The legitimacy of our representative democracy is crumbling. Fewer and fewer people vote, voters are increasingly erratic in their choices and membership of political parties is declining noticeably. At the same time, democracy is becoming less efficient. Governing decisively is harder than ever and politicians tend to tailor their policies to the next election.
David Van Reybrouck’s diagnosis is clear. The marginal solutions now being applied are inadequate as a way of tackling democratic fatigue syndrome. His preference is for a democratic principle used in ancient Athens: the drawing of lots. Until the French Revolution it was a common way of appointing people to positions of power. Van Reybrouck argues with crystal clarity that drawing lots would be an effective way to revitalize our enfeebled democracy and ensure that citizens participate once more in the social structures that shape them and their lives.
Van Reybrouck manages to convince the reader that drawing lots would be an effective way to breathe new life into our enfeebled democracy.Henriette Roland-Holst Prize jury