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The Crisis of Representative Democracy

Hans Köchler

The ideological background and the deficiencies of the concept of representation are being analyzed. It is shown that the present crisis of the Western democratic system is to be attributed to the form of oligarchy which has developed as a result of the «dogma of representation». The fictitious character of representation is being elaborated on the ontological, psychological and normative levels. An analysis of present and historical forms of parliamentary systems (as examples for the ideology of representation) is followed by a reflection on possible alternatives to this traditional system of power. Various forms of direct democracy are examined in regard to their practicability.
Contents: The concept of representation in European and American political thinking - The deficiencies of the Western representative system - Experiences with the representative model in the Third World - The Alternatives.