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ISBN: 9781773100418-05

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Our milieu

From: Too Dumb for Democracy?


Chapter Five explores the conditions under which we tend to make the best decisions about complex issues, political or otherwise. We do best when we have lots of time and resources at our disposal, plenty of motivation to reach a good decision, sufficient information to decide with (but not too much information), little or no animosity towards other individuals or groups who are involved in or directly affected by the process, few or no strategic actors involved who are trying to manipulate us, and not so many decision options that we become paralyzed by choice. The world we live in rarely provides us with any of these conditions for decision-making, let alone many, or all, of them. If we want to figure out why we make bad political decisions and how we can make better ones, we need to understand what makes up our milieu. The chapter focuses on the topics of Speed, Volume, Choices, Diversity, and Complexity in the context of the milieu.



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.