Introduction: Democracy, Innovation and Growth

  • Francesco GrilloEmail author
  • Raffaella Y. Nanetti


This chapter starts from acknowledging the crisis that has trapped much of the West in a condition of stagnation of ideas about how to govern complexity and slow productivity growth in an era of Internet driven disruptive changes. The focus moves to the two paradoxes which are central to the book. The “innovation paradox” underlines how the Internet revolution has not displayed its impact on growth when its effects are expected to be even larger than those of previous industrial revolutions, while the “democracy paradox” points to many signals of the crisis of legitimacy and effectiveness that liberal democracies have suffered since 1989 when they were declared historically the winners against Communism. The thesis that this book engages with is that this second, the “democracy paradox” is at the very root of the first, the “innovation paradox”. The argument is that the solution to both paradoxes is to be found in radically innovating the mechanisms through which diffused intelligence and individual preferences within civil society are identified, leveraged and processed into collective choices and policies to be formulated and implemented. Such a governance system is referred to as “knowledge democracy” and such innovative mechanisms as “smart participation”. Together, they signal the departure from the traditional implementation of the concept of democracy which appears no longer adequate in this XXI century. China and Italy are empirically investigated in the book as text cases of the current opposite position of the West and the East in growth performance.


Democracy Smart participation Economic growth Democracy paradox Knowledge democracy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sant’Anna School of Advanced StudiesPisaItaly
  2. 2.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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