From the Crisis of Democracy to the Commons

By Evangelos Papadimitropoulos

I

With the exception of Marxism and some strands of radical republicanism, in most branches of political theory, especially those related to liberalism, democracy has been considered in separation from the economy. Therefore, the crisis of democracy, as currently manifested in the lowest US voter turnout in the last 20 years and the rise of right-wing populism, has been attributed to factors exogenous to the economy such as inadequate civic education, citizen apathy, or a disconnect between citizens and their representatives.

But the reality behind the alleged failure of democracy is the structural incapacity of capitalism to address the real needs and wants of people. To confront this flaw, we need to create another economy that incorporates democracy at its roots. Information technology today has the potential to make this dream come true. We are witnessing in the last decades the emergence of an alternative economic paradigm in the form of the Commons, supported by the Internet and free and open source software/hardware.

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