The Future of Democracy Project

Launched in September of 2016, the Future of Democracy project host high-level symposia on democratic renewal. The origin of the project emerged from a simple insight: democratic governments had failed to keep pace with—and effectively manage—the rate and global scale of change in their societies and were in need of a significant overhaul to govern effectively in the 21st century.

These convenings have involved structured conversations aimed at both surfacing the challenges and opportunities of current democratic systems as well as imagining and defining pathways of reform. Symposia have taken place in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal with further consultations taking place in France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere. Participants have represented nationalities from across Europe, North America, and beyond, and from a broad range of fields including policymakers, technologists, business leaders, journalists, political scientists, sociologists, philosophers, philanthropists, artists, and activists. Public polling and research has also been conducted in key countries in Europe and North America.

The Berggruen Institute‘s Future of Democracy Project consists of three working groups: social cohesion and the public square; a second on social media and democracy; and a third on the redesign of democratic institutions.

• Social Cohesion and the Public Square: The underlying causes of, and cures for, the collapse of social cohesion – including the explosion of identity politics – which once stood behind a politics of consensus (Chaired by Anthony Giddens and Helle Thorning-Schmidt).

• Social Media and Democracy: How can we change the incentives for platforms in order to dampen its negative effects and heal the divisions? How can we harness technology to create a new democratic culture (Chaired by Francis Fukuyama).

• Redesign of Democratic Institutions: Designing new governing practices and institutions that incorporate new means of citizen participation through social networks, with the check and balance of deliberative filters (Chaired by Nathan Gardels and Mario Monti).