Equal opportunity for political influence in democratic problem-solving
- How can democratic governance both incorporate high-quality outcomes and preserve equality of status and voice in decision-making? This dissertation contributes to liberal democratic theory by examining democracy's ability to solve collective problems. Solving a collective problem well through majority rule requires identifying and weighting competent input more heavily. Constructive political inequality (CPI) is what I call the unequal political influence that is necessary to solve collective problems well. CPI and the disagreement about the best means to a solution are beneficial parts to solving collective problems, yet neither are well-accommodated in contemporary liberal democratic theory. The democratic problem-solving framework I develop here presents itself as a hybrid of the two prevailing approaches in liberal democratic theory: the aggregative conception developed by Schumpeter ( 1962) and Riker (1982) on one hand, and deliberative democracy developed by Cohen (1989) and others on the other hand. Equal opportunity is often relied upon to govern political influence through persuasion, but existing accounts of the principle do not sufficiently distinguish equal opportunity from equality of outcomes, the role of individual choice to be politically influential, and a statistically equal chance for influence. I show that equal opportunity is different from its colloquial use as merely a principle of non-discrimination. An appropriately specified conception of equal opportunity yields a basis for non-discrimination as well as a basis of explicit discrimination. To show how this new conception of equal opportunity for political influence can be applied to actual electoral reform proposals, I examine the use of vouchers to fund elections and the use of mini-publics to influence public opinion. Equal opportunity for political influence, appropriately specified, contributes to a better theoretical framework to motivate each of these reform proposals.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Mendez, Ariel Tree
|Stanford University, Department of Political Science.
|Statement of responsibility
|Ariel Tree Mendez.
|Submitted to the Department of Political Science.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
- © 2016 by Ariel Tree Mendez
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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