This is an innovation where apolitical elected Member of Parliament has the opportunity to cast his or her vote according to his or her personal opinion and wishes. This innovation is a web-based innovation meant to study the level of democracy in Australia. This website has the potential to portray the wishes of the electorate on any problem they face in their constituencies. This website has some features, which allows the elected representative to vote according to his wishes and ensure that his or her vote corresponds with the wishes of the electorate.
Purpose and Problem
The main aim of this experiment is to find out and to evaluate the effectiveness of direct democracy in Indonesia. According to the Kecamatan development project, this study seeks to use the notion that direct involvement in decision making process is able to provide satisfaction to the community. The person who implemented or who introduced this experiment introduced this experiment because the involvement of the community in political decision-making, they will have some satisfaction and contentment on the functions of the Government. In relation to the findings of the study done by Olken, which says the direct participation of the society or community in a political process, increase the satisfaction of the entire community.History
This experiment was done in Indonesia because it was seen to best fit that country owing its previous political condition. Indonesia has been under serious authoritarian leadership and it has now recovered from that problem. It was in the regime of Suharto immediately he completed his 31st years in leadership. In early, 1998, Indonesia had to find a solution to its problem by trying to propose the best way its Government can achieve public goals through decentralization (Olken, 2010). There was a need to provide a solution to this problem but it only contributed to the creation of Kecamatan, which was launched in 1998, and the World Bank financed it. The same project used its financial resources to finance other projects in rural villages of Indonesia. The choice of the Village was based on the various conditions, which the project could address. The villagers were given the opportunity to select and identify public project that they need in their village with the purpose of encouraging autonomy. The past Government was only consultative and was only able to involve in KDP projects that contradicts the wishes of the people. This project contradicts KDP and therefore it was set to study the manner in which the available infrastructural projects could be chosen by the villages that were selected to take part in that project.
This experiment was started between 2005 and 2006 and it was introduced when the decision-making method was changed on KDP projects. The best rule or procedure used in this kind of decision-making method dictates that every project, which has been identified by each village, must be selected in relation to the meeting based process. There was a random selection of villages and these villages had to come from areas such as Java, North Sumatra and Southeast Sulawesi. All the villages identified or chosen had the opportunity to select projects through electoral process called direct election-based plebiscites. Olken chose this method of selection because there was a belief that total involvement in the selection process was able to remove any form of bias, which could be observed in the village meetings. The involvement of villages was done in two different levels where the initial level only has 10 villages selected from East Java and 19 villages from North Sumatra Province. Immediately all the information needed for this level, a new protocol was introduced and used for other 20 villages selected from Sulawesi Province in second experiment level. In the second level of this experiment, only 25% of the villages were allowed to use plebiscites against 45%. In all the levels, villages used were selected through a wide range of data that has no limit to the population and other demographic information.
Deliberations, Decisions, and Public Interaction
To effectively obtain an understanding on the alteration in decision-making, it is vital to evaluate the process of KDP. In this case, a process, which consists of three steps, was applied so that a more viable project could be chosen. The steps that were used included setting of agenda, funding of decisions and formulation of proposals. The only changes made was to introduce meeting based mechanism by allowing community leaders to participate in the decision making process so that they can amend the proposals made by others. They could not use plebiscites based mechanism because it prevents people from guiding any proposal since it allows any villager to vote by himself. Changes were also made so that the impact of direct involvement could be seen. It was observed that it could only affect the priority concluded in the initial step and other proposals raised in the second step.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
This experiment produces two different results where the initial one was based on the use of plebiscites and it indicates that there was no effect on all the projects chosen by the villages together. Specifically, the project selected that affected women was the one that universally reflects the opinion of the village elites instead of the entire population. The use of Plebiscites was likely to give advantage to average voters in issues, which affect all villages, but has less impact on specific issues such of women. The use of direct involvement only has an effect on the region in which the project was selected from. This was because voting process depends on the number of vote cats but not the representative. It therefore means that it was almost impossible to approve projects, which are located in remote and isolated areas, and this was likely to give a more populated region additional advantage over other regions. In relation to satisfaction, the use of plebiscites method provides higher satisfaction to different villages as most people in these villages believed that the project selected was based on their opinion. On statistical grounds, 13% experienced an increase in satisfaction towards KDP.
The point to note in this experiment is that political decision matters a lot on the development project of a community. It is also evident that the use of plebiscites results into the increase of village participation and satisfaction and therefore the project selected is based on the opinion of the whole village.Analysis and Criticism
It is very hard to believe that direct democracy cannot provide high satisfaction on the villages selected to participate in decision making according to Olkens experiment. In relation to the selected project, it is evident that the use of plebiscites has no effect on the way the village makes their choices in the project. It is also determined by the result that specific project which relate to women was in line with the opinion of the villages the only problem was that the method used did not support the decision of elites. The additional finding is that the use of plebiscites method is able to provide higher satisfaction and it is able to boost political legitimacy even when there is no alteration of the Government decision.
Olken, Benjamin A. "Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia." American Political Science Review 104.2 (2010): 243-67. MIT and National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2010. Web.
Dizikes, Peter. "Democracy Put to the Test." MIT. 08 Feb. 2010. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/java-democracy-0208.html>.
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