Input from senior diplomat Carne Ross: extract from FT letter:

“The necessary institutions of representative democracy – government, courts, civil society – are weak or corrupted in many countries, and not only undeveloped ones. And indeed it may well be that in certain societies, the “western model” of parliaments and executives may be too corruptible to be effective.

“But the answer is not autocracy, but more popular participation in decision-making.

“The so-called “Porto Alegre experiment” in Brazil has shown clearly that massively increased participation in decision-making, where literally tens of thousands of local people debate and decide on budgetary priorities, has demonstrable benefits in fostering economic development, according to a World Bank study.

“The work of Stanford University’s Prof James Fishkin has demonstrated the benefits of so-called “deliberative democracy” in other contexts, in contrast to the increasingly corrupt and conflictual character of many representative systems, including in our own ostensibly democratic countries.”

Carne Ross is the founder of Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit offering freelance diplomatic representation to small, developing and yet-unrecognized nations in the complex world of international negotiations.