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Frank I. Michelman, Social Minimums and Democracy, in The Oxford Handbook of Economic and Social Rights (Malcolm Langford and Katharine Young eds., 2022)

Abstract: If provision for democracy is a requisite feature for the basic structure of any justly ordered political society, and if democracy signifies a social state of relative absence of hierarchies of class, status, or command linked to differentials of wealth, it would seem that a democratic country’s constitution would quite compatibly include provision for a social minimum. If democracy at the same time signifies a political regime of control by current majorities over major directions of government policy, apparent tensions then arise between the social and political significations of democracy. This chapter aims to unpack these tensions and to describe some modes of accommodation of them—conceptual, doctrinal, and institutional—disclosed by current practice and debates.