Bo Rothstein: Populism, Epistemic Democracy and the Quality of Government

Datum: 23 november 2022
Tid: 10:00-11:45

Place: At the Institute for Futures Studies, Holländargatan 13, Stockholm, or online.

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A special branch of political philosophy deals with the issue of the epistemic quality of democracy. The baseline of this argument is that for democratic decisions to be legitimate, it is not enough that they follow established democratic procedures. In addition, the theory of epistemic democracy points at two additional demands, namely that the decisions produced also are ‘fair’ and ‘true’. The fairness demand is connected to the principle of human rights while the ‘true’ demand is related to issues about professional and scientific knowledge. Empirical research shows that electoral-representative democracy without a high quality of the institutions responsible for planning and implementing public policies do not deliver increased human well-being. A special problem is that representative democracy has not turned out to be a safe cure against endemic corruption. It is argued that meritocracy in the public administration, which is a central part in what has been defined as “quality of government” can serve to increase the epistemic qualities of a democratic polity. However, the principle of meritocracy is nowadays challenged by both leftist and right-wing populism.  

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