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The Future of Democracy



     The responses to our postings about democracy have shown that many WAISers are troubled. The Economist has run an important series of six articles, "Ex uno, plures", on the future of "mature" democracies. They raise some important questions, especially the last one (8/21) on the danger of democracies being strangled by lobbyists and single-issue groups. A cartoon shows a lot of fat pigs wallowing in a trough.
     The article draws heavily on the 1865 book by American economist Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, which inspired a series of other books. The necessary remedy, concludes the series, is democracy's ability to evolve. My question is : Will it? Comments from WAISers suggest that many believe that its principal merit is that it prevents extremists from seizing power. We would, however, be blind if we did not realize that much of the world's population is not convinced that democracy will improve their lot. Their primitive response is to protest vigorously or violently, which does not improve the economy or their lot.

Ronald Hilton - 08/29/99


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