Sean Carroll in Preposterous Universe:
Democracy posits the radical idea that political power and legitimacy should ultimately be found in all of the people, rather than a small group of experts or for that matter arbitrarily-chosen hereditary dynasties. Nevertheless, a good case can be made that the bottom-up and experimental nature of democracy actually makes for better problem-solving in the political arena than other systems. Political theorist Henry Farrell (in collaboration with statistician Cosma Shalizi) has made exactly that case. We discuss the general idea of solving social problems, and compare different kinds of macro-institutions — markets, hierarchies, and democracies — to ask whether democracies aren’t merely politically just, but also an efficient way of generating good ideas.