What’s wrong with vote buying
- 215 Downloads
Almost everyone would agree that vote buying is morally wrong, and that prohibitions on vote buying are morally justified. Yet, recently, several philosophers have argued that vote buying is morally permissible, and (in some cases) that it should be legally permitted. This paper begins by examining and criticising arguments that have been offered in defence of vote buying. I then go on to consider existing attempts to explain the wrongness of vote buying, arguing that none is wholly successful. I then advance a novel account of the wrongness of vote buying. Vote buying is objectionable, I argue, because it involves a failure of respect for one’s fellow citizens as autonomous agents. I also consider the implications of my account for a number of other controversial practices.
KeywordsVote buying Markets Respect Autonomy Equality Voting
For helpful comments and criticisms on earlier versions of this paper, not all of which I have been able to address, I thank Geoffrey Brennan, Lisa Hill, Philip Pettit, Nicholas Southwood, Laura Valentini, and Daniel Wodak, together with an anonymous reviewer for Philosophical Studies, and a seminar audience at the Australian National University.
- Archer, A., Engelen, B. & Ivankovic, V. (Forthcoming). Effective vote markets and the tyranny of wealth. Res Publica.Google Scholar
- Blais, A., & Dobrzynska, A. (1998). Turnout in electoral democracies. European Journal of Political Research, 33, 239–261.Google Scholar
- Brennan, J. (2011). The ethics of voting. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Brennan, J., & Jaworski, P. (2016). Markets without limits: Moral virtues and commercial interests. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Christiano, T. (2003). An argument for democratic equality. In T. Christiano (Ed.), Philosophy and democracy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Copp, D. (2000). Capitalism versus democracy. In J. D. Bishop (Ed.), Ethics and capitalism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
- Dahl, R. A. (1989). Democracy and its critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Raz, J. (1975). Practical reason and norms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Raz, J. (2014). Is there a reason to keep a promise? In G. Klass, G. Letsas, & P. Saprai (Eds.), Philosophical foundations of contract law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Stokes, S. C. (2007). Is vote buying undemocratic? In F. C. Schaffer (Ed.), Elections for sale: The causes and consequences of vote buying. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
- Zwolinski, M., & Wertheimer, A. (2016). Exploitation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/cgibin/encyclopedia/archinfo.cgi?entry=exploitation.