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Transcript of Democracy
People's Democracy (after WWII)
From Communist regimes, after the war
Various democracy models created, based on Marxism
Transition from capitalism to communism
Revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat
forming the political party of the working class
"Qui custodiet custodes?"
Nature of democracy (HOW)
Government OF the people
Direct Democracy: referendum, mass meeting, interactive
Representative Democracy: vote for someone to decide on their behalf; public accountability of positions
Government FOR the people
Little scope for public participation
Totalitarian democracies: absolute dictatorship that disguises as a democracy
Mussolini and Hitler
The leader alone articulated the genuine interests of the people
Plebiscitary Democracy: operated through unmediatead link between the ruler and the ruled through plebiscites/referendums; often criticized due to ruler's manipulation of the ruled through oratory and appeal.
Marxist View of Democracy
Focuses on the tension between democracy and capitalism
democracy= promises political equality
capitalism= promotes social inequality
Political power reflects distribution of economic power and unequal ownership of wealth
vs the pluralist view
More free when they participate directly
Jean-Jacque Rousseau: general will > private will
Democracy gained not through voting
Protective Democracy (17th-18th cent.)
MORE: For people to protect themselves from the encroachments of the state
LESS: mechanism for increased public participation in political life
Aristotle: "Qui custodiet custodes?" - Who will guard the guardians?
John Locke: Voting as a natural right
Gov't by consent
Compatible with laissez-faire (new right)
Pluralist View of Democracy
Multiplicity of interests and groups in society
Commitment to diversity: political party, norms, and values
Group politics: individuals are represented
Stability and order from the political voice of each group
Transformation of America
Bicameralism, Federalism, Separation of Powers
Polyarchy (rule of many, not rule of all citizens)
Gk: Demos (the people-all or many) + kratos (power / rule)
A. Lincoln, Gettysburg Adress: "Government of, by, and for the people"
1 person = 1 vote; 1 vote = 1 value
voting and social equality
"Democracy debate": WHO is the people, HOW will they be governed, and to what EXTENT will they be governed?
Elitist View of Democracy
Rule of elites
(a) Inevitable & desirable? (b) Or regrettable?
(a)! Political power is always exercised by the elites (the privileged minority)
2 classes of people: the ruler and the ruled
Michel: "Iron Law of Oligarchy"
Democracy is a myth! An elite will stay elite whoever who rules.
Elitism - rule of the privileged minority (the highest)
Classical Elitism - Inevitable
Normative Elitism - Desirable
Modern Elitism - Causes of rule?
Nature of democracy (WHO)
Who are the PEOPLE?
present: ALL - entire population
past (ancient Greeks): MANY - disadvantaged masses; bias towards the poor
Different ways the PEOPLE can be interpreted:
Single body: General will vs Private will
or the Majority: "majority rule"; overrides the will of the minority (leading to tyranny of the majority)
MAJORITARIAN - priority to the will of majority
or a collection of free and equal individuals: make individual decisions
Democracy is the worst form of government except all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.
UK House of Commons
How do we use the term?
Issues about the nature of democracy
How do they operate?
Nature of democracy (to what EXTENT)
How far their rule should extend?
Proper realm of democracy? (Public realm vs private realm)
Issues people can decide on? Issues individuals can decide on?
Democracy based on liberal individualism
democratic solutions are appropriate only on matters that specifically relate to the community
widest possible dispersal of political power
democracy as a principle that is applicable to all areas of social existence
basic right to participate in making of any decision that affect their lives
is this a socialist or a conservative leaning?
Classical Democracy (ancient times)
Polis: Assembly/Ecclesia (40k pax); draw lots; 1 day term
males, 20^ y/o.... \females, slaves, foreigners
Critiqued by Plato
the masses do not possess wisdom /experience to rule on their own
Philosopher kings: enlightened dictatorship; 'guardians'
How can males afford to attend the meetings everday?
Corporatist View of Democracy
Corporate state: integration of government, workers and managers
groups compete to shape government policy
Caused by drift to economic growth and intervention
tendency to integrate economic interests in govt
Threat to democracy
bias towards groups agreeing with government
government chooses who to deal with
policy through economic negotiation rather than deliberation through congress
Interest groups become influential even without accountability
New Right View of Democracy
Dangers of democratic overload
effect of the electoral process
versus the Corporatist view
allows groups to dictate the government: wage, subsidy
If chocolate is for children, democracy is for adults: endlessly tempting
harmless in small doses, sickening in excess