Democracy Means Constant Adjustment
Democracy means constantly adjusting to new challenges and continuous change. How is the huge increase in citizens’ participation impacting the system of representative democracy? Why are certain segments of the population going to the polls less and less often? How can intergenerational justice be strengthened? We are seeking answers to these and related questions.
Together with the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is putting Germany’s democracy to the test. Plans call for creating the first-ever Demokratiemonitor for Germany in order to systematically identify the aspects most urgently in need of adjustment and reform. The aim of the Demokratiemonitor is to compile a profile of the strengths and weaknesses of Germany’s democracy. Therefore the monitor will systematically examine all relevant segments, institutions and spheres of activity of our democracy – such as the government, parliament, parties, the media and civil society organizations –measuring their quality and identifying aspects that need to be adapted.
For the analysis of strengths and weaknesses, a panel made up of both citizens and experts will be convened to establish a new empirical foundation. The degree of legitimacy that citizens attribute to the democracy, which is the defining indicator of its quality, along with results of expert assessments and the findings of a comprehensive quantitative indicator analysis, will flow into the overall assessment of the quality of Germany’s democracy. The initial publication of the Demokratiemonitor is planned for the spring of 2018.