ACUMEN Spring 2022

32 ACUMEN • SPRING 2022 DOUGLAS BENEDICT, HOUSE OF COMMONS / GETTY IMAGES various forms of corruption that consensual or more deliberative systems can avoid.” While he is a historian, not a pundit, Bulman has been thinking about how innovative systems being tested at smaller scale might overcome some of the pitfalls of contemporary democracies. “There are people experimenting with ways you could have more deliberation on policy questions outside of party or institutional constraints,” he says. “There are a lot of possibilities for consensus decisionmaking, which is appealing, but insistence on consensus can also be dangerous and has its own set of difficult questions.” ● from where elections are rarely contested to being commonly contested,” says Bulman. Bulman’s next book, a global history of majority rule, and his ongoing research may contain lessons for those examining the challenges facing democracies generally. “I think it’s important to examine the conditions under which majoritarian systems emerged to help us understand the nature of contemporary decision systems,” says Bulman. As he digs deeper, Bulman finds his own views on majoritarian rule have shifted. “It’s deepened my sense of the costs and benefits of our system and its proneness to William Bulman (above) traces the origins of majority rule in modern representative government.