Assume that the individual knows that the public good, to be made equally available to all persons, will be financed by a specific tax institution that will be expected to impose upon him, personally and privately, a per-unit charge shown at 0T. The individual will tend to approve all spending proposals for extending the provision of the good up to an amount 0X. It should be noted that the individual calculus depicted in this demand-curve construction is straightforward. This aspect of behavior is absent because we have postulated that a specific tax scheme is pre-selected, externally to the chooser, and that his own action cannot modify the tax-price per unit at which the public good is made available to him.
The methodological defense of this approach is postponed until Chapter 9. Suppose that the collective good is Polaris submarine defense, and that the quantity is measured by the number of submarines in commission. The same number of submarines is available to each and every citizen. Suppose further that the provision of this particular defense is to be financed through the imposition of an equal-per-head tax and that the marginal cost of supplying additional submarines is equal to average cost. Now assume that the decision on quantity to be supplied is made by a referendum process, where the individual is allowed to vote on successive spending proposals, commencing with one unit and increasing until some group decision is attained.
He will tend to vote in favor of proposals for spending up to a level of 0X submarines, and he will vote against all proposals for extensions beyond this quantity. As emphasized, the individual person will not be allowed to make an independent quantity adjustment; he cannot, by definition, consume a quantity different from anyone else. For this reason alone, and even in this highly abstract referendum model, it will be unlikely that his preferences will be fully reflected in the group decision outcome.
But this outcome, both in simple and complex models, can only be determined through some analysis of the choices of the individuals who participate. Suppose that the position shown in Figure 2. Let us now modify the taxing institution. Assume that the same collective good, submarine defense, is to be Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] financed, not through the levy of a head tax, but through a tax on the net income of corporate enterprises.
How will this change in the institution of payment affect the private decision of the single voter-taxpayer-beneficiary? Three possible effects may be distinguished. In other words, any individual will have some preference ranking for the various means of meeting financial obligations to government, even if he must pay the same net tax in each case.
This scale of preference is rarely noted in connection with ordinary market choices because the individual is considered to be free to make payments in any manner that he chooses. He is not required to discharge obligations in any particular way, as he normally is in the fiscal process. To isolate this first effect on individual choice behavior, suppose that, as an owner of a specific number of corporate stocks and as a consumer of a specific quantity of commodities produced in the corporate sector, the individual estimates his own personal tax liability to be the same as that predicted under the head tax scheme depicted in Figure 2.
For purposes of his decision calculus, this would have the effect of shifting the supply curve, or tax-price line, downward, even though the net tax paid is the same in the two cases. Due to the nonpecuniary advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of payment, the individual may act differently in separate institutional situations, even with equivalent net taxes.
The effects on his choices will be identical to those stemming from a tax-price reduction. It is introduced briefly here primarily for analytical completeness. The taxpayer may know that he owns a specified number of corporate shares and he may also know how many commodities he purchases from the corporate sector. But he may have no idea at all about how much his own share in the Edition: current; Page: [ 16 ] cost of an additional Polaris submarine will be under the institution of the corporation income tax.
The contrast in this respect with the head tax, under which we have assumed the individual able to predict his own tax liability with reasonable accuracy, seems dramatic. This introductory example indicates that the influences of fiscal institutions on the information pattern of the individual warrant careful examination.
The third possible effect of the change in fiscal institutions on the behavior of the individual stems from the fact that he is able, under most tax schemes, to influence the tax-price, the terms of trade, with the fisc. The individual may, through modifying his pattern of private earning or spending, or through participating in collective decisions, change the net tax-price per unit of public good that he confronts. This third influence is not present under the equal-per-head tax, used here as a benchmark.
But it will be present under most other institutions. His behavior as a direct participant in the collective choosing process cannot modify the tax-price per unit, although it can, of course, modify the total tax bill. For example, under the personal income tax, the individual, through not earning taxable income, may slightly increase the tax-price at which units of public good are made available to every other member of the community while at the same time lowering the tax-price for himself. His own estimate of the tax-price that he faces will depend, therefore, on some prediction as to the private behavior of others as well as his own.
How do these separate effects combine in influencing the behavior of an individual in demanding a single public good?
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But as the information pattern of the individual is modified under the various fiscal institutions, we can think of this shifting taking on major proportions. The supply curve, upon which the individual actually makes a choice, may fall anywhere within the shaded range drawn in Figure 2. Clearly, the behavior of the individual as he participates in collective decision processes will depend, and significantly so, on the way in which his tax bill is presented to him.
As shown in Figure 2. The individual would approve all spending programs, regardless of the tax institution, up to 0X. This preliminary discussion is designed to make one elementary point. The effects of the institutions of payment on individual choice behavior are more important in fiscal choice than they are in market choice. Part I of this study may be summarized as an attempt to make some rudimentary predictions Edition: current; Page: [ 18 ] concerning these effects. Will the individual choose to spend more publicly under income taxation or expenditure taxation? Before this question can be directly answered, what variables must we analyze?
We know, of course, that such goods rarely exist, in any descriptively realistic sense, and that governmental units provide goods and services with widely varying degrees of benefit divisibility among separate persons. Individual shares cannot normally be treated as equal, and units of the public good available to one individual need not be equally available to all others.
Insofar as any divisibility of benefits among separate persons is introduced, the consumption of units by one person must decrease the availability of units for others in the group. This fact of partial divisibility makes it necessary to introduce, for almost all publicly provided goods and services, two distinct demand elements. The first is the private demand for the good or service, as this is exhaustively treated in basic economic theory. The demand for divisible components of the good is an inverse function of the direct user price that is charged, other things equal.
The individual is a quantity-adjuster, or potentially so, and different individuals may consume different amounts. This individual or private demand for excludable or divisible components of goods provided collectively is not, however, the individual demand with which this study is concerned. By definition, divisibility implies that separate units may be demanded and consumed, individually and privately.
This behavior is outside our field of reference, however, since we are concentrating attention on individual choice and behavior in collective decisions to purchase and to consume public goods. Individual responses in Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] demanding quantities of a public good as a participant in political choice processes, and as related to tax-prices, not user prices, become the relevant behavioral elements.
An illustration will prove helpful. Decisions as to the amount and quality of park services must be taken collectively through some set of institutional rules for reaching political-administrative decisions. Individuals participate in these decisions, and it is this participation that is the object of our researches. Behavior in this process may, however, depend upon the private demand for the services of the park, and this demand may, in turn, be functionally related to the direct user charge that is to be placed on usage of the facility.
These reflect, or should reflect, the genuinely indivisible components that the facility embodies, and the demand for these collective elements can be treated in the same manner as in the analysis of the purely collective good, discussed above. Let us say that a decision is made to charge direct users twenty-five cents for each visit to the park. This privilege of strolling or sitting in the park, at twenty-five cents per visit, is equally available to all citizens, or rather it is considered to be potentially available at the moment of collective decision.
The individual, as a member of the municipal community, considers the availability of park services, at twenty-five cents, to be genuinely collective in the polar sense. Through this convention of incorporating direct user pricing into the institution itself, we convert, as it were, all quasi-collective goods and services into purely collective goods for purposes of the analysis.
In effect, the procedure amounts to breaking down the mixed public-private good into its two component elements. Once we have specified a user price for divisible components, we may proceed to construct a demand schedule or curve for the collective components. The fact that a person knows that he will be charged a user price of twenty-five cents will, of course, affect his estimate of the tax-price that incremental additions to the facility will involve.
While he may value collective components of a zero-user price facility, at the same level of usage, higher than he would value components of a positive-price Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] facility, he will also recognize that the revenues from user pricing in the latter case will reduce the share of the facility that must be financed from tax-prices. Direct user prices will be treated as a partial substitute for tax-prices.
We may illustrate this in Figure 2. As drawn, this curve lies below D a throughout the range. This relationship need not hold universally. If congestion is sufficiently serious, the individual may value park services higher with than without user prices. The estimated tax-price that he will be required to pay is clearly lower in the second case than in the first. The geometry of Figure 2. Even without undue Edition: current; Page: [ 21 ] congestion, collective decision processes may well generate more total investment in public facilities that provide quasi-collective services with the charging of direct user prices than without.
Public parks may be larger in municipalities that charge user prices than in those that do not. Consider a good that is supplied through ordinary market institutions, or through a public enterprise that operates solely in accordance with profitability criteria. Even in this case, it is possible to conceive of an individual demand for the good, as a collective, not a private, good, quite apart from demand for the specifically divisible components.
Under market institutions, the tax-price that the individual expects to pay is, of course, zero since direct user charges, market prices, are expected to finance the whole supply. Nevertheless, an individual demand schedule for the good, as a collective good, may exist, and this schedule may be employed to indicate various tax-prices, over and above market prices, that the individual would be prepared to pay for the availability of the good, at market prices.
The right to purchase unlimited quantities at going market rates becomes, in this model, a purely collective good for the purposes of the analysis. We can ask the same questions posed in the preceding section. How do the institutions of payment, the form in which taxes are imposed, affect the demand of the individual for those components of goods and services supplied publicly that must be equally available to all members of the group? In this chapter and those following, various tax institutions will be examined. The objective is to determine effects on individual behavior in demanding public services through participation in political decision processes.
The discussion may be facilitated by certain simplifying assumptions, which are for the most part analytically helpful rather than essential. We consider a single collective good or service, and all benefits are assumed to be indivisible as among separate persons. Such an institution requires the sharing of the total costs among taxpayers in some way that is not directly tied to the separate marginal evaluations, except as the latter are reflected in the participation of the individual in collective decisions on total spending.
In this setting, the individual is able to estimate his own tax cost for each anticipated quantity of public goods that may be supplied. Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] As one additional assumption, the cost-price of the public good is assumed invariant over quantity. That is, the good can be supplied at constant marginal average cost.
Under these assumptions, several familiar tax institutions will be analyzed for possible relationships between the payments imposed on the individual and the benefits that he expects to receive. The tax consciousness of the individual, as this may be influenced by the fiscal structure, is the point of primary emphasis.
The number of variables that is embodied in any tax institution, real or imagined, makes it essential that specific description be provided, even at the expense of tedious detail. The first institution to be analyzed is described as follows:. An institution meeting this description is rarely, if ever, encountered in real-world fiscal structures. It is useful, nonetheless, in providing a starting point for analysis.
Only a payment scheme that embodies the descriptive characteristics noted would allow the individual to confront the financing of the public good in a manner that is roughly analogous to his position as a prospective purchaser of a private good in the marketplace. With this comparison in mind, it may be helpful to examine each characteristic of the initial model in some detail. When a person finds himself in a market for private goods and services, as a potential purchaser-consumer, he is aware of the fact that, to secure the benefits promised from the consumption of the good, he must initiate action.
But nothing in the institution of payment restricts him in his choice among alternative uses of this purchasing power as potential sources for financing the purchase of the single good under consideration. There is a direct and observable one-to-one correspondence between the transfer of general purchasing power to the seller and the receipt of the good or service that is purchased.
In fully competitive markets, the individual cannot alter the terms upon which the private good is made available to him. No change in his behavior can modify the price that he confronts; he is a price taker. The individual who confronts a fiscal situation in the role of a taxpayer cannot, of course, be placed in a wholly similar position. The nature of the public good and, derivative from this in part, the nature of the political process make his position inherently different in the two cases.
Under the initial model of invariant tax-price, however, several characteristics of the market-choice situation remain. We have specified that the individual considers the imposition of a new tax. Action must be initiated by the group before benefits are available to any member of the group. The single individual cannot, of course, initiate action on his own.
But he can behave, in collective choosing processes, on the basis of a more or less well defined preference scale. As a second characteristic, we specified that the institution involves the financing of a single and specifically designated public good or service, not a whole budgetary bundle. The taxpayer chooses on the knowledge that there exists a one-to-one correspondence between some general community decision to raise the tax revenues and the supplying of the good or service to the whole community.
Again, of course, it is impossible to secure a personal or individualized one-to-one correspondence in the market sense. The individual can never be assured that his own agreement to pay taxes will secure additional quantities of the public good. At best, he knows only that, if his preferences coincide with a sufficient number of his fellow citizens the precise number and form of agreement being determined by the rules for group decision-making , his tax payment will be accompanied by an increase in the supply of the public good.
The third characteristic of this initial tax institution is the current enjoyment of benefits from the good or service. Conversely, current payments may be necessary to cover costs of services consumed in past periods.
This temporal restriction is imposed largely for simplification purposes. This feature must be present to insure that the individual behave nonstrategically when he participates in collective choices. Similarly, the behavior of others should not influence the tax-price that the individual confronts. The collective decision on the quantities of the public good to be supplied should not affect the tax-price facing the individual.
The fifth characteristic extends this relationship to behavior in market choice. It is specified that there is no influence on the tax-price confronting the individual exerted by possible modifications of his behavior in the private market economy. The terms of trade between the individual and the fisc cannot be changed by any change in behavior in earning or spending income. This suggests that our initial model, the invariant tax-price institution, is similar to the familiar benchmark of the welfare analysis of taxation, the lump-sum tax.
To avoid confusion, however, the differences as well as the similarities must be noted. As the sixth characteristic explicitly sets out, the total tax liability of the individual depends upon the quantity of the public good that the community chooses to supply, and, insofar as the individual exerts some influence on this collective outcome, he may exert some, even if slight, effect on his own total liability. Note that the fourth and fifth characteristics refer to two separate types of individual behavior, that which takes place in collective decision processes and that which takes place in market processes.
The invariant tax-price institution does not allow the individual to modify the terms of trade with the Edition: current; Page: [ 26 ] fisc through changing his behavior in either of these two processes. Our reference institution resembles that which the individual confronts in ordinary market pricing, where perfectly working markets are present. In this latter case, the individual cannot directly influence the terms on which he purchases goods and services. He can, of course, determine the total expenditure on a commodity by varying quantity purchased, as we allow the action of the community to do in the public-goods case.
The purpose of this initial model should be clear. As we modify each of the particular characteristics noted in the model, this connection between individual tax-cost and the individual collective-goods benefit must become more and more indirect. Full and complete knowledge of alternatives becomes more and more costly for the individual to obtain as the tax institution becomes more complex.
Utility-maximizing behavior must include reactions to, and adjustments for, the cost of securing information and of making the required computations. As the institutions of political-fiscal choice become more complicated, information about alternatives will be deliberately sacrificed because of cost considerations.
In addition, elements of genuine uncertainty enter to affect individual behavior in unpredictable ways. This procedure of commencing the analysis with that fiscal model or institution that allows the most direct connection between individual cost and individual benefit should not be interpreted to imply that the individual, either in his private market choices or in the political process, necessarily or even normally behaves in the full knowledge of the alternatives that are open to him.
He obviously does not, and he makes errors for many reasons. Private-goods markets are rarely, if ever, perfect, and few approach the models of economic theory. The consumer should not, and could not, make the personal investment that would be necessary to insure that he commands full knowledge about alternatives. Among other things, pressures of competitive selling through the media of modern advertising and sales promotion tend to make accurate knowledge difficult to secure. All of this must be acknowledged. Edition: current; Page: [ 27 ] Nevertheless, the fact remains that such choice embodies a direct correspondence between private cost and private benefit, the characteristic that is stressed here, and the one that is absent, in varying degree, from individual choice in collective decision processes.
This central feature of market choice, rather than any implied assumption of rationality, makes individual behavior in organized markets useful as a benchmark from which we begin to assess collective choice institutions. Unless it could be shown that, systematically, there exists some feature of this initial model that offsets the predicted effects of the changes to be introduced, we can plausibly think of this initial institution as the one that will, ceteris paribus, minimize uncertainty in individual fiscal choice.
Normative judgments may be made only if specific value standards are introduced, and these may include some minimization of distortion in individual choice. In this manner, the analysis may contain relevance for policy, but the exercise, as such, contains no normative extensions. We propose now to analyze a tax institution that resembles the invariant tax-price model in most of its essential features, but one that might be found in real-world fiscal structures.
The imposition of proportional taxes on individuals on the basis of net wealth, or capital value, fits this description. The other restrictions are retained. The characteristics are as follows:. Note that the first four characteristics are identical with those used in describing the invariant tax-price institution. Change is introduced only in the fifth characteristic, as italicized, and, of course, the sixth feature is changed because of the change in the fifth.
The tax-price per unit of public good imposed on the individual is not fully independent of his behavior. It follows that by behaving in such a way that he becomes a different person, the individual can modify the tax-price that he confronts. He retains some control, slight though this may be here, over the tax-price that he must pay. It is evident, however, that the tax on net wealth ranks high on the scale of tax-price invariance. The individual can, of course, change the tax-price that he faces by modifying the size of his own net wealth, or asset value.
This value is estimated by capitalizing anticipated income streams over future time periods, and since accretions to the stock of wealth take place over time, any change in current behavior affects the tax base relatively little. As an illustrative example, consider an individual whose net wealth is measured at ten times his annual income.
Assume that, prior to the levy of the tax, he saves one-half of his income each year. He can reduce his saving to zero in the current income period, but his tax base will be reduced only by some 5 per cent as a maximum. Dramatic changes in the tax-price that he faces can be produced only if he is willing to consume his wealth currently. Few individuals will be predicted to respond so drastically to the imposition of the tax. For this reason, any one individual can measure, with a relatively high degree of accuracy, the tax-price that he will confront if he can measure Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] the net wealth of the whole community, the total tax base.
If the tax should be limited to nonhuman wealth, as would normally be expected in any real-world system, this feature is reduced to an extent. The individual would have available an additional means of changing his behavior in response to the tax, and in reducing the tax-price of the public good by so doing. He may shift investment from nonhuman to human capital without changing the rate of accumulation or decumulation.
Since he will recognize this possibility, both for himself and for his fellow taxpayers, the individual faces greater uncertainty in any attempt to estimate the true tax-price that he will confront from the imposition of a given levy. Under either form of wealth taxation, the individual may, of course, modify the tax base substantially over a long period of time. This does not affect the comparative place of this institution in the analysis here, however, since consideration has been limited specifically to short-run decisions, involving the financing of some current-benefit public good from a currently collected tax.
The fact that, over time, individuals may adjust their net wealth in response to the tax is not directly relevant. The question concerns only their ability to adjust the tax base within the decision period considered. This point introduces a major qualification that must be mentioned, even in this brief treatment of asset or wealth Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] taxation. The restrictions of the model require that we examine only a new tax, and one that will remain in being for only the single period. In other words, the tax on wealth is a once-and-for-all capital tax, not a recurrent levy.
This restriction allows us to eliminate from discussion the whole complex of issues involving tax capitalization. It must also be noted that the analysis is limited to proportional taxation of wealth. The introduction of a progressive rate structure involves further distortions; the discussion of these is delayed until progressive income taxation is analyzed. In this section the most familiar fiscal institution, personal income taxation, is analyzed.
We remain within the restrictions of the over-all model, and the characteristics of this tax are identical to those listed above for wealth or capital taxation. The difference between these two institutions lies solely in the degree of individual response that is possible within the given decision period. Under the personal income tax, the individual is able to modify the tax-price that he confronts more than under wealth taxation. We shall first consider the levy of a one-period personal tax that employs in-period measured income as the base with a single standard rate: in other words, proportional income taxation.
Proportional Income Taxes. The total payment that the individual must make under this tax is determined by two things. First, there is a collective decision on the quantity of the public good to be provided, a decision in which the individual is presumed to participate, directly or indirectly. Secondly, tax liability is determined by the size of the personal income that he receives, as this is defined and measured by the tax authorities. If these two variables are known, we can compute both total tax liability for the individual and tax-price per unit of the public good.
Recall that, under the invariant tax-price institution, the tax-price is known to the individual independently of his total tax liability, which, there as here, is determined by the collective decision on total goods supply. The interdependence introduced even in this reasonably general tax must be emphasized.
It is not possible, as it was with the invariant tax-price, to assign to the individual a specific share of the cost of each unit of public good, and, at the same time, allow him to adjust to a specific rate of tax on his income. If the tax-price should be fixed in advance, the rate of tax on his income must be residually determined by the size of the total tax base. On the other hand, if the rate of tax is fixed in advance, the tax-price per unit of the public good must be residually determined by the size of the total tax base. The potential variability in the tax base, in the aggregate, modifies the rate of tax on income necessary to finance any quantity of public good, or, conversely, the potential variability modifies the quantity of public good that can be financed from any given rate of tax.
Consider the problem that the individual faces in this fiscal setting. If he is influenced by the tax in his behavior in earning taxable income, he must make decisions on the basis of some prediction as to the rate of tax. If, however, he predicts, and adjusts to, a specific rate of tax on his income, he is internally inconsistent if, at the same time, he predicts, and adjusts to, a specific Edition: current; Page: [ 31 ] tax-price per unit of public good. Since he, along with fellow taxpayers, retains power to change the tax base, the revenue yield from any specific rate of tax is indeterminate.
Hence, the quantity of public good that may be purchased from this yield is indeterminate. Conversely, if a specific quantity of public good is predicted, the rate of tax that will be required to produce revenues sufficient to finance this quantity is indeterminate so long as the fiscal structure allows individuals to modify the base of the tax by their own market behavior. It will be helpful to discuss this in terms of a simplified example. Suppose an island community of fishermen is considering the construction of a lighthouse. This is, of course, the standard collective-goods illustration.
Assume that some prior agreement or rule dictates that taxes are to be imposed proportionately on personal incomes, with income being measured in some agreed-on manner. We examine the choice calculus of a single fisherman as he participates in the formation of some final community decision concerning the amount of revenue to be collected in taxes and expended in the construction of the lighthouse, which we shall assume can be quantified in terms of height, which can be produced at constant cost.
There will exist an individual demand schedule for lighthouse services, which can be derived in the usual manner as previously shown. If we could assume that the rate of tax on his income is set independently from the collective decision on the amount of public good to be supplied, the problem would be greatly simplified. Here we could think of the fisherman making the two decisions in isolation, one from the other, the decision as to the earning of income in response to the tax and the decision as to the appropriate amount of the public good to be collectively supplied. It is relatively easy for us to think of the individual making a decision as to how much income he should earn, at least marginally, if for no other reason than that this sort of choice behavior has been much discussed in economic theory.
It is not easy for us to think of the individual making the second choice. At one extreme, he may act as if this cost is zero, in which case he will approve all spending programs so long as incremental Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] benefits remain positive. Such behavior does not seem likely to occur, however, since the individual is surely aware of some bridge between the tax costs and the benefits.
Ideally these two decisions must be made simultaneously. The individual must try to estimate the tax-price that he will be required to pay, in terms of some rate per cent on his income for each level of public spending, and then decide how much income he will earn and how much public spending he will approve in the political choice process. He cannot separate the two sides of the decision, since his choice between earning taxable income and enjoying leisure or other nontaxable income must depend upon the marginal price at which additional income can be secured which is determined by the rate of tax and on the total level of income.
In the one-man group, this simultaneity of choice is recognized as a feature of rational decision-making. We are not interested here in the individual as a one-man group. The individual purchases leisure, along with other private goods, privately and he consumes these privately. The theorems of consumer choice no longer apply directly. We are required to construct a new and considerably different calculus of individual decision. We cannot make any simple translation of the costs of supplying the public good, in either total or per-unit terms, into private tax-prices that the individual confronts.
If we allow any one individual to vary his own liability to the tax by changing his behavior so as to modify the tax base, we must also allow other members of the group to do likewise. The tax liability of any single person or family is, therefore, dependent on the responses of all others in the group. The fiscal choices of separate individuals are necessarily interdependent, quite apart from the necessity of joint participation in the collective decision and joint enjoyment of the benefits of public goods.
Despite this interdependence, however, it should be noted that one element of behavior sometimes stressed remains outside this model, especially in large-number groups. In each case, critics charged, with some justice, that the disasters could have been mitigated or even avoided entirely with better management. Obama faced no serious calls for his impeachment over the BP affair.
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What we have in the way of presidential precedent suggests something closer to criminal negligence or recklessness: impeachment may be warranted where the president should have been aware of, or consciously disregards, a substantial and unjustifiable risk. In October , after President Trump blasted him in a series of tweets, Sen. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning. Several scholars have pointed to one such act as potential grounds. In so doing, the president may have let slip enough detail to reveal the sources and methods behind the intel, betraying the trust of the country that shared it with us and complicating intelligence-sharing for counterterrorism going forward.
If the president, through wanton carelessness or severe misjudgment, undermined national security. Congress cannot undo the damage the president has already done, but the impeachment power is designed to address a situation in which an officeholder has demonstrated through his past actions that he can no longer act in the public trust. Must an impeachable offense involve an abuse of presidential powers, or can it involve private transgressions? Can offenses committed before the president assumed office ever serve as grounds for removal? Is it constitutionally permissible to impeach a president for conduct unbecoming the presidency?
And in cases where Congress, through a long pattern of ceding power to the executive branch, has been complicit in presidential abuses, has it also ceded the authority to impeach and remove the president for those abuses? Even presidents have private lives. Republicans objected to that framing: perjury and obstruction of justice were public acts, they maintained.
Certain crimes such as murder [could] warrant removal of a President. Yet that was no barrier to his impeachment.
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A number of the judicial impeachment cases, including those of judges Robert W. Archbald — and Halsted Ritter , underscore that point. It would be both absurd and monstrous to hold that an impeachable offense must needs be committed in an official capacity. Americans will not be ruled by a Nero or a Caligula, however executively competent.
Neither do Americans demand to be governed by moral exemplars, however. Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy, not a means for ejecting chief executives with regular, all-too-human failings. If a president can lawfully be impeached for nonofficial conduct, does it matter when that conduct occurred? Can transgressions he committed years before assuming the presidency qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors? Murder makes for a good test case here as well: suppose, instead of violating the Fair Housing Act or employing illegal immigrants, we were to discover that years ago, Donald Trump had disposed of a commercial rival by ordering a contract killing?
In that case, impeachment would clearly be constitutionally legitimate. Admittedly, American precedent, thin to begin with, is thinner still on the question of impeachment for prior misconduct. The first clear-cut case of removal on those grounds is also our most recent impeachment case, that of Judge G. Thomas Porteous in The Senate convicted on all articles, including the second, which covered transgressions Porteous had committed as a state-court judge.
In , a historian doing archival research at the Nixon Library discovered hard evidence of the plot in the form of handwritten notes taken by then campaign chief H. Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do. Most of the preinaugural conduct identified by Lichtman and Peterson seems to fall into the latter category. But, as Bill Clinton discovered with the Paula Jones case, litigation can dredge up past behavior and make it newly relevant.
Should Donald Trump end up getting deposed in one of the multiple lawsuits that followed him to the presidency, we may have a chance to watch conservatives and liberals switch sides on the question of whether perjury about sex is an impeachable offense. Eisen and Richard W. Painter, chief White House ethics lawyers for Presidents Obama and Bush, respectively, warned after the election.
But, applied consistently, that reading of the key term would lead to absurd results. Treasury bonds. The legal scholar Robert G. Further evidence against a sweeping definition of emoluments can be found in a constitutional amendment proposed by Congress in that was nearly ratified. By it had secured ratification in 12 states — two short of the three-quarters required by Article V. Proceeds from unrelated market transactions were outside the scope of this term. In theory, a breach of one of the constitutional prohibitions on emoluments could be impeachable.
Egregious violations are akin to bribery, a specifically enumerated impeachable offense. If discovered, he may be impeached. Unless one accepts Eisen et al. Trump caused the United States government to spend Federal funds at Trump-branded properties. A serious congressional effort to force disclosure is unlikely unless and until Congress changes hands. That sort of inquiry should precede any impeachment effort.
In public appearances, Trump is equally incontinent. But what are we supposed to do: impeach him for it? Trump said the wrong thing? They accused Trump of having undermined the integrity of his office and bringing disrepute on the presidency in a series of speeches and public statements. Unsurprisingly, both proposals were greeted with skepticism. When Green tried to force consideration of his charges in December, only 58 Democrats wanted to bring them to a vote. Other officers of the United States who lost their posts for erratic behavior include judges Mark Delahay , for habitual drunkenness, and George W.
Ulysses S. I look upon them as a national disgrace. Article X, which never came to a vote in the Senate, was controversial at the time: some senators thought it was improper, even dangerous, to rest a charge solely on presidential speech. That goes to the question of substantiality, to which there is no strictly legal answer. Americans have a right to demand some minimum standards of appropriate conduct. With obstruction of justice, we enter more familiar territory.
Had it been available, the dissenting Republicans later affirmed, the vote on Article I would have been unanimous. Twenty-four years later, the full House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. Hegel and Eric A. It was this serious violation of Richard M. But one thing is clear: the fact that Trump, as president, had the legal right to fire James Comey is no defense to either the crime or the impeachable offense of obstruction. President has the complete power to pardon. It could also serve as legitimate grounds for an impeachable offense.
And repeatedly, in the Convention and the ratification debates, they identified the proper remedy: impeachment. If he be himself a party to the guilt he can be impeached and prosecuted. There is one security in this case to which gentlemen may not have adverted: if the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; [and] they can remove him if found guilty.
When a president uses the pardon power to protect himself from punishment, or directly secure political and financial benefit, we have the clearest case for impeachment. Recent cases of self-dealing pardons that might have justified impeachment include George H. On August 25, , Trump issued a presidential pardon to former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had gained national notoriety for harsh and often unlawful tactics in pursuit of undocumented aliens. Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt for flagrant disregard of a federal court order to stop detaining people solely on suspicion of immigration status.
Trump has offered encouragement to others to disobey Federal court orders with which Donald J. None of that clearly distinguishes the Arpaio pardon from other controversial pardons issued by past presidents, however. The move was designed to curry favor with the Teamsters in the run-up to the election and may even have involved a quid pro quo in the form of illegal campaign contributions. It does, however, suggest that recourse to the remedy is unlikely in the case of a single controversial pardon.
Still, presidents generally reserve their most controversial pardons for late in their tenure, when they feel safe from the political consequences. After several more toasts, Ri loosened his tie and shed his jacket. He had some questions. Ri asked about the nuclear codes. That President Trump thinks he enjoys the same power has been clear since the start of his administration.
Abuse of war powers was one of the grounds for removal discussed at the Constitutional Convention. That case has come to stand for the proposition that senators are not subject to impeachment, but the charges against Blount also reflect the Founding-era belief that improper arrogation of the war power was serious enough to merit the ultimate constitutional remedy. The secret bombing campaign began in March , when Nixon ordered U.
The Nixon administration went to great lengths to shield the operation from public scrutiny: even the classified records of targets selected were falsified. Nixon ordered the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to reveal the campaign to any member of Congress, and kept the bombing secret even from his own Secretary of State, William P. When the story went public, Nixon was unapologetic: there had been no secrecy with regard to anyone who had any right to know or need to know.
On July 1, , when Congress voted to cut off funds for bombing Cambodia, the Operation Menu campaign had still not been formally acknowledged by the president. As Charles Black saw it, that was the correct result: when Congress shares the blame for an illegal war, it lacks the moral authority to impeach the president for it. Congressional complicity helps explain why Congress has proved reluctant to sanction the president for waging illegal wars — it hardly justifies that reluctance. During the ratification debates, one of the main objections to the Senate as a trial court for impeachments was that senators would come to a presidential trial with unclean hands.
Short of comprehensive reform of the War Powers Resolution, however, Congress could draw a red line in an individual case.
By late , with President Trump alternately indulging in juvenile name-calling and issuing stern threats to North Korea, Congress debated several measures to prevent him from starting a war. Lieu offered a bill to prohibit a first-use nuclear strike without a declaration of war expressly authorizing it, while several Democratic senators crafted a bill restricting the use of funds for military operations in North Korea without specific congressional authorization. Should diplomacy with North Korea fail, and a new round of saber-rattling commence, Congress could use that tool as a means to reassert its constitutional prerogatives.
A preemptive declaration that unauthorized warmaking is an impeachable offense could serve as a warning to the president, and a precommitment device for Congress: a public pledge to take action in the sort of extreme and highly visible case where impeachment is clearly merited.
Why have presidential impeachments been so rare? One obvious cause is the high structural barrier to removal. As the legal scholar F. Buckley explains:. Until the very end of the Philadelphia Convention, the delegates had agreed that presidents might be removed by a simple majority of votes, either by the House or the Senate. The decisive move to a supermajoritarian requirement came at the very end, from the Committee on Unfinished Parts, in its draft on September 4.
Thereafter, the delegates spent only five days debating the draft. They knew they were almost finished, and were impatient for the Convention to end. The new requirement of a Senate supermajority passed without comment, seemingly unnoticed. And yet it was as fundamental a change as any in the new draft. The practical effect of that change, in conjunction with the rise of political parties, has been to make it almost impossible to convict a president of impeachable offenses.
Our Constitution makes it hard — perhaps too hard — to remove a president. Among those self-imposed restraints are the legal misconceptions challenged in this study, such as the notion that impeachment is reserved solely for grave, criminal abuses of official power. But cultural superstitions surrounding the remedy have been at least as significant a disincentive as legal error. Pundits, pols, and professors describe impeachment as reversing an election and overturning the will of the people. When impeachment talk is in the air, normally sober and judicious scholars resort to violent hyperbole.
Impeachment neither vandalizes democracy nor threatens constitutional crisis. Presidential removal hardly overturns the will of the people or reverses the prior election. To do that, it would have to replace the president with his opponent in the previous election.
Still less does removal via impeachment constitute a coup. The real nightmare was what Nixon and his predecessors had been able to get away with for so long. Coming to terms with those abuses helped Americans demystify the presidency and institute necessary checks on executive power.
Few, if any, of the Framers viewed the prospect of presidential impeachment with the unbridled horror common among intellectual leaders today. Putting a president on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors was, to be sure, a serious affair, never to be undertaken casually. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.
No lesser punishment is likely to do the job. The few successful censure resolutions against sitting presidents have mostly faded into obscurity. The actual removal of the impeached official is almost beside the point. But the terror of punishment will hardly deter if even proposing impeachment is taboo. Over the last century, the American presidency has been transformed from a comparatively modest chief magistrate into the most powerful office in the world. Naturalistic and hermeneutic approaches see the relationship of the subject and object of inquiry as forcing the social scientist to take either the third-person or first-person perspective.
However, critical social science necessarily requires complex perspective taking and the coordination of various points of view, minimally that of social scientists with the subjects under study. It employs the know-how of a participant in dialogue or communication Bohman This perspective provides the alternative to opposing perspectives especially when our first-person knowledge or third-person theories get it wrong. When faced with interpreting others' behavior we quickly run into the limits of first-person knowledge simpliciter. Neither the interpreter's nor the observer's perspectives are sufficient to specify these opaque intentional contexts for others.
For social scientists as well as participants in practices more generally, the adjudication of such conflicts requires mutual perspective taking, which is its own mode of practical reasoning. Theories of many different sorts locate interpretation as a practice, that is, in acts and processes of ongoing communication. Communication is seen from this perspective as the exercise of a distinctive form of practical rationality.
A critical theory of communicative action offers its own distinctive definition of rationality, one that is epistemic, practical, and intersubjective. A theory of rationality can be a reconstruction of the practical knowledge necessary for establishing social relationships. This reconstruction is essential to understanding the commitments of the reflective participant, including the critic. There are two general arguments for a theory that assumes the irreducibility of such a perspective. The first is that interpreting is not merely describing something.
Rather, it establishes commitments and entitlements between the interpreter and the one interpreted. Second, in doing so the interpreter takes up particular normative attitudes. In interpreting one is not just reporting, but rather expressing and establishing one's attitude toward a claim, such as when the interpreter takes the interpreted to say something to be true, or to perform an act that is appropriate according to social norms. Some such attitudes are essentially two-person attitudes: the interpreter does not just express an attitude in the first-person perspective alone, but rather incurs a commitment or obligation to others by interpreting what others are doing Brandom , To offer an interpretation that is accepted is to make explicit the operative social norms and thus to establish the normative terms of a social relationship.
The critical attitude shares with the interpretive stance a structure derived from the second-person perspective. Here an agent's beliefs, attitudes, and practices cannot only be interpreted as meaningful or not, but must also be assessed as correct, incorrect, or inconclusive. Nonetheless, the second-person perspective is not yet sufficient for criticism. In order for an act of criticism itself to be assessed as correct or incorrect, it must often resort to tests from the first- and third-person perspectives as well.
The reflective participant must take up all stances; she assumes no single normative attitude as proper for all critical inquiry. It is this type of reflection that calls for a distinctively practical form of critical perspective taking. If critical social inquiry is inquiry into the basis of cooperative practices as such, it takes practical inquiry one reflective step further. The inquirer does not carry out this step alone, but rather with the public whom the inquirer addresses. As in Kuhn's distinction between normal and revolutionary science, second-order critical reflection considers whether or not the framework for cooperation itself needs to be changed, thus whether new terms of cooperation are necessary to solve problems.
Various perspectives for inquiry are appropriate in different critical situations. If it is to identify all the problems with cooperative practices of inquiry, it must be able to occupy and account for a variety of perspectives. Only then will it enable public reflection among free and equal participants. Such problems have emerged for example in the practices of inquiry surrounding the treatment of AIDS. By defining expert activity through its social consequences and by making explicit the terms of social cooperation between researchers and patients, lay participants reshape the practices of gaining medical knowledge and authority Epstein , Part II.
The affected public changed the normative terms of cooperation and inquiry in this area in order that institutions could engage in acceptable first-order problem solving. If expertise is to be brought under democratic control, reflective inquiry into scientific practices and their operative norms is necessary Bohman a.
This public challenge to the norms on which expert authority is based may be generalized to all forms of research in cooperative activity. It suggests the transformation of some of the epistemological problems of the social sciences into the practical question of how to make their forms of inquiry and research open to public testing and public accountability.
A practical approach to Critical Theory responds to pluralism in the social sciences in two ways, once again embracing and reconciling both sides of the traditional opposition between epistemic explanatory and non-epistemic interpretive approaches to normative claims. On the one hand, it affirms the need for general theories, while weakening the strong epistemic claims made for them in underwriting criticism.
On the other hand, it situates the critical inquirer in the pragmatic situation of communication, seeing the critic as making a strong claim for the truth or rightness of his critical analysis. This is a presupposition of the critic's discourse, without which it would make no sense to engage in criticism of others.
A good test case for the practical and pluralist conception of Critical Theory based on perspective taking would be to give a more precise account of the role of general theories and social scientific methods in social criticism, including moral theories or theories of norms. Rather than serving a justifying role in criticisms for their transperspectival comprehensiveness, theories are better seen as interpretations that are validated by the extent to which they open up new possibilities of action that are themselves to be verified in democratic inquiry.
Not only that, but every such theory is itself formulated from within a particular perspective. General theories are then best seen as practical proposals whose critical purchase is not moral and epistemic independence but practical and public testing according to criteria of interpretive adequacy.
This means that it is not the theoretical or interpretive framework that is decisive, but the practical ability in employing such frameworks to cross various perspectives in acts of social criticism. In the above example, it is accomplished in taking the patients' perspectives seriously in altering practices of medical inquiry into AIDS. Why is this practical dimension decisive for democratizing scientific authority? There seems to be an indefinite number of perspectives from which to formulate possible general histories of the present.
Merely to identify a number of different methods and a number of different theories connected with a variety of different purposes and interests leaves the social scientist in a rather hopeless epistemological dilemma. Either the choice among theories, methods, and interests seems utterly arbitrary, or the Critical Theorist has some special epistemic claim to survey the domain and make the proper choice for the right reason. The latter, perhaps Hegelian horn demands objectivist claims for social science generally and for the epistemic superiority of the Critical Theorist in particular--claims that Habermas and other Critical Theorists have been at pains to reject Weber ; Habermas , Is there any way out of the epistemic dilemma of pluralism that would preserve the possibility of criticism without endorsing epistemic superiority?
The way out of this dilemma has already been indicated by a reflexive emphasis on the social context of critical inquiry and the practical character of social knowledge it employs. It addresses the subjects of inquiry as equal reflective participants, as knowledgeable social agents. As agents in the social world themselves, social scientists participate in the creation of the contexts in which their theories are publicly verified.
The goal of critical inquiry is then not to control social processes or even to influence the decisions that agents might make in any determinate sort of way. Instead, its goal is to initiate public processes of self-reflection Habermas, , Such a process of deliberation is not guaranteed success in virtue of some comprehensive theory.
Rather, the critic seeks to promote just those conditions of democracy that make it the best available process upon the adequate reflection of all those affected. This would include reflection of the democratic process itself. When understood as solely dependent upon the superiority of theoretical knowledge, the critic has no foothold in the social world and no way to choose among the many competing approaches and methods. The publicity of a process of practical verification entails its own particular standards of critical success or failure that are related to social criticism as an act of interpretation addressed to those who are being criticized.
An account of such standards then has to be developed in terms of the sort of abilities and competences that successful critics exhibit in their criticism. Once more this reveals a dimension of pluralism in the social sciences: the pluralism of social perspectives.
As addressed to others in a public by a speaker as a reflective participant in a practice, criticism certainly entails the ability to take up the normative attitudes of multiple pragmatic perspectives in the communication in which acts of criticism are embedded. If the argument of the last section is correct, a pragmatic account is inevitably methodologically, theoretically, and perspectivally pluralistic.
Any kind of social scientific method or explanation-producing theory can be potentially critical. There are no specific or definitive social scientific methods of criticism or theories that uniquely justify the critical perspective. One reason for this is that there is no unique critical perspective, nor should there be one for a reflexive theory that provides a social scientific account of acts of social criticism and their conditions of pragmatic success. This dual perspective has been expressed in many different ways. Critical Theorists have always insisted that critical approaches have dual methods and aims: they are both explanatory and normative at the same time, adequate both as empirical descriptions of the social context and as practical proposals for social change.
This dual perspective has been consistently maintained by Critical Theorists in their debates about social scientific knowledge, whether it is with regard to the positivism dispute, universal hermeneutics, or micro- or macro-sociological explanations. In the dispute about positivist social science, Critical Theorists rejected all forms of reductionism and insisted on the explanatory role of practical reason. In disputes about interpretation, Critical Theorists have insisted that social science not make a forced choice between explanation and understanding.
Such dual perspective explanations and criticism both allow the reflective distance of criticism and the possibility of mediating the epistemic gap between the participants' more internal and the critics' more external point of view. Given the rich diversity of possible explanations and stances, contemporary social science has developed a variety of possible ways to enhance critical perspective taking. Such a dual perspective provides a more modest conception of objectivity: it is neither transperspectival objectivity nor a theoretical metaperspective, but always operates across the range of possible practical perspectives that knowledgeable and reflective social agents are capable of taking up and employing practically in their social activity.
It is achieved in various combinations of available explanations and interpretive stances. With respect to diverse social phenomena at many different levels, critical social inquiry has employed various explanations and explanatory strategies. Marx's historical social theory permitted him to relate functional explanations of the instability of profit-maximizing capitalism to the first-person experiences of workers. In detailed historical analyses, feminist and ethnomethodological studies of the history of science have been able to show the contingency of normative practices Epstein ; Longino They have also adopted various interpretive stances.
Feminists have shown how supposedly neutral or impartial norms have built-in biases that limit their putatively universal character with respect to race, gender, and disability Mills ; Minnow , Young In all these cases, claims to scientific objectivity or moral neutrality are exposed by showing how they fail to pass the test of public verification by showing how the contours of their experiences do not fit the self-understanding of institutional standards of justice Mills ; Mansbridge Such criticism requires holding both one's own experience and the normative self-understanding of the tradition or institution together at the same time, in order to expose bias or cognitive dissonance.
It uses expressions of vivid first-person experiences to bring about cross-perspectival insights in actors who could not otherwise see the limits of their cognitive and communicative activities. In these cases, why is it so important to cross perspectives? Here the second-person perspective has a special and self-reflexive status for criticism. In the case of science the community of experts operates according to the norm of objectivity, the purpose of which is to guide scientific inquiry and justify its claims to communal epistemic authority. The biases inherent in these operative norms have been unmasked in various critical science studies and by many social movements.
This connection can be quite direct, as when empirical studies show that existing forms of participation are highly correlated with high status and income, that lower income and status citizens were often unwilling to participate in a public forum for fear of public humiliation Verba, et al , Mansbridge , Kelly Adopting the second-person perspective of those who cannot effectively participate does not simply unmask egalitarian or meritocratic claims about political participation, but rather also suggests why critical inquiry ought to seek new forums and modes of public expression Young , Bohman The practical alternative offers a solution to this problem by taking critical social theory in the direction of a pragmatic reinterpretation of the verification of critical inquiry that turns seemingly intractable epistemic problems into practical ones.
The role of critical social science is to supply methods for making explicit just the sort of self-examination necessary for on-going normative regulation of social life. This practical regulation includes the governing norms of critical social science itself. Here the relation of theory to practice is a different one than among the original pragmatists: more than simply clarifying the relation of means and ends for decisions on particular issues, these social sciences demand reflection upon institutionalized practices and their norms of cooperation.
Reflective practices cannot remain so without critical social inquiry, and critical social inquiry can only be tested in such practices. One possible epistemic improvement is the transformation of social relations of power and authority into contexts of democratic accountability among political equals Bohman a; Epstein Properly reconstructed, critical social inquiry is the basis for a better understanding of the social sciences as the distinctive form of practical knowledge in modern societies.
Their capacity to initiate criticism not only makes them the democratic moment in modern practices of inquiry; that is, the social are democratic to the extent that they are sufficiently reflexive and can initiate discussion of the social basis of inquiry within a variety of institutional contexts.
Normative criticism is thus not only based on the moral and cognitive distance created by relating and crossing various perspectives; it also has a practical goal. It seeks to expand each normative perspective in dialogical reflection and in this way make human beings more aware of the circumstances that restrict their freedom and inhibit the full, public use of their practical knowledge.
One such salient circumstance is the long-term historical process of globalization. What is a distinctively critical theory of globalization that aims at such a form of practical knowledge? How might such a theory contribute to wishes and struggles of the age, now that such problematic situations are transnational and even global?
What normative standards can critics appeal to, if not those immanent in liberalism? While in the next section I will certainly talk about critical theorists, I will also attempt to do critical social inquiry that combines normative and empirical perspectives with the aim of realizing greater and perhaps novel forms of democracy where none presently exist. While the standard theories of globalization deal with large scale and macrosociological processes, the social fact of globalization is not uniform; differently situated actors experience it differently. This makes it exemplary for pluralist and multiperspectival social inquiry.
It is also exemplary in another sense. As a social fact that is not uniform in its consequences, globalization cannot be reconstructed from the internal perspective of any single democratic political community, it requires a certain kind of practically oriented knowledge about the possibilities of realising norms and ideals in praxis and is thus a theory of democratization, of creating a political space where none now exists. A critical and praxeological theory of globalization must therefore solve two pressing internal problems: first, how to organize social inquiry within and among transnational institutions more democratically; and, second, it must show the salient differences between national and transnational institutions and public spheres so that the democratic influence over globalization becomes a more tractable problem with feasible solutions.
Current theories of globalization are primarily macro-sociological and focus primarily on globalization as imposing constraints on democratic institutions. While not denying that globalization is such a fact, its explanations can become more critical and practical by also showing how globalizing processes open up new institutional possibilities and new forms of publicity Bohman In order to test these possibilities, this theory must make itself a more open and multiperspectival practice; it must become a global critical theory.
It is in this context that we can press the questions of the normative adequacy of the democratic ideal that has been inherited from modern liberalism. For this reason, they have not asked the question whether such practices are able to sustain a sufficiently robust and cooperative form of inquiry under the new global circumstances of political interdependence. In what respect can it be said that this novel sort of practical and critical social science should be concerned with social facts? A social scientific praxeology understands facts in relation to human agency rather than independent of it.
Pragmatic social science is concerned not merely with elaborating an ideal in convincing normative arguments, but also with its realizability and its feasibility. In this regard, any political ideal must take into account general social facts if it is to be feasible; but it must also be able to respond to a series of social facts that ground skeptical challenges suggesting that circumstances make such an ideal impossible. With respect to democracy, these facts include, expertise and the division of labor, cultural pluralism and conflict, social complexity and differentiation, and globalization and increasing social interdependence, to name a few.
For this reason, social science is practical to the extent that it is able to show how political ideals that have informed these institutions in question are not only still possible, but also feasible under current conditions or modification of those conditions.
As I have been arguing, the ideal in question for pragmatism and recent critical social theory inspired by pragmatism is a robust and deliberative form of self-rule—also a key aspect of Critical Theory's wider historical ideal of human emancipation and freedom from domination. The issue of realizability has to do with a variety of constraints. On the one hand, democracy requires voluntary constraints on action, such as commitments to basic rights and to constitutional limits on political power. Social facts, on the other hand, are non-voluntary constraints, or within our problematic, constraints that condition the scope of the application of democratic principles.
Taken up in a practical social theory oriented to suggesting actions that might realize the ideal of democracy in modern society, social facts no longer operate simply as constraints. This is not yet a complete story. This fact of pluralism thus alters how we are to think of the feasibility of a political ideal, but does not touch on its realizability or possibility. In keeping with the nature and scope of entrenched pluralism, not all actors and groups experience the constraints of pluralism in the same way: from the perspective of some groups, pluralism enables their flourishing; for others, it may be an obstacle.
Social facts related to stability may indeed constrain feasibility without being limits on the possibility or realizability of an ideal as such; in the case of pluralism, for example, democratic political ideals other than liberalism might be possible. When the processes at work in the social fact then begin to outstrip particular institutional feedback mechanisms that maintain it within the institution, then the institution must be transformed if it is to stand in the appropriate relation to the facts that make it feasible and realizable.
All institutions, including democratic ones, entrench some social facts in realizing their conditions of possibility. Consider Habermas' similar use of social facts with respect to institutions. As with Rawls, for Habermas pluralism and the need for coercive political power make the constitutional state necessary, so that the democratic process of law making is governed by a system of personal, social, and civil rights.
However, Habermas introduces a more fundamental social fact for the possibility and feasibility of democracy: the structural fact of social complexity. This fact of complexity limits political participation and changes the nature of our understanding of democratic institutions. Indeed, this fact makes it such that the principles of democratic self-rule and the criteria of public agreement cannot be asserted simply as the proper norms for all social and political institutions, and this seems ideally suited to understanding how globalization limits the capacity of democracy to entrench itself.
While plausible, this claim lacks empirical evidence. These mediated forms of democracy would in turn affect the conditions that produce social complexity itself and thus stand in a feedback relation to them. How might this alternative conception of social facts guide a critical and praxeological theory of globalization?
When seen in light of the requirements of practical social science and the entrenchment of facts and conditions by institutions, constructivists are right to emphasise how agents produce and maintain social realities, even if not under conditions of their own making. In this context an important contribution of pragmatism is precisely its interpretation of the practical status of social facts. They may serve this practical role only if they are seen in interaction with our understanding of the ideals that guide the practices in which such problems emerge, thus where neither fact nor ideal is fixed and neither is given justificatory or theoretical priority.
The debate between Dewey and Lippmann about the public sphere and its role in democracy is precisely praxeological in the sense that I defined the term earlier. Dewey saw the solution in a transformation both of what it is to be a public and of the institutions with which the public interacts. The question is not just one of current political feasibility, but also of possibility, given that we want to remain committed in some broad sense to democratic principles of self-rule even if not to the set of possibilities provided by current institutions.
How do we identify such fundamentally unsettling facts? Since this is a relatively recent and unsettled debate, through this example we can see Critical Theory in the making. Whatever the specific form these assume in future institutions, the usual arguments for political cosmopolitanism are relatively simple despite the fact that the social scientific analyses employed in them are highly complex and empirically differentiated in their factual claims. In discussions of theories of globalization, the fact of global interdependence refers to the unprecedented extent, intensity, and speed of social interactions across borders, encompassing diverse dimensions of human conduct from trade and cultural exchange to migration Held, et al The inference from these facts of interdependence is that existing forms of democracy within the nation-state must be transformed and that institutions ought to be established that solve problems that transcend national boundaries Held , 98— Thus, globalization is taken to be a macro-sociological, aggregative fact that constrains the realization of democracy so long as the proper congruence between decision makers and decision takers is lacking.
Globalization is thus taken as a constraint on democracy as it is realized in existing liberal representative systems. A pragmatic interpretation of social facts in this way encourages us to see globalization as Janus-faced, as an obstacle and as a resource for the realization of democratic ideals. This sort of theory sees globalization not as a unitary but rather as a multidimensional process.
In some domains such as global financial markets, globalization is profoundly uneven and deeply stratified reinforcing hierarchies and distributive inequalities. Inequalities of access to and control over aspects of globalizing processes may reflect older patterns of subordination and order, even while the process produces new ones by excluding some communities from financial markets and by making others more vulnerable to its increased volatility Hurrell and Woods If these descriptions are correct, the fact of globalization is a new sort of social fact whose structure of enablement and constraint is not easily captured at the aggregative level.
It is even experienced in contradictory ways looking at its consequences and impacts that differ across various domains and at various locations. Institutions can only manage the problems of globalization in ways that consider the interests of everyone by having mechanisms that ensure that the full range of perspectives is available for inquiry.
This requires that international financial institutions extent their forms of inquiry to include issues such as the social disintegration and domination produced by their policies Rodrik , Woods One further question about the fact of globalization must be raised in order to understand the inherent possibilities for democracy in it. Even if reversing such processes were possible, it is not feasible in any short time span and under the democratic constraints. This is not to say that globalization in its current form is somehow permanent or unalterable if we want to realize democratic ideals.
Indeed, just how globalization will continue, and under what legitimate normative constraints, become the proper questions for democratic politics, as citizens and public vigorously interact with those institutions that make globalization a deeply entrenched and temporally stable social fact.
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However entrenched, the social fact of globalization still remains open to democratic reconstruction, should creative reinterpretation of democracy come about. In the next section, I examine recent debates among Critical Theorists about the significance of the European Union as a model for a genuine transformation of democracy.
The analysis thus far has taken a robust ideal of democracy for granted consisting of self-rule by the public deliberation of free and equal citizens—the ideal of deliberative democracy that informs both pragmatism and Critical Theory Bohman Given the uneven and potentially contradictory consequences of globalization, it seems clear that current democratic institutions themselves cannot be responsive to all the dimensions of domination and subordination that are possible considering the scale and intensity of interconnectedness.
What are the alternatives? It is not just a matter of exercising an institutional imagination within broadly understood democratic norms and ideals. Informed by democratic ideals of non-domination, the practical knowledge needed to promote the democratising of uneven and hierarchical social relations requires an empirical analysis of current transformations and its embedded possibilities. The democratic ideal of autonomy leads David Held and others to emphasise the emerging structures of international law that produce a kind of binding power of collective decisions. Others look to ways of reforming the structures of representation of current international institutions Pogge , Habermas Still others look to the emergence of various institutions in the European Union EU to discuss the trend toward international constitutionalism or supranational deliberation.
According to the sort of plurality of perspectives endorsed by a pragmatist philosophy of social science, a historical account of the emergence of single and multiple institutions would be helpful. In Gerald Ruggie's masterful analysis of the development of a global order beyond the nation-state, he shows that the modern sovereign state and the social empowerment of citizens emerged within the same epistemic era as the single point perspective in painting, cartography, or optics.
Unbundling sovereignty would lead to new political possibilities, including the re-articulation of international political space in a new way that cannot be anticipated in dominant theories of international relations. Such an account also applies to the theory of practical knowledge that might inform reflection on the possibilities of democracy in an era of uneven globalization. If the political authority that now promotes globalization is to answer to democratic will formation, the institutions in which such public deliberation takes place must seek to become explicitly multiperspectival in Ruggie's sense.
The positive conditions for such an extension of current political possibilities already exist in the fact of interdependence—the emergence of greater social interaction among citizens who participate in vibrant interaction across transnational civil society and within emerging global public spheres.
In order to develop the framework for such a normative-practical praxeology for emerging multiperspectival institutions, pragmatism and Critical Theory once again suggest themselves: here Dewey's testable claim that it is the interaction of public and institutions that promotes democracy and democratic inquiry. However important giving greater powers to the European Parliament may be, parliamentary politics at best serves a mediating role among transnational and national institutions and is not the sole means to democratisation Habermas Given that such institutions cannot easily be scaled up and retain their full democratic character, it is necessary to look to a different institutional level: to the possibility of new forms of social inquiry that may be developing in the problem-solving mechanisms of the European Union.
How might new forms of inquiry emerge that are able to accommodate a greater number of perspectives and also remain democratic? Here we need again to distinguish between first- and second-order forms of deliberation, where the latter develops in order to accommodate an emergent public with new perspectives and interests. Dewey sees the normal, problem-solving functioning of democratic institutions as based on robust interaction between publics and institutions within a set of constrained alternatives. When the institutional alternatives implicitly address a different public than is currently constituted by evolving institutional practice and its consequences, the public may act indirectly and self-referentially by forming a new public with which the institutions must interact.
This interaction initiates a process of democratic renewal in which publics organise and are organised by new emerging institutions with a different alternative set of political possibilities. This account of democratic learning and innovation seems not to be limited by the scope of the institutions, even as the potential for domination also increases under current arrangements. What sort of public sphere could play such a normative role? In differentiated modern societies that is, societies divided into multiple economic and social spheres such as markets, a state, civil society and so on , one role of the distinctive communication that goes on in the public sphere is to raise topics or express concerns that cut across social spheres: it not only circulates information about the state and the economy, but it also establishes a forum for criticism in which the boundaries of these spheres are crossed, primarily in citizen's demands for mutual accountability.
But the other side of this generalization is a requirement for communication that crosses social domains: such a generalization is necessary precisely because the public sphere has become less socially and culturally homogeneous and more internally differentiated than its early modern form Habermas Instead of relying on the intrinsic features of the medium to expand communicative interaction, networks that are global in scope become publics only with the development and expansion of transnational civil society.
The creation of such a civil society is a slow and difficult process that requires the highly reflexive forms of communication and boundary crossing and accountability typical of developed public spheres. On the basis of their common knowledge of violations of publicity, their members will develop the capacities of public reason to cross and negotiate boundaries and differences between persons, groups, and cultures. In such boundary-crossing publics, the speed, scale, and intensity of communicative interaction facilitated by networks such as the Internet provides a positive and enabling condition for democratic deliberation and thus creates a potential space for cosmopolitan democracy.
But if the way to do this is through disaggregated networks such as the Internet rather than mass media, then we cannot expect that the global public sphere will no longer exhibit features of the form of the national public sphere. Rather, it will be a public of publics, of disaggregated networks embedded in a variety of institutions rather than an assumed unified national public sphere.
The emergence of transnational public spheres is informative for the practical goals of a critical theory of globalization. Once we examine the potential ways in which the Internet can expand the features of communicative interaction, whether or not the Internet is a public sphere is a practical question of possibility rather than a theoretical question about the fact of the matter.