Taiwan Experiments with Technology for Tweaking Democracy

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Taiwan Experiments with Technology for Tweaking Democracy

The vTaiwan process now routinely leads to passage of laws by Taiwan’s national legislature. And it’s gaining momentum: on July 26, Taiwan’s new premier declared in a cross-ministry meeting that “all substantial national issues should go through a vTaiwan-like process.” There are many reasons why Parliament has been willing to embrace this process, but the primary one is that it had been occupied for 22 days in 2014, and the government had lost its credibility as a governing body to an occupation who had outperformed it at demonstrating democracy. Legislators wanted to show goodwill.

In the immediate aftermath of the Sunflower Movement, this civic technology community had higher public credibility than the government itself due to its having successfully demonstrating how to conduct transparent democratic process at scale. (Public opinion polls showed that confidence in Taiwan’s president was barely above single digits, by contrast.)

The fact that these methods are working at a national scale in Taiwan suggests that, in an age of mass digital participation, we can reclaim the democratic process for including the people’s voice in creating laws. Any permanent change in the way that laws get made—who has responsibility and the power for making decisions—would refer to the constitution. The ambiguous space that opens when consultation begins to function more efficiently and politicians voluntarily agree to abide by the will of the public is where new patterns can emerge.

Taiwan’s new premier declared in a cross-ministry internal meeting that “all substantial national issues should go through a vTaiwan-like process.”

_Consensus building reduces the losing-ness of democracy by finding the points we all agree on without erasing the camps we stand in. Consensus building technology that works at large scale could be the internet’s missing link—the app we need to help us past just yelling ‘stop’ and figure out how we get to ‘go.’ _

https://civichall.org/civicist/vtaiwan-democracy-frontier/
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