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Direct Democracy and Social Contract in Ancient Athens

Authors: Nicholas Kyriazis, Emmanouil Marios L. Economou, Loukas Zachilas


In the present essay, a model of choice by actors is analysedby utilizing the theory of chaos to explain how change comes about. Then, by using ancient and modern sources of literature, the theory of the social contract is analysed as a historical phenomenon that first appeared during the period of Classical Greece. Then, based on the findings of this analysis, the practice of direct democracy and public choice in ancient Athens is analysed, through two historical cases: Eubulus and Lycurgus political program in the second half of the 4th century. The main finding of this research is that these policies can be interpreted as an implementation of a social contract, through which citizens were taking decisions based on rational choice according to economic considerations.

Keywords: Chaos Theory, Public Choice, social contract

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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