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Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
 
 

8 - THE MAIN ACTORS' INTERACTIONS

Having put the main actors on the stage it is now time to consider their actions, and the results of those actions. In this part, and the next two ones, I will introduce three topics related to these actions. These topics will then be treated in detail in the discussions about each one of the four main types of constitutions.

In part 2.1 the concepts of decisive and blocking sets were introduced. Those concepts may, of course, be used for main actors as conceived here. Doing so it is now possible to state that a very important aspect of the political competition in a democratic society consists in the main actors' efforts, by positioning and bargaining and so forth, to form and enter, depending on the circumstances, decisive or blocking sets, and thereby further their ambitions.

The possibilities to act like this vary however considerably from case to case, depending among other things on the constitutional setting. For the discussion of these matters, which largely are of a behavioral nature, it may be useful to consider the degree of coordination among the main actors. Imagine, as an extreme example, a decision-making assembly which has so many main actors, and takes new decisions so often, that it is virtually impossible for the actors communicate with each other about what is going on. When a proposal is presented for such an assembly each actor thus have to vote for or against the proposal without any prior discussions with its fellow-actors. This voting behavior is thus completely uncoordinated. In the opposite extreme the number of main actors is so small, and other factors enhancing cooperation so favorable, that it easy for the actors to communicate extensively, and negotiate, about all proposals, and about the votes for the proposals. In such a case we should thus expect a very coordinated main actor behavior. When the conditions for coordination are favorable the coordination, it may be noted, is not necessarily limited to a single decision, or a few related decisions. If the interests of the actors concerned so dictate, the coordination may very well be extended over a considerable time period such as, for instance, a complete election period.

The topic of coordination will be further discussed in part 8.1 about "Two kinds of compromises".