Thursday, July 15, 2010

Deliberative Democracy for Local Government

In "From doubt to empowerment: how deliberative processes can counter the impact of misinformation campaigns about climate change, Kath Fisher (SCU), Marnie Kikken (NSW Climate Consensus Project), today at the "Democratizing Climate Governance" conference talked about deliberative democracy at the local level. I was much more comfortable with this work with the previous much more esoteric work at the conference here at the ANU. In this case the topic was Alpine Shire's use of deliberative democracy at the local level to discuss global issues.

However, I have similar criticisms of this approach as for the multi-national discussions: there remained the emphasis of a face-to-face process with all of the costs and limitations involved. Also those involved seem to make the process harder to accept by using loaded terms like "democracy" and "jury". The processes used by software developers on-line show that complete consensus is not required, nor is traditional democracy. Useful results can be achieved by accepting that everyone will not agree and allowing them to work on their chosen options. It seems to me that those running open source projects have useful insights on how to run large scale online processes, which may be more sophisticated that the views of the theorists.

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