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Utility and DemocracyThe Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham$
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Philip Schofield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208563.001.0001

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The Antidote to Sinister Interest: Official Aptitude

The Antidote to Sinister Interest: Official Aptitude

(p.272) 11 The Antidote to Sinister Interest: Official Aptitude
Utility and Democracy

Philip Schofield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Bentham’s Constitutional Code, on which he began work in 1822, was a detailed blueprint for a representative democracy, intended to ensure the dependence of rulers on subjects. He rejected both the balance of powers and the separation of powers on account of their unsuitability in this respect. Instead he proposed chains of superordination and subordination, based on the power of the superior to appoint and dismiss the inferior. The supreme power or sovereignty in the state should be vested in the people, to whom the legislature would be subordinate, and to whom, in turn, the administrative and judicial branches of government would be subordinate. When officials were motivated to pursue the greatest happiness of the greatest number, when they had the knowledge and skills to do so, and when they acted accordingly, they were said to possess moral, intellectual, and active aptitude. Such was the perfection of constitutional design.

Keywords:   democracy, representation, constitutional law, balance of powers, separation of powers, aptitude, sovereignty, subordination

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