'In this episode, author and activist, Claudia Chwalisz tells Design Emergency’s cofounder Alice Rawsthorn why and how she is leading a global campaign to redesign democracy as founder and CEO of the international non-profit research and action institute, DemocracyNext.
Born in Canada to a Polish family, Claudia has devoted the last decade to re-imagining democracy, first through her work at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris and, for the past year, with her colleagues and collaborators at DemocracyNext.
Claudia explains how DemocracyNext is championing citizens assemblies as inclusive and deliberative forms of decision making, like those that debated the legalisation of abortion and same sex marriage in Ireland, and assisted dying in France. She discusses the role of sortition (randomly selecting decision-makers by lottery) to making our democratic systems fairer, and describes why design is a crucial tool in this process.'
Chwalisz [9:52]: "A system defined by elections (...) is one that by design has emphasized winning over finding common ground. Elections are also concentrating power into the hands of a few. Elected officials are being incentivized to act in ways that keep them reelected, even if that may be sometimes at odds with either their personal convictions, or the public good more widely. The institutions of political parties also only entrench and enhance those problems of oligarchy."
Chwalisz [15:06]: "I want these citizens' assemblies first of all to be more of them, but for them to actually have real decision-making power."