‘Compromise, Consensus and Neutrality’

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 1, pp. 54-78, 1998

22 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2010 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010

Richard Bellamy

University College London - Department of Political Science; European University Institute

Martin Hollis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 4, 2010

Abstract

Compromise forms the lifeblood of liberal democracies within pluralist societies, yet proves problematic for liberals and democrats alike. The authors overcome this difficulty by comparing the mutual acceptance sought by negotiators both from a bargain struck by traders for mutual advantage and from an agreement among trimmers to avoid contentious issues. While the last two forms of compromise offend democratic and liberal canons of justice and fairness, the first does not. Through an investigation of the nature, preconditions and limits of the negotiating process, they indicate what can and what cannot be compromised. They contend compromise so conceived offers a superior liberal response to multiculturalism and pluralism than liberal neutrality can, for neutrality tends to collapse into either a trader's or a trimer's compromise. they illustrate their argument with a discussion of the long historical compromise of America liberal democracy with slavery and its current wrestlings with abortion.

Keywords: compromise, liberalism, negotiation, abortion

Suggested Citation

Bellamy, Richard and Hollis, Martin, ‘Compromise, Consensus and Neutrality’ (January 4, 2010). Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 1, pp. 54-78, 1998 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1531359 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1531359

Richard Bellamy (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Political Science ( email )

Gower Street
London
United Kingdom
020 7679 4980 (Phone)
020 7679 4969 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/people/richard-bellamy

European University Institute ( email )

Via dei Roccettini, 9
San Domenico di Fiesole (FI), Tuscany 50014
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.eui.eu/ProgrammesAndFellowships/MaxWeberProgramme/People/RichardBellamywebpage.aspx

Martin Hollis

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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