A government led by representatives of the people has seemingly become the accepted method of representing the wants and needs of the masses. Yet it is easy to see how these people in power may have more ability to influence the desire of the voters rather than allowing the voters' interest influence the representatives. Archon Fung recognizes this as a problem in need of a remedy. The suggested remedy is deliberative polling, a method in which voters are given the chance to take part in an advisory committee to determine their own views based on the education and discussion that has taken place. This method supports democracy by creating additional representation of the people. In this analysis, I will study and weigh Fung's theories and methods while examining opposing theories of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick. It is my goal to show the usefulness and practicality of Fung's deliberative polling method in the context of the modern world in which we live.
In order to comprehensively explain the effectiveness of deliberative polling, the method must first be understood. In 'Varieties of Participation in Complex Governance', Fung outlines six methods of participation selection in order to demonstrate a range of inclusiveness. These methods include citizen participation in the forms of self-selection, selective recruitment, random selection, and lay stakeholders; as well as professional stakeholders, elected officials, and expert administrators (Varieties 6-7). While Fung actively discusses each of these methods, his use of random selection in deliberative polling is the most important in discussing the procedure.
Random selection falls just below stakeholders on the scale of inclusiveness, which is key to its usage. Stakeholders, both lay and professional, have an already known disposition and political standing. Randomly selected individuals are less likely to see these stakeholders as political equals, which is essential to this process. This being said, the process of choosing a random stratified sample is made to accurately engage demographic norms while attempting to minimize the potential bias caused by a more exclusive system.
[...] Deliberative polling and deliberative democracy is where society should be work to as a practical means of better serving the modern world. Works Cited "ARCHON FUNG DISCUSSES DEMOCRACY, CITIZEN PARTICIPATION." States News Service 16 Oct Academic OneFile. Web May 2010. Fishkin, James, and Robert C. Luskin. Experimenting with a Democratic Ideal: Deliberative Polling and Public Opinion. Rep. Standford University May 2004. Web May 2010.
[...] Beyond taxation, deliberative democracy can be seen as a method of collectivism, in which a collective group works towards a goal beyond their individualism. While the idea of deliberative democracy is to determine individual interests, the goal is to find what is collectively most desired. Rand considers collectivism “totalitarian,” says it “holds that man must be chained to collective action,” and that “power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual” Path”). Rand argues against any form of collectivism based on these principles while supporting the rights of the capitalist individual. [...]
[...] However Nozick does make note of how people want a say in the important aspects of their lives, but quickly announces how that can only come through taking away the choices of others. In the practical world, though, Nozick's ideas require drastic change to essentially destroy one system and build another one up. His idea that taxation is a form of slavery may not be a refutable point, but it is more importantly an unnecessary one as he would be forced to take away the rights of those currently in power in order to even institute his preferred system. [...]
[...] And then they also demonstrated how useful this method is, thanks to achievements such as how the change in opinion and vote are related to gain of information, as the biggest changes in education led to the most prolific change of opinion; no relation between social location and change of opinion/votes, meaning that there was no greater tendency for change in either direction nor for any specific degree of change; increase in single- peakedness, which demonstrates the predictability of a voter (which is good, as it shows voters less likely to be swayed by campaign tricks rather than political ideas); preferences do not polarize nor homogenize within groups, indicating individuals are not being swayed by peer pressure within groups; and balanced deliberation tends to promote balanced learning, which means the system succeeds in properly educating people to make their own decisions (Fishkin 14-16). [...]
[...] This local practice of deliberative democracy is already in use, such as in Porto Alegre, Brazil where they use structure of direct citizen participation” to make up the budget, allowing each resident to come forward and state what they feel is most important for their neighborhood. Fung states that this works due to the simple principle that “people know whether or not a community center or housing would be a good thing in their neighborhood.” He notes how deliberative policy making has been used from classical Greece, to standard town-meetings, and right into the present with Porto Alegre (ARCHON FUNG). This system conflicts ideologically with many who believe in minimal taxation, including Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick. [...]
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