According to the Wikipedia article on demarchy:

Demarchy (or lottocracy) is a form of government in which the state is governed by randomly selected decision makers who have been selected by sortition (lot) from a broadly inclusive pool of eligible citizens.

According to the Wikipedia article on stochocracy:

Stochocracy has been proposed as an alternative form of government to representative democracy. The Iron Law of Oligarchy (see Robert Michels) asserts that democracies gradually devolve towards particracy. Stochocracy aims to reduce this decline by appointing representatives by lot instead of voting. Such a system could also be called lottocracy.

To me, they seem the same. Both use sortition to appoint representatives that take decisions. Is there any difference?


1 Answer 1


Stochocracy is just an attempt to translate the french word stochocracie, which is a word used to refer to any democracy that uses sortition to select its decision makers.

As for demarchy, I will copy what I answered to: What is the difference between sortition and demarchy?

Demarchy has not an agreed upon meaning.

Friedrich Hayek first used the term demarchy to name his proposal of a (according to him) better form of government. He used the term because democracy, in his opinion, is now being used to name forms of government that have not much to do with what it originally was meant to describe. His proposal in no way included the use of sortition.

John Burnheim, an Australian philosophy professor, was the first to use the term in relation with sortition. In his book Is democracy possible?, he envisions a form of government that among other things includes the dissolution of the state, and indeed also a large number of citizen juries, selected by lot, that take decisions on public policy issues. He calls his new form of government demarchy. See here for more details.

I'm not sure exactly how, but very recently a number of people online have started to use demarchy as a general term used to mean "sortition based democracy". One of the first has been the wikipedia article on demarchy. Likely others got it from there. Most people however, specially those really studying the subject, do not use use it this way (usually they do not use it at all).

Sortition, in the context of politics, means just allotting any kind of position by random selection.

Given the ambiguity around the term demarchy it is, in my opinion, much better to talk about sortition.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .