Speaking at Club de Madrid’s Policy Dialog “Rethinking Democracy” on October 27, 2021, Professor Thomas Patterson, Harvard University, co-founder of the Boston Global Forum, Distinguished Contributor of Remaking the World – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment, highlighted the Social Contract for the AI Age and concepts in the book as fundamentals for democracy in the digital era.
Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland, claimed that “after the collapse of the USSR, we thought that ‘the End of History’ was here but China offers a real alternative that for many is more appealing than democracy. In China we have a real competitor”.
In this line, Derek Mitchell, President of the National Democratic Institute, urged that “We need to understand how China works at home and abroad”. At the same time, he stated that the decline in the quality of democracy “is a practical challenge, not a theoretical one. We need to ensure democracy delivers”.
Democracy is no longer a matter of voting every 4 years and then exercising a mandate until the next election. “We need new schemes of representation, a more liquid democracy”, said Former PM of Belgium Yves Leterme.
Former PM of the Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende, emphasised democratic culture: “Democracy is not the majority winning and dominating, but rather the majority taking care of the minority”.
Former Vice President of Costa Rica Casas-Zamora also encouraged democratic innovation in terms of representation: “The basic setups of democracy have been around for 100 years. It is time to rethink it. It is time to be bold, embrace innovation and reform. We need to come up with new institutions and new types of deliberation”.
Speakers demanded of the upcoming Democracy Summit convened by U.S. President, Joe Biden, to make a categorical defence of democracy. Activists expressed the need for democracies to become more proactive in defending such systems internally and externally.