Fairness, Equality, and Democracy: Three Big Words

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Fairness, Equality, and Democracy: Three Big Words

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Title: Fairness, Equality, and Democracy: Three Big Words
Author: Verba, Sidney
Citation: Verba, Sidney. 2006. Fairness, equality, and democracy: three big words. Social Research: An International Quarterly of Social Sciences 73(2): 499-540.
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Abstract: In this paper I will focus on what might be meant by fairness in a democratic regime. There may be more general fairness criteria applicable to any political system, democratic or authoritarian, but fairness in relation to political decisions is especially central in a democracy. Democratic regimes are supposed to be run by the citizenry, or at least the citizenry ought to be the ultimate authority. Democracies depend on legitimacy to function effectively; only when a regime is considered legitimate can it rule by consent rather than coercion. Democratic regimes cannot rely on coercion to govern and long remain democratic. Thus, public acceptance is important. This also explains why the public determination of what is fair, both as a matter of principle and in the evaluation of particular actions of particular governments, is central in democratic rule.
Published Version: http://socialresearch.metapress.com/link.asp?id=l1365756gg111r47
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:2640592
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