Voting Markets

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This event will take place on the 23rd of March, at 1 p.m, Council Room, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (Schitu Măgureanu. nr.9).

Most of us have a strong belief that vote buying in local or national elections is morally impermissible and should be legally prohibited. Indeed, there is no contemporary polity which has legalized voting markets, in which individuals could sell and purchase votes. Still, some libertarians – such as Jason Brennan – have argued that vote buying is morally permissible under certain circumstances, while others – such as Christopher Freiman – have argued that voting markets should be legalized. Though these arguments might indeed be flawed, understanding what is wrong with them is important both intrinsically and because their rejection has significant implications on other discussions within the ethics of voting, such as whether we have moral duties to sometimes vote against our own self-interest. Furthermore, disagreeing with some of these arguments does not entail a wholesale rejection of any possible conceptualization of a voting market. In fact, I will argue in this talk that the most forceful set of objections against standard voting markets, offered in a recent series of articles by James Stacey Taylor, do not defeat one particular type of non-monetary voting market. By contrast, as counterintuitively as it may first appear, I argue that there are cogent egalitarian reasons why we should defend the legalization of a voting market of this latter type.

Alexandru Volacu holds a PhD in Political Science from the National University of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA), with a thesis focusing on rationality assumptions in theories of distributive justice. In 2015 he spent a term at the University of Oxford as a Visiting Doctoral Student, where he was affiliated with the Department of Politics and International Relations and the Centre for the Study of Social Justice. His main research interests lie in the field of contemporary analytical political theory, primarily on the topics of distributive justice, the ideal/non-ideal theory debate and the ethics of voting. Secondary research interests include a range of topics from the fields of rational choice theory, behavioural economics and game theory. He has published articles in prestigious, ISI-indexed, international journals such as Philosophical Studies, Ethical Perspectives, Contemporary Political Theory, Journal of Philosophical Research, Journal of International Relations and Development and Croatian Journal of Philosophy. In total, he has published over 30 scientific or philosophical articles in internationally-indexed journals, collective volumes or as conference papers, has co-authored one book (Tritonic Press, Bucharest) and co-edited a collective volume (Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart). Alexandru Volacu is also a Teaching Assistant at SNSPA, the Director of the Bucharest Center for Political Theory and a Co-Editor in Chief of the Romanian Journal of Society and Politics.

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