2011 - and it is becoming increasingly clear that the age of representative democracy is over.
Today we have all of the online tools to enable us to remove our representatives from power and exercise direct democracy.
Interestingly, it is in Greece where direct democracy began 2,500 years ago that we are seeing hundreds of thousands of people demanding such direct methods again.
However it is in Spain where the slogan "Real Democracy Now" was coined that detailed plans for the implementation of direct democracy are being laid. The Spanish demonstrators understand that they have the numbers and the upper hand - the Spanish authorities are at a loss as to what they can do - how they can react - as they are dealing with a true leaderless movement against which their actions are temporary and ultimately ineffective.
Why are representative democracies obsolete?
Firstly because we have the technical means to turn our masters into our servants and secondly because once a person becomes a political representative - no matter how well-intentioned or moral he or she is - they are quickly corrupted by a system which turns them into self-serving individuals and distances them from the people they were meant to serve.
A system of representative democracy serves the representatives first - leaving the scraps for the people - the corruption and waste which we see in all such systems is a systemic necessity - the only way to overcome it is to replace it with a system of direct democracy.
So what will a representative-less direct democracy look like?
No-one knows, but models are at this moment being worked out - primarily in Spain where the people really understand that they have the power to implement such systems and to render representative democracy dead in their country.
At a guess, once we have been through a profound change lasting at the least several months - with much chaos and discomfort for many - we will end up with a new system with the following characteristics.
1 Every citizen will be entitled to participate directly in the affairs of government and state via the Internet - using specially designed social networking systems.
2 The machinery of government will have been radically overhauled from the current millions of people on the public payroll to only a few thousand - and those few thousand will be motivated by a sense of duty and service - their salaries will be low and there will be no opportunities for them to take advantage of their positions.
3 All financial transactions in the public realm will be open and transparent to the view of any citizen that wishes to see them.
4. All public pension systems will have been abolished.
5. All welfare / benefit payments and systems will have been abolished.
6. Each citizen will receive a basic, equal, substantial "Citizen's dividend" from the state - whether they work or not.
7. A single flat-tax will have been implemented prior to implementing taxation-free systems - probably linked with a reformed banking and monetary system - one probably based on multiple, competing, non-governmental currencies.
The above represents - systemically - a radical change whereby the constraints on activity and enterprise which are necessarily implied in a system where representatives of the "people" control and restrict such activity - are changed to a system where each person can find his or her own opportunity in a much more flexible and dynamic system.
Although chaotic and confusing at first for many - such a system will eventually settle down to its own dynamic - a dynamic which cannot be foreseen at present.
European countries such as Spain and Greece are becoming the laboratories for such new systems - this is real - this is now - this will NOT go away!