How Smart is Democracy? You Can't Answer that A Priori

Hélène Landemore claims that under certain conditions, democracies with universal suffrage will tend to make smarter and better decisions than epistocracies, even though most citizens in modern democracies are extremely ignorant about politics. However, there is ample empirical evidence that citizens make systematic errors. If so, it is fatal to Landemore's defense of democracy, which, if it works at all, applies only to highly idealized situations that are unlikely to occur in the real world. Critics of democracy will find little in Landemore's defense of democracy to make them change their minds.

Published in: Critical Review
2014 26 Pages 33-58