Consensus and the Constitution

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4 Responses

  1. Gerard Magliocca says:

    There’s a cause-and-effect issue here. Does the Swiss system work because the range of political opinion there is narrow, or does their system narrow the range of political opinion and thus make compromise easier? Arguably, we are in a power sharing arrangement right now (GOP controls the House and the Dems control the White House and (sort of) the Senate). It’s not helping much.

  2. Shag from Brookline says:

    The Swiss system just might disclose a lot of holes if expanded to the population and geography of America.

    • David Orentlicher says:

      Switzerland actually scores higher than the U.S. on measures of social heterogeneity, and it had a period of serious religious conflict in the past, including a civil war. There is good reason to think that its sharing of power has been more effective than our political system for dampening social conflict. I think power sharing works better in Switzerland than in our government because the executive branch operates by consensus. Elected officials there have much greater incentives to cooperate and less incentive to engage in conflict than in our system, in which the minority gains little by cooperation and much by conflict.

  3. Joe says:

    The type of power sharing is important too. See, e.g., the “sort of.”