Montag, 21. Januar 2013

Small country, big idea

Iceland not only has glaciers and erupting volcanoes, it also has something innovative and unique: the first crowdsourced constitution.
According to this article, an astonishing 50% of the voting population took part in the process, suggesting their ideas in places like Facebook and Twitter. With this help, the constitution was then put together by a constitutional council, followed by a referendum in which 2/3 of the people voted in favor of the new constitution.
Now that is patricipatory politics for you!

Why is something like this not possible in other countries? To be fair, most other western democracies have a bigger population( Iceland only has around 320,000 inhabitants) and a smaller number of people with Internet access than Iceland ( 90% of the Icelandic population have an internet connection.)
Still, this does not explain why it seems impossible to have such an integrative political process in other countries.
In my view, the mentality of the citizens plays quite a big part in this. During the financial crisis, instead of bailing out banks, Iceland took in consideration what was best for the people and decided to not save the financial institutions. It was what he citizens demanded. And when they demanded a new constitution, they got one. Probably it is about time that we demand from our governments more possibilities for participation. We might get them if we are persistent enough.

1 Kommentar:

  1. I absolutely love it. This is a great idea. Although I guess it wouldn't be that great in a less educated country. Sadly the intelligent, or more accurately "those with wide knowledge, understanding of law, society, and well educated, and not greedy" people are rarely, if not never, the majority in a society. Perhaps it's different in a small population like Iceland. And they are lucky to have a government that goes with it, it's hard to imagine in most countries. But then it's happening informally in more places anyway, maybe not directly changing constitution but campaigning for certain, smaller changes in the country. Perhaps in 50 years crowd sourced law code will be standard, with its advantages and disadvantages :) at least then we couldn't say anymore "it's all this useless government".