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Making a 21st Century Constitution

Playing Fair in Modern Democracies

Frank Vibert

Democratic constitutions are increasingly unfit for purpose with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform. Within this important book, Frank Vibert sets out the key challenges to reform, the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised and provides the standards against which reform should be measured.
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Chapter 12: Hierarchy and political persuasion

Frank Vibert

Extract

This chapter looks at democratic political decision making in the context of ‘hierarchy’ or when disputes arrive at the top level of political choice and policy making. It identifies the special problems of distance, exclusionary voting and decision rules, and the arbitrary enumeration of powers. It describes four main accounts of how politics can overcome these problems including that provided by theories of discourse democracy, consociationalism, and the short cut approach of the source-based or associative model. The chapter describes the critical differences in the accounts they offer of how persuasion works in democratic politics in order to overcome differences. It concludes on the shortcomings of each account.

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