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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?

(p.34) 2 Is Inequality a Threat to Democracy?
The Unsustainable American State

John Ferejohn

Oxford University Press

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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