Like the wicked witch in Snow White who expects the magic mirror to say she’s the loveliest of them all, the United States likes to think of itself as the penultimate democracy. But according to The Economist’s democracy index, we’re not even close. We’re #25, classified as a flawed democracy.
Democracy is a sustainability issue because having a say is an important human need (what Manfred Max-Neef’s model of human needs calls Participation.) We may not always get our way but we are more likely to support an action if we had a voice. Feeling out of control undermines human health. And a diverse set of voices usually leads to better decisions.