Volume 18

Local Diversity and Polycentric Democracy

by Ryan Muldoon

Polycentric democracy holds great promise as a means to deal with the core democratic challenge of intractable disagreements that stem from our diversity.  Instead of simply having majorities win, polycentric orders aim to find a way of letting everyone get what they want.  Polycentric solutions are often presented as cost-free, as only those who choose to join a club or move to a new locale are affected.  This paper examines the ways in quite serious costs to third parties can arise in polycentric orders, and then offers some possible ways to recover the benefits of polycentricity while mitigating some of these costs.

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