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DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY- Oct 24.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL101Y1
Professor
Joseph Wong
Semester
Fall

Description
DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY -rules of the game- important virtue institutions/governing rules/laws that make up democracy. laws that protect human rights -managing diversity political parties appeal to the median marginalizes extremes normative commitment to inclusion and pluralism -institutionalized uncertainty not knowing who's gonna win next election… loss does not preclude one from competing in next election, etc. always alternatives to turn to in the future. variations of democracy no two democracies are the same- institutions themselves are tailored to each social and economic context resilience due to variation. continual invention/inovation. democracy- set political concept, but variations in details. equality core of democracy- that individuals are treated equally. fairly contested. two ways to think about it- 1) equality of opportunity (politics and process) -political equality- all rules apply to everyone equally -procedural democracy. the process of it- everything, laws, institutions are to strengthen process -free and fair elections -polyarchy (robert dahl) -public contestation- individuals have right to fight for own vieFws (at least verbally). same right to everyone -inclusive participation- exclude no one, rights of political democracy extended to and executed by all individuals 2)equality as outcome (politics and economics)- outcomes -political-economic equity. less about the rules and more about the consequences -procedural vs substantive democracy- rules are important as long as they deliver more equitable options/outcomes -example: democratic welfare state. (UK, northern countries of europe) -coincided with rise of industrialization -social democratic party- strong correlation with dem. welfare state -re-distrubitve capacity Equality of opportunity challenges 1) collective action problem. clicker ?- most of us thought it was moderately important to us who the next premier was -"my single vote matters to the outcome of elections" 69% agree. -did you vote in provincial election? roughly 60 yes and 40 no -gap between number of students that thought their vote mattered and those that voted. -turnout rate for mayoral election in 2010- 50.6% -provincial election- 49.2% in 2011 -canada overall- decrease from 67% in '97 to 68.8 in '08 -US, hovers around 50ish, bumps in 04 and 08 because of 9/11 and the "obama effect" -when we act collectively we tend to free ride. -voting is not rational. -costs. must gather information,must learn about political parties, debates, etc. -benefits. not all that clear- what's the direct benefit. -if you're rational- you won't engage in collective action. you will free ride. -you will ask yourself- why expend the energy when others can do it for me? -fail to utilize equality of opprotunity 2) the fallacy of democratic pluralism -dem. pluralism assumes political equality. -example- US health care reform. 74% americans believe that the US should have universal health insurance. all efforts since the 30s has failed. why? american political system suffers from institutionalized fragmentation- allows veto points privileges minority interests and actors- by those that have assets (money) AMA- american medical institutional. big money every year. annual operating budget of 1m. tyranny of the minority "the flaw of the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper class accent. democratic institutions reflect powerful interest. the distribution of power within the fair process is uneven. 3)elite democracy -while democracies are supposed to represent everyon
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