G1000: Belgium’s Citizens’ Summit

Posted by David Farrell (November 12, 2011)

On November 11, 800 citizens from across Belgium were brought together to discuss the future of their country. G1000 was conceived a few months ago by a small group of Belgian citizens (the key player is a prominent author and columnist, David van Reybrouck; the others are a mix of academics, journalists, and civil society activists) who were concerned about the failure of their political system to get to grips with the economic crisis.

Exercised in particular by the inability of Belgium’s politicians to form a government and the resulting political limbo, the opening line of the group’s manifesto, states: ‘if the politicians can’t find a solution let the citizens’. G1000 seeks to show the country’s political leaders that they should engage with the citizens in seeking a way out of the mess. Their principal objectives are both to show that deliberative democracy can work, and to produce concrete proposals for the government to consider. Continue reading

A new book on ‘the second Republic’

Posted by David Farrell (November 1, 2011)

Here’s the link for the new book by Peadar Kirby and Mary P. Murphy, entitled Towards a Second Republic: Irish Politics after the Celtic Tiger (Pluto, 2011). The blurb reads as follows:

Towards a Second Republic analyses Ireland’s economics, politics and society, drawing important lessons from its cycles of boom and bust. Peadar Kirby and Mary Murphy expose the winners and losers from the current Irish model of development and relates these distributional outcomes to the use of power by Irish elites. The authors examine the role of the EU and compare Ireland’s crisis and responses to those of other states.  More than just an analysis of the economic disaster in Ireland, the book is also a proposal to construct new and more effective institutions for the economy and society. It is a must read for students of Irish politics and political economy.