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Democracy for a New Era: Legitimate Coercion and Problem of Common versus Conflicting Interests

Today’s world of complex interdependence among relative strangers creates many “free rider problems” that require formal coercion to solve. For both efficiency and normative rightness, that coercion should be minimal, well-designed, and legitimate. Legitimacy creates trust and requires trust. It depends on fair procedures. Some fairness issues are unambiguous, while others, including the best ways to reconcile conflicting interests, are still open to contest. The coming era will require institutions that facilitate consensus together with majority rule, negotiation, intense protest, and decentralization. The overall goal is legitimacy through the fair aggregation of interests and fair, respectful and productive deliberation.


Professor Jane Mansbridge
Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
Jane Mansbridge is the Charles F. Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She is the author several books, including Beyond Adversary Democracy and Beyond Self-Interest, and many articles, including “On the Idea that Participation Makes Better Citizens,” and, with co-authors, “Deliberative Negotiation” and “The Place of Self-Interest and the Role of Power in Deliberative Democracy.” She was President of the American Political Science Association in 2012-13.
Date: Thursday February 26, 2015
Time: 14.00 - 15.30
Venue: Room 1103, 11/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
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