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by: Cesar Hammes
Cesar Hammes
GPA 3.51


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This 16 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cesar Hammes on Tuesday October 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CJA310 at San Diego State University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see /class/225294/cja310-san-diego-state-university in Criminal Justice at San Diego State University.

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Date Created: 10/20/15
Can Democracy Be Made Safe for the World Global Future Lecture November 14 2005 Henry L Janssen Professor Emeritus Political Science Copyrighted by Henry L Janssen November 14 2005 Prelude I have been taking up the time of students each year since this course was started It must now be at least twenty years old Each of the weeks assigned to me was taken up with a puzzle I though relevant to the course but for whichI had not found a comfortable solution Each presentation simply left me with a new puzzle Last year when I spoke to this class I was talking about whatI called The Credibility Crisis The last in my series of related puzzles I was not too happy with the way I presented that and tried a few weeks later to raise the same subject with quite a different audience I didn t feel very good about that either I thought that putting the two of them together might be more presentable I m less certain of even that now This year I have much the same problem I have a puzzle with a great many pieces that is linked to last year s paper I m not certainI have all the pieces and even with the ones thatI have I m not certain they are fitted together correctly I still think it worthwhile to discuss itfinished or not This will be difficult for you because the appropriate context would take us back twenty years and require elaboration of what was going on in the intervening years My sense is that it is getting so complicated that what I m trying to understand may belong somewhere but not necessarily in this course This is going to take about fifty minutes I do not mind interruptions where you do not understand whatI am saying We will have time at the end where you can comment freely on what is wrong with the argument So let s see how it goes Can Democracy Be Made Safe for the World The questionI address is whether a government of the people and by the people can be one for the people This is more complicated than it looks Of the people and by the people seem clear enough but what counts as for the people We have two options For the people can mean for the people as a whole which translates into a government in the common interest for the general welfare or serving the common good The other option would be a collection of people with special interests that can form a coalition large enough to subdue the losers in this con ict of interests1 I will argue that a government of the people and by the people will not lead to a government that serves the common good or promotes the general welfare in the sense of serving the good of the whole I will further argue that a government of the people and by the people which is made up of groups pursuing their group or private interests cannot develop and support public policies that further the survival chances of the species and thus would not seem to promote the general welfare The first option is heavily dependent on the ability of people acting as citizens to transcend their individual and group interests and through cooperation promote the interests of the whole The second option is heavily dependent on the common good being achieved through competitive behavior among various groups and individuals seeking their own good In 1953 Charles Wilson Secretary of Defense and former President of General Motors said For years I thought that what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa 2 Here you have the two positions What is good for General Motors is good for the country or what is good for the country is good for General Motors The first position is the argument of pluralism and the second the argument that of community So how show that a government of the many of which democracy must be a subset becomes not only illegitimate but ineffective Let us begin I start with a definition of a political system so that we share for present purposes the assumptions that underlie my argument Drawing upon definitions given by MaX Weber and David Easton and modified a bit to fit my own predilections we come up with this A political system is the organization in a human community that successfully claims a monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory in order to stabilize a particular distribution of scarce resources I need to elaborate on that a bit since it has the odor of political science jargon not the sweet smell of communication A political system is a 1 The Founding Fathers opted for pluralism as a way of fulfilling the promise in the Preamble of the Constitution that the newly formed government was committed among other things to promote the General Welfare Note Madison s remarks in Federalist Paper 10 esp 7881 in Hamilton Madison and Jay The FederalistPapersNew York The New American Library 1961 2 A statement to the US Senate Committee on Armed Services in January 1953 Quote in Dictionary of Quotations Ed Alison Jones New York Chambers 1997 p 1084 3 See H H Gerth and C Wright Mlls From Max Weber Essays in Sociology New York Oxford University Press 1946 pp 7879 and David Easton The Political System39An Inquiry into th eState of Political Science New York Alfred A Knopf 1967 pp 126141 way of enforcing behaviors in a group where the desires of members of the group exceed the resources available to satisfy those desires This creates conditions where some members of the group will be winners and others losers4 Political systems are developed to make certain the losers accept their losses There are two modes by which losers can be led to comply with distribution systems that favor others The first is to convince the losers that the method by which the distribution system was constructed was fair and just and thus they are really winners that is getting the losers to see the political system as legitimate The second mode is for the winners to organize a sufficient amount of physical force to shock and awe the losers into acceptance of the division of the spoils They are restrained from dissent by fear of the consequences A successful political system is one that finds a match or kind of equilibrium between a distribution system of scarce resources and the creation of a capacity to exert physical force to maintain the system For instance a dictatorship trying to maintain a distribution system that leads to starvation of most of its subjects will not be able to do so in the absence of the support of the armed forces of the country or a belief on the part of the subjects that it is God s Will that they starve or some combination thereof Political systems have been categorized since the Greeks Herodotus Plato and Aristotle were among the first to find forms among the variety of systems that existed in their times Herodotus classified systems into three types which he called governments of the one the few and the many He made no distinction with respect to good or bad nor with respect to effective or ineffective Plato provided us with five forms in his Republic There was the rule of his Guardians who were people who knew the Good what we would call the common interest and ruled accordingly There were those whose rule was motivated by their spirits rather than the good or interests Here the rulers sought honor glory courage salvation etc what we might call military juntas or theocracies He called this system a timocracy Next was oligarchy which was simply the rule of the rich in the interests of the rich Then democracy shows up as the rule of the many who were moved in their behaviors by their appetites which were primarily sensual Democracy stressed quantity nor quality We might think of this form as one driven primarily by biological needs Finally despotism as the rule of leaders who practice and promote the satisfaction of desires best not discussed in public 4 When the perception that the government is operating in the common interest is general the notion of winners and losers is weakened by the sense that all are winners Plato s set of forms is so much linked to his discussion of the good life that it is not thought to have much of an empirical base and is generally viewed as academic in our time5 For an empirical base we go to Aristotle Aristotle took the classification of Herodotus and added that there were both good and bad forms of the government of one the few and the many What makes a government good for Aristotle was that the rulers ruled in the common interest whereas it became bad when it ruled in the interest of the rulers This would seem to raise problems when we get to governments of the many Are we to distinguish between a government of the many that rules in the interests of the many from one that rules in the common interest Does that make any sense It did to Aristotle since he thought the many were most likely the poor and that when the poor ruled in their own interest it would not be the same as the common interest6 Aristotle called a government that ruled in the interests of the poor a democracy and thought a government of the many could rule in the common interest if the middle class exceeded in numbers either the rich or the poor in a society This followed from his belief that the good was to be found in moderation in the mean in the avoidance of extremes7 Note that from the beginning of political thought there is the belief that political systems are supposed to serve the common good When they are perceived not to do so the ruled have a right to disobey whether that right can be exercised or not The ip side is that when rulers rule in accordance with some acceptable notion of the common interest those who agree have an obligation to obey to accept the orders of the rulers The compliance should be voluntary If you participate in making the law you are bound by the result There is also an early recognition that political systems can exist and be effective in maintaining particular kinds of distribution systems without necessarily promoting the best distribution 5 See The Republic afPlaIa Tranlated by Francis MacDonald Cornford New York Oxford University Press 1975 pp 265315 6 The notion of the common interest is highly controversial I think that controversy is grounded in the belief that individuals have a lot of trouble opposed something that is clearly in the common interest It is dif cult to maintain successfully a justi cation of individual interest as having a higher priority than the common interest For this reason the argument shi s to what constitutes the common interest rather than why should I pay attention to it Toward the end of this paper I suggest that the common interest may best be considered as a biological concept and one over which we have little control Basically the common interest is simply a recognition that each of us has a common interest in livin 7 See The Politics afArislaIle Edited and translated by Ernest Barker New York Oxford University Press 1962 pp 113121 system These are simply bad forms illegitimate We can speak of them as having the power to rule but not the authority In the development of political systems I hesitate to use the term evolution here the idea that governments that had the form of one or few could not by that reason alone rule in the common interest So a more or less common perception arose that legitimate governments were limited to governments of the many Only the many could define the common good I think that this idea became current before the many actually had the power to participate in ruling8 But certainly in the present period the many not only claim a right to rule but have the means at least in technologically advanced societies to demand a role in ruling The question then becomes whether the rule of the many in our time can transcend their special interests and promote and defend policies that are perceived to be in the general welfare or the common interest If such transcendence appears unlikely when the many rule as a coalition of groups in con ict and competition for scarce resources can the results be perceived by the many as promoting the common interest thereby acquiring legitimacy Or failing this pluralistic approach to the common good can the policies that emerge from effective coalitions be such that the primary function of a political system is fulfilled the orderly stable maintenance of a particular system of distribution for scarce resources This would be a system that depending on the distribution of carrots and sticks in such a way that the carrot people create the big stick a system that dispenses with legitimacy Note here that I distinguish between legitimate and effective systems A system can be both legitimate and effective in theory and practice and it can also be illegitimate but effective in theory and practice9 Machiavelli had a clear grasp of this distinction when he says The chief foundations of all states whether new old or mixed are good laws and good arms And as there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms and where there are good arms there must be good laws I will not now discuss the laws but will speak of the arms10 8 The theories of John Locke Thomas Hobbes and JeanJacques Rousseau the major social contract theorists derive a legitimate government from the consent of the governed prior to the time when political power became so diffused that the consent of the governed became a necessity and not a choice 9 In the Periclean Age one could argue that the political system was both legitimate and effective whereas in the 4 11 century its legitimacy withered but the system remained fairly effective until Alexander show up 10 Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince New York The New American Library 1952 p 80 Note how easily Machiavelli converts good to effective here taking legitimacy out of the discussion In The Prince he was especially interested in describing how to govern a state in which no principle of legitimacy eXisted Before analyzing the modern potential for private persons to move from a marketplace or competitive mentality to a forum or community mentality from individual to citizen I need to clarify the prevailing notion of democracy11 In Athens it was identi ed with a certain set of institutions and a shared sense that citizen was a role aimed at promoting the common good12 In our time the concept has become something like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval It is a label signifying legitimacy As such all regimes scramble to attach the label to their systems The consequence is that there is no shared agreement among nations or their inhabitants as to what counts as democracy I propose to avoid a formal definition of democracy by simply insisting that it is a form which claims to be a government of the many We can thus eXpect such flaws as may be found in governments of the many to also be aws in democracies So can the kind of transcendent behavior on the part of the many which is characteristic of the public role citizen as distinct from the private role as individual be achieved in modern societies One can posit that this transcendence was partially achieved in Athens in the fifty century BC There was there a physical separation symbolizing the different roles In the agora or marketplace competitive behaviors ourished in the struggle to satisfy the biological needs of individuals On PnyX Hill public affairs were decided by the same people who competed in the marketplace But on PnyX Hill decisions were made by people in the role of citizens Behavior was cooperative The goal sought was the good of the 11 I am using the concept of marketplace as the locus of pluralistic activity with its primary characteristic of competitive behavior 12 Note Pericles in his Funeral Oration Our Constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves Its administration favours the many instead of the few this is why it is called a democracy If we look to the laws they afford equal justice to all in their private differences if to social standing advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit nor again does poverty bar the way If a man jis able to serve the state he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition Thucydides The Complete Writings afThucydides New York Modern Library edition 1934 p 105 and following whole The values and feelings supporting the practice of transcendent behavior were closely connected with the Acropolis where the Parthenon symbolized a relation with Athena and the Theatre of Dionysus on the southeast slope of the Acropolis educated the people in citizen behavior through the agency of tragedies as created by Aeschylus Sophocles and Euripides13 In the marketplace successful behavior depended on the skills that were learned from the Sophists the ways of making the worse case appear to be the better In our times we would describe this as learning the skills by which the beliefs and behavior of others can be in uenced to serve our own interests14 These are the skills of manipulation deception equivocation and just plain lying It involves the art or science of changing people s perceptions of reality In the marketplace the distribution of scarce goods is made manifest It is on PnyX Hill where the rules placing restraints on behavior in the marketplace is generated These restraints are under constant attack from the marketplace and lead to attempts to transform citizen behavior into marketplace behavior When successful politics becomes a competitive process not a cooperative one In Athens the transformation to marketplace behavior in politics was not automatic The economy was simple39 simple enough so that most of the inhabitants could understand how it operated The number of inhabitants who were qualified to sit on PnyX Hill was no more than fifty thousand with seldom more than seven or eight thousand in actual attendance There was among the citizens a broad range of shared experiences The attempts to use the techniques of persuasion characteristic of the marketplace on PnyX Hill were not completely successful since most people experienced the same reality and tended not to be moved by the various constructed realities as these might be created by the marketplace mentality It is hard to lie successfully to a cowboy about the age of a horse The Athenian system began to breakdown as Athens moved from a citystate to an empire Ordinary inhabitants ceased to have rst hand knowledge of the activities 13 Plato would maintain that the theatre could perform no such function in his ideal state though he might be read as believing it could support notions of restraint and moderation in a democracy 14 This characterization is oversimpli ed I think the proper distinction lies in distinguishing education from indoctrination Both are forms of in uence I think of education as a cooperative venture in which participants attempt to come to some agreement about beliefs and behavior using only those kinds of argument that they find personally compelling Indoctrination on the other hand involves attempts to in uence the beliefs and behavior of others through arguments that the user would not find personally compelling if used on them Indoctrination is an adversarial relation that engaged the attention of the State Ordinary people had to rely increasingly on others in developing their opinions This opened the door to those skilled in marketplace behavior Public opinion was no longer formed out of one s own experience and knowledge but constructed from materials furnished by others with agendas appropriate to the marketplace but not to Pnyx Hill This clash between those like Socrates who was concerned with cooperating with others to determine the best thing to do for the good of all and those who assumed the adversarial position with respect to others in the search for an individual good life ended with Socrates being given a death sentence by a jury of his peers15 The difficulty of maintaining the citizen role under the most advantageous conditions which characterized the citystate of Athens does not give one much to hope that millions can play the transcendent role in highly complex societies This is made increasingly improbable as the economy becomes global and the politics remains national Technically we have moved into a situation in which an effective government of the many based on the transcendent model would need to be a global government with the adult population of the world playing the role of citizen It would also need a distribution system that allowed voters the luxury of choice As Marx noted one cannot expect behavior that promotes the common good until one is freed from the struggle to acquire survival needs in the marketplace Even Rousseau s imagination could not stretch that far 16 1 would note in order to add a shade of gray to the black 1 have painted that under certain circumstances like the tsunami unusually destructive hurricanes and earthquakes something like a species response develops Momentarily we sense that as a species we are all in something together Unfortunately the time span of specie reaction has been quite short whereas a legitimate government of the many needs to be in the transcendent mode on a daytoday basis The Athenians did not know how to do this and we have made no progress in solving that problem in our time Other arguments only reinforce the conclusion that a government of the many which depends on people effectively playing the transcendent role of citizen is not possible given present distribution systems We lack both the 15 To find out more about this basic quarrel between Socrates and the Sophists not resolved in modern democracies see Plato Gargias in The Collected Dialogues afPlala Edited by Edith Hamilton and Hunington Cairns New York Pantheon Books 1961 pp 229307 16 See JeanJacques Rousseau The Social Contract or Principles afPalilicalRighl New York39The New American Library 1974 His discussion of the General Will implies that people are able to transcend from private interests to public good will and the knowledge to understand how much our own welfare depends on the welfare of others What about the other options Can people be led to believe as Adam Smith noted that Every individual intends only his own gain and he is in this as in many other cases led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it17 Here we have an attempt to legitimize marketplace behavior because it automatically approximates the common good This is the logic of the free market But no market is ever really free It eXists within the framework of a set of laws which advantages some of the players in the market while disadvantaging others Players in the market are constantly at work to modify the laws to their advantage It is difficult to promote a general belief that these modifications all promote the common good when their origin arises out of selfseeking groups with significantly different capacities to in uence public policy How can American laborers be led to the belief that outsourcing promotes the common good and thus is a good practice that they should encourage This could make sense were American workers to ally themselves with workers globally and enter the global marketplace united Not much of a straw to grasp How can consumers of oil products be led to believe that enormous profits made by the oil industry will promote the common good and that all of us ought to oppose an excess profits taX Perhaps by making consumers stockholders How can an ordinary worker believe that the average CEO is worth more than four hundred times what he or she makes in a fulltime job and that attempts to modify this disparity would damage the common interest Perhaps by taking the leap to faith that the rewards to the CEO will eventually trickle down to the sweat shop worker 18 It is true that a great majority of inhabitants in the United State appear in public opinion polls to support elimination of the estate taX or what has very cleverly been labeled the death taX But is that opinion a result of wanting to treat the rich fairly or the consequence of a misguided notion that their offspring will be deprived of some of the fortune they will surely 17Dictionary anuaIaz ians opcit p 945 18 The best characterization of this approach is attributed to John Kenneth Galbraith who is reputed to have said that if you feed enough to the elephant there will eventually be something left behind for the birds 10 amass My guess is that the common good does not enter into their opposition to the tax19 Fostering a belief among the many that con icts among individuals groups states and nations and within the United Nations leads to the common good becomes more utopian when one considers that corporations are becoming increasingly competitive in a global environment whereas the political systems within which people are primarily confined seldom stretch beyond national boundaries In the global marketplace advantage is sought through the manipulation of national public policies designed to promote and protect national distribution systems Once the marketplace becomes global the common good as a residue from con icts in the marketplace would need to be conceived as a global common good I believe I need not go beyond this to make a convincing case that legitimizing marketplace behavior through nding in that behavior the common good may be interesting in the ivory tower but has no resonance in the world in which the many live A political system which undertakes the task of stabilizing a competitive social environment cannot construct a set of rules or laws held to be fair to all competing groups As a consequence the struggles in the marketplace spill over into the political system What counts for the common good is then up for grabs and in a constant state of change Were it possible to actually construct and maintain a free market through laws a belief that a common good could emerge is not unthinkable However a free market means taken literally that each participant brings equal skills and resources to the marketplaceThat seems a utopian notion The final option is to consider whether legitimacy can be removed from the equation of a stable society secured by a government of the many This would mean that the elements in the society accept the notion that competition among individuals and groups represents the optimum environment within which to seek their own welfare In addition there needs to be the belief that marketplace behavior within the political sphere will work as Machiavelli thought order takes priority over moral Fair practice is what one can get away with The idea is that transcendent behavior can be replaced by biological behavior the tooth and nail idea This resurrects the notion that evolution solves the problem by bringing about the survival of 19 My understand is that ninetynine percent of the population is not now subject to the estate tax Most of us would be better off keeping the estate tax and distributing what it raises to the citizens so they can play the lottery Such a strategy probably would maximize the chances of most of us to some day be subject to the tax the fittest and it is the fittest that ought to be encouraged to survive Something like this was proposed some years ago by Herbert Spencer in a book Social Statics Critiques of the theory he presented have been largely discounted and a modern day Socrates would render the position absurd A pluralistic approach to creating the laws which promotes and maintains a given system of distributing scarce resources is almost a contradiction in terms There would be a constant struggle in the political arena to change the laws that give one distribution system advantages over others We recreate the Hobbesian war of all against all when there is no legitimacy in the political system This war of all against all was supposedly the condition that forced the species into creating political systems20 There has developed in this country in recent times a new way of putting legitimacy into marketplace politics This option needs to be given some consideration It is described by Thomas Frank in his book What s the Matter with Kansas Some of you are familiar with what is going on in Kansas as the State School Board of Education is making the theory of intelligent design a part of the science curriculum in the public schools This general approach that permeates national politics and not just Kansas is the activatiib if groups who perceive that their interests are elements of the common good This is a variation on Charley Wilson s position earlier noted What is good for right to lifers is good for the country What is good for freedom of choicers is good for the country The issues that lend themselves to this approach are moral21 Moral issues have the advantage in the marketplace in that the contestants have a confidence in the rightness of their position which tends to be absent or difficult to maintain in struggles for material or economic interest The position is I may not know much about how outsourcing is affecting my livelihood butl do know right from wrong When issues like the right to life develop in a society it tends to generate its antithesis freedom of choice The arena or the marketplace is the natural habitat for such passions to seek the good By nature they war with one another But the goal of each of the contestants is not to maintain a status quo The goal is to eliminate the opposition or in marketplace language to develop a monopoly The groups engaged in combat in the marketplace over moral issues find the marketplace the legitimate place to 20 See Thomas Hobbes The Leviathan Oxford Basil Blackwell 1957 esp pp 8084 21I am distinguishing here between moral and interest but that is more of a distinction in the way we use words than a glimpse into reality When you have as great a distinction between the haves and the have nots as in this country there must be a moral issue somewhere embedded in that distribution of scarce resources settle the issues and the political system the proper place to exercise marketplace technologies and logic However the end goal of groups contesting over moral issues in the political sphere is not the preservation of the marketplace but its destruction Focusing the activities of the many in politics on moral issues takes has the sideeffect of taking some pressure off demands for redoing the distribution system The passions aroused by moral issues tend to take precedent in citizens over their economic interests I have tried to show that governments of the many cannot generate a common good over any extended period if the common good depends on the development of a transcendent or altruistic behavior by people acting as citizens I also argue that adopting methods characteristic of the marketplace in the political sphere and legitimizing the consequence as in the public good cannot be made credible The third point goes to the notion that a political system cannot be effective in maintaining order in a society in the absence of some concept of legitimacy Taking legitimacy out of the equation of ruling puts us back in Hobbes state of nature I have noted that moral issues put groups into a marketplace where legitimacy is experienced at the group level but not across groups This last alternative only intensifies the struggles in the marketplace Now why did I take you through this argument There is a widespread belief developed over centuries that governments of the people and by the people will result in government for the people We see this re ected in President Wilson s plea in 1917 that the world be made safe for democracy 22 We see it in our own time when President George Bush the Younger says in his second inaugural address that It is the policy of the Unites States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world 23 Questions need to be asked What kind of world would make democracy safe Is it sufficient to simply universalize democracies Do democracies automatically develop communal connections or are they prone to act out marketplace behavior in their relations with each other When President Bush sets out to democratize the world what counts as democracy in this crusade Has he made clear the grounds upon which Venezuela has become suspect If Iraq turns into 22 This plea was made before ajoint session of Congress on April 2 1917 in which he was requesting a declaration of war that would take us into World War I Alison Jones ed Dictionary of Quotations New York Chambers 1997 p 1086 23 Included in his second inaugural address on January 20 1905 13 something like Iran will it count Upon what grounds does this confidence in the curative powers of democracy rest Have the circumstances that led Plato and Aristotle to question the legitimacy and the effectiveness of what they de ned as democratic regimes been resolved in our time Do the millions of people that replace the thousands of the citystate make democracy more viable Have the skills involved in manipulating images opinions perceptions of reality and behaviors generally become more efficacious since the fth century BC or less efficacious If more does that enhance the efficacy of democracies In a world of diminishing resources is the task of maintaining a particular distribution of scarce resources easier or more difficult Is it easier or more difficult for governments of the many to be effective in maintaining stable social relations when a very few dedicated people called terrorists can seriously disturb that stability Can national governments of the many really establish and maintain the rules that stabilize a given distribution of scarce resources in a global economy Minimally would an effective democracy have to be a world democracy Are problems like global warming nuclear proliferation AIDS Avian u etc best resolved through competition or cooperation and if cooperation is it easier or more difficult in our time to get billions to act out the transcendent behavior required What is Bush talking about Is there a way to make democracy safe for the world That seems to me to be the real questions we must address The present approach most advanced in the United States is to try to find an effective system of stabilizing a particular distribution system and then selling the system as the product of democracy Low voter participation the power of money as a factor in successful campaigns for of ce the increasing use of Swift boat tactics are accepted as normal behavior in democracies In our recent California special election there was a calculated effort to get a low turnout since this would enhance the chances for passage of some of the initiatives This is a sample of revisionist democracy As noted above there is also the technique of raising moral issues that are so important to some segments of the population that they are willing to transcend economic issues as a tradeoff for prayer in the schools In the United States democracy as a political system attracts the support of the many by shifting the basis of support from reason and interest to passion A politics of passion is inherently divisive and cannot lead to cooperative action to solve present world problems It may however neutralize some of the economic con icts that arise out of national political systems and global economies Is there a way out Must we accept the notion that governments must necessarily develop their power through gaining the support of the many that such governments cannot develop a strong sense of legitimacy that leads to an obligation to obey on the part of the citizens that governments of the many that attempt to govern without legitimacy are not stable and finally that we know of no default political system to try if the weaknesses of democracy become common knowledge We know of no way of maintaining order in modern societies in the absence of political systems So can democracy be xed Whatl offer is not a solution That is because I do not know how to get from here to there thoughI believe there would work Essentially it involves taking biological behavior out of the picture So long as the many are engaged in daytoday struggles for the necessities of life with other members of the species transcendent behavior is not possible Biology trumps choice Given that we need a distribution system such that every person is guaranteed the wherewithal to live not necessarily to live well but to live Only after that condition has been met might people be allowed to compete for the remaining resources And it may be that people freed from necessity will find the need to compete less compelling It may be that cooperative behavior would not seem so frightening It might mean they could think of the welfare of their children and grandchildren Maintaining a balance or equilibrium between population and resources would be a critical factor in making such a system work24 It would have to be understood that freedom of choice in the size of families is not possible if that makes the distribution system unworkable Committing to such a distribution system has the attractiveness of being morally acceptable to most of the world s religions while recognizing biological urges but restraining biologically driven actions Twentyfive years ago Robert L Heilbroner wrote a book An Inquiry into the Human Prospect He focused less on the problems of a government of the many and more on issues that he saw way to solve given the present state of the world As external problems he saw expanding population nuclear weapons and environmental destruction as issues that could not be successfully addressed with our present set of social institutions With respect to our social institutions he saw that the logic of 24 See Garrett Hardin and John Baden Managing the Commons San Francisco W H Freeman amp Companym 1977 This is a very profound discussion of the consequences of leaving problems raised by expanding populations and dwindling resources untended 25 Robert L Heilbroner An Inquiry into the Human Prospect New York W W Norton amp Company 1980 15 capitalism promoted behaviors inconsistent with handling what he called those external problems Nor did he see that various forms of socialism could overcome the threats of population growth nuclear weapons and environmental degradation Finally he turned to politics and found that the nationstate was inadequate since it tended to be a competitive institution in the international sphere with few incentives to engage in cooperative ventures He ended his work by saying he did not know how to get from where we are to a set of institutions and beliefs that would resolve the tensions building in the global society He was forced to conclude that a kind of Armageddon might so disrupt long established social relations that such pieces as remained could be put together in a more effective way for species survival I ve not yet found anything more promising that that which Heilbroner offered Finis


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StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.