An Economic Theory of Democracy
Harper, 1957 - 310 pages
This book seeks to elucidate its subject-the governing of democratic state-by making intelligible the party politics of democracies. Downs treats this differently than do other students of politics. His explanations are systematically related to, and deducible from, precisely stated assumptions about the motivations that attend the decisions of voters and parties and the environment in which they act. He is consciously concerned with the economy in explanation, that is, with attempting to account for phenomena in terms of a very limited number of facts and postulates. He is concerned also with the central features of party politics in any democratic state, not with that in the United States or any other single country.
Résultats 1-3 sur 82
But men live in society and in a world of scarce resources; so when each pursues
his own goals, his actions affect other men. Furthermore, these other men never
have precisely the same goals that he has. Therefore, conflicts between men
inevitably arise. Politics is the system of settling these conflicts so that each
individual may achieve some of his goals. All men cannot achieve all their goals
simultaneously, because when one man does so, his actions prevent others from
doing so; ...
True, our later analysis shows that government could move society to a Paretian
optimum if it could infallibly judge every individual's income-earning potential,
measure his benefits and costs cheaply, directly, and without error, and pass
individually discriminatory laws. Under these conditions, it could cover its costs
by making with each person an individual bargain that left him in marginal
equilibrium in his dealings with government. But we may regard this outcome as
a practical ...
perfect certainty, with no technical obstacles to achieving a Paretian optimum, a
two-party democracy would not necessarily arrive at one. No matter what stand
the incumbents took, the opposition could defeat them by taking a suboptimal
stand, because a majority would prefer the latter to the former. Furthermore,
similar preference structures are likely to exist in any society which has a per
capita income above the subsistence level, i.e., in which nearly everyone
produces an output in ...