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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 13: Qualitative rules and the transvaluational

Frank Vibert


This chapter discusses how ‘qualitative analytic’ constitutional rules, such as ‘subsidiarity’, might help democratic politics play a socially adaptive and transvaluational role in finding a path through deep differences in values and incommensurate ways of reasoning. It draws attention to how path rules can underpin a ‘logic of consequences’ that substitutes for more formal reasoning, or for the politically expedient. The path rules involve the sequencing of choices, judgements about reversibility, attention to different ways of framing choices and judgments about whether a critical juncture has been reached where choices are particularly consequential.

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