Direct Democracy, examples.

Modern democratic theorists are positive about the usage of initiatives and referendums to foster greater citizen participation and improve the quality of democracy, but in Britain we have grown used to the idea that democracy means 'representative democracy'. In a real democracy we would be able to initiate legislation and vote on our own proposals. This is a prospect that some of us would find quite daunting. Surely it would lead to chaos? There are however examples of direct democracy working, and working well. With a population of 7.3 million people, Switzerland is one of the wealthiest, most democratic, least violent and healthiest countries in the world. It has practised direct democracy for 150 years. Direct Democracy is also used in several states in the U.S.A. We are not suggesting that we should just transplant the Swiss or American systems into Britain, but it does give us an opportunity to see how the system works in practice, it's advantages, and it's flaws. By examining the benefits, and the problems that can arise in these systems we can begin to develop ideas on how we could use the initiative and referendum process in this country.

This section of the website looks at some examples of direct democracy in practice.