Information technology: gateway to direct democracy in China and the world

Cockshott, W.P. and Renaud, K. (2013) Information technology: gateway to direct democracy in China and the world. International Critical Thought, 3(1), pp. 76-97. (doi:10.1080/21598282.2013.761448)

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The world watches as China moves towards greater democracy. The question in everyone's minds, including Chinese themselves, is “what model will China arrive at, at the journey's end?” There are many lessons to be learnt from other countries, some positive (Tanzania) and some negative (Laos). The United States has no doubts about the “goodness” of its own model but their unthinking belief in the superiority of their model should not be accepted at face value. The Chinese government and people will understandably be considering various different models very carefully, so that they can choose the best possible model for their country, and their own context. In this paper we will consider why current Western models of constitution should be viewed with caution by China as it attempts to move towards an improved socialist democracy. The paper considers the electronic voting system used in the US presidential elections, and draws attention to the opportunities for vote rigging that this type of electronic voting facilitates. It also looks at models of democracy used in the ancient world, and compares these with modern systems. Finally, it presents a secure and anonymous mechanism for electronic voting on issues of concern to the population. We conclude by sounding a note of caution about the dangers of plebiscites being used as rubber stamps by dictators if there are inadequate controls over who puts issues to the vote.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cockshott, Dr William and Renaud, Professor Karen
Authors: Cockshott, W.P., and Renaud, K.
Subjects:J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Journal Name:International Critical Thought
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):2159-8312
Published Online:25 March 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
First Published:First published in International Critical Thought 3(1):76-97
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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