A Proposed Solution to the Democratic Boundary Problem: The Relevant Coercion Account

Anno LVI, n. 232, settembre-dicembre 2021
Centro Einaudi
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Who is entitled to participate in the democratic decision-making process of every collective decision? This is usually called the democratic boundary problem. One of the most popular hypotheses for the solution to this problem is the so-called All Subjected to Coercion (ASC) principle. According to this principle, the relevant demos for every considered decision-making process are composed of all and only those subjected to the coercion of the outcome of the decision-making process itself. Although substantial agreement exists among proponents of ASC that coercion entails political inclusion only when it relevantly limits individual autonomy, scholars disagree on when this is the case. In this paper, I propose that to overcome this disagreement on the correct interpretation of ASC, a set of criteria for the relevance of coercion that is equally shareable for all supporters of ASC should be defined. For this purpose, I argue that the incidence of coercion in individual autonomy should be evaluated by referring to three criteria: quantitative, qualitative, and temporal criterion. I propose to implement these criteria for the relevance of coercion in a reformulation of the principle that I call the relevant coercion account. Once my interpretation of ASC is defined, I provide an example of its application to the case of migration norms. To this purpose, I show that when applied to the case of migration norms, the relevant coercion account prescribes that would-be migrants are included in the making of the migration norms of the receiving communities. Furthermore, I address a possible objection to this normative claim.