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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 14: Missing actors in chains of intermediation

Frank Vibert


This chapter explores the possible roles of new institutions to offset some of the blind spots of democratic politics analogous to the role played traditionally by Second (legislative) Chambers. It looks at how both market processes and non-market processes involve longer and more dispersed chains of intermediaries. It examines how lengthening chains affect the advantages of democratic politics in offering the widest span of association, feedback and priority selection. The analysis draws on search market theory of institutional economics. It makes an analogy with chains of intermediation in financial markets. The analysis suggests that the constitutional role can itself be defined in terms of providing for institutional support and oversight at the beginning, middle and end of the chains of intermediation. It suggests a role for referendums at the beginning of the chain, an intergenerational equity body in mid chain and a constitutional oversight body at end chain.

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