democratic and not disenfranchising, even if it is more burdensome.

Experimental: We try different policies to see what works

In future we may have "AI/Algorithmic democracy" , in which democracy is based off revealed preferences or values from individuals, and collects it with a range of possible policies, and is fed into an AI to give the best possible expected policy outcome. This could also come into "predictive democracy", in which people make bets on what may happen and resources are allocated based off these bets

Other things: Methods and Infrastructure of Democratic governance: Participation ("Ladder of participation"), consultation, information, Legal system, Separation of Powers