Book

The people's duty (2019)

collective agency and the morality of public policy

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Abstract

Can we talk about 'the people' as an agent with its own morally important integrity? How should we understand ownership of public property by 'the people'? Nili develops philosophical answers to both of these questions, arguing that we should see the core project of a liberal legal system - realizing equal rights - as an identity-grounding project of the sovereign people, and thus as essential to the people's integrity. He also suggests that there are proprietary claims that are intertwined in the sovereign people's moral power to create property rights through the legal system. The practical value of these ideas is illustrated through a variety of real-world policy problems, ranging from the domestic and international dimensions of corruption and abuse of power, through transitional justice issues, to the ethnic and religious divides that threaten liberal democracy. This book will appeal to political theorists as well as readers in public policy, area studies, law, and across the social sciences.