Advertisement

Knowledge Democracy as Key to Twenty-First Century

  • Francesco GrilloEmail author
  • Raffaella Y. Nanetti
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter brings to bear the research findings of this work onto the thesis that the “democracy paradox” of the missing link between growth and democracy is at the very roots of the “innovation paradox”, whereby the impact of the Internet revolution is still to unfold most of its potential to improve the well-being of citizens. It discusses the lessons learned on the ground about the concepts of knowledge democracy and smart participation as resolutive to reverse the trend of decline in Western democracies. The thesis is largely proven. The chapter underscores the relevance of the empirical cases of China and Italy for the scrutiny of the triangle of performance relationships: technological progress (TP), democratic participation (DP) and socio-economic growth, singling out China as the high scorer. It moves to profiling Australia, Estonia, Canada and Switzerland as laboratories of the democracy of the future because these liberal democracies perform better on the challenge of realizing richer forms of participation and innovation-driven growth. It then confirms from the findings that liberal democracy survives if it proceeds on the path to knowledge democracy, capturing the potential of technologies and reconnecting citizens with representative institutions. The chapter offers ten specific suggestions to contribute to a still too weak debate on the future of democracy and on the development of participatory mechanisms which would make institutions capable to adapt to and govern the mutation that technologies have triggered. Pointing out the limits of this empirical investigation and the need for expanded research, the chapter retraces Marco Polo’s voyage to the East and the reciprocal learning it brought through a silk road that needs to be rediscovered, and in closing it reaffirms the spirit of the West and makes an impassioned call for action to renew democracy in the era of the Internet.

Keywords

Knowledge democracy Innovation paradox Democratic participation Liberal democracy Silk road 

Bibliography

  1. Arrow, K. (1963). Social Choice Theory (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-01364-7.Google Scholar
  2. BBC, Future Now. (2017). Could Estonia be the first “digital” country?Google Scholar
  3. Bell, D. A. (2015). The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cato Institute. (2017). Megaprojects: Over Budget, Over Time, Over and Over by B. Flyvbjerg.Google Scholar
  5. Cellini, M. (2015). Democrazia e diseguaglianza, un’analisi empirica (IRPPS Working Paper p. 43 72/2015).Google Scholar
  6. Dahl, R. A. (1989). Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fichter, A. (2017, April 9). La Svizzera, paese in via di sviluppo nell’e-democracy. Swiss-info. ch.Google Scholar
  8. Foa, R. S., and Mounk, Y. (2016). “The Danger of Deconsolidation”. The Democratic Disconnect, 27(3): 5–17.Google Scholar
  9. Geissbuhler, S. (2014). “Does Direct Democracy Really Work? A Review of the Empirical Evidence from Switzerland”.  https://doi.org/10.14746/pp.2014.19.4.6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldin, I. (2017, October 18). “The Second Renaissance”. Nature, International Weekly Journal of Science, 550: 327–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Greenwald, M. (2018, August 16). Business Lessons from the World’s Most Digital Country, Estonia, and the Happiest Country. Finland: Forbes.Google Scholar
  12. Grillo, F., and Nanetti, R. (2016). Innovation, Democracy, Efficiency: Exploring the Innovation Puzzle Within the European Union’s Regional Development Policies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Khanna, P. (2016). Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  14. Leetaru, K. (2017). “How Estonia’s E-Voting System Could Be the Future”. Forbes.Google Scholar
  15. Mazzucato, M. (2013). The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  16. Nicolaïdis, K., and Howse, R. (2002). “‘This Is My EUtopia…’: Narrative as Power”. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 40: 767–792.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5965.00397.Google Scholar
  17. Schmidt, M. G. (2002). “Political Performance and Types of Democracy: Findings from Comparative Studies 2”. European Journal of Political Research, 41(1): 147–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schuler, D. (2018). “Counterpoint: E-Democracy Won’t Save Democracy. Democracy Will Save Democracy”. Communications of the ACM, 61(8): 34–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sen, A. K. (1999). “Democracy as a Universal Value.” Journal of Democracy, 10(3): 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shapiro, E. (2018). “Point: Foundations of E-Democracy”. Communications of the ACM, 61(8): 31–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. The Economist. (2018, March 15). “The Battle for Digital Supremacy”.Google Scholar
  22. TNI. (2006). Participatory Budgeting in Canada.Google Scholar
  23. Toffler, A. (1990). Powershift—Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  24. Vassil, K., Solvak, M., Vinkel, P., Trechsel, A. H., and Alvarez, R. M. (2016). The Diffusion of Internet Voting. Usage Patterns of Internet Voting in Estonia Between 2005 and 2015. Government Information Quarterly, 33(3): 453–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations