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In September 2013 Germany will elect their new parliament, the Bundestag. On this occasion, the German Psychological Association (BDP) dedicated the current issue of their member's magazine report psychologie (7/8, 2013) to the question of political apathy. Unfortunately all articles aimed at how to motivate eligible voters to actively participate in politics.

The one question that ensues from the fact of political apathy was painfully missing:

All past and present political systems seem to suffer from avarice and power abuse on the part of the governing, and resignation and stupid egoism on the part of the governed. Greed and unselfishness are of course personality traits that a political system cannot change. But social circumstances promote or inhibit the activation of personality traits. Therefore, the most important question is:
Is there psychological research into which (aspects of a) political system would increase an active concern for the greater good?

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Re: close because primarily opinion based. How is a request for psychological research opinion based? –  what Aug 18 '13 at 22:48
Not a close vote from me, but I wonder what are some examples of "aspects of a political system" that you had in mind. For example, there are formal and informal aspects of the political system. And are you more concerned with the governing or the governed? Are you talking about individual level effects or society-level effects? What kind of psychological evidence did you have in mind as opposed to argument that would be more suited on say politics.stackexchange.com –  Jeromy Anglim Aug 18 '13 at 23:54
A possible research 'road block' for this kind of study is the bias that may creep into any academic article - it would be interesting to find any unbiased sources. Also, how could that bias be defined? Incidently, Australia will also be going to the polls next month. –  user3554 Aug 19 '13 at 10:08
@JeromyAnglim To tell the truth, I really have no idea how to tackle this question, otherwise I would have done the research myself. But e.g.: in a village everybody is immediately affected and therefore immediately interested in many decisions. If decisions take the detour over the far capital and are made by people who don't live in the village, villagers will become frustrated and resign. So a smaller structure (villages instead of countries) would probably increase political engagement. Or control mechanisms like publishing bank account activity of politicians. etc. etc. –  what Aug 19 '13 at 11:27
@Damien Yes, bias is a problem in research. That's what I meant with my question: it is generally assumed that, as Churchill said, democracy is the best of the worse systems. But maybe that is not true and only conforms to our western ideology of personal freedom and equality. But maybe we are not equally capable of making fundamental long term decisions (such as voting). I'm not, because I understand the consequences too little, and I'm certainly not the least educated person around. So I vote out of prejudice. What is the solution for that and other similar problems? Maybe not democracy. –  what Aug 19 '13 at 11:30

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