A few years ago, in a continent shaken by the effects of the global financial crisis and frightened by the nightmare of terrorism, several European leaders lamented the death of multiculturalism.
Category: Democracy (Page 2 of 6)
Scott Chipolina offers the second in a series of Justice Everywhere posts on the US midterm elections and what they say about the state of American democracy. (For the first in the series, see Emilee Chapman’s ‘The United States Needs a Democracy Movement‘.)
The November 6 midterms saw some 113 million Americans cast a ballot. This is the first time in American history that over 100 million voted in a midterm election. Prima facie, this record-setting voter turnout might indicate a thriving democracy. Yet other observations indicate just how far from secure American democracy is.
While most headlines have focused on the divergent successes of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, respectively, the 2018 midterm elections featured mixed results on another important dimension: electoral reform. Ballot measures on various aspects of election law appeared on the ballots in 14 states, and most of them passed. Voters in Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri (and possibly Utah) approved measures to establish more independent redistricting processes. Michigan and Maryland voters passed laws to make registering to vote easier, and Florida voted to re-enfranchise approximately 1.4 million people who have completed sentences for prior felony convictions. At the same time, though, voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved requirements that voters to show a photo ID at the polls, making it more difficult for many people (disproportionately members of minority groups) to vote.
For nearly all activists involved in electoral reform, these outcomes will seem a mixed success. But to most citizens, these results all look like a win for democracy.
The outcome of the October 7th Brazil elections meant a wide defeat of the Workers’ Party (PT), of the Brazilian Social Democracy’s Party (PSDB) and of many traditional political leaders. Jair Bolsonaro and other candidates who presented themselves as outsiders were the winners. However, politics is not only made by people, but also by ideas. Which of them were defeated?
While Justice Everywhere takes a break over the summer, we recall from our archives some of our memorable posts from 2017-2018.
Here are three good reads on issues commonly associated with left-wing politics that you may have missed or be interested to re-read:
Lisa Herzog’s interview with Isabelle Ferreras on ‘Workplace Democracy‘
Lasse Nielsen’s ‘Sufficiency on Political Inequality‘
Miriam Ronzoni’s ‘On Striking as a Privilege‘
Together with an amazing group of people, I have initiated Twelve Stars. Twelve Stars in Europe’s flag symbolize Europe’s unity in diversity. The Twelve Stars project brings together citizens and practical philosophers from all over Europe to discuss proposals for the future of the European Union. Twelve Stars is premised on two assumptions. First, that the ideas of political philosophers can make a real contribution to improving the European Union. Second, that political philosophers have much to learn from discussing their proposals and arguments with a wider audience.
Last year, Kevin C. Elliott published three new books on ‘values in science’:
Given that empirical research is often used by moral, social, and political philosophers in scholarship on questions of justice, we thought it would be interesting to chat to Kevin about his recent work and its implications for moral, social, and political philosophy.
This is an interview with Isabelle Ferreras, who has just published a book on workplace democracy – to my knowledge, it’s the most detailed argument and proposal for a specific form of workplace democracy that has been provided in recent years. To get a sense of what it is all about, check out the animated trailer at www.firmsaspoliticalentities.net. We asked Isabelle to tell us more about her book, and we are very happy that she immediately agreed to do so.
Q: How did you get interested in the topic of workplace democracy?
Why do we trust experts to take care of our health and not to take care of our interests in the political realm? This is a very old question of democratic theory. Epistocracy is a neologism frequently used in recent works to refer to a form of government by those who know more or are wiser than the mass.
Two different aspects might differentiate an epistocracy from a democracy: the absence of political equality in the selection of the rulers, or the absence of egalitarian accountability. In addition to these undemocratic aspects, an epistocracy would differ from other non-democratic regimes by some mechanism allowing people who distinguish themselves from the mass by their wisdom or expertise to rule or at least enjoy an important degree of political power. The best example and – to my knowledge – the most interesting challenge to our democratic convictions is Jason Brennan’s idea of an “epistocratic council”. Members of this council would be selected on a meritocratic basis, passing a competency exam. And all citizens would have an equal voice in the choice of the expertise criteria.
Leaving aside the practical challenges such as the choice of the people in charge of preparing the exam, what would be wrong with such an epistocratic council?
Recently, there have been increasing worries about the role of private money that funds libertarian political philosophy (see e.g. here or here). The role of private money in academic research is not precisely a new problem; it has plagued other fields for decades (see e.g. here for a study of some of the more problematic forms). But it seems to be rather new for political philosophy, or at least it seems to have gone to levels it has not had in the recent past. But what exactly is wrong with it? Isn’t it simply an exercise of freedom of expression to use one’s money to sponsor scholarship one is interested in?