Scope and limitations of democracy

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 In a role play, participants assumed the task of governing different countries such as Germany, Canada, Kenya, Columbia, Pakistan and Serbia. On the one hand, they had the task to increase their country’s prosperity through fishing as the only source of income. On the other hand, they had to be careful to not lose the favour of the voters. This situation confronted several "governments" with real...

Democratic representation in an internationalized and globalized World

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 Professor Stefanie Bailer from ETH Zurich reported that in globalized political order, there are debates of whether the end of parliamentarism has come or whether it is time to declare a postparliamentarist period. She explained the problems of free votes. Afterwards, she analysed voting processes for complex issues and factors which explain these decisions. She came to the conclusion that modern...

Troubles with voters ... and those who try to fix them

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 Professor Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan, disagreed with the assumption according to which citizens know too little about politics these days. It is widely believed that citizens who cannot give correct answers to political questions make the wrong decisions. But for Lupia, this is the erroneous approach: "People can only make the right decisions if they have all the necessary information." It...

Why Democracy? A philosophical defence against the most subtle despisers

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 In his presentation, Professor Günter Abel from the Technical University of Berlin asked the question of whether society can provide reasons for an understanding of democracy beyond the stranglehold of the dichotomy between metaphysical absolutism and resigned relativism. He asked to leave behind the whole picture of the political as a space of truth and knowledge. Rather, one might conceive the...

Life, death and democracy

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 Life and death are traditional issues of democratic political reflection. They appear in different discussion contexts – from the question about life protection to death penalty. Over the past decades, technical-scientific developments have contributed to a new dynamic of the relation between death, life and politics. In his presentation, Professor Herbert Gottweis from the University of Vienna...

Challenges to democracy in the 21st century

Challenging Democracy - 9th Dialogue on Science of the Academia Engelberg Foundation 2010 In his introductory presentation, Professor Hanspeter Kriesi from the University of Zurich focused on the different areas of influence of economy and politics. That is why problems often arise. He stated that increasing globalization challenges basic requirements of democracy where decision-makers are approved by those who are affected by the decisions. However, this does not always apply in a...