Is Electoral Democracy still a good tool for Social Justice?

16 August 2019

Watch the full video (above) of the public lecture on ‘Is Electoral Democracy still a good tool for Social Justice?’ featuring Philippe Van Parijs, organised by Ashoka University and CPR. The lecture was followed by a conversation with Pratap Bhanu Mehta. 

Electoral democracy possesses virtues that arguably makes it an indispensable tool in the pursuit of social justice. These virtues include the educational force of vote fetching, the disciplining force of self-infliction and above all the civilising force of hypocrisy. But this tool is very imperfect and for a number of reasons — among them, the growing impact of our local decisions on people living elsewhere or not yet born and the growing role of the internet — increasingly so.

To address its imperfections, it is worth exploring unorthodox strategies whose relevance will vary greatly from place to place. These strategies include the democratisation of a lingua franca (as a complement to local languages), the creation of global constituencies (as a complement to local ones), the development of randomly composed citizens’ assemblies (as a complement to elected assemblies) and listening to the street (as a complement to the ballot box). They will be illustrated by recent proposals and debates in the European context.

Philippe Van Parijs is the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics at UCLouvain.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.