Posted on March 30, 2015 by A.R.Teleb
In an address called “What is Political Science For?” at the 2013 American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, APSA President Jane Mansbridge mentioned sortition as one of the new areas being studied for grounding legitimacy. She referenced Fishkin & Ober in her footnote to the statement. The thrust of her talk is that political scientists (democratic theorists especially) should turn their focus away from preventing tyranny and towards creating “legitimate coercion” because the world is facing rather formidable collective action problems that cannot be solved otherwise. Together with Waldron’s “Political Political Theory” article it leads me to believe that there is some movement in the field towards the questions that we often discuss here on Equality by Lot. Below are some excerpts from the full article found here.
This address advances three ideas. First, political science as a discipline has a mandate to help human beings govern themselves. Second, within this mandate we should be focusing, more than we do now, on creating legitimate coercion. In a world of increasing interdependence we now face an almost infinite number of collective action problems created when something we need or want involves a “free-access good.” We need coercion to solve these collective action problems. The best coercion is normatively legitimate coercion. Democratic theory, however, has focused more on preventing tyranny than on how to legitimate coercion. Finally, our discipline has neglected an important source of legitimate coercion: negotiation to agreement. Recognizing the central role of negotiation in politics would shed a different light on our relatively unexamined democratic commitments to transparency in process and contested elections. This analysis is overall both descriptive and aspirational, arguing that helping human beings to govern themselves has been in the DNA of our profession since its inception.
Filed under: Academia, Sortition, Theory | Tagged: American Political Science Association, collective action problems, legitimacy, legitimate coercion, Political Science | 9 Comments »
Posted on March 25, 2015 by Yoram Gat
Melissa Schwartzberg is a professor of Politics at NYU.
What did democracy really mean in Athens? – Melissa Schwartzberg
Hey, congratulations! You just won the lottery. Only the prize isn’t cash or a luxury cruise. It’s a position in your country’s national legislature. And you aren’t the only lucky winner. All of your fellow lawmakers were chosen in the same way.
This might strike you as a strange way to run a government, let alone a democracy. Elections are the epitome of democracy, right? Well, the ancient Athenians, who coined the word, had another view. In fact elections only played a small role in Athenian democracy, with most offices filled by random lottery from a pool of citizen volunteers.
Filed under: Academia, Athens, Elections, History, Juries, Participation, Sortition | Tagged: Melissa Schwartzberg, video | 13 Comments »
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Yoram Gat
John Garry writes in sluggerotoole.com:
There are three crucial ingredients for a high quality democracy: a very large hat, a pen and lots of small bits of paper. Write the name of each citizen in the land on a bit of paper, put all the bits of paper in the hat, close your eyes and pluck out 500 names from the hat. Write to each of the 500 saying:
“Congratulations, you have been picked as one of the 500 people who will run the country for the next five years. Please come along to our Random Parliament and start making decisions about things like welfare reform, flag display and corporation tax rates (maybe). We’ll put you up in a swanky hotel, pay you loads of expenses and square it with your boss. Look forward to seeing you…”
Filed under: Press, Sortition | Tagged: John Garry | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 13, 2015 by Yoram Gat
Yes, but aren’t those same arguments valid in the case of elected politicians as well?
Filed under: Elections, Press | Tagged: elected judges, humor, john oliver, tv | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 7, 2015 by Yoram Gat
It turns out that in addition to dealing with complex governing structures modern elected officials face another objective problem which makes dealing with democratic discontent difficult: the problem of living “simply on £60,000” a year.
Filed under: Elections, Press | Tagged: living "simply on £60K" a year | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 7, 2015 by Yoram Gat
Claudia Chwalisz follows up on a recent article.
Chwalisz’s previous article concluded by observing that
the dilemma of how to get elected elites to relinquish their grip on the seats of power remains unresolved.
Chwalisz’s attempt at a resolution follows the lead of David Van Reybrouk. She addresses herself to the ruling class as the responsible concerned advisor who aims to help established actors find their way through troubled seas, meet the gathering hostile forces and to finally emerge maintaining as much of their power as possible.
The new article’s abstract is as follows:
New forms of contact democracy and innovative forums that allow political and economic institutions to deliberate with citizens are important steps in the long-term battle to renew representative democracy for the 21st century. They should not be seen as a threat to formal systems of government but as important add-ons that enrich democracy and give a window into the complexity of governance
Filed under: Elections, Participation, Press, Sortition | Tagged: Claudia Chwalisz, David Van Reybrouk, formal democracy | 3 Comments »