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The future of the European Democracy

A public dialogue organised by the Club of Amsterdam

As the beauty is in the eye of the beholder democracy has many possible definitions. One may say it was a result of a process of reconciliation between the aristocratic ruling class and its subjects from the beginning of the industrial revolution. Clearly, recognizing the rights of people's decision making instead of oppressing them proved to be a more efficient tool of governance. To keep the safety of the mass production at the industries' factories and the necessity of a consistent environment for "the free flow of goods", monetary stability and exchange ability became more important than imposing the direct power of the ruling class.

However, democracy has not only failed to prevent big wars and general justice it has become insufficient as a rule of principle at the age of information as systems became rather complicated for having a deep knowledge in many different fields. The vote for the late 300 page EU constitution draft was too much a demanding task to go through, let alone studying and understanding the details of the text. The same applies to numerous other issues awaiting ruling from our democracies. The technical difficulty of getting people's attention and asking them to focus on many issues than one can handle at a life time while the world is already an increasingly challenging place for earning one's living and even survival, is it reasonable to expect a fair judgement from the majority to make the best decisions for the future?

Are European Democracies fit for dealing with the challenges ahead? Do we need new tools? New decision making processes? Or do we need to radically renew our approach?

Concept by Iclal Akcay

The speakers and topics are:

Ben Crum, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The essence of democracy and the challenge of internationalization

The present uprisings in the Arab world serve to remind us how precious democratic government is. At the same time, democracy is always fragile because it is build upon the recognition of our fallibility and the existence of reasonable disagreement in society. Also, democracy is inherently open-ended. One of the major present challenges for European democracy is the internationalisation of politics. This challenge requires us to rethink democracy, both with respect to international institutions and with respect to the interaction between national and international democracy.

Maurice de Hond, Dutch pollster and entrepreneur
Heading for the perfect storm

The European version of democracy designed in the 19th century was working reasonably well the second half of the last century.
But problems are mounting. The much better educated population has infinite sources of information and can also be the sources of information..
But the political system stays a static top downs construction without any trust in the population.
The forming of the EU and the way it is governed means an even more static construction in an era where you need flexibility and speed of action.

The need for large budget reductions combined with a lot of money spent for the debt of countries like Greece will create an optimal situation for anti-establishment and anti-EU parties to win national elections.
And the moment one of those parties (think of Marine Le Pen) rises to power this can have big consequences for the way the EU operates and will mean an extra stimulus for a domino effect.
This will mean the end of democracy as we know it.

Hardy F. Schloer, Owner, Schloer Consulting Group
Democracy is dead, as we know it!

Democracy served only as an evolutionary transition between the old systems of Healers, Druids, Kings and Emperors that ruled by charisma and a single voice, to become a temporary solution, whereby a slim majority of uninformed people impose their subjective rules of dogma and mostly unsafe preference onto a large minority; equally subjective in their judgments. The future cannot be democracy, if this planet should survive, but a form of scientific and evidence based governing methods focused by very large consensus on what really matters in the peaceful survival of mankind.

The conference language is English.

the future of European Democracy
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
Location: Nautiek.com (Ship SALVE), Veemkade 267, 1019 CZ Amsterdam


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