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Edited by Edward W. Fuller

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Edited by Edward W. Fuller

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Edited by Edward W. Fuller

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Nadia E. Nedzel

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Pascal Salin

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Trent J. MacDonald

Much has been said about the vices and virtues of democracy. Democracy, said Benjamin Franklin, is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Lord Acton warned that democracy is susceptible to a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Winston Churchill told us that democracy is actually the worst form of government . . . except for every other form that has been tried. Not without irony, he also said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. H. L. Mencken described democracy as the theory that people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. These quotes speak to the majoritarian dimension of democracy and the reality that even in the best-of-functioning systems 49 per cent of the people can remain unhappy. To be sure, in most modern democracies even a less-than-majority popular vote can carry an election, due to the peculiarities of electoral systems.5 Democracy, in other words, is a system to ensure that some people get what they want; it is not a system to allow everyone to do so.

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Trent J. MacDonald

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Giuseppe Eusepi and Richard E. Wagner

Antonio de Viti de Marco, accepted David Ricardo’s proposition that an extraordinary tax and a public loan are equivalent. All the same, de Viti’s theory of public debt diverged sharply from Ricardo’s. Ricardo thought effectively in representative agent terms; De Viti did not, and thought instead of macro variables as emerging out of interaction among individuals. Ricardo’s macro framework entailed the self-extinction of public debt due to its representative agent quality. In contrast, de Viti’s micro framework explained that self-extinction depended on the operating properties of the political system in which public debt was generated. Within the theoretical extremum of a system of cooperative democracy, self-extinction was a likely property. Ordinary democratic systems, however, featured continuing competition among elites striving for power. This competition enabled politically dominant groups to pass cost onto others in society, bringing about a de facto form of debt default and not self-extinction.

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Theocharis Grigoriadis

There are strong linkages between religion, bureaucratic organization, citizen preferences, and political regimes. The views of Lipset and Rokkan, Marx, Lukacs, Marcuse, Adorno, Weber, and Durkheim are discussed. The choice of these thinkers relates to the three grand themes that are discussed in the book: (1) The linkage between religion and political regimes in terms of social welfare expectations by the electorate, surveillance incentives, and collectivist distribution by bureaucrats; (2) The religious traditions that shape the administrative structures of local or regional communities; and (3) The different levels of policy discretion, administrative monitoring, and centralization that correspond to different sets of religious norms adopted by citizens and bureaucrats. The critique of conventional social theory treats religion in its key dimensions: as state structure, party cleavage, and social welfare.

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Edited by Giuseppe Eusepi and Richard E. Wagner