What is "deliberative democracy"? Why is it important?

What we mean by "deliberative democracy" is a democracy based on argued discussion. We believe that it is through the exchange of arguments based on facts that can be verified by everyone that opinions are formed and evolve, and that the options between which to ultimately choose become clearer and more coherent. In this, it is inspired by the discussion ethics of the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas.

For such deliberative democracy to be effective, we believe that three key stages of decision-making on an action must be open to all:

  1. the initiative: everyone must have the right to propose new action, on problems or issues that he/she considers important. If the initiative is monopolised by a few, only what these people consider important is dealt with, and the rest is forgotten;
  2. the amendment: everyone must have the right to amend the proposed action. If the right to amend is monopolised by a few, the decision boils down to "take it or leave it", with no possibility of adjustment or compromise between divergent interests or values;
  3. the decision: everyone must have the right to participate, with an equal vote, in the choice, between competing proposals for action to resolve the same issue or problem, of which one will actually be implemented. Otherwise, the whole previous exercise of defining options is in vain.

The statutes of the CosmoPolitical Cooperative, and its IT tools, are a concrete implementation of the principles of deliberative democracy.