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 Rikers 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.
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A long dark shadow over democratic politics
The doctrine of democratic irrationalism
Is democratic voting inaccurate?
The Arrow general possibility theorem
Is democracy meaningless? Arrows condition of unrestricted domain
Is democracy meaningless? Arrows condition of the independence of irrelevant alternatives
Strategic voting and agenda control
Unmanipulating the manipulation the election of Lincoln
Antebellum politics concluded
More of Rikers cycles debunked
Other cycles debunked
Plebiscitarianism against democracy
Other editions - View all
according actual agenda aggregation alternatives amendment American argument Arrow Arrow's theorem assume assumption believe Bell bill Borda count candidates claim collective committee comparison condition Condorcet Congress constitutional convention cycle decision democracy Democrats dimension distribution Douglas economic election electors empirical equal equilibrium evidence example faction failed fair favored final force four further Group House IIA(A individual inference institutions interest interpretation issue legislators legislature liberal Lincoln logrolling majority manipulation means method North northern observed offered outcome pairwise party passed percent plurality political population position possible preference orders preferences problem proposal question ranking rational rational choice theory reason record rejection Republicans requires result Riker says Senate sincere slavery social social choice South southern strategic voting Suppose Table theorem theory third tion voters voting rules wanted Whigs winner