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The Unsustainable American State$
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Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond King

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195392135

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392135.001.0001

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Is Inequality a Threat to Democracy?

Is Inequality a Threat to Democracy?

Chapter:
(p.34) 2 Is Inequality a Threat to Democracy?
Source:
The Unsustainable American State
Author(s):

John Ferejohn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392135.003.0002

Many believe that the government bears an active role and responsibility on how wealth and income are generated and distributed. With the rapid increase in income inequality in a number of the advanced democracies, it has now become a concern on whether or not this should be considered as a threat. This chapter first examines what types of equality brings concern to the people. An outline of a normative theory of legitimacy which roots regime legitimacy in the satisfaction of an “interest tracking” condition and a political theory suggesting how income inequality can weaken democratic rule is then given.

Keywords:   income inequality, normative theory of legitimacy, inequality, democratic rule

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