The Promise and Peril of Epistocracy

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (Symposium on Jason Brennan, Against Democracy), (pre-publication version), Forthcoming

George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 19-15

14 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2019

See all articles by Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: September 3, 2019

Abstract

Jason Brennan's Against Democracy makes a strong case that democratic majorities' right to rule rests on shaky grounds so long as their ballot box decisions are heavily influenced by ignorance and bias. But his “epistocratic” alternative - empowering the better-informed segments of society - has significant flaws of its own. Ironically, the biggest shortcoming of epistocracy may be that we lack the knowledge necessary to make it work well.

Keywords: democracy, epistocracy, rationality, political ignorance, ignorance, irrationality, Jason Brennan, foot voting

JEL Classification: D70, D71, D80, D81, H10, H11, H41, H77

Suggested Citation

Somin, Ilya, The Promise and Peril of Epistocracy (September 3, 2019). Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (Symposium on Jason Brennan, Against Democracy), (pre-publication version), Forthcoming, George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 19-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3447533

Ilya Somin (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8069 (Phone)
703-993-8124 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sls.gmu.edu/ilya-somin/

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