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1 The Marquis de Condorcet (1785) actually produced a mathematical proof of this (his ‘Jury Theorem’), which shows that the majority among a large number of citizens will necessarily make the right choices between two alternatives, provided only that the average citizen has a small chance (say 0.51) of being more right than wrong on the matter.

References

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Condorcet, Marquis de. (1785) Essai Sur L’Application de L’Analyse a la Probability des Decisions Rendues a la Plurality des Voix, Paris: Imprimerie Royale.

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Madison, J., Hamilton, A. and Jay, J. (1787-8/1911) The Federalist Papers, London: Dent.

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Marcus, G. E. and Hanson, R. L. (eds) (1993) Reconsidering the Democratic Public, University Park, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Riker, W. (1982) Liberalism Against Populism, San Francisco, CA: Freeman.

Rousseau, J. J., tr. G. D. H. Cole, J. Brumfitt, P. J. C. Hall. (1762/1993) The Social Contract and Discourses, London: Dent.

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Zaller, John (1992) The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 
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