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Deliberative democracy

Deliberative democracy is a term used by political theoristss, e.g. Jon Elster, to refer to any system of political decisions based on some tradeoff of consensus decision making and representative democracy.

It is usually associated with left-wing politics and often recognizes a conflict of interest between the citizen participating, those affected or victimized by the process being undertaken, and the group-entity that organizes the decision. Thus it usually involves an extensive outreach effort to include marginalized, isolated, ignored groups in decisions, and to extensively document dissent, grounds for dissent, and future predictions of consequences of actions. It focuses as much on the process as the results. In this form it is a complete theory of civics.

The Green Party of the United States refers to its particular proposals for grassroots democracy and electoral reform by this name.

A claimed strength of deliberative democratic models is that they are more easily able to incorporate scientific opinion and base policy on outputs of ongoing research, because:

Another strength of deliberative democratic models is that they allegedly tend, more than any other model, to generate ideal conditions of impartiality, rationality and knowledge of the relevant facts. The more these conditions are fulfilled, the greater the likelihood that the decisions reached are the morally right ones. Deliberative democracy has thus an epistemic value: it allows participants to know the moral good. This view has been prominently held by Carlos Nino.

(stub, should contain more on Elder's model, Nader's Concord Principles etc.)

See also: grassroots democracy, electoral reform, green parties

Further reading