Journal article

Re-thinking revolution: a systems approach to sustaining democracy

15 Jun 2014

In late 2013 an interview with Russell Brand went viral. He gained widespread attention for asserting that we should stop voting at elections as it legitimises a failing political system. Our system of democracy is not perfect, but at what point can calls for revolution be justified? This paper briefly examines our democratic system and Brand’s call for revolution in light of two systems theories. The first is ‘Panarchy’, a model of ecological system adaptation with growing application to social systems. The second is Donella Meadows’ ‘Leverage Points’. Through these lenses, it explores the purpose, history and evolution of our political system, leading us to an appreciation of the mindsets within which it has arisen. It argues that this appreciation reveals the value and inherent achievement of the democratic system we’ve constructed thus far, and that the revolutions required to sustain and develop it are principally conceptual rather than political.

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