Electoral representative government embodies a compromise, exchanging political equality and broader distribution of political power for the supposed epistemic benefit that comes through the use of elected representatives. Direct democracy would do better by considerations of political equality, inclusivity, responsiveness, self-government, and other aspects of political morality commonly brought under the heading of “democracy,” but it also would almost certainly result in epistemically poorer decision-making. This chapter draws attention to the significant epistemic shortfalls of electoral representative democracy and suggests that this is a compromise that is not working out. Perhaps more surprisingly, the chapter suggests that there are non-electoral alternatives that do at least as well as electoral representative government on the democracy scorecard, and which would likely do better than electoral representative government on the epistemic scorecard. To do this, the chapter presents seven core questions of institutional epistemic competence and suggests that two non-electoral alternatives-lottocratic systems and systems of technocratic agencies coupled with extensive citizen oversight-would do better than electoral representative systems at answering those core questions, while doing no worse by the lights of other considerations of political morality.
|Original language||American English|
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Apr 22 2021|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)