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The Foundations of Direct Democracy

The cantons of Zug and Glarus join the Confederation known today as Switzerland. Next year Bern will join. Once they throw off control of the Hapsburgs they will institute a direct democracy... one man... one vote... on everything. If a proposal fails it can be brought up again in individual cantons. One canton will even institute a small fine for shirkers. Voting is done annually in a large plaza where everyone can hear and speak. As their populations get larger, this practice will be modified until only one modern day canton will remain a direct democracy in the old style. That canton is Glarus. While it hasn't started a direct democracy yet, when it gets there its going to last. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Direct democracy is tricky because it requires a mature and reasonably well informed voter base (better informed than the US Congress) and a reasonably homogenous group with similar goals. In small groups it works great, but the tyranny of the majority can leave minorities without a voice. Recently, Switzerland's voters rejected by wide margins a national minimum wage of $24.64 (in US dollars). The current minimum wage is... THERE IS NONE! Unions, private individuals and companies negotiate a wage people can live with. Bottom line: The Swiss didn't want the government to fix something that was already working. [9] [10] [11]

With Peace Like This, Who Needs War?

Constantinople has finally signed a peace treaty with Venice, Genoa, and even the Aragonese, but their troubles are just beginning. Genoa and Venice are business rivals and the Byzantine Empire (pronounced: BIZ-AN-TEEN) is a lucrative market. A fight breaks out and Constantinople sides with Venice but Genoa is stronger. Outnumbered and outmatched, the forces of Constantinople and Venice try to retreat, but the Aragonese blunder forward. It's a slaughter. The Genoans win, but they could not report back accurate numbers of deaths for fear of causing a panic. The biggest loser is Constantinople. The Empire breaks out in civil war again and one side calls upon the Ottoman Turks to help! This cannot end well. [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, Constantinople is the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Empire is extremely weak so they can only negotiate weak treaties. The Ottoman Turks will be given an insignificant castle for help in the civil war but after an unfortunate earthquake, they will seize a more strategically important castle nearby and make life miserable for the Empire. The camel's nose is in the tent now. [13] [14] [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1352, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. admin.ch - Political organisation of Switzerland. The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation. 2014 [last update]
  2. Indirect and direct democracy-Switzerland. SwissWorld.org. 2014 [last update]
  3. Frey, Bruno S. Money Does Not Bring Happiness-But Democracy Does. Current Concerns, No. 13, July 2009 (JOURNAL)
  4. Leybold-Johnson, Isobel. Schaffhausen: Democratic? The canton where voting is compulsory, SwissInfo.ch. April 4, 2014.
  5. Glarus History, Glarus.ch, 2011 [last update]
  6. Glarus, Switzerland (Canton). Encyclopedia Britannica 1911.
  7. Canton of Zug - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Landsgemeinde - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Eddy, Melissa. Swiss Voters Defeat $24.65 Minimum Wage by a Wide Margin. New York Times. May 18, 2014. (ARTICLE)
  10. Berthoud, Jean-Michel. Swiss political model?: The run on direct democracy. SwissInfo.ch. September 18, 2012.
  11. Britt, Chantal. Press review: Minimum salary rejection confirms status quo. SwissInfo.ch. May 19, 2014.
  12. Norwich, John Julius. (John J. Norwich, bio). Byzantium: Volume 3: Decline and Fall. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1995. pp. 315-319. (BOOK)
  13. Nicolle, David. Ottoman Fortifications 1300-1710. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2010. p. 8. (BOOK)
  14. Çimpe Castle - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Süleyman Pasha (son of Orhan) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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