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Directly-Deliberative Polyarchy

In this 2002 essay, authors Joshua Cohen and Charles Sabel defend a form of democracy that they call “directly-deliberative polyarchy.” They argue that it is an attractive kind of radical, participatory democracy with problem-solving capacities useful under current conditions and unavailable to representative systems.

In directly deliberative polyarchy, collective decisions are made through public deliberation in arenas open to citizens who use public services, or who are otherwise regulated by public decisions. But in deciding, those citizens must examine their own choices in the light of the relevant deliberations and experiences of others facing similar problems in comparable jurisdictions or subdivisions of government.

Ideally, then, directly deliberative polyarchy combines the advantages of local learning and self-government with the advantages (and discipline) of wider social learning and heightened political accountability that result when the outcomes of many concurrent experiments are pooled to permit public scrutiny of theeffectiveness of strategies and leaders.

Resource Link: www2.law.columbia.edu/sabel/papers/DDP.html

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