IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/pophec/v11y2012i3p280-301.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Defining the demos

Author

Listed:
  • Ben Saunders

    () (University of Stirling, UK)

Abstract

Until relatively recently, few democrats had much to say about the constitution of the ‘demos' that ought to rule. A number of recent writers have, however, argued that all those whose interests are affected must be enfranchised if decision-making is to be fully democratic. This article criticizes this approach, arguing that it misunderstands democracy. Democratic procedures are about the agency of the people so only agents can be enfranchised, yet not all bearers of interests are also agents. If we focus on agency, rather than who is affected, then this leads us to focus on the permissible limits of action, rather than who makes the decision. Just as individual sovereignty is ordinarily limited by the requirement not to injure others, we may apply similar restrictions to what a demos can permissibly do. Thus, any collection of individuals may choose to regulate their affairs collectively for mutual benefit, but should be prohibited from imposing negative externalities on outsiders. On this view, the constitution or definition of the demos is arbitrary, from the democratic point of view. Moreover, democracy does not require the expansion of the franchise, unless injuries cannot be avoided.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Saunders, 2012. "Defining the demos," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, , vol. 11(3), pages 280-301, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:11:y:2012:i:3:p:280-301
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ppe.sagepub.com/content/11/3/280.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 2006-15, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
      • BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
    3. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 260-284, December.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1992. "Pigs and Guinea Pigs: A Note on the Ethics of Animal Exploitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1345-1369, November.
    6. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. " Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 347-368.
    7. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    9. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
    10. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
    11. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2001. "Population ethics and the existence of value functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 301-308, November.
    12. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:11:y:2012:i:3:p:280-301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.