A Normative Theory of Local Government: Connecting Individual Autonomy and Local Self-Determination with Democracy
The issue of local government reform is high on the agenda in many developed democracies. The discussion is often framed in narrow terms, focusing on functional efficiency. In this article, we construct a normative argument for local government that values local government because it fulfills morally desirable purposes in itself, regardless of its functional efficiency. The argument is that the same foundational value – individual autonomy – constitutes the normative underpinning of both democracy and the right to local self-government. The implication is that if we value democracy, we must defend a strong and constitutionally protected local government.
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