Justice Everywhere

a blog about justice in public affairs

Tag: Legitimacy

What’s wrong with an epistocratic council?

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "experts cartoon"

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?

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Global Justice meets Global Democracy

Workshop at the University of Durham

22nd and 23rd June 2017

The Durham Centre for Political Thought in collaboration with the Global Politics Masters Programme and Global Policy Institute are set to host a 2 day workshop next week to discuss questions of global justice, democracy, power and legitimacy.

The event ‘Global Justice Meets Global Democracy’ is organised by Elizabeth Kahn and Luke Ulas and will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of June at Elvett Riverside 1 (ER148). The workshop will consist in the presentation of ‘work in progress’ papers given by a number of invited speakers,  followed by a pre-prepared responses and broader discussion.

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