Erskine Seminars in Economics

University of Canterbury Course , Winter 2009 , Prof. John Fountain

100 students enrolled

Overview

Seminars presented by visiting Erskine fellows to the Economics.

Lecture 15: Direct (Anti-) Democracy

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        Lecture Details

        Prof Max Stearns gives a seminar to the UC Economics Departmet asking the question is direct democracy anti-democratic? His answer - yes - is surprising, and his method of analysis new and distinctive. After surveying the arguments for and against direct democracys institutions (referenda and citizen initiated plebiscites ), Prof Stearns argues for a new approach. He develops a novel methodological standard for comparing alternative institutions (using of a social choice framework to see which one of Arrows axioms in his famous impossibility theorem is violated) Prof Stearn compares the institutions of representative legislatures, those of judicial decision making , and the institutions of direct democracy . On this yardstick direct democracy is much closer to the courts - ie anti democratic - than it is to representative legislature.

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