Cite as:

Yaneer Bar-Yam and Mark Woolsey, The future of democracy?, New England Complex Systems Institute Report 2007-05-01 (May, 2007)

Given the current government turmoil, we bring this NECSI report to your attention:


After the ideological conflicts of the 20th century, democracy was widely hailed as an ideal, or at least inherently superior, form of government. And compared to the most prominent competing system of the last century, communism, it's been a great success. But anyone would concede that our democracy isn't perfect, and as the elections approach many are calling attention to the limitations of our system. For much of human history, people didn't even conceive of a functioning democracy, thinking only in terms of anarchy or dictatorships. It could be that we just don't yet see a further, better incarnation of participatory government. Perhaps, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, democracy is simply "the worst form of government except for all the others."