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ISBN: 9781773100418-06

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Our institutions

From: Too Dumb for Democracy?


Chapter Six focuses how political institutions are formed, maintained, and how they condition the way we think and behave. Institutions set up rules, expectations, norms, punishments, and rewards. They are structures that make life familiar and easier to manage. They are hard to get up and running, but once they have been established, they stick around because they serve a purpose and offer a familiar path. And most importantly for our purposes, they affect how you make political decisions. The author concentrates on a few specific institutions that commonly and directly affect political decision-making: political parties, electoral politics, the media, capitalism, and — to stretch things a tad — political ideology. These institutions are important, but they are also dangerous: they are subject to hijacking — accidental or deliberate — that can prey on our cognitive limits, manipulating us for profit or political gain.



David Moscrop

David Moscrop is a political theorist with an interest in democratic deliberation and citizenship. Moscrop is a regular writer for Maclean’s, a contributing columnist to the Washington Post, and a regular political commentator on television and radio. He has also authored pieces in numerous other newspapers and magazines including the Globe and Mail and National Post.