Trustee model of representationtrustee model of representation, trustee model of representation definition
The trustee model of representation is a model for how we should understand the role of representatives, and is frequently contrasted with the delegate model of representation1 Constituents elect their representatives as 'trustees' or 'entrust' them for their constituency These 'trustees' have sufficient autonomy to deliberate and act in favor of the greater common good and national interest, even if it means going against the short-term interests of their own constituencies The model provides a solution to the problem of uninformed constituents who lack the necessary knowledge on issues to take an educated position By contrast, in the delegate model, the representative is expected to act strictly in accordance to a mandate from the represented23
This model was formulated by Edmund Burke2 1729–1797, an Irish MP and philosopher, who also created the delegate model of representation In the trustee model, Burke argued that his behavior in Parliament should be informed by his knowledge and experience, allowing him to serve the public interest Indeed, as he put it, "his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion" Essentially, a trustee considers an issue and, after hearing all sides of the debate, exercises their own judgment in making decisions about what should be done "You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament" Burke, 1774 Burke made these statements immediately after being elected, and after his colleague had spoken in favor of coercive instructions being given to representatives; Burke failed to be returned at the next election
JS Mill also championed this model He stated that while all individuals have a right to be represented, not all political opinions are of equal value He suggested a model where constituents would receive votes according to their level of education ie people with degrees receiving the most votes, and working class people receiving the fewest
- ^ 1, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- ^ a b Aaten,Helen "Competing Informed Principals and Representative Democracy" PDF Retrieved 2011-01-17
- ^ Fox, Justin & Shotts, Kenneth W "Delegates or Trustees A Theory of Political Accountability" PDF Retrieved 2011-01-17
- Delegate model of representation
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