Abstract

In democracies around the world, the rich exercise a disproportionate share of political power. Democratic theorists universally condemn this. The current paper brings balance to this conversation by mustering a defense of limited oligarchy. I have two goals. First, I shall argue that we need not be overly despondent about the wealthy's outsized influence, for overrepresentation of the wealthy performs some good for us—good which might not be entirely obvious at first glance. Second, I hope to temper reform efforts that seek to limit the wealthy's influence. While the people should have a greater say than they currently do, the wealthy's influence should still be greater than what their numbers suggest. I ultimately embrace oligarchic bicameralism, an old idea that proposes ordinary persons be represented in the lower chamber of the legislature, and property be represented in the upper. This is accomplished through a combination of sortition and elections.

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