The Frontiers of Democracy: The Right to Vote and its Limits by L. Beckman

By L. Beckman

The Frontiers of Democracy deals a complete exam of regulations at the vote in democracies this day. For the 1st time, the explanations for except for humans (prisoners, kids, intellectually disabled, non-citizens) from the suffrage in modern societies is seriously tested from the perspective of democratic conception.

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The causal foundations of this view are made explicit in the claim that ‘a democratic say ... rests on the causal principle of having a pertinent affected interest’ (Shapiro, 2003, p. 56). In a similar voice, Young insists that political decisions should be made by procedures that allow for the participation or representation of ‘all the potentially affected parties’ (Young, 2001, p. 672; cf. Young, 2000, p. 27). The implications of a consistent application of the causal conception of the all affected principle are hard to predict in detail but are highly imaginative in general terms.

A more elaborate justification can be found in the argument that rights to influence goes together Democracy and Inclusion 39 with the wealth transferred to the state by means of taxes. The taxpayers’ political privileges represent the extension of the rights that come with rights to private property and, ultimately, the self-ownership of the individual. Since this only applied to taxpayers and since taxpayers were usually the owners of land, the right to influence political decisions was considered to be the privilege of the propertied classes.

In accordance with the analyses of both Bauböck and Christiano, ‘the people’ is to be identified with the members of the ‘polity’ (Bauböck) or the ‘nationstate’ (Christiano), because people’s stakes are at present most tightly knit together at this political level. But if ‘stakes’ correspond to future prospects for well-being, it is questionable whether the borders of existing polities approximates relevant circles of stakeholders. Remember, the major point emphasised by adherents of the causal understanding of the all affected principle is that the effects of political decisions in a world characterised by interdependence are trans-national.

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