Real direct democracy now is an idea which represents a goal to be achieved and at first sight the high hopes of 2011 embodied by groupings such as the spanish indignados seem now to have sunk into insignificance.
The reality however is that a completely new world order is emerging ever more quickly and with an unexpected sure-footedness - an order being built up not by governments, not by shadowy institutions but by millions of ordinary, internet-savvy people all over the world.
In an article published by the Laissez-Faire Club on February 4th 2013, Jeffrey Tucker outlines how this process of people-power has already reached a stage where it is completely beyond the reach of any national government or international institution.
He writes "This emergent reality contracts everything that was assumed at the start of the 20th century. States were supposed to plan. Societies were to be managed. The global order was to be organized by nation-states that would negotiate as if they were homogeneous units with interests and goals. The only planning, communication, and substantial action was to be regime planning, communication, and action.
A century later, this whole system is blown up. And the situation is even worse for all prevailing regimes. Fiscal policy as conceived by Keynesian theory is proven worse than useless. It has saddled the world with unpayable debt and trapped governments in an impossible situation of having made ridiculous promises that can’t be kept.
Similarly, its monetary policies are ineffective and dangerous. Central banks of the world are devoting all their efforts to saving their client banks from market pressures, rather than conducting the “scientific” monetary policy envisioned by technocrats a century ago."
But perhaps the most powerful system which has emerged within this new paradigm is that of the crypto-currency monetary system. Bitcoin is a prime example of such a monetary system based on mathematical rules and unbreakable cryptography rather than on plans and decisions by central bankers. 2013 looks set to be the year when such currencies really begin their exponential climb from a geeky obscurity into mainstream use.
Such peer-to-peer currencies embody the idea of real direct democracy now in a field which affects all of us directly, economics. As more and more people begin to feel the exhilaration of handling their own money which is in the hands of individual users like themselves and realize that they do not have to suffer the constant devaluation of their money by ever more devious central banks, then the use of these currencies will spread like wildfire.
One interesting consequence of such wide adoption of course is that taxation will be harder and harder to collect - because - whatever others may say - crypto-currencies are really anonymous in practice and states with any sense will not even attempt to tax such a system.
It is surely clear that once such a distributed non-governmental monetary system emerges as a dominant economic force in the world then systemically speaking the introduction of direct democracy is just a matter of time.