20 karmaJoined Jul 2019


I'm a graduate student with the philosophy department at Rutgers University. My research interests lie in social and political philosophy, especially as they overlap with political science and political economy. I'm particularly interested in the relationship between good governance and institutional design. Outside of this, I think about various issues in philosophy of language, philosophical methodology, and their intersection.


Interesting post! Some comments:

(1) "Education levels are rising, so younger people are on average better educated; they also have a more recent education, so are therefore more likely to be more up-to-date on contemporary knowledge."

I think this ignores models of rational voter ignorance. Levels of political ignorance have been consistently high since empirical research into the phenomenon first began, even while education levels have increased. Why? Well, if you take seriously models of rational ignorance, voters in large electoral democracies are simply not incentivized to acquire whatever information helps them to vote competently - the costs of acquisition are too high, while the benefits are too low. Would age-weighted voting ameliorate this problem? I'm not confident that it would. Similarly, if political (epistemic) rationality is not incentivized (or actively disincentivized) in modern democracies, the political preferences of younger people may not be appropriately responsive to the needs of future generations. Ensuring an interest in future generations seems insufficient; regarding such interest in the right way is what we need.

(2) Recent research in political science seems to show that policymakers and legislators are mostly free to enact policy as they see fit, with minimal responsiveness to the political preferences of the electorate. Voter preferences do exert some pressure, but most policymaking is done out of the public eye. If that's right, we might get more bang for our buck if we focus on efforts to improve the long-term decision-making abilities of legislators, bureaucrats, policymakers, and the like. Of course, others (like Jess Whittlestone) have already advocated for improved institutional decision-making as a priority. That line of research is deeply important. However, we might also consider institutional, structural reforms that foster long-term decision-making. I'm thinking of proposals like Bruce Tonn's Futures Congress, Berggruen and Gardel's work on intelligent governance, Alex Guerrero's lottocracy, and more. It's a truism that incentives matter, but what incentives we possess is in part a function of the broader structures we inhabit; if we change the institutional structure, we change the incentives. If feasible, then, we should consider changing institutional structure.