Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century" Nicholas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels suggest that both the American system of democracy and the Chinese system of governance are unstable and could learn from each other. In particular the authors recommend more direct democracy with a technocratic elite taking a long term view, beyond the electoral cycle. You can read an article about their book here, at The FT.
I find it difficult to imagine how elites sit comfortably with direct democracy. Perhaps we could learn more from Switzerland which sports a high standard of living but has seldom sought strategic advantage over "rival" nations. However, I think there is a strong need for institutions that seek and protect the evidential truth which is a necessary foundation for constructive debate and Interactive Democracy.