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Deliberative democracy

Deliberative democracy is a term used by the Green Party of the United States to refer to its particular proposals for grassroots democracy and electoral reform. It is also used by political theorists, e.g. Jon Elder[?], to refer to any system of political decisions based on some tradeoff of consensus decision making and representative democracy that involves an extensive effort to include marginalized, isolated, ignored groups in decisions, and to extensively document dissent, grounds for dissent, and future predictions of consequences of actions. It focuses as much on the process as the results.

A claimed strength of deliberative democratic models is that they are more easily able to incorporate scientific opinion and base policy on outputs of ongoing research, because:

  • time is given for all participants to understand and discuss the science
  • scientific peer review, adversarial presentation of competing arguments, refereed journals, even betting markets, are also deliberative processes.
  • the technology used to record dissent and document opinions opposed to the majority is also useful to notarize bets, predictions and claims.

Another strength of deliberative democratic models is that they allegedly tend, more than any other model, to generate ideal conditions of impartiality[?], rationality and knowledge of the relevant facts. The more these conditions are fulfilled, the greater the likelihood that the decisions reached are the morally right ones. Deliberative democracy has thus an epistemic[?] value: it allows participants to know the moral good. This view has been prominently held by Carlos Nino.

(stub, should contain more on Elder's model, Nader's Concord Principles[?] etc.)

See also: grassroots democracy, electoral reform, green parties

Further reading

  • Nino, C. S. (1996)The Constitution of Deliberative Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press. [ISBN 03-000-7727-0]



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