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Democracy Defended

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  • Mackie,Gerry

Abstract

Is there a public good? A prevalent view in political science is that democracy is unavoidably chaotic, arbitrary, meaningless, and impossible. Such scepticism began with Condorcet in the eighteenth century, and continued most notably with Arrow and Riker in the twentieth century. In this powerful book, Gerry Mackie confronts and subdues these long-standing doubts about democratic governance. Problems of cycling, agenda control, strategic voting, and dimensional manipulation are not sufficiently harmful, frequent, or irremediable, he argues, to be of normative concern. Mackie also examines every serious empirical illustration of cycling and instability, including Riker's famous argument that the US Civil War was due to arbitrary dimensional manipulation. Almost every empirical claim is erroneous, and none is normatively troubling, Mackie says. This spirited defence of democratic institutions should prove both provocative and influential.

Suggested Citation

  • Mackie,Gerry, 2003. "Democracy Defended," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521534314, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521534314
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marek M. Kaminski, 2015. "Empirical examples of voting paradoxes," Chapters, in: Jac C. Heckelman & Nicholas R. Miller (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Voting, chapter 20, pages 367-387, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2018. "Trump, Condorcet and Borda: Voting paradoxes in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 29-35.
    3. Iain McLean, 2015. "The strange history of social choice, and the contribution of the Public Choice Society to its fifth revival," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 153-165, April.
    4. John W. Patty & Elizabeth Maggie Penn, 2019. "A defense of Arrow’s independence of irrelevant alternatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 179(1), pages 145-164, April.
    5. Nicholas R. Miller, 2019. "Reflections on Arrow’s theorem and voting rules," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 179(1), pages 113-124, April.
    6. Richard Potthoff, 2013. "Simple manipulation-resistant voting systems designed to elect Condorcet candidates and suitable for large-scale public elections," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 40(1), pages 101-122, January.
    7. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2014. "Empirical social choice: an introduction," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 297-310, March.
    8. Mogens Pedersen, 2014. "A Danish killer amendment—when judicial review was banned from the 1849 Constitution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 513-523, March.
    9. Bjørn Rasch, 2014. "Insincere voting under the successive procedure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 499-511, March.
    10. Sean Ingham, 2019. "Why Arrow’s theorem matters for political theory even if preference cycles never occur," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 179(1), pages 97-111, April.
    11. Maurice Salles, 2015. "Democracy, the theory of voting, and mathematics: a review of Andrank Tangian’s ‘Mathematical theory of democracy’," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(1), pages 209-216, January.
    12. Malthe Munkøe, 2014. "Cycles and instability in politics. Evidence from the 2009 Danish municipal elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 383-397, March.
    13. Adrian Deemen, 2014. "On the empirical relevance of Condorcet’s paradox," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 311-330, March.
    14. Jac C. Heckelman & Nicholas R. Miller (ed.), 2015. "Handbook of Social Choice and Voting," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15584.
    15. John Patty & Elizabeth Penn, 2011. "A social choice theory of legitimacy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(3), pages 365-382, April.
    16. Scott Feld & Samuel Merrill & Bernard Grofman, 2014. "Modeling the effects of changing issue salience in two-party competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 465-482, March.

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