The individual, the community and the social and political hierarchy that constitute the system, now face new risks brought forth by the choices they have to make or will make in the future. This is a result of the deluge of information, the flooding of goods in a free market economy and the proliferation of environmental and scientific awareness that conflict with other pieces of information, alternative goods and concepts that are readily available at a flick of a finger. These aforementioned conveniences and awareness are sometimes deemed liabilities in contemporary society as access to specialized knowledge and the profound understanding of risks have deemed it difficult for societies to formulate institutional and collective decisions. However, individuals, with their predilection for personal control, are in some ways encouraged by consumerism and their ability to purchase and thus, decision-making can easily be generated in the personal level.
The present transition of societies from industrial to knowledge societies has significantly affected not just individuals but also the economy and our political structure as well. With the societies' and the individual's volume of knowledge at the effortless disposal increasing at a high-speed rate and doubling every five years, the rise of the new social order founded on knowledge is inevitable (Stehr, 2001). The swift metamorphosis that our society will undergo in the near future will affect our politics and our democratic ideals. Nico Stehr asserts that knowledge is not just a 'constitutive' factor of the market economy but a fundamental 'organisational principle' upon which we base our very existence - even our way of life (2001). Living in a knowledge society only means that we systematize our social and political structures on the basis of what we know. This has significant implications in that knowledge and technology have freed us from the clutches of religious, military and monarchic hegemony - monolithic institutions which are now considered obsolete. However, it is important to note that the political system's regulation of social circumstances, involving mainly careful planning, controlling, managing and forecasting of the aforesaid social conditions, has increasingly become difficult as society has faced fragility. This is not brought about by the emergence of the global culture and economy or the 'economisation' of social relations but the disappearance of political power in the face of increasing knowledge. The rise of a more hierarchal society which sprang from the attainment of knowledge has become more noticeable in more liberal democratic states as equality of knowledge of complex issues plaguing many democracies around the world is necessary for political legitimacy - one which arises from democratic participation (Teune et al, 2001). The key concept that most citizens consider is the legitimacy of the hierarchy in the political realm which could not be achieved unless democratic participation is encouraged and effected. For democracy to work, the surfacing of the informed citizenry which is passionately involved in participatory democracy is necessary. Understanding of these complex issues, however, requires the use of knowledge, and with the shaping of the general public to a robust knowledge society, differences and conflicts in opinion and ideas usually hampers the swift promulgation of policies that are necessary for the