PLPT - Democracy is not a noun or a clear object. It is an...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Democracy is not a noun or a clear object. It is an adjective as it manifests itself in a variety of concepts for example: - Election (voting though Aristotle thinks this is oligarchical not democratical) or Sortition (by lot, which would decrease campaign expenditure; Holmestein). - Is the decision rule based on unanimity or super or plain majorities or even pluralities? - Liberty to vote vs. obligation to vote (which would genuinely represent reflection of people’s views) - Direct or indirect representation? What sort of representation- delegate or trustee (more paternalistic)? Bird’s 5 arguments for democratic procedures (could be more; the first three make a positive case for democracy; the last two are more negative ideals- democracy as protection against abuses): (1) The common good defense- Participation allows what the public really wants, better than any of the alternatives. (2) Self government- Collective autonomy allowing people to determine their own destinies. (3) Justice- Everyone should have an equal voice if the decision affects them or the society they live in. (4) Conflict resolution- Society needs some way to resolve disagreements peacefully. (5) Safeguarding liberty against power- Plato’s ‘Craft Analogy’ argument against democracy- ruling competently is a complex skill that requires expertise, which the majority does not possess. His argument is reminiscent of Tawney’s position in some ways: by emphasizing the governing of equality of rights, democratic societies inevitably become inarticulate about the common good. Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is today remembered for its analysis of modern democratic forms (even though the overall book is actually about the long term tendency of capitalism to be replaced by socialism). Despite his despairing view of democratic ideals, Schumpeter thinks that a workable form of democracy can be retrieved for modern societies. His basic claim is that we need a realistic theory of democratic politics. This is because our vision of democracy has been clouded by unrealistic and incoherent expectations inherited from the 17 th and 18 th centuries. Thus, he attacks three elements of the classical version of democracy (1) Utilitarian idea- (Each person counts as 1 when doing calculations and personal preference of happiness, hence similar to a democratic voting system). Schumpeter believes that there is no such thing as a ‘common good’ or the greatest happiness of the greatest number; there is an array of opinions about the best interests of society, even on general social goods such as health and peace. The political problem is how to manage these disagreements. It is not clear that democratic procedures can tackle these issues as individual opinions are vulnerable to (1) manipulation through advertising and public relations and (2) the dynamics of group psychology in terms of peer pressure and mass hysteria. Thus the common good is distorted by cognitive differences.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/27/2011 for the course PLPT 1010 taught by Professor Colinbird during the Fall '11 term at UVA.

Page1 / 17

PLPT - Democracy is not a noun or a clear object. It is an...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online