Robert, it’s difficult to argue with your perspective as we do indeed seem to be reaching the end of the road for representative democracy. I’d note, though, that systems are rarely “on the verge of collapse” so much as sensitive to small perturbations that can switch the oscillatory plane from one state to another (this is often called, incorrectly, “the butterfly effect”). But with regards to self-governance, the system is in fact meta-stable insofar as it persists regardless of its own internal collapse. And that’s our problem today: a complex inter-connected world has outstripped the capacity of nearly every citizen to comprehend even a part of the whole and so people vote on the basis of trivial ideas and feelings.
As we expect clear demonstration of competence before granting rights in almost every other domain in life, it’s odd that we have no such expectation for one of the most important things we do: making decisions of national importance. Our representatives are unqualified (and often little more than drooling morons) and our voters are likewise unqualified (often so ignorant they have literally no understanding of anything beyond kindergarten level).
Although we must pass through the dark ages to come before we can reach a place where new thinking may be possible, I personally cling to the hope that one day, in the distant future, a few people will gather together in the ruins of our civilization and decide, “let’s not do that again.” They can then begin to devise not only a more adequate approach to governance but also one that self-evolves in order to resist otherwise inevitable capture over time by special interest groups/the powerful and wealthy.