Westen, Tracy. "E-Democracy: Ready or Not, Here it Comes." National Civic Review, Fall 2000 v89 n3 p217 (11)

Keywords: representative government


This article focuses on two power trends that are converging the rapid deployment of broadband technologies and the growing frustrations with representative government. The author thinks these two trends will transform American democracy. The challenge according Westen is how to control these trends in order to maintain the democratic goals of fairness, truth, trust, and deliberation. The author claims that since democracy is an interactive form of government, interactive communications will inevitably have a huge effect on government itself. The Internet offers the public ways in which they can exercise political power directly. According to the author, there are indications of an emerging desire for a more direct democracy. The author claims that the trends of interactive communications and public frustration with the lack of an interactive government are beginning to reinforce each other. In a society that is moving most activities to on-line environments, its only natural to conclude that political participation will move on-line as well. What is likely to evolve, says Westen, is a hybrid form of participatory democracy, a blend of representative and direct democracy.