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In Our NameThe Ethics of Democracy$
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Eric Beerbohm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154619

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154619.001.0001

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The Division of Democratic Labor

The Division of Democratic Labor

Chapter:
(p.166) Chapter 7 The Division of Democratic Labor
Source:
In Our Name
Author(s):

Eric Beerbohm

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154619.003.0008

This chapter proposes cost-saving cognitive strategies for citizens to exhibit their decision-making virtues economically. It shows how individual citizens can come to rely on credentialed experts to form and act upon empirical beliefs that bear upon their judgments of distributive justice. Before explaining how the horizontal division of democratic labor works, the chapter considers the structure of the agency problem of representative democracy as well as the intuition that complicity remains a moral hazard of democratic citizenship. It then presents a thought experiment that illustrates how demanding and disruptive our decision making would be in a plebiscitary democracy. It also discusses three principles that can help citizens reduce the decisional burdens of their office: the usability principle, the peer principle, and the triage principle. The chapter concludes by defending a companion principle whose aim is to give citizens guidance when they can offload their decision-making responsibilities.

Keywords:   citizens, distributive justice, democratic labor, agency, democracy, citizenship, decision making, usability principle, peer principle, triage principle

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