On Democracy: Second Edition

Written through the preeminent democratic theorist of our time, this ebook explains the character, worth, and mechanics of democracy. This new edition includes extra chapters via Ian Shapiro, Dahl’s successor as Sterling Professor of Political technological know-how at Yale and a number one modern authority on democracy. One bankruptcy bargains with the clients for democracy in gentle of advancements because the creation of the Arab spring in 2010. the opposite takes up the consequences of inequality and cash in politics at the caliber of democracy, a subject matter that used to be of accelerating crisis to Dahl in his ultimate years.
“The overdue Robert Dahl’s On Democracy is the resource for a way to manipulate democratically. Following the equipment and channeling the perception of Dahl, Ian Shapiro’s new version completes Dahl’s undertaking and is needs to analyzing for the subsequent iteration and crucial re-reading for the present.”—Michael Doyle, Columbia University
“Dahl’s tersest precis of the teachings of his profoundly influential interrogation of democracy’s strengths and weaknesses. Ian Shapiro indicates forcefully what we've got discovered considering that its preliminary publication.”—John Dunn, writer of Breaking Democracy’s Spell
“Robert A. Dahl’s On Democracy admirably synthesized the contributions of the world’s top democratic theorist of the 20th century. Now Ian Shapiro intelligently contains Dahl’s queries and matters into our personal century.”—Robert D. Putnam, writer of Our teenagers: the yankee Dream in Crisis

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Page 191 l l l Build legitimacy and acceptance among all key actors. Try to maximize voter influence. But balance that against encouraging coherent political parties. That a rather large number of alternative electoral systems exist suggests three observations. First, if a democratic country happens to have an electoral system that ill  suits its needs, the country should replace it. Second, the electoral system of a country can probably be tailored to its particular features—historical, traditional, cultural,  and so on.

To 2000 C. E. to  hold an adjudicative assembly called in Norse a Ting. (Incidentally, the English word thing is derived from an Old English word meaning both thing and assembly. )  Similar places, some even older, can be found elsewhere in the vicinity. By 900 C. E. , assemblies of free Vikings were meeting not just in the Trondheim region but in many other areas of Scandinavia as well. As in Steinkjer the Ting was  typically held in an open field marked off by large vertical stones. At the meeting of the Ting the freemen settled disputes; discussed, accepted, and rejected laws;  adopted or turned down a proposed change of religion (as they did when they accepted Christianity in place of the old Norse religion); and even elected or gave their  approval to a king—who was often required to swear his faithfulness to the laws approved by the Ting.

But why should we place a value on political equality? Because the answer is far from self­evident, in the two following chapters I shall explain why  political equality is desirable, why, indeed, it necessarily follows  Page 57 if we accept several reasonable assumptions that probably most of us do believe in. I shall also show that if we accept political equality then we must add the fifth  democratic criterion in figure 4. The advantages of democracy that I have discussed so far would tend to apply to democracies past and present.

For example, in the British parliamentary  elections of 1997 the Labor Party gained 64 percent of the seats in Parliament—the largest majority in modem parliamentary history; yet it did so by winning only 44  percent of the votes cast. The Conservative Party, with 31 percent of the votes, won just 25 percent of the seats, and the unfortunate Liberal Democrats, who were  supported by 17 percent of the voters, ended up with only 7 percent of the seats! (The candidates of other parties won a total of 7 percent of the votes and 4 percent  of the seats.

Unlike the United States, France, Japan, and other modern countries, the so­ called nation­states or national states that have largely dominated the modern world, the sovereign states of Greece were city­states. The most famous city­state, in  classical times and after, was Athens. In 507 B. C. E. the Athenians adopted a system of popular government that lasted nearly two centuries, until the city was  subjugated by its more powerful neighbor to the north, Macedonia. (After 321 B. C. E. the Athenian government limped along under Macedonian control for  generations; then the city was subjugated again, this time by the Romans.

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