deliberation in Argentina

I have just spent a very interesting two days at a conference sponsored

by the Institute for Philosophy

& Public Policy and the Fundacion Nueva Generacion Argentina on

the subject of "Deliberative Democracy: Principles and Cases."

Essentially, the conference brought together four groups of experts

into fruitful dialogue:

  1. The Fundacion sent Argentines who are deeply embroiled in their country’s

    convulsive political crisis.

  2. Innovative grantmakers and aid experts talked about new approaches

    to development assistance that help democracy (or good governance) and

    civil society.

  3. Practitioners who organize human-scale deliberative experiments (e.g.,

    Carolyn Lukensmeyer of America

    Speaks) talked about their work. Also, Gianpaolo Baiocchi contributed

    ethnographic research on participatory budgeting in Porto Allegre (which

    is turning into the Mecca for progessive and populist reformers); and

    Andrew Selee described participatory and deliberative experiments in


  4. Several American theorists and social scientists gave papers on deliberative

    democracy. Jane Mansbridge argued for the significance of practice for

    deliberative theory, drawing some theoretical conclusions about the

    importance of self-interest and passion. Henry Richardson talked about

    the corrupting effects of being powerless, and the discipline that comes

    from having to make practical decisions together. Noelle McAfee distinguished

    three types of deliberative democracy. And Joel Siegel provided evidence

    that democracy contributes to economic growth in developing countries.