Authors: Archon Fung
June 1, 2008
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Since the 19th century, the dominant model of a just and effective state has been that of a representative government populated by professional politicians and civil servants. This is an ideal of government that is by the people in the sense that representatives must stand for popular election, and for the people, when as public servants, they devise and implement laws and policies that advance the public interest. However, it is not yet government of the people in the sense that in this image, the political role of most individuals, most of the time, is relegated to the occasional and minimal role of voting for representatives.

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