From around 1945, The Life and Death of Democracy points out, democracy entered a new historical phase in which the language and institutions of democracy gradually have come to resemble ‘monitory democracy’. In the era of monitory democracy, not only are the language and ideals and institutions of democracy, for the first time in its history, becoming familiar to people living within most regions of the earth, regardless of their nationality, religion or civilisation. Not only is there new talk of ‘global democracy’ and democracy as a ‘universal value (Amartya Sen). For the first time, racial prejudice has also begun to be extracted from the ideals of democracy, such that many democrats now find themselves embarrassed or angered by talk of ‘backward’ or ‘uncivilised’ or ‘naturally inferior’ peoples. There are signs as well that the theory and practice of democracy are mutating, that its significance is changing because its institutions are being stretched into areas of life in which democracy in any form was previously excluded, or played little or no role. Once seen as given by the grace of a deity, democracy is viewed pragmatically as a handy weapon for use against concentrations of unaccountable power. It comes to have a new meaning as monitory democracy: the public accountability and public control of decision makers, whether they operate in the field of state or interstate institutions or within so-called non-governmental or civil society organisations, such as businesses, trade unions, sports associations and charities.
In the age of monitory democracy, assembly-based and representative mechanisms are mixed and combined with new ways of publicly monitoring and controlling the exercise of power. Representative forms of government do not simply wither, or disappear. Elections remain important and representative democracy within the framework of territorial states often survives, and in some countries it even thrives, sometimes (as in Mongolia, Taiwan and South Africa) for the first time ever. Representative government has also sometimes been enriched, as in the civic involvement and clean-up schemes (machizukuri) in Japanese cities such as Yokohama and Kawasaki during the past several decades. But for a variety of reasons related to public pressure and the need to reduce corruption and the abuse of power, representative forms of democracy are coming to be supplemented (and hence complicated) by a variety of democratic procedures that are applied to organisations underneath and beyond states. Citizens’ assemblies, forums, summits, parliaments for minorities, judicial review and citizens’ juries are some examples. Others include public integrity mechanisms, congresses, blogging and other new forms of media scrutiny, as well as cross-border parliaments and open methods of co-ordination, of the kind practised in the European Union.