“Book Review: Micro Democracy”
Reviewed by Samantha Hui
Succinct, instructional, and contemplative, Aaron Ran’s Micro Democracy exposes our democratic systems as not quite as democratic as they should be
Equal parts historical and scientific, Ran is careful not to move into the realm of jargoned speech, making this book accessible for all.
Aaron Ran’s Micro Democracy is a political nonfiction antidote to representative democracy. Entirely nonjudgmental in his diagnosis, Ran acknowledges that the political landscape we have known for centuries is no longer tenable for a society whose rapid technological advances have outgrown outmoded governing habits. So while it may be true that technology has made gathering information and communicating with others easier than ever before, Ran argues that our failure to adjust our government accordingly has presently led to a silencing of the majority.
Micro Democracy is a call to action, pushing readers to demand their governments to finally work in service of the people instead of profiteering off the backs of hard-working citizens. Ran has presented us with a detail- and example-heavy roadmap to guide us out of a voting system and way of life that has for far too long served only the privileged elites and into a governing system that hears and values the voices of its individual citizens.
Ran is sure to refrain from placing judgement on people but rather points out the deficiencies in a system that has evolved to value efficiency over the wants and needs of the people. With regard to delegation, Ran notes that “When citizens cast their votes, two things happen. First, citizens give up the right to directly participate in the decision-making on actual matters; second, they also transfer all their decision-making powers unconditionally to the elected candidate, regardless of whether he/she was the citizen’s choice. Therefore, this ballot is not so much a proof of the citizen’s democratic rights but a waiver of democratic power.”
Instead of waiving their democratic power, Ran’s book calls for a systemic and systematic change that allows for the appropriate amount of voting power. Because people are corruptible, Micro Democracy is an attempt to outline a new system that is as incorruptible and fair as possible. He does this by making clear the deficiencies in today’s representative democracy, providing the solution to said deficiencies, and then providing clear and succinct examples as to how one might implement micro democracy.
Though having begun the process of writing this book years before, Ran acknowledges that his book now lives with the global pandemic as its backdrop. With the advancements of technology, humans should have surpassed a survivalist mindset and moved into a way of life that strives for contentment. However, the pandemic has made obviously clear to us that contentment and happiness were far from reach because of a system that replaced the physical labor needed to survive nature with paid service needed to survive the economy and each other. But Ran is hopeful: “Human society has lost its way and is wandering, mired in confusion and anxiety. However, this is not due to the deterioration of people’s consciousness, but rather their awakening.” The way of being is due for a change.
Aaron Ran’s Micro Democracy is more than simply an amendment to the pollical systems we have today. It is an entire upheaval of current systems, all in the name of maximizing the highest number of individual happiness. He outlines changes in voting methods, governing customs, and general outlooks on human rights. If this book doesn’t convince you of the need for a micro democracy, it might convince you that change of some kind will be crucial for our continued happiness.
Paperback: 204 pages
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