WHILE A few major industries in Thailand have already been disrupted by new technologies, politics may be the next in line to be impacted as a new tech-savvy party, the “Moderate Party”, aims to introduce “liquid democracy” to the country.
Chumpol Krootkaew, founder of the Moderate Party or “Klang Party”, wants to utilise new technology to ensure genuine public participation in political decision-making. He said he was inspired by the direct democracy of the ancient Greeks.
Chumpol is a former executive and researcher at the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec).
“Everyone can be a politician now if politics is about making decisions,” he said. “We have more than enough technology today to allow people to do just that.” And while blockchain technology has been the focus of recent advocates of digital democracy, Chumpol said there are other options too.
Offering an alternative to traditional parties amid deep divisions and widespread public cynicism, Chumpol said the Moderate Party would focus on “liquid democracy”.
“In the past, when societies did not have too many people, matters were discussed and decided directly by the people. That’s direct democracy. But now, with technology, we can do even better than that. And it’s called ‘liquid democracy’,” he explained.
People could make up their own minds about an issue using a computer or a mobile application, like they do a financial transaction, Chumpol said.
But the best part, he said, is that technology offers them the opportunity to go beyond just making a direct decision.
“It is about how people could entrust different experts to make a decision for them on different issues. And if that doesn’t work out, they can choose another person anytime. That’s how it’s ‘liquid’. Like liquid [financial] assets, it offers great liquidity,” he said. “MPs wouldn’t be able to monopolise the decision-making for four years.”
In a country where the representative system has been disrupted, Chumpol agreed the practice could be the future of democracy. However, he believes that technology and MPs could still work together.
For example, if the system was in place, “MPs could communicate with their voters to gauge their response on each issue. They can conduct their own referendum before voting in Parliament.”
Chumpol is now awaiting approval from the Election Commission for his new party.