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|Title:||Voter Competency, Distributed Ledger Technology, and the Future of Democracy|
|Keywords:||Institutional Design;Democracy;Distributed Ledger Technology;Blockchain Technology|
|Abstract:||A great challenge for democracy is to account for the conflict between the ideal of self-governance and the capacity of the average person to participate in democratic decision-making. This challenge has led some observers to question the defensibility of democracy and consider other systems of social organization. I argue instead that the problem can be solved with a technologically enhanced version of Thomas Christiano’s choice of aims model of democracy. I begin by setting up the voter competency problem: I describe the ideals of democracy and the role that is ascribed to citizens under traditional accounts of democracy, then proceed to a discussion of the empirical evidence that shows how unlikely it is that voters could ever adequately perform such a role. While I consider a number of alternative democratic models which attempt to reconstruct the role of citizens in a way that is consistent with their capacities and with the democratic ideal of self-governance, I find that the choice of aims model strikes this balance in a way that is most tenable. Despite this, I argue that changes to the way information is distributed in modern democracies, to do with the rise of the internet, pose a serious threat to the viability of even this model, as it is becoming increasingly difficult for voters to ascertain reliable information. The second half of the thesis offers support to Christiano’s model in the form of technologically enhanced institutions. Chapter 3 provides a basic understanding of an emerging technology called distributed ledger technology, which offers a new paradigm for how information is stored, controlled, and distributed around society. The final chapter demonstrates how this technology can be used to strengthen democratic institutions so that citizens are able to truly be said to self-govern in a way that is consistent with their capacities.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Ramsay_Travis_P_2019September_MA.pdf||880.18 kB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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