Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Brief  No.168 - August, 2023 • By John Keane

Policy Brief No.168: Why Parliaments?

Image: Daniele Aloisi/Shutterstock.com

This Policy Brief charts the history of the parliament of representatives, born more than eight centuries ago in northern Spain. This new instrument of government was among the most precious gifts to the world of modern representative democracy. Parliaments narrowly survived the chaos, war, class conflicts, dictatorships and totalitarianisms of the early decades of the 20th century. Their survival was remarkable, yet there are today signs that the post-1945 renaissance of parliaments is losing momentum. However smart, activist parliaments are on the rise. These legislatures are functioning as watchdog parliaments and their spirit is the grit humans are going to need as we struggle to deal wisely, equitably, democratically with the rich opportunities and cascading dangers of our troubled century.

Read more »