Why the Brexit is good for democracy
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Winston S. Churchill
Why did the British choose to leave the EU? Maybe they didn’t find the EU beneficial anymore, maybe they didn’t like Cameron, maybe it was the color of the EU flag or just the Germans. The fact is that the British people made their decision. It’s great that this is possible!
The Brexit should be celebrated as one of the great things of the EU. Why? Think of Scotland, where most of the people want to stay within the EU. However because the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, they are not simply allowed to exit the Kingdom. This haven’t led to an uprising, but in regions like Northern Ireland and Catalonia things aren’t always went that peaceful. Looking at history most wars came from revolting against a central authority.
The Brexit deal is now almost complete. What remains is a lot of uncertainty on the consequences of this deal. Did the people who vote (pro or con) completely understand the consequences? Probably not. Even politicians, economists, journalists and legal experts found those out during the negotiations. If so, should there be a re-election?
Democracy means majority rule of the people. It doesn’t mean that vote must be the conclusion of rationally weigh all consequences. If that should be the case we need other mechanisms like experts vote or even AI (Artificial Intelligence). Now a re-election would be changing the democratic rules along the way (until the preferred outcome will be the majority).
Unfortunately, not all aspects aren’t that democratic in Europe. A lot of real decisions in the EU are made by the head of states, like Merkel or Macron or blocked by a single country. Attempts to change this with a new European constitution failed, mainly because the fear of sovereignty loss by the countries. So we are in a stalemate situation, where democratic governments are blaming a democratic chosen commision (Brussel) for undermining their policies.
One of the main challenges of Europe is therefore to align democracy on different levels (union, state and regions). Shouldn’t this go before harmonizing European markets and institutions? Isn’t it strange that we see that democratic leaders like Theresa May have a hard time find compromises, while populistic leaders in countries like Hungary or Poland are unlocking the rule of law (and get applause for that …).
How could we break up our conflicting votes on regional, state and European level? One idea would be that we are not represented by a state in Brussel, but by our region. For example Bavaria, Wallonia and Catalonia would be regions that are part of European parliament. We could have regions of similar in size (say around 5 million people which would lead to around 100 European regions). In this case one region couldn’t hold back against majority vote and the choices aren’t attributed to a single country.
Eric Posner a professor of law at the University of Chicago notes that the problem with democracy is that it does not give people the ability to influence political outcomes.
“Fortunately, there is a solution. Imagine that all citizens are allocated an equal “budget” consisting of an artificial currency (“credits”). You obtain this budget when you reach voting age, and it is replenished every few years. Then it’s up to you to allocate your budget of credits across different elections and referendums, spending as much or as little as you want for (or against) a candidate, or a referendum proposal. This would create a kind of auction system for political markets. Because of the limited budget, people would be forced to spend more credits on candidates or issues they really care about, and fewer on others.”
So first we need to fix democracy in Europe and then we need to fix democracy itself. The Brexit is a good start.