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Single Idea 21131

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy]

Full Idea

Democratic politics is a competition among self-interested politicians, constituting a ruling class, for the support of the people, also assumed to be self-interested, and none too interested or well informed about politics.

Gist of Idea

Democracy is competition for support of the people, guided by self-interest on all sides


Richard Posner (Law, Pragmatism and Democracy [2003], p.144), quoted by Andrew Shorten - Contemporary Political Theory 05

A Reaction

This articulates the 'competitive' view of democracy, as simply a technique for establishing legitimacy. Posner is also an economist, and they also assume that everyone is wholly self-interested, which may be why they are so frequently wrong.

Book Reference

Shorten,Andrew: 'Contemporary Political Theory' [Palgrave 2016], p.111