After deliberating, they did not want the Legislature to be able to place a counter-measure on the ballot or to amend an initiative that has passed, or even to remove an initiative from the ballot by enacting it into law. They held the Legislature in low regard at an approval rate of only 14 percent. There was, however, strong support for requiring the names of the top five contributors for and against a measure to be published in the ballot pamphlet and for requiring ballot measures with new expenditures to indicate how they will be paid for. And there was majority support for lowering the threshold voting requirement in the Legislature for new taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent — a surprising willingness to reconsider the best-known aspect of Proposition Regardless of party, the people wanted transparency and accountability and they wanted government to be able to make decisions.
These are reforms that people support once they really think through their implications. Something like this happened in the first democracy, in ancient Athens, where a deliberating microcosm chosen by lot, the Council of , set the agenda for the votes by everyone in the assembly. If the ballot initiative process is to survive for another century, it must take into account the considered judgments of voters coming together to deliberate hard choices and not just cast a vote based on sound bites.
If this succeeds it will help bring California much closer to the ideal that voters were striving for years ago: legislation genuinely initiated by the people. Under Proposition 13, a tax initiative adopted in , a two-thirds vote was required in each chamber of the Legislature to approve new taxes and the state budget. However, a separate initiative, Proposition 25, adopted last year, replaced the two-thirds requirement for budget approval with a simple majority requirement.
Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. University of Berne Berne Switzerland. In this sense, democracy is an ideal that is never fully realized among persons.
We have structured the chapter along fundamental challenges democracy is facing in the 21st century. These challenges are: socioeconomic inequality , gender inequality, religious inequality, racial inequality, generational inequality, racial inequality, globalization as an external threat to public equality, populism as an increasingly powerful challenge within the OECD world, and the risk that the principal of democracy, the demos is withering away.
These single subchapters focus particularly on the challenges to democracy, but they also provide some responses to them. The second part of the chapter changes the focus insofar as it deals mainly with responses such as democratic innovations in Europe and Latin America as specific answers to the shortcomings of representative democracy.
We also address the question of which democratic norms should guide the procedures of supranational governance and what science can contribute to solving some of the challenges science itself and democracy are facing. In order to allow a democratic space with the vision of an ever expanding project, both the demos and equality need to be at the core of democracy. In our world, the state is still the more likely arena for materializing political rights. In a post-national constellation, constitutional-patriotism is too thin and populism-as-fundamentalism is all too dangerous.
To go beyond the nation should not mean to abandon the demos; multi-ethnic in its nature hence remote from organic nationalism, and moving towards greater human rights on international scale as a regulative norm, the evolving, equality-striving demos as a creation of democratic states is a guiding principle of humanism. It is therefore still a viable route to claim a civic demos at the heart of democratic polity as the main institutional design to embed political equality.
Our focus in this chapter is primarily on the basic moral principles that can justify this egalitarian process of collective decision making and on the challenges to understanding and realizing this ideal in the modern world. After an initial account of the basic principle we will address the challenges to articulating and implementing this principle that arise due to the reality of economic inequality in these societies, to the religious, ethnic, gender and racial pluralism of modern societies, and to the fact that these societies are part of a larger global society.
At this point we discuss and evaluate the appropriateness of democratic institutions, procedures, and organizations to translate the moral principles into the structural grammar of present day democracies and to what extent they can guarantee the fundamental principles and normative promises of democracy. As we will see, the ideas of equality and sovereignty at the base of democracy cannot be fully appreciated without a grasp of the pluralism and complexity of modern societies.
The work of this chapter is a collaborative project. The struggle of all groups and persons in society to be recognized as equal and valued members of society is the defining feature of democracy. The reason why democracy has this special status is because it is a way of treating persons as equals in the context of a highly pluralistic society. It does this in the context of a lot of disagreement about how society should be organized and very strong conflicts of interests in how it should be organized. In these circumstances, the question arises as to who gets to decide on the collectively binding norms.
Under the assumption that persons and groups have only limited understandings of the interests and perspectives of other persons and groups, and persons and groups are generally biased in favor of their own interests and perspectives, it is important for all persons and groups to have a say in the collectively binding decisions that constitute the social and political order of a society. Each person and group brings their limited and partial perspectives on how society ought to be organized and attempts by means of argument and negotiation to reconcile their limited points of view with those of others.
Each thereby is able to stand up for his or her own interests and perspectives and is able to learn about the perspectives and interests of others.
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In this way the biases of each person are partly mitigated by a process of discussion and negotiation. They are unlikely to reach full agreement on how to live together. And thus each is unlikely to be fully satisfied that the society is organized as it ought to be organized since the points of view and interests of many others will have to be accommodated.
It is not just important that all have a say but that each has an equal say. Only in this way can the issue of who decides be settled in a way that recognizes and affirms the equal status and value of all persons. So the ideal of public equality serves both as a standard for the evaluation of the procedural aspects of the democratic process as well as a principle for the assessment of the substantive outcomes of democracy. The most obvious way in which it does this is that democratic societies must decide how to reproduce democracy themselves in their constitutional forms as well as in the social bases of democratic participation.
In this respect the discussions of this chapter are designed to inform this continual process of reflection and reproduction of democracy. We also address the question which democratic norms should guide the procedures of supranational governance and what can science contribute to solve some of the challenges science itself and democracy is facing. A concluding paragraph will summarize the chance for re-democratizing democracy. After three decades of neoliberal policies and increasing socio-economic equality the well-established democracies of the OECD world, Latin America and Asia are under stress.
The stress is not primarily caused by external factors such as the digital revolution and the endogenous evolution of capitalism but by democracies own choices. However, it is not entirely clear which root concepts of democracy these authors are using as normative standards for their fundamental critiques of real existing democracy. We will propose a concept of democracy that goes beyond a minimalist Schumpeterian understanding of democracy while also avoiding maximalist overstretching of the concept by incorporating output and outcomes into the proper definition of democracy.
In the following we will present:. If the external embedding is damaged or underdeveloped, this, too, can pose challenges for democracy. The notion of embedding is grounded in the system-theoretical logic of the interdependence of component parts. Critical changes in one partial regime can thus infect other partial regimes. To what extent this occurs depends above all on the intensity of the partial crisis, the resilience of each partial regime, and the functional proximity of one partial regime to another.
The major argument of this chapter is: the social and political disembedding of the external embeddedness driven not only but increasingly by socio-economic inequality tends to break up the internal embeddedness of contemporary democracy. Socio-economic, ethnic, religious or gender inequalities challenge political equality as a core principle of democracy and thereby the proper working of democracy. The chapter and all the single contributions to it will show that most of these partial regimes are challenged by different sorts of inequality, however to a different degree.
A democratic electoral regime requires universal voting rights, active and passive, as well as free and fair elections. These are necessary but far from sufficient conditions for a democratic system. In representative democracy, the electoral regime occupies a key position because elections are the most visible expression of popular sovereignty. Those represented elect their representatives for a fixed period. Through this representative nexus, the addressees of norms are able to see themselves as the authors of norms Kelsen This regime, therefore, is concerned above all with participation and representation.
What is at issue is the interaction between voters, parties, political elites, and parliaments. Differing than formalist constitutionalist reasoning we consider not only the de jure equality of voting as essential for a working democracy, but also the societal and political conditions which provide the individual citizen with the cognitive and material resources of equal opportunity to make use of the constitutional right for voting.
The political rights of participation establish the unrestricted validity of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the rights to association, assembly, and petition. Political rights of participation constitute the public arena as an autonomous sphere for political action in which organizational and communicative power unfolds. In this sphere, collective processes of organization, opinion, and will-formation determine and underpin the competition for positions of political authority.
Here, too, it is about participation and representation, as well as about the vertical control of the representatives by the represented. The most important organized actors are political parties, but the domain also encompasses social protest movements, non-governmental organizations NGOs , interest groups, direct-democratic forms of participation such as referendums, deliberative civic forums, institutional access to the planning of major infrastructure projects, and participatory budgeting.
As it is the case for equal voting good societies have to provide the citizens with sufficient resources to participate in politics equally. Democratic elections and political participation need to be complemented by civil liberties. If one of them is weakened, this reduces the efficient functioning of the other; if one of them is strengthened, it reinforces the effectiveness of the other.
Cultural ethnical, religious, gender, sexuality and economic inequality challenge the de jure and even more the actual equality of civil rights. This is true not only for young and instable democracies but reaches deeply into the reality of OECD-democracies. The fourth partial regime consists in the constitutional provisions for horizontal checks and balances between institutions. These are concerned not only with governmental structures, but also regulate and monitor the legality of government actions. Especially in times of crisis when the executive often claims special decision-making powers, a working horizontal accountability of powers is of elementary importance for the survival of democracy.
In many young democracies the inequality of power between the executive on the one side and the legislative and the judiciary on the other side challenge the restrict the control of those who govern. The effective power to govern means that the only persons, organizations, and institutions entitled to make decisions binding on society are those directly legitimated in free elections or indirectly through delegation under constitutional law by constitutional bodies.
Governments and parliaments must have the resources and decision-making autonomy to prevent extra-constitutional actors from encroaching on their ability to govern. With economic globalization and the deregulation of financial markets in particular, actors with little or no democratic legitimation such as the International Monetary Fund IMF , the European Central Bank ECB , big banks, and hedge funds have been gaining worryingly high levels of influence over democratic processes.
The partial regimes described can fully realize their collectively democracy-reinforcing effect only if they are mutually embedded. Democracy is thus understood as an ensemble of partial regimes that both normatively and functionally interdependent complement and limit one another. Each democracy is also embedded in an external environment that encircles it on the outside, either enabling and stabilizing or hampering and destabilizing it.
The most important external embedding consists in the socioeconomic context, statehood, and the international or regional integration of a country in organizations, alliances, and policy regimes. The internal and external embedding has been eroded during the last decades. Particularly the socioeconomic environment and the progressing denationalization of economic police making have put democracy and particular stress.
However, we should not simply speak of a crisis of democracy since we can observe positive and negative developments. However, a closer look at the single partial regimes of democracy will show that the negative developments prevail. The transformation of exogenous challenges into internal structural changes within democracies can take place in two different ways. First, these challenges can be conducive to democracy by enabling it to handle challenges productively, adapt institutions to changing environments, and adopt appropriate policies that transform external challenges into innovative reforms with a renewing effect on democracy.
A second possible scenario is that challenges are not handled appropriately and lead to a persistent crisis of legitimacy. The following empirical overview of the effects of rising socioeconomic inequality to the partial regimes of democracy seeks to shed light on some of the unresolved problems facing established democracies today. Voter turnout has declined moderately in Western Europe and drastically in Eastern Europe, while remaining at a problematically low level in the US. Declining electoral participation is due particularly to the political apathy of the lower social classes and not by their permissive abstention as some conservative observers argue.
While the gender gap has nearly closed, selectivity in terms of social class has significantly increased. The increasing socioeconomic inequality of the last three decades has translated into heightened inequalities in cognitive resources and political knowledge across social classes. The lower their political knowledge, the less the voters are able to translate their interests into corresponding voting preferences. The more unequal a society, the greater is the number of voters who are unwilling or unable to participate meaningfully in elections.
The more unequal the electoral participation, in turn, the likelier it is that substantial representation on the parliamentary level becomes similarly distorted. Less conventional forms of participation such as referenda, deliberative assemblies, participatory budgeting or citizen councils are unable to stop the trend toward political exclusion: since they are cognitively and politically more demanding than voting in general elections, they are socially even more exclusive.
In short, these instruments do not seem to be a cure for the disease of social exclusion, but rather an accelerator of it. It is not clear whether this applies above all to advanced post industrial societies and established democracies. Studies of Latin America indeed show that in certain contexts, these new forms of political participation may intensify the involvement of citizens in political processes in their municipalities or even on the national level Pogrebinschi Compared to the early s when women Switzerland or African Americans six US states were not allowed to vote, when women did not enjoy the full range of economic and civil rights in many democracies, when homosexuals were criminalized and discrimination against ethnic minorities was ubiquitous, the civil rights situation today has improved considerably.
Contemporary civic associations are more numerous and more political, monitoring politics much more closely than some decades ago. Yet we are not living in a world where civil rights and the rule of law are unchallenged, as recent revelations of the surveillance practices of the American National Security Agency NSA , the British Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ , and secret services elsewhere in the world have shown.
In the age of the Internet, private monopolies such as Google also pose a challenge to individual privacy rights. It is also true that democratic states must come up with more inclusive and lasting forms of selecting, accepting, and integrating immigrants into their societies and political systems. Indeed, hard-fought advances in equal rights for ethnic minorities have been recently challenged in Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia.
On the whole, however, there can be no doubt that the overall civil rights situation has improved within the OECD world in the past half-century.
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The last decades have seen a weakening of national parliaments. Globalization and transnationalization have strengthened executives at the cost of parliaments. Governments, from Argentina to Greece to Germany, are blackmailing their legislatures in the name of executive emergency rights and policymaking imperatives under the real or pretended pressures of crisis.
Transparency and accountability have been among the first victims as a result. Deregulation and globalization have empowered financial actors such as banks, hedge funds, investors, and global firms.
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If these principals are hit by self-inflicted crises, as it has been the case with the financial crises after , they can externalize their problems by forcing governments to bail them out. Only the regime of civil rights has seen considerable improvements. The rights of women and minorities ethnic, religious, sexual have made impressive advances, de jure and de facto in most countries although not completely catch up to the actual level of men and the majorities.
In times of globalization it seems easier for democratic governments to advance non-economic identity rights than to stop the increasing socioeconomic inequalities Merkel a in times of deregulated global markets and the dominant economic paradigm of austerity politics and policies. It would be wrong to assume that the established democracies of the OECD world have already transformed into post-democracies, since there are, rather, asynchronous developments that have strengthened the proper working of democracies in certain ways and weakened it in others, as we have pointed out.
But what will be discussed in the following chapters is to which extent the multiple challenges of inequalities are undermining the very idea and practice of democracy and which democratic reforms and innovations can reduce the danger of shifting axes of democratic legitimacy in the 21st century. The 20th century brought extraordinary change on matters concerning racial and ethnic identity. Formal colonialism ended. The Nazi Party was defeated, though not before millions were massacred on xenophobic grounds. In the wake of that atrocity, the United Nations issued a charter protecting the fundamental rights and liberties for all persons regardless of their country of origin, religious beliefs, skin color, and cultural practices.
In the s, the United States passed sweeping civil rights legislation, outlawing ethnic discrimination and putting in place measures to help integrate schools and ensure fair access to voting. In South Africa, the apartheid regime was replaced by a Constitution committed to inclusion and opportunity. The European Union formed, offering opportunities for mobility and employment across borders.
Given that the 19th century was marked by brutal colonialism, exploitation, and slavery, these transformations are not to be undersold. Yet ethnic inequality persists. In many countries, practices of formal discrimination, government-sponsored xenophobia, and ethnic genocide are alive and well. And in countries that have banned formal discrimination between people on the basis ethnic identity, individuals from minority groups still face enormous substantive barriers to integration and equality.
If this is the case, they argue, then differences between racial and ethnic groups must be traceable exclusively to choices and cultures. This view is both incorrect and dangerous. While we have made tremendous steps toward ethnic equality, social and economic inequality between ethnic groups persists even in democratic countries. Persistent inequality in democratic countries is the focus of this subchapter. We argue that persistent socioeconomic inequality makes it much harder for ethnic minorities to participate effectively in politics.
In turn, barriers to political participation make it harder for members of ethnic groups to gain social and economic inequality. This is why we began this section with Dr. Democracies recognize the equal worth of citizens by giving them a say in the decisions that affect their lives. To accomplish this, states must guarantee three things: a protection of civil rights and liberties; b access to the resources necessary for citizens to exercise political voice and relate on terms of mutual respect, and c fair procedures for voting and representation. In this subchapter, we demonstrate how ethnic inequality threatens political equality along all three of dimensions.
We highlight one pattern in particular: that social and economic ethnic inequality both causes political inequality and is caused by political inequality. First, we show that individuals from ethnic minority groups face threats to their civil liberties, most notably to the fundamental rights to basic safety and security and equal treatment under the law. Second, we argue that people from minority ethnic groups often face barriers to accumulating financial, educational, social, and cultural capital, which in turn undermines political equality.
Third, we demonstrate that certain formal procedures like direct democratic ballot referenda harm ethnic minority groups and should be reconsidered. At the end of each section, we outline a set of responses that address the challenges we highlight. Ethnicity is an umbrella term that includes, but is not limited to, features associated with race such as skin color, hair type, and ancestry Horowitz Researchers have debunked this fixed view, revealing instead that the salience of specific identities varies from country to country and changes regularly depending on political and demographic factors.
Because of this fact, we face a challenging task in this chapter. Each nation has its own history of ethnic strife: in Europe, immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Romany groups face barriers to social inclusion and political equality. In India, caste and religious identity matter greatly. In the United States, Black Americans face oppression and poverty in part due to vestiges of chattel slavery.
Recognizing these important differences, we nonetheless strive to identity patterns, frameworks, and interventions that can help policymakers and activists worldwide understand the relationship between ethnic identity, inequality, and democracy. We wish to emphasize one pattern in particular: that social and economic ethnic inequality both causes political inequality and is caused by political inequality. At the most fundamental level, political equality requires an equal guarantee of basic civil liberties: rights to bodily security, a fair trial, free association, etc.
Yet in many places, these guarantees vary based on skin color or country of origin. Biased laws, and the biased application of fair laws, significantly impede political equality. Individuals acting on behalf of the state such as judges, juries, and representatives sometimes take biased actions that deprive citizens of basic rights.
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We could fill a whole volume documenting these patterns. Police officers and prosecutors perform one of the most essential tasks in a democracy: ensuring internal order. This job is challenging, requiring them to make frequent high-stakes decisions about who to pursue and how. This tactic, known as ethnic profiling, informs judgments about whom to stop and question on the street, whom to arrest, whom to prosecute, whom to sentence and for how long, and even whom to shoot when faced with a perceived threat.
In Spain, for example, Romany are ten times more likely to be stopped on the street by police than 'white' residents, Moroccans at 7. In France, a black person was six times more likely to be stopped by police than a white person in Paris, and an Arab person was almost eight times more likely to be stopped than a white person OSJI Similar patterns have been documented across the world ibid. Despite its popularity, ethnic profiling is both ineffective and unjust ibid. In countries that disenfranchise felons and ex-felons, such as the United States, the fact that ethnic minorities are disproportionately convicted of felonies has a direct effect on voting.
The link between ethnic profiling, bias in the judicial system, and access to the ballot box cannot be ignored. We urge policymakers to dismantle felony disenfranchisement laws wherever they exist. At times, the consequences of ethnic profiling are even more dire. In some cases, police officers kill people they stop on grounds of suspicion. Largely because such a ethnic minorities are stopped at disproportionately high rates, a high percentage of these victims are ethnic minorities.
More often than not, police officers are not held accountable, even when the victim was unarmed and not engaged in any criminal activity. Given the clear problems associated with ethnic profiling, many countries across the world are considering legislative and police reforms. One of the most promising responses involves concerted, relentless efforts to build trust between police officers and the communities they serve. This includes a commitment to diversifying the population of police officers leadership and rank-and-file , conducting extensive, frequent trainings on implicit bias, and explicitly teaching skills associated with conflict mediation and inter-ethnic communication.
Another promising reform involves officers wearing body cameras that record their interactions with constituents. We also call for the creation of independent bodies for reviewing officer-involved shootings and a reduction in the use of lethal weapons. In addition to internal police reforms, we call for legislation banning stops for "furtive" movements such as a reaching for waistband or acting nervous, stops for being in a high-crime area, and stops for matching a generalized description of a suspect i.
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Additionally, ethnic profiling can be reduced by decriminalizing of activities that do not threaten public security but give police officers easy justifications for stopping someone, including: public alcohol consumption, marijuana possession, loitering, spitting, jaywalking, and biking on the sidewalk ibid.
While legislative and institutional reforms are essential to ending practices of ethnic profiling, unfair policing is a symptom of larger societal problems that must be addressed, including unequal access to public goods, residential segregation, and the diminished capacity to exercise political voice.
In many countries, members of ethnic minority groups face barriers to accessing financial, social, cultural, and human capital, as well as healthcare, nutritious food, and safe housing. In the United States, for example, Black Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed and nearly three times as likely to live in poverty.
Residential segregation is one of the primary mechanisms underlying this form of ethnic inequality Anderson Studies have found that segregation limits residential choices, and constrains employment and educational opportunities by reducing access to good schools and jobs Charles Segregation can also lead to civil unrest and violent conflict, as evidenced by the Paris riots in In Paris, many low-income immigrants live in isolated suburban public housing communities.
They have poor access to public transportation, quality food, and other public goods. They are also socially isolated, which means that they rarely interact with white French citizens, at least not on terms of mutual respect Iceland ; Anderson Limited interaction breeds stereotypical thinking: if you very rarely encounter someone from a minority ethnic group, then your opinions about a group are going to be limited to media exposure and a small number of personal interactions.
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These stereotypes result in biased actions. Discrimination by French employers against Muslims has increased sharply over the last two decades Laitin et al Unequal public goods provision is partially explained by opportunity and resource hoarding, whereby a group with more power and resources limits access to those goods by members outside the group Tilly ; Anderson In-group hoarding is much more likely to occur when there are existing disparities in wealth along ethnic lines Chandran ; Baldwin and Huber This is because stakes of redistribution are higher: well-resourced groups have more to lose, and poor individuals have more to gain.
In areas with high inequality between ethnic groups, there is also lower public goods provision overall. In the United States, for example, cities with higher levels of ethnic diversity spend less overall on public goods Easterly et al. Lower overall public goods provision is not, as previously believed, tied to cultural or preferential differences between ethnic groups. Instead, it occurs due to in-group hoarding, as described above Baldwin and Huber Wealthy individuals are better able to substitute private goods for public goods purchasing private education, private security, etc.
Party elites use ethnic identity to target voters and form electoral coalitions Horowitz ; Chandra ; Posner Rather than ethnic minorities lacking work ethic, they often merely cannot access jobs due to poor education, employment discrimination, and other forms of oppression that results from ethnic inequality in the first place.
Spatial segregation, unequal public goods provision, and party ethnification have strong implications for political equality. These patterns undermine the fundamental equality necessary for citizens to deliberate as equals. So what can be done? Policymakers should also work to equalize access to public goods. Yet improving primary and secondary education is not a silver bullet; these efforts must be accompanied by government-sponsored childcare, paid family leave policies, healthcare, desegregation, adult job training and employment, and safe housing and nutrition.
Campaign finance laws also play a significant role in political empowerment. Direct democracy is on the rise in modern democracies. For nearly four decades, scholars have documented a strong relationship between direct democracy and ethnic inequality e. Bell, Jr. Recent empirical studies provide causal evidence that direct ballot referenda may be used to oppress minority ethnic groups.
In Switzerland, foreign residents become naturalized in three stages: first vetted by the federal government, and then the state. After they are approved, each municipality makes the final decision. While some municipalities have elected politicians to vote on the applications, others allow voters to decide directly via secret ballot.
The quality of the applicant pool remained the same, implying that voters discriminate against qualified applicants that would have been approved if accountable legislators had made the decision. In fact, the effect of switching from direct to representative democracy was notably stronger in areas where citizens were more xenophobic ibid.
Why is this the case? In short, given the same exact policy decision, direct democracy measures are more likely to suppress minority interests more than representative democracy measures. We therefore advocate that policymakers reduce or eliminate the use of ballot referenda, especially when issues of citizenship and access to essential resources are concerned. While the past years have seen extraordinary progress toward ethnic peace and equality, democracies still face obstacles to ensuring political equality for all. Citizens from ethnic minority groups are more likely profiled by the police, which in turn leads to higher rates of arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and disenfranchisement.
They have more trouble accessing public goods like housing, food, childcare, schools, and nutritious food. These socioeconomic disparities make it difficult for ethnic minorities to participate politically because they lack the time, knowledge, networks, and capital to do so. Residential and social segregation exacerbate stereotypes and make citizens less likely to engage on terms of mutual respect.
Political parties often exaggerate these stereotypes, enflaming voters to hoard resources for their co-ethnic group. In some cases, voters may even use democratic processes to oppress individuals from ethnic minority groups, as has been the case with direct ballot referenda. This is by no means an exhaustive account of the challenges facing democracies who strive toward political equality between members of ethnic groups. Rather, these challenges are representative of broader challenges concerning civil rights and liberties, the distribution of resources, and the procedures used to ascertain and uphold the general will.
We are encouraged by the progress that has been made along each of these dimensions since the 19th century, and hopeful that we countries can continue along this trajectory by investigating and responding to persistent inequalities facing ethnic minority groups worldwide. The defining feature of democracy, as already expressed in the introduction, is that all groups and persons be recognised as equal and valued members of the society to which they belong. If this is so, and if, further, the collective decision making process is the public realisation of the equal worth of every citizen, then any practice that involves discrimination, exclusion, marginalization or oppression of groups and persons violates the principle of democracy.
A fully realized democracy then cannot coexist with inequality.