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Per una democrazia della discussione

Anno XXIII, n. 100, gennaio-marzo 1988
Centro Einaudi


For a democracy based on discussion

This paper is a summary assessment, in terms of the Italian situation, of the possibilities new electronic technologies offer to the expression of political will by voting. Its basic thesis is that the use of new technologies should be seen as an opportunity to vote in a new way, also bearing in mind the absolute necessity for institutional reforms: it is not only a way of voting like before but a way of voting more quickly and more often. Many visions of the new direct democracy possible in the 'telematic village' prefigure the risk of 'democratic totalitarianism': this risk should be avoided. The author goes on to examine three opportunities which he considers to be particularly interesting: a) the graduate vote (sub-division of preference voting among more than one candidate); b) the multiple vote (sub-division of voting among more than one party, like voting for a coalition); and c) collective bargaining (voting but, most of all, the exchange of information in the phase in which political decisions are drawn up). These three alternatives to the dichotomic vote (i.e. of the yes/no type) would allow the elector to articulate his preferences better and he would thus make his own contribution to the governability and democratism of the system.