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Hume's PoliticsCoordination and Crisis in the History of England$
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Andrew Sabl

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134208

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134208.001.0001

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What Touches All

What Touches All

Equality, Parliamentarism, and Contested Authority

Chapter:
(p.207) Chapter 7 What Touches All
Source:
Hume's Politics
Author(s):

Andrew Sabl

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691134208.003.0008

This chapter addresses the horizontal biases of coordination: the ability of those holding government office to systematically favor some over others in the distribution of public goods or even of legal protection. It argues that the main guarantor of equality, in the face of the inequality that governing elites would otherwise prefer, is parliaments: legislative assemblies, grounded on a franchise that became more equal over time. A Humean approach to horizontal bias most productively starts by modernizing the medieval roots of parliamentary theory. According to this theory, legislative assemblies exist to demand that state officials ask the people's representatives what shall be done before doing it. Legislatures exist to discuss not whether the benefits of authority are greater than zero but how they are, and ought to be, distributed.

Keywords:   coordination, government office, public goods, equality, parliaments, legislative assemblies, authority

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