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The current crisis of democracy has many causes. The one I discuss here is the inability of our democratic institutions -- and our understanding of those institutions -- to keep up with our collective needs. I first argue that the primary purpose of government is to create legitimate coercion in order to solve the collective action problems caused by the need to create “free access goods.” I then argue that our needs for free access goods have increased exponentially in the last hundred years. If these two propositions are true, then the task of producing governing structures that can help us create these goods becomes one of the most urgent tasks of our time.


Mansbridge, Jane. "Negotiation in the Crisis of Democracy." The Democracy Papers, The Social Science Research Council, May 30, 2014.