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For-Profit DemocracyWhy the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America$
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Loka Ashwood

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215359

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215359.001.0001

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The Rule of Numbers

The Rule of Numbers

Chapter:
(p.76) Four The Rule of Numbers
Source:
For-Profit Democracy
Author(s):

Loka Ashwood

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300215359.003.0004

This chapter suggests that there is something uncomfortable about democracy as we live in it today, where the majority is considered as the righteous ruler. Thus, if the majority wants electricity, and if providing that service requires a few people to give up their land or health, then the few should sacrifice for the whole. How did American democracy get to the point where standing up for one's personal rights became understood as an affront to the broader collective good? The short answer is that the democratic state's rendering of most things and people into numbers has created such a state of affairs, which is referred to the “rule of numbers.” People, ecology, or really anything can be added or subtracted, and all that matters in the end is what comes out of the equation.

Keywords:   democracy, collective good, majority, personal rights

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