James Surowiecki on Democracy - Dictionary of Arguments
Democracy/Surowiecki: we have a democracy,
a) because it gives people a feeling of being involved in everything and being able to determine their own lives,...
...and that is why it contributes to political stability? Or
b) Because citizens have the right to govern themselves, even if they use this right in a ridiculous way? Or
c) Because democracy is an excellent instrument for making intelligent decisions and discovering the truth?
What do voters think democracy is for? Can we understand this in the same way as a market?
This contradicts the fact that politicians want to extend their power and be re-elected, which is not always to the benefit of the general public.
Public Choice Theory/Politics/Economic Sciences/Buchanan/Surowiecki: (1) thesis: the tendency is to suppress long-term problems in favour of short-term political interests. In reality, many regulations tend to serve regulated companies.
SurowieckiVsBuchananan: the assumption that principles and public interest have no place in politics overlooks the fact that voters themselves did not think of broader goals and that interest groups exercise an almost complete control (...).
James M. Buchanan/Gordon Tullock: Thesis: The average individual acts on the basis of the same overall value framework when he/she participates in the (...) market and is politically active. (2)
SurowieckiVsBuchanan: this was simply an assumption that was not proven. The counterposition that different activities cause different values and behaviours in people was at least as plausible. We do not treat our family members like our customers. (See Political Elections/Surowiecki, Political Elections/Buchanan, Political Elections/Riker)
Politics/Information/Democracy/Surowiecki: although the Americans have been proven to have false information on many individual issues, it is likely that they will elect the candidate who makes the right decisions. Missing information is not a sign of lack of intelligence, but a sign of lack of interest in details. Surowiecki's thesis: An essential point of representative democracy is that it allows, politically in the cognitive sphere, the same
Democracy/Surowiecki: is not an instrument for solving cognition problems, not a mechanism for recognising what is in the public interest. However, it is a system to deal with the most fundamental problems of coordination and cooperation.
1. Die Nobelpreisvorlesung von James Buchanan (1986) bietet eine interessante Sicht auf die philosophischen und konzeptionellen Fundamente der »Public-choice«-Theorie, die Buchanan an anderer Stelle als »Politik ohne Romantik« umschrieben hat: http://www.nobel.se/economics/laureates/1986/buchanan-lecture.html.
2. Mark Kelman, »On Democracy-Bashing – A Skeptical Look at the Theoretical and ›Empirical‹ Practice of the Public Choice Movement«, Virginia Law Review 74/1988, S. 235, 252._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
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