San Diego Law Review


Gerald Gaus

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The crisis facing democratic self-government is first and foremost a crisis of self-governance, not of democracy.

Section II reviews the nature of complex systems and why our contemporary social and economic order qualifies as technically complexindeed, increasingly so—and why explicit overall, directed reform of our social world is hopeless. But hope is not easily abandoned: Section III critically looks at two continuing sources of hope. Section IV then turns to a critical issue: If not by central direction, how do such complex systems achieve orderliness and functionality? Section V turns to the heart of the matter: is democratic self-governance viable in our increasingly complex systems—or, more subtly, what form of self-governance seems the most viable? Section VI argues that effective self-governance is not a freestanding exercise of a general will but must be embedded in the deontic principles of a liberal order.

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