Andrei Korobeinik, founder of the local teen-oriented social media outlet rate.ee and Reform Party MP called attention to both the opportunities and threats contained in participatory democracy at Tallinn BlogFest 2011.
In his presentation Korobeinik noted that Estonia should make more use of the Internet in developing participatory democracy, but that one should not be overly hopeful in overestimating its potential.
"They say that participatory democracy is what destroyed Ancient Greece," Korobeinik said. "The people could decide where to build a new market, but they were less able to formulate foreign policy or tax policy."
Korobeinik noted that Estonia's prior attempts to use the internet in building participatory democracy, through online portals such as tom.ee, where people could submit their own ideas for new legislation, failed miserably.
The MP underscored that only informed citizens can make participatory democracy work, making civic education an utmost priority. "What would be the optimal tax rate which would make the average Estonian citizen happy? My gut tells me that it would be 0% and that this sort of country would not be particularly sustainable," Korobeinik quipped.