This paper from Polly Mackenzie, the third in the Making Democracy Work series, looks at what’s wrong with politics and policy making: why the basic way we make decisions is undermining our ability to navigate this age of exponential change. Polly challenges the two dominant mindsets in policy making – partisan thinking and technocracy – and makes the case that they cannot solve our problems, and explains how and why she changed her mind to get to this point.
We need a new approach to policy making if we’re going to resolve the problems set out in the previous papers: an approach that bridges division, builds community, and makes the sacrifices and compromises of living in a democracy feel worthwhile. Polly argues that the stagnant institutions and bureaucratic processes established in the 19th and early 20th century are no longer fit for purpose in our fast changing world. The only way to protect and promote democracy, and the liberal principles on which it is based, is to reform it.