Can the internet improve politics? The question and answer are structured in a sequence of steps: (1) Politics is about counting, and the web is good at counting. (2) Politics counts evaluations, and the web is good at evaluations. (3) Political evaluations bear cognitive costs that need to be alleviated through trust, and the web is good at employing trust. (4) Political trust relations increasingly have a general network structure, and the web is good at networks. (5) Political trust relations need to be stored, and the web is good at storing sensitive data. Additionally, the availability to address large option numbers and offline access are addressed.
Contrary to aspects of e-democracy that are simply “nice to have”, steps 4 and 5 point to improvements that are necessary: The web allows for a network-based collective decision making that efficiently fits the necessities of societies that are no longer satisfied with the kind of representation that urges everyone to align to one group for all issues. Individualization and the cultural demands of non-Western societies go in the same direction in demanding a different and necessarily web-based solution to the cognitive-cost problem of democracy.