If democracy were to be invented today, what would it be like? We’re working on it and need your help.
Unfulfilled promises, lobbying, hypocrisy, lies, and corruption have led to the current democratic apathy and alienation in political participation. Many have lost faith in their representative leaders and this, amongst other factors, has led to a declining trend in electoral participation.
I experienced it first hand in two countries.
In the U.S. I used to be an activist pushing for common sense immigration reform. In Colombia, I pushed for policies that would enable tech entrepreneurship. After meeting many politicians I realized how slow, obsolete, and in many instances, corrupt, our current political systems are. I was fed up.
I wasn’t alone. I quickly found several people that shared this sentiment and also wanted change. We asked ourselves this question:
If democracy were to be invented today, what would it be like?
As we set to reinvent democracy, we looked for advice from thought leaders in several sectors. We conducted hundreds of brainstorm sessions. Simultaneously, we started coding nights and weekends developing the software required to prototype some of the best ideas.
After a year of experimenting, we have identified the most promising ideas. We are now combining them into one revolutionary, easy-to-engage with, platform. We call it Neocratia.
Neocratia is an online platform for groups of all types and varying sizes to manage their own, independent and trustworthy democracies.
When ready, any group will be able to quickly and easily create a democracy and enable any of these functionalities:
Thoughtful, open conversations are essential for successful democracies. By allowing members to upvote and downvote threads and comments, Neocratia enables groups to engage in intelligent, trolling-free discourse.
Members can easily propose and vote online or via an app for ideas, initiatives, referendums, and suggestions for laws.
Members can view the votes and delegations of other members of the group, check who is behind (or leading) the group and receive real-time information about any activity.
Direct and representative voting
Members can vote directly or delegate their vote to others. When members are too busy to vote, their delegates will decide for them. Some call this concept delegative or liquid democracy.
Members can delegate to others they trust. Anybody can be a delegate. Delegates can, in turn, appoint their accumulated votes to other delegates.
Delegate to one or many
Members can delegate their votes to one or multiple members, thus diversifying opinions and decisions.
By being transparent, votes can easily be traced back and audited by any member of the group.
Members can change their delegates at any time.
Groups can set their policies for determining who can join and how.
We acknowledge that Neocratia doesn’t solve certain issues innate to democracies, such as the potential oppression of the minority by the majority. Similarly, Neocratia may not be a good fit for groups where freedom of expression is limited and transparent voting could lead to intimidation. Still, we believe that Neocratia can be a significant step forward by creating new spaces for civic engagement.
Who can use Neocratia?
Several political leaders have already shown interest in using Neocratia with their constituents. They could, among other things, ask their followers what topics they should focus on and what ideas they should vote for, and also engage in thoughtful conversations with other members of the group.
We have also identified multiple thought leaders of groups of all types and varying sizes that could use Neocratia: online communities, student associations, neighborhoods, shareholders of companies, boards of directors, unions, cooperatives, and even families.
Millions of displaced immigrants could use Neocratia to work and make decisions together. Governments could dynamically ask their citizens for their opinion on multiple fronts. The options are countless.
How can Neocratia succeed?
Neocratia can succeed in many ways: it can enable the creation of thousands of democracies, big and small, become the legislative branch of existing democracies, allow the creation of new political parties, help children learn about political participation early on, make democracy part of our daily lives, enable introverts to become political leaders, and inspire others to build similar platforms.
When will Neocratia launch?
Soon! We are currently working on making Neocratia a real, scalable solution. We are performing extensive user research and applying the latest design thinking methodologies and technological frameworks to make Neocratia accessible to all. When ready, any group of any size will be able to quickly and easily create a democracy and easily determine personalized settings such and who can join and how. We are also building an API so that others can build upon Neocratia and extend its functionality.
If we gather enough financial resources, we will be able to offer the platform for free to groups that can’t afford to pay for the hosting. If we receive enough donations, we’ll be able to employ software engineers full time, so that we can launch faster than if continue volunteering our time.
You can help!
We believe that future generations need to be inspired and must be able to live in a world with a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We believe that democratic systems should evolve to remain competitive and thrive.
Join us! Show your support by letting us know if you’d like to use Neocratia when ready, and by funding us too. Let’s work together on making democracy fulfilling.
And last, but not least, if you have ideas that we should consider, please share them with us. We want to learn about them.
The Neocratia team
“Show us your smile!” by Ben Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Neocratia is an open source project incubated by Torre Social under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.