In the News
April 14, 2023

Danielle Allen on The Ezra Klein Show: Democracy is the work of restoring power sharing

Danielle Allen
New York Times

Appearing on The Ezra Klein Show in April, Danielle Allen, Academy member and cochair of the Academy's Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, shared her vision for a new form of liberalism in which citizens are more full participants in government.

Allen described her vision this way: "Power-sharing liberalism is really the goal to build, in the 21st century, a version of a rights protecting constitutional democracy where power is genuinely shared throughout organizational structures throughout political institutions."

Allen calls attention to the distinction between material questions and political participation, noting that the former are supports for the opportunity of people to live flourishing lives.

"And to live a flourishing life", Allen emphasized, "is to be empowered in your personal life, but also, again, in that co-participation, co-ownership of our public spaces and public life. Now this is not to say that everybody has to participate, but that possibility — that real possibility for meaningful participation in public autonomy as well as personal autonomy — is, I believe, necessary for human flourishing."

According to Allen, one mistake liberalism has made has been that it is willing, again and again, to deprioritize political equality in favor of material redistribution.

Allen highlights a number of mechanisms, including citizen assemblies and participatory budgeting, that could foster greater political power-sharing.

View full story: New York Times



Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship

Danielle Allen, Stephen B. Heintz, and Eric P. Liu