Devolution of sovereignty to the people: open government? – Ismael Peña-López

wegovAllow me to make a somewhat aberrant simplification of the history of collective affairs.

In Greece, decisions were directly made by the people (or better said, the free people), who executed those decisions themselves. That was possible, among other things, because those people had wives and slaves who were in charge of domestic affairs and because the world was relatively simple and events happened relatively gradually. We call this era and its institutions ‘Greek democracy’, or sometimes ‘direct democracy’, to separate the personal exercise of public participation from the geographic or historic environment of the time.

The next reincarnation of democracy, centuries later, coincided with a time of having to make decisions in a much more complex world and with many more ‘free’ people who, moreover, had to make decisions about much larger territories and therefore had to reach agreements with a high number of individuals. Given the inefficacy and inefficiency of doing so directly, we turned to ‘representative democracy’: certain people and certain institutions made decisions and executed them in the name of the rest. Among many other names, we generally call this model ‘liberal democracy’.Read More »