Democratic Devices and Desires (Theories of Institutional by Geoffrey Brennan

By Geoffrey Brennan

This ebook deals a unique method of the research of democracy, and an software of that method of various democratic associations, together with elections, illustration, political events and the separation of powers. average fiscal ways to politics be aware of the layout of associations and the function of people prompted by means of self-interest. The authors comprise a broader view of political motivation, assuming people are ethical in addition to rational, and supply a wide-ranging dialogue of the layout of democratic associations.

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The simple observation that the agents who buy and sell in the marketplace are the same agents who also vote in the polling booth has typically been seen as suf®cient to rule out any systematic motivational difference. As public choice scholars are prone to remark, the onus of proof would seem to lie with those who argue for motivational non-neutrality. And, with motivations interpreted suitably abstractly, this is surely correct. But neutrality with respect to the basic motivational structure of agents does not imply neutrality with respect to behaviour ± or indeed to the particular desires that will be engaged in different institutional settings.

The point is that in a world of unrelieved egoism, agents cannot even recognise the category of `the normative'. Even the idea of an `invisible hand' is based on an essentially moral idea and could not make much sense to homo economicus. Moreover, even if agents could recognise moral categories, they could certainly not grant them any reason-giving status. To put the same point in other words, in an egoistic universe agents are committed to a language in which `good' can only mean `good for me' or more particularly, `in my interests' (or, conceivably, in the interests of a small set of identi®ed individuals such as a family).

It is an empirical question as to whether the cases that remain are suf®ciently numerous, or suf®ciently important, to merit concern. We believe that numerous important cases remain, and that they are particularly likely to arise in the political arena. We shall return to this point below. Approaches to the reliance predicament ± enforcement A second possible resolution of the reliance predicament involves varying the objective pay-offs associated with the different strategy choices. This possibility is uninteresting in itself, since it is obvious that by arbitrarily changing the pay-off structure we can transform the reliance predicament into a wide variety of different games.

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