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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2003

Fiduciary Ethics

Evelyn Keyes
Pages 29-35

Representative Democracy and the Public Trust

The “Idea of Intrinsic Equality” is central to democracy, but in what respects are persons intrinsically equal, and what requirements, if any, does their equality impose on a process for making collective decisions? This paper seeks to answer that question with respect to our own representative democracy. It examines three theories of collective decision-making that arguably characterize the democratic process under the United States Constitution. It concludes that, while all preserve the Idea of Intrinsic Equality in the election of representatives and legislative voting, only the third theory, Democratic Egalitarianism, which treats all like interests alike in promulgating laws and preserves the fundamental liberties of all, both preserves the Idea of Intrinsic Equality throughout the legislative process and fulfills the fiduciary mandate that legislators legislate in the interests of the people.

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