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Lecture

Thick/Thin Democracies

8 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL201Y1
Professor
Sophia Moreau

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Lecture week14 January 17, 2011
THICK AND THIN DEMOCRACIES
Introduction to Democracy Theory:-
the rise in democracy has occurred over the past 60 years
Freedom House measures the levels of democracy and freedom along a continuum
where freedom is correlated with democracy
Democracy is a dichotomous variable if election are the measure of democracy
a country is either a democracy or not there is not in between or maybe/ somewhat
democratic
growth of democracy has created a proliferation of definitions; there are various
meanings, levels & values of it
there is no universal definition of democracy
Q. Is democracy a mechanism primarily i.e. elections? Or a system of rotating
political leaders in office?
Its primarily a commitment to twin ideals, namely freedom and equality’
Democracy = Power to the people initiated in Greece (Demos=people,
Kratos=power)
People were responsible for living their lives for the common good
This is Classical Democratic Theory”: An institutional organization for common
good, making decisions that carry out the common will
This is an authoritarian view of democracy
Common good is measure by a utility curve, after a certain point having more
money leads to decrease in utility
Common good is therefore a point on the utility curve where everyone is better off
Common will is the common will of people to achieve the common good
A mandate from people is suppose to invoke the idea of what people will/want
www.notesolution.com
The classical doctrine of democracy is an institutional method to identify will of
people, through their will people collectively come to common good
Critique of classical doctrine of democracy: 1942 by Schumpeter
The ancients believed that deliberation will generate common good
He critiques that there is no common good because people disagree in what they
prefer
Each person will have their own individual utility curve because they stand in
different relations to power structures
There is no objectively identifiable correct set of policies that democracy is
suppose to honor
Schumpeter also by extension says that there is NO will of the people, there is
only individual will
If it seems that a leader has a mandate of a common will, it is fact a fabricated
common will
The democratic process shapes, moulds and manipulates will, therefore common
will is manufactured product of democratic process, So common will is NOT an input
** This critique lays the groundwork for his Economic Theory of Democracy’ – a
THIN theory/definition of democracy AKA Schumpeterian Theory
He argues this theory is superior to the previous one because it is more realistic,
not normatively better
Its a truer expression of modern democratic function
He updates one theory from direct democracy where people decided on matter of
democracy
In a representative democracy people elect a person to decide on these matters
PEOPLE ELECTED REPPOLICY
The democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political
decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a
competitive struggle for the people's vote". Schumpeters Theory
This definition is different from the classical doctrine because the role of people is
to elect a government and the role of officials is to make policy decisions. It is a
process.
www.notesolution.com
He shifts main action to elected officials to make decisions
The representatives matter, no power to people. More like an elitist theory
Q. So what is the role of Freedom for Schumpeter?
Everyone is free to compete for public office, not to express opinions (public)
He uses this method of democracy to create his economic theory of democracy
He relates the dem. process to that of consumers and the market where, election =
market/ voters = consumers/ parties = commodities, they try to sell ideas and the votes
= money.
To gain market share by being elected in power, selling their product gets them
most votes
One party ideologies are like brands; democracy is competition of products/votes
In an attempt to win, parties develop & promote ideologies which change
depending on which ones sell/more popular
They (representatives/candidates) do not necessarily believe in them
This is all a very thin conception of the democracy, its explicitly devoid of any
normative content and focuses strongly on elites/elections/representatives, treating the
process as a market in which they are selling Coke.
THICK MODELS OF DEMOCRACY:-
Easier to understand these models by breaking them down into concepts principles
and procedures
Concepts:
1. THE PUBLIC REALMa unique system b/w ruler & ruled
the public realm falls under jurisdiction of state; where the government is
responsible
in this realm private is protected from the public
e.g. health care in Canada falls under public jurisdiction played by taxpayer $,
unlike the US where it is a private matter
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Lecture week14 January 17, 2011 THICK AND THIN DEMOCRACIES Introduction to Democracy Theory:- the rise in democracy has occurred over the past 60 years Freedom House measures the levels of democracy and freedom along a continuum where freedom is correlated with democracy Democracy is a dichotomous variable if election are the measure of democracy a country is either a democracy or not there is not in between or maybe somewhat democratic growth of democracy has created a proliferation of definitions; there are various meanings, levels & values of it there is no universal definition of democracy Q. Is democracy a mechanism primarily i.e. elections? Or a system of rotating political leaders in office? Its primarily a commitment to twin ideals, namely freedom and equality Democracy = Power to the people initiated in Greece (Demos=people, Kratos=power) People were responsible for living their lives for the common good This is Classical Democratic Theory: An institutional organization for common good, making decisions that carry out the common will This is an authoritarian view of democracy Common good is measure by a utility curve, after a certain point having more money leads to decrease in utility Common good is therefore a point on the utility curve where everyone is better off Common will is the common will of people to achieve the common good A mandate from people is suppose to invoke the idea of what people willwant www.notesolution.com
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