Friday, September 22, 2023

Where are we heading

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The unexpected things are heard from the 12th-grade students while they take the 12th-grade national exam. Research findings show that wealthier and better-educated citizens are more likely than the poor and less educated to have well-formulated and well-informed preferences and are significantly more likely to turn out to vote. They are much more likely to have direct contact with public officials and much more likely to contribute money and energy to political campaigns. These disparities in political resources and action raise a profound question. In a political system where nearly every adult may vote but where knowledge, wealth, social position, access to officials, and other resources are unequally distributed, who governs? One aspect of political inequality is the disparity between rich and poor citizens in political participation. Studies of participatory inequality seem to be inspired in significant part by the presumption that participation has important consequences for representation. Inequalities in activity are likely to be associated with inequalities in governmental responsiveness. Meanwhile, statistical studies of political representation have found strong connections between constituents’ policy preferences and their representatives’ policy choices. However, those studies have almost invariably treated constituents in an undifferentiated way, using simple averages of opinions in a given district, on a given issue, or at a given time to account for representatives’ policy choices. Thus, they shed little or no light on the fundamental issue of political equality.

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