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Problems with Democracy

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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October 18 – Problems of Democracy
Democracy and Equality
Rules of the game – distinct and discreet rules that are usually written down which determine how
the system works (i.e. constitutions)
Managing diversity – globalization has made diversity within each nation state more intensified
Institutionalized uncertainty – what makes democracy stable is that a certain degree of
uncertainty is evident; allows for the alternation of power (elections)
Variations of democracy – the institutional make-up of democracy is different in each state; every
democracy is structured by rules but different rules
Equality – the core principle of democracy is the principle of democracy;
There are two ways to think of equality:
Equality of opportunity
Political equality
Procedural democracy
Polyarchy (Robert Dahl)
oPublic contestation – equality of opportunity affords you the right to publicly contest
oInclusive participation – everyone has the right to contest
One of the most important qualities of equality is free elections;
Equality of outcome
Political-economic equity
Procedural versus substantive democracy – the rules only matter insofar as they facilitate equal
and fair outcomes
i.e. democratic welfare state
the rise of the welfare state mirrored the rise of democracy and the rise of the working class
Challenges to the equality of opportunity:
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