By Jacques Lenoble and Marc Maesschalck
For more than a century Western democracies have struggled to keep faith with both economic efficiency and social justice. Yet reconciliation of these factors remains as baffling as ever. Among the many voices clamoring today for a theory of collective action, we hear most often of the great chasm between "legitimacy" and "efficiency". It is the contention of the authors of this ground-breaking book that these antinomies can be seen as distinct "moments of application" in the operation of normative judgement, and that a reflexive treatment of norms of collective action, by clarifying limitations in rules and beliefs, allows us to develop mechanisms to correct the limiting effects of such judgements and act accordingly.
Drawing on and developing recent trends in the social sciences, The Action of Norms presents a powerful new theory of governance with far-reaching implications for the future of law, the judiciary, and justice itself. Among the contributing modern ideas that are explained and developed as pillars of the authors' thesis are the following:
Lenoble and Maesschalck achieve a remarkable synthesis of relevant thought about forms of social organization - from Kant and Fichte through Hayek, Rawls, and Habermas to current theory - and place it at the service of a new and effective theory of the norm that promises to greatly elucidate the role of law and legal practice in the continuing development of democratic institutions.
- critiques of the "political theory of interest groups";
- the economic theory of efficiency;
- deliberative democracy;
- rational choice theory;
- the evolutionist debate;
- learning process theory; and
- the theory of risk.