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The New Demarchy Manifesto



A proposal for true democracy, its rules, and why we need it.

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Problems of electoral representative democracy

The world is entering a new era. Progress is accelerating, complexity is rising. The citizens of the world are increasingly more knowledgeable, smarter, and specialised. The model of electoral representative democracy which empowers professional politicians to impose their policy preferences on these citizens has become inadequate. Incompetence and policy failure abound, not to mention populism, corruption, and public apathy. Declining political satisfaction combined with rising political interest mixes to an explosive cocktail. We must act now.

Proposed statistical representative democracy

Improving on the age-old model of sortition democracy, by which the citizens of Ancient Athens and Serenissima Venice flourished and prospered, the internet now facilitates an improved form of self-governance by adding collective intelligence to the mix. Citizens are no more impotent subjects to those in power but make all decisions themselves, in a participative and deliberative process performed by exact sociodemographic samples from their midst.

The Rules of New Demarchy

  1. New Demarchy is non-hierarchical and democratic, guided by the collective intelligence of its members.
  2. Collective intelligence is organised through a public prediction market which collects and aggregates consensus forecasts for the empirical impact of proposed policy changes.
  3. Members may participate freely with their best predictions in self-selected areas of knowledge or interest.
  4. Members can submit proposals for the adoption, change or abandoning of policies and matters of the state, or any community.
  5. Demarchic committees consist of members appointed for the time required to arrive at a decision on a proposal or a bundle of interconnected proposals.
  6. Appointment is by weighted sortition from amongst the members affected by the decision, with a probability pro rata to each member’s forecasting track record in the decision’s topics.
  7. Committee composition shall be statistically representative of the affected community. A committee's information, deliberation, and decision phases shall be organised by a strictly neutral moderator.
  8. Each committee member has one secret vote to be cast at sole discretion in the interest of all citizens according to best personal knowledge and free conscience.
  9. Committee decisions require a supermajority of votes which is with a 99 percent confidence level statistically equivalent to a majority decision of the entire affected state or community.
  10. Each decision is shall be tracked by a prediction market on its empirical impact whether positively intended or negatively suffered.
  11. New Demarchy is transnational and competes with other parties for voters, and thereby democratic legitimacy, on national and local levels.
  12. New Demarchy members holding public offices in a hosting democracy must strictly vote and act according to New Demarchy decisions.

Advantages of New Demarchy

  • Transnational -- New Demarchy can address big world problems which do not stop at national borders.
  • Non-violence -- Conflicting interests compete in decision making without resorting to violence.
  • Participative -- All citizens can contribute knowledge and opinions for the broadest perspective.
  • Legitimacy -- New Demarchy is empowered by its vote share in each hosting democracy.
  • Representative -- Decisions are statistically representative of the opinion of all affected citizens.
  • Competence -- Appointments proportionate to expertise increase the quality of decision making.
  • Honesty -- The continuous change of qualified decision makers works against corruption.
  • Rationality -- Special interests are decided on merit instead of elite power or populist majority.

Vienna, November 2015

How can you help progress towards true democracy?

If you want to help: Welcome!

  • You can start by contributing your personal opinion whether demarchic democracy can work. Can it improve politics? How fast can we get it? Then post your predictions and reasons here: New demarchy foundation
  • You can join us at our next monthly New Demarchy Meetup meetup in Vienna.
  • You can point us to a political challenge as a next demonstrator project. Here is the impressive list of projects already done by the demarchic NewDemocracy Foundation in Australia.

Further information

The New Demarchy model is most indebted to Australian philosopher John Burnheim's solution of statistical reprsentation as described in "Is Democracy Possible?". It adds to this model in three elements: First, it makes more use of knowledge in society as described by Austrian Nobel laureate Friedrich A. Hayek by collecting forecasts through a public prediction market. Second, in the spirit of Karl Popper it adds falsifiability to the collective decision framework. Measurement of good and bad collective decisions can achieved by comparing forecasts to empirical outcomes. Third, New Demarchy can be applied by a new or even existing political party. As such party rises through free elections this lends democratic legitimacy to its process. It also means that in countries with free elections for New Demarchy to succeed.


  • Edited help page.

    As decided during the New Demarchy meetup on 25 May 2016 in Vienna, I included the requirement that committee members and their supermajority be statistically representative of the entire affected community of citizens. This facilitates committee decisions which are statistically equivalent to a decision by all citizens, if they had the same high level of knowledge and expertise as the committee members.

    This version also has some minor changes to improve clarity.

    • 5 months, 4 weeks ago
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  • Profile picture

    The next New Demarchy meetup at the Hayek Institute in Vienna on 30th March will start at 6pm, one hour before the Austrian School of Economics meetup. We will discuss the ins and outs of John Burnheim's early proposals for demarchic democracy. Burnheim borrowed the archaic term "Demarchy" from F.A. Hayek's works.


    • 8 months, 2 weeks ago
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  • Edited help page.

    I added the non-violence aspect to the manifesto. While the modern world is increasingly opposed to violence on an individual level, it is still accepted as a solution to conflicts involving large collective interests, even in supposedly civilised countries committed to the values of peace, humanity, and freedom. Think of the popular appeal of any "War On ... (Whatever)".

    The aspect of global applicability warrants special interest. Currently progress on the world's biggest problems is painfully slow or absent due the difficulty to achieve consensus of fiercely independent national states with very diverse individual interests.

    • 9 months, 2 weeks ago
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  • Edited help page.

    Added links to the New Demarchy FAQs and to the general Wikipedia article on demarchy.

    • 11 months, 1 week ago
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  • Markus Burkert

    I think it would make sense to also have a German version. If you agree I could write it. I´m just not sure, how/where to place it. On a seperate page? Or on this page, right underneath the English version?

    • Well, it's a free and open system here, so you can in principle. Two things though: I suggest to make it explicit that the English version is authoritative, and the German version a translation. Having said that, we will switch on multi language features in the foreseeable future , so it may be better to wait for that .

    • Markus Burkert

      Yes, I thought that there might be something under development or at least planned. That´s why I was asking. So of course it makes sense to wait for that.

  • Edited help page.

    Fixed typing, compacted structure, removed uncertain argument on faster decision making.

  • Markus Burkert

    I was also thinking about adding "free of ideology" to the advantages. Do you think that would make sense?

    • No sure. The individual decision maker may apply his or her ideology. The other aspect to consider: could demarchy be an ideology? IMHO leave out till we know more.

    • Markus Burkert

      Yes, the individual decision maker will definitely apply his ideology in some (or more likely in many) cases - that´s the reason why I didn´t add it. But the argument against that fact is, that there can be no general ideology that is followed by the decision makers. Even if you see demarchy itself as an ideology (which I would rather deny for my understanding and also after reading wikipedia´s definition of ideology), it is not an ideology that will influence individual decisions. How should it? Demarchy is only a method, not a goal. The goal is set individually by every decision maker. But although I wouldn´t consider demarchy an ideology, I still don´t like the term "free of ideology", because obviously it can´t be free of acting individual´s ideologies.

    • Nikolaus L.

      What about "ideologically diversified". Because people of different ideology are involved in the decision making process.

    • Markus Burkert

      Yes and no. I think it puts it in a nutshell, but gives a wrong impression - like decisions are sometimes made from the extreme right and sometimes from the extreme left. What about "decision making independent from party angendas and ideologies"?

    • I assume that most people adhere to some ideology. From an individual perspective, "the others" have it wrong but their own is seen as a positive. Thus a generalised "no ideology"-argument can be good AND bad a the same time. IMHO "no-ideology" is neither true nor really always an advantage. I propose to stay away from this for now.

    • Markus Burkert

      I rather think that "ideology" is something radical and therefore negative for most people. But anyway, I agree that it wouldn´t be exactly true. What about something like "party-independent"?

    • I was considering the radicalism aspect as highly negative too, but then some good has come from certain ideologies, too. Seems a can of worms.

      Regarding "party-independent", it's a clear no for me. ND must also have a party arm and voter support to exercise legitimate policy decision power in democratic systems with competing parties.

      Should we drop that bit for now? There are already several important advantages, as is.

    • Markus Burkert

      Sure! That´s certainly not important enough to waste too much time discussing about it.

    • In Karl Popper's wiki entry I found an interesting formulation: "His political philosophy embraces ideas from all major democratic political ideologies and attempts to reconcile them: social democracy, classical liberalism, libertarianism, conservatism, and socialism."

  • Markus Burkert
    Edited help page.

    Divided Advantages, added one and put them at the end of the article - I think they are easier to understand, if you read the principles before. Hope that´s fine.

    • Good edit, thanks. Only "speed" I better removed because the decision making could arguably be longer in cases; it depends on the learning requirement of the individual appointed expert(s). Well, one thing to watch in practice. Also, as long as there is no absolute majority versus other political parties, there is still the timing of their "old" ways to consider.

  • This is a written summary of the concept presented at the meetup of 25th November. Feel free to add your thoughts about this first version of the manifesto here. Forecasts for success indicators are on a separate topic page:

  • Created help page

    First version.

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