The Ideal Political Institutions of Local Government

  • Joseph DrewEmail author


It is all very well to sound a note of warning against concentrations of power and competence, but how exactly does one achieve such a balance? In this chapter  1 outline how the ancient political institution of sortition might be employed to protect the dignity of the person and association as well as cultivate a better understanding of the common good. Specifically, I set out the complementarity of bi-cameral sortition with the Principle of Subsidiarity. I also explicate on the practicalities of implementing a sortition House of Lots to mitigate the well-known flaws in our extant system of majoritarian democracy. I conclude by drawing attention to how this reform may also be helpful to enhance the efficacy of other measures taken to guard against local Leviathan that I will deal with in the subsequent chapters.


  1. Batory A, Svensson A (2019) The use and abuse of participatory governance by populist governments. Policy Polit 47(2):227–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayside, City Council (2012) Consolidated local law “Neighbourhood Amenity’’. Bayside City Council, SandringhamGoogle Scholar
  3. Buchanan J (1975) The limits of liberty: between anarchy and leviathan. Liberty Fund, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  4. Dahl R (1990) After the revolution? Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  5. Delannoi G, Dowlen O (2010) Sortition theory and practice. Imprint Academia, CharlottesvilleGoogle Scholar
  6. Drew J (2019) Can local government by lottery increase democratic responsiveness? Policy Polit 47(4):621–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Drew J, Grant B, Campbell N (2016) Progressive and reactionary rhetoric in the municipal reform debate in New South Wales (NSW) Australia. Aust J Polit Sci 51(2):323–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flinders M, Curry D (2008) Deliberative democracy, elite politics and electoral reform. Policy Stud 29(4):371–392. Scholar
  9. Friedman M (1993) Why government is the problem. Hoover Institute Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Gastil J, Wright E (2018) Legislature by lot: envisioning sortition within a bicameral system. Polit Soc 46(3):303–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gastil J, Wright E (2019) Legislature By lot. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Headlam J (1890) Election by lot at athens. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Landauer M (2015) Democracy, voter ignorance, and the limits of foot voting. Crit Rev 27(3–4):338–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lang A (2007) But is it for real? the British Columbia citizens’ assembly as a model of state-sponsored citizen empowerment. Polit Soc 35(1): 35–69. 1080/08913811.2015.1111683Google Scholar
  15. Lindblom J (1962) Lot-casting in the old testament. Vetus Testamentum 12(2):164–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Messner J (1952) Social ethics: natural law in the modern world. Transl. J. Doherty. B Herder Book Co, St LouisGoogle Scholar
  17. Messner J (1965) The executive. B Herder Book Co, St LoisGoogle Scholar
  18. Riker W (1982) Liberalism against populism. Waveland Press, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  19. Riker WH (1991) Heresthetic and rhetoric in the spatial model. In: Enelow J, Hinich M (eds) Advances in the spatial theory of voting, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 46-65Google Scholar
  20. Sintomer Y (2019) From deliberative to radical democracy: sortition and politics in the twenty-first century. In: Gastil and Wright (eds) ‘Legislature By Lot’, Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Technology SydneyMoonbiAustralia

Personalised recommendations