Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Democracy and Justice

A Review of Gerry Mackie’s Democracy Defended, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 2003, 483 pp.

  • 87 Accesses

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

Mackie’s volume is a path-breaking, thorough, and innovative overview of the subject of social choice and its implications for understanding democracy. It is made up of various lines of analysis including historical interpretation, a review of massive numbers of statistical studies and a careful analysis of numerous aspects of the logical proof of Kenneth Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. It will be ‘must reading’ for all who wish to understand democracy given the work in the social choice field over the last 50 years. On the other hand, it has its shortcomings. By focusing on a particular school of attackers of democracy (led by William Riker), the book becomes less balanced and less useful than it might be. Most unfortunately, Mackie does not take the plunge to see what positive elements flow from such related fields as theories of justice. Finally, by avoiding these other fields, the centrality of politics in the pursuit of justice is one of the implications of the analysis that is missed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Arrow, K. J. (1963). Social Choice and Individual Values, 2nd ed. Yale, New Haven.

  2. Arrow, K. J. (1977). Extended Sympathy and the Possibility of Social Choice. American Economic Review, Vol. 67 (December), pp. 219–225. reprinted in collected papers of Arrow K. J., Social Choice and Justice, Vol. 1. Belknap Press of Harvard.

  3. Black, D. (1958). The Theory of Committees and Elections. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  4. Enelow, J., and Hinich, M. (1984). The Spatial Theory of Voting. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

  5. Goodin, R., and Roberts, K. W. S. (1975). The ethical voter. Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 69: 926–928.

  6. Hotelling, H. (1929). Stability in competition. Econ. J. 39(1): 41–57.

  7. Lalman, D., Oppenheimer, J., and Swistak, P. (1993). Formal rational choice theory: A cumulative science of politics. In Finifter, A. W. (ed.), The State of the Discipline II. APSA, Washington, DC.

  8. Luce, D., and Raiffa, H. (1957). Games and Decisions. Wiley, NY (reprinted: Dover, NY, 1985).

  9. McLean, I., List, C., Fishkin, J., and Luskin, R. (2000). Can deliberation induce greater preference structuration? Evidence from deliberative opinion polls. Proc. Am. Polit. Sci. Assoc.

  10. Mueller, D. (1996). Constitutional Democracy. Oxford University Press, New York.

  11. Mueller, D. C. (1989). Public Choice II. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

  12. Rawls, J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

  13. Riker, W. H. (1982). Liberalism Against Populism: A Confrontation Between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL.

  14. Sen, A. K. (1970). Collective Choice and Social Welfare. North Holland, New York.

  15. Sen, A. K. (1981). Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

  16. Sen, A. (1999a). Famines and other crises. In Development as Freedom. Random House, New York, pp. 160–188.

  17. Sen, A. (1999b). Social choice and individual behavior. In Development as Freedom, Chapter 11. Random House, New York, pp. 249–281.

  18. Sen, A. (2002). The possibility of social choice. In Freedom and Social Choice. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 65–118.

  19. Smithies, A. (1941). Optimum location in spatial competition. J. Polit. Econ. XLIX: 423–439.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Joe Oppenheimer.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Oppenheimer, J. Democracy and Justice. Soc Just Res 18, 83–98 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-005-3396-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • voting cycles
  • democratic theory
  • justice
  • Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem