Chapter 2: Schumpeter on Democracy: The Classical Doctrine
Schumpeter said that democracy, like the market, is not an ideal but an instrument: ‘Democracy is a political method . . . and hence incapable of being an end in itself’ (Schumpeter, 1942: 242). Democracy is an ‘institutional arrangement’ (ibid.). It is chosen because it is the most expedient means to an end of which the method per se in no sense forms a part. Democracy is not the highest value: ‘There are ultimate ideals and interests which the most ardent democrat will put above democracy’ (ibid.). It is precisely those ‘hyper-rational values’, indeed, which attract the practising democrat to the system: ‘He feels convinced that democracy will guarantee those ideals and interests, such as freedom of conscience and speech, justice, decent government and so on’ (ibid.: 243, 242). Democracy is believed to protect the summum bonum of human dignity and individual autonomy. Democracy is believed to embody the Christian equality of respect that is implied in the credo that ‘the Redeemer died for all’ (ibid.: 265). Democracy is believed to make each person the best judge of his own private interest and to treat each preference revealed as an ethical absolute in itself. Democracy, in short, is the material embodiment of moral values like freedom, equality and respect. If the method did not deliver the ethics, it would lose the function that more than anything else made it attractive and legitimate. This chapter, like Chapters 3, 4 and 5, is concerned with Schumpeter’s democracy in the interstices of the economic systems. Section...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.